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

se of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. Climate change due to emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel energy sources causes air pollution by increasing ground-level ozone and concentrations of fine particulate matter.

The studies were commissioned by the NIEHS, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in part to help inform discussions next month at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The NIEHS is one of the key sponsors of the international event.

"These papers demonstrate there are clear and substantive improvements for health if we choose the right mitigation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Birnbaum. "We now have real life examples of how we can save the environment, reduce air pollution and decrease related health effects; it's really a win-win situation for everyone."

A case study led by Smith on the health and climate benefits from a potential 150-million-stove program in India from 2010-2020 gives the largest co-benefit of any examined in the six papers. Smith has shown that providing low-emission stove technologies in poor countries that currently rely on solid fuel household stoves to cook and heat their homes is a very cost-effective climate change linkage. The 10-year program could prevent 2 million premature deaths in India, he said, in addition to reducing greenhouse pollution by hundreds of millions of tons.

The paper coauthored by Jerrett contains analysis of 18 years of data on the long-term health effects of black carbon - the first study of its kind ever conducted. The study followed 352,000 people in 66 U.S. cities and was conducted by a team of U.S. and Canadian researchers led by Jerrett and Smith. Black carbon is a short-lived greenhouse pollutant which, along with ozone, is responsible for a significant proportion of global warming. Unlike CO2, these short-lived greenhouse pollutants exert significant direct impacts on health. Al
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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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