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Cutting greenhouse pollutants could directly save millions of lives worldwide
Date:11/25/2009

Tackling climate change by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions will have major direct health benefits in addition to reducing the risk of climate change, especially in low-income countries, according to a series of six papers appearing today (Wed., Nov. 25) in the British journal The Lancet.

Two University of California, Berkeley, authors of the papers - Kirk R. Smith, professor of global environmental health, and Michael Jerrett, associate professor of environmental health sciences - will discuss the results today at an 11:30 a.m. EST press conference in Washington, D.C.

The press conference also will include Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, and Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program. United Kingdom coauthors will be patched in via satellite from London, where they also will be holding a press conference.

The studies, three of them coauthored by Smith and one coauthored by Jerrett, use case studies to demonstrate the co-benefits of tackling climate change in four sectors: electricity generation, household energy use, transportation, and food and agriculture.

"Policymakers need to know that if they exert their efforts in certain directions, they can obtain important public health benefits as well as climate benefits," said Smith, who was the principal investigator in the United States for the overall research effort. "Climate change threatens us all, but its impact will likely be greatest on the poorest communities in every country. Thus, it has been called the most regressive tax in human history. Carefully choosing how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have the added benefit of reducing global health inequities."

Each study in the series examines the health implications in both high- and low-income countries of actions designed to reduce the relea
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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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