Carbon-di-oxide emissions linked to human mortality

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Washington, Jan 4 (UNI) While it has long been known that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to climate change, a new study details how for each increase of one degree Celsius, the resulting air pollution would lead annually to about a thousand additional deaths and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma in the US.

Worldwide, upward of 20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas, Science Daily reported.

''This is a cause and effect relationship, not just a correlation ...The study is the first specifically to isolate carbon dioxide's effect from that of other global-warming agents and to find quantitatively that chemical and meteorological changes due to carbon dioxide itself increase mortality due to increased ozone, particles and carcinogens in the air.,'' according to the paper by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford.

This study finds that the effects of carbondioxide's warming are most significant where the pollution is already severe.

''With six of the 10 most polluted cities in the nation being in California, that alone creates a special circumstance for the state,'' the paper said, explaining that the health-related effects of carbondioxide emissions are most pronounced in areas that already have significant pollution. As such, increased warming due to carbondioxide will worsen people's health in those cities at a much faster clip than elsewhere in the nation.

Jacobson added that much of the population of the United States already has been directly affected by climate change through the air they have inhaled over the last few decades and that, of course, the health effects would grow worse if temperatures continue to rise.

Jacobson's work stands apart from previous research in that it uses a computer model of the atmosphere that takes into account many feedbacks between climate change and air pollution not considered in previous studies.

Developed by Jacobson over the last 18 years, it is considered by many to be the most complex and complete atmospheric model worldwide. It incorporates principles of gas and particle emissions and transport, gas chemistry, particle production and evolution, ocean processes, soil processes, and the atmospheric effects of rain, winds, sunlight, heat and clouds, among other factors.


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