Low-Carbon Policies Could Save 175000 Lives And $250 Billion In US By 2030

Posted: Feb 23 2016, 5:37am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Low-Carbon Policies Could Save 175000 Lives and $250 Billion in US by 2030
Emissions from a Houston, Texas, industrial plant. Credit: Marc St. Gil/ US EPA
  • Control of Carbon Emissions could prevent 175,000 Deaths in US within 15 Years

It has been calculated that the control of carbon emissions could help prevent over 175,000 deaths in the US within the next 15 years.

Via the reduction of carbon emissions in the US about 175,000 pollution-related deaths could be avoided by 2030. The decreasing of greenhouse gases would also lead to an avoidance of a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius.

Over $250 billion would be saved in healthcare costs too. While many folks take climate change to be a future scenario, in fact by reducing emissions we are benefiting the current generation.

"Many people view climate change as a future problem, but our analysis shows that reducing emissions that cause warming -- many of which also contribute to air pollution -- would benefit public health here and now," said Drew T. Shindell, professor of climate sciences at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

When this scenario is seen in the long haul, the payoff of reducing emissions is far more than implementing carbon-reducing technologies or strict anti-pollution measures. It is a much saner and rational approach.

The study was featured in the journal Nature Climate Change. Were the current trends to continue, a two degrees rise in temperature would be a certainty.

This would of course provoke lengthy droughts and heat waves in various hot spots. Also sea levels would rise dangerously and affect coastal areas. The overall effect would not be good.

To avoid this two degrees rise in temperature, the precautionary measures are being taken. The focus is on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

However, curbing other greenhouse gases and pollutants would also lead to untold benefits. In the United States, when fossil fuels are burnt in factories as well as industrial units and come out of the exhausts of vehicles on the roads the result is chaos on a climatic level.

Premature deaths are common due to the smog in the atmosphere. If these greenhouse gases are dealt with, the benefits that accrue are both for the planet and for humankind. The pollutants spewed by the transportation industry and the energy companies were calculated.

"We created a 'clean transportation' scenario in which surface transport emissions are reduced by 75 percent, and a 'clean energy' scenario in which emissions are reduced by 63 percent," Shindell explained.

"These scenarios exceed current U.S. emissions reductions targets but are technically feasible and in accordance with the reductions we pledged to achieve at the COP21 climate conference in Paris last December and in our climate accord with China last year."

A computer model was simulated to see how curbing carbon emissions from the vehicle sector and the energy sector would benefit future trends. It is a feasible and realistic plan despite some of the accompanying discomforts and adjustments that will have to be made.

In synch with the Paris Accord this scenario would prove immensely beneficial were it to be implemented in all seriousness. By 2030, 175,000 deaths could be prevented by this plan.

Also following that year, an additional 22,000 lives at risk could be saved. It may be a bold initiative but that does not mean that it is impossible to carry out.

"This is doable," Shindell said. "But it's not going to be easy. Barriers remain, and short-term setbacks are likely. Pledging to reduce our emissions is one thing; implementing the national policies and binding international agreements needed to overcome these obstacles will be challenging."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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