Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal

Date:
March 19, 2010
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
In the first study ever done on the local health effects of the domes of carbon dioxide that develop above cities, researchers found that the domes increase the local death rate. The result provides a scientific basis for regulating CO2 emissions at the local level and points out a significant oversight in the carbon dioxide "cap-and-trade" proposal that was passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009.

Researcher Mark Jacobson's study contradicts the cap-and-trade proposal's assumption that there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates.
Credit: L.A. Cicero

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem. Now a Stanford study has shown it is also a local problem, hurting city dwellers' health much more than rural residents', because of the carbon dioxide "domes" that develop over urban areas.

Related Articles


That finding, said researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, exposes a serious oversight in current cap-and-trade proposals for reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, which make no distinction based on a pollutant's point of origin. The finding also provides the first scientific basis for controlling local carbon dioxide emissions based on their local health impacts.

"Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal," said Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering. "As in real estate, location matters."

His results also support the case that California presented to the Environmental Protection Agency in March, 2009, asking that the state be allowed to establish its own CO2 emission standards for vehicles.

Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford, testified on behalf of California's waiver application in March, 2009. The waiver had previously been denied, but was reconsidered and granted subsequently. The waiver is currently being challenged in court by industry interests seeking to overturn it.

Jacobson found that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations -- discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago -- cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air.

In modeling the health impacts for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area, he determined an increase in the death rate from air pollution for all three regions compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted.

The results of Jacobson's study are presented in a paper published online by Environmental Science and Technology.

The cap-and-trade proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 puts a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that each type of utility, manufacturer or other emitter is allowed to produce. It also puts a price tag on each ton of emissions, which emitters will have to pay to the federal government.

If the bill passes the Senate intact, it will allow emitters to freely trade or sell their allowances among themselves, regardless of where the pollution is emitted.

With that logic, the proposal prices a ton of CO2 emitted in the middle of the sparsely populated Great Plains, for example, the same as a ton emitted in Los Angeles, where the population is dense and the air quality already poor.

"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."

Jacobson's study is the first to look at the health impacts of carbon dioxide domes over cities and his results are relevant to future air pollution regulations. Current regulations do not address the local impacts of local carbon dioxide emissions. For example, no regulation considers the local air pollution effects of CO2 that would be emitted by a new natural gas power plant. But those effects should be considered, he said.

"There has been no control of carbon dioxide because it has always been thought that CO2 is a global problem, that it is only its global impacts that might feed back to air pollution," Jacobson said.

In addition to the changes he observed in local air pollutants, Jacobson found that there was increased stability of the air column over a city, which slowed the dispersal of pollutants, further adding to the increased pollutant concentrations.

Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states.

"This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts," he said.

Current estimates of the annual air pollution-related death toll in the U.S. is 50-100,000.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. The original article was written by Louis Bergeron. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101705.htm>.
Stanford University. (2010, March 19). Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101705.htm
Stanford University. "Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101705.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins