Quantified, Localized Health Benefits of Accelerated Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions.

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Societal risks increase as Earth warms, but also for emissions trajectories accepting relatively high levels of near-term emissions while assuming future negative emissions will compensate even if they lead to identical warming [1]. Accelerating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions, including as a substitute for negative emissions, hence reduces long-term risks but requires dramatic near-term societal transformations [2]. A major barrier to emissions reductions is the difficulty of reconciling immediate, localized costs with global, long-term benefits [3, 4]. However, 2°C trajectories not relying on negative emissions or 1.5°C trajectories require elimination of most fossil fuel related emissions. This generally reduces co-emissions that cause ambient air pollution, resulting in near-term, localized health benefits. We therefore examine the human health benefits of increasing ambition of 21st century CO2 reductions by 180 GtC; an amount that would shift a 'standard' 2°C scenario to 1.5°C or could achieve 2°C without negative emissions. The decreased air pollution leads to 153±43 million fewer premature deaths worldwide, with ~40% occurring during the next 40 years, and minimal climate disbenefits. More than a million premature deaths would be prevented in many metropolitan areas in Asia and Africa, and >200,000 in individual urban areas on every inhabited continent except Australia.





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Shindell, Drew, Greg Faluvegi, Karl Seltzer and Cary Shindell (2018). Quantified, Localized Health Benefits of Accelerated Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions. Nature climate change, 8(4). pp. 291–295. 10.1038/s41558-018-0108-y Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17534.

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Drew Todd Shindell

Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Science

Drew Shindell is Nicholas Professor of Earth Science at Duke University. From 1995 to 2014 he was at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and taught at Columbia University. He earned his Bachelor's at UC Berkeley and PhD at Stony Brook University, both in Physics. He studies climate change, air quality, and links between science and policy. He has been an author on >250 peer-reviewed publications, received awards from Scientific American, NASA, the NSF and the EPA, and is a fellow of AGU and AAAS.

He has testified on climate issues before both houses of the US Congress (at the request of both parties), developed a climate change course with the American Museum of Natural History, and made numerous media appearances as part of his outreach efforts. He chaired the 2011 UNEP/WMO Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone, and was a Coordinating Lead Author on the 2013 Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC and on the 2018 IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C. He also chairs the Scientific Advisory Panel to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition of nations and organizations.


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