Killer carbon - CO2’s deadly effects

Posted 2:51 AM by crkota in Labels: , , ,
As with real estate, it's all about location when it comes to emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming. This is according to a new study led by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University.

The study finds that "domes" of carbon dioxide (CO2) over cities have potentially deadly health effects, when compared to CO2 over rural areas. What happens is that the excess CO2 in cities causes local temperatures to rise, which in turn causes unhealthy local air pollutants and ground-level ozone already present to increase as well.

"Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal," said Jacobson.

Jacobson estimates the additional carbon dioxide could cause about 300 to 1,000 deaths per year across the USA. These deaths are in addition to those that would be caused by regular air pollution, which are roughly 50,000 to 100,000 per year.

The study is the first to look at the health impacts of increasing CO2 above cities.

"If correct," according to the paper, "this result contradicts the basis for air pollution regulations worldwide, none of which considers controlling local CO2 based on its local health impacts."

Additionally, Jacobson says this provides a scientific basis for regulating CO2 at the local level, and that the cap-and-trade proposal currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate is flawed.

"The cap-and-trade proposal assumes there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates," Jacobson said. "This study contradicts that assumption."

"It doesn't mean you can never do something like cap and trade," he added. "It just means that you need to consider where the CO2 emissions are occurring."

The results of the study appear in a paper published online by the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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