Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New global treaty proposed to control climate change and improve health

16.10.2003


A global treaty focusing on intercontinental air pollution could be a better approach to controlling climate change than the Kyoto Protocol, according to a new scientific study. By cooperating to reduce pollutants like ozone and aerosols, countries could address their own regional health concerns, keep their downwind neighbors happy and reduce the threat of global warming in the process, claim the researchers.



The report appears in the Oct. 13 edition of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

The Kyoto Protocol, drafted in 1997, was designed to provide binding commitments for reducing national emissions of greenhouse gases, with a special emphasis on carbon dioxide. Some countries, however, like the United States and China, have been reluctant to fully adopt the standards because of their potential economic burden.


In the new study, researchers from Columbia (N.Y.), Harvard and Princeton acknowledge the need to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, but they propose that a treaty dealing with air pollutants like ozone and aerosols, which can cause health problems, could be a better first step, uniting the interests of all countries involved.

"We suggest that it may be time to consider an international treaty to control air pollution on a hemispheric scale," says lead researcher Tracey Holloway, Ph.D. "The Kyoto Protocol addresses carbon dioxide emissions, which have no direct health impact, so they are not regulated currently as air pollutants." Holloway was at Columbia University when the study was done and is now with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

An air pollution treaty that targets health-related pollutants "would tie in to regulations that most countries are already pursuing on a domestic basis," according to Holloway. One obvious example of this in the United States is the Clean Air Act, which regulates various pollutants, such as those that contribute to acid rain, smog and ozone depletion.

Holloway and her colleagues focused their research on ozone and aerosols. Both have lifetimes of about one week - long enough to be transported from Asia to the United States, as well as shorter distances across the Atlantic - and both pose health risks associated with respiratory disease, which Holloway says makes them more immediate concerns to countries than carbon dioxide.

But ozone and aerosols also contribute to large-scale climate problems, Holloway says, so the implications of controlling them go beyond air pollution into the realm of climate change.

The case for controlling greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide was first presented three years ago by James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, according to Holloway.

Holloway believes an international air pollution treaty would not encounter the roadblocks that the Kyoto Protocol has faced. "It would be serving the self-interest of participating countries to address short-term health risks," she says. "Regulation could take shape without immediate reform of the domestic or international energy economy, and energy savings implemented to achieve air quality goals could have the win-win effect of reducing carbon dioxide emissions as well."

Holloway suggests a treaty based loosely on the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), which initially addressed acid rain deposition in Europe through voluntary participation. The convention has since been amended to cover a broad range of pollutants, and participants include countries from Western and Eastern Europe as well as the United States and Canada.

Expanding such a treaty to include Asia would give the United States even more incentive to participate, Holloway says, since westerly winds spread pollution from that part of the world to North America. "Asian countries are already concerned about air pollution," she adds, "and are making significant strides toward domestic control."

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Melting solid below the freezing point

23.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>