News ID: 204306
Published: 0609 GMT November 14, 2017

Air quality in US will improve from other nations' actions

Air quality in US will improve from other nations' actions

The USA will benefit from improved air quality in the future, through actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both domestically and globally.

That is the primary finding of new research led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. It comes following the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the USA from the 2015 Paris Accord on climate change, which commits its signatories to actively work on reducing their GHG emissions, reported.

The study examined the benefits of global and domestic GHG mitigation on US air quality and human health in 2050, comparing a scenario with no global action to reduce GHGs with an aggressive scenario that significantly slows climate change. The GHG reduction scenario emphasizes energy efficiency and shifts energy production and use away from highly polluting forms toward cleaner sources with less air pollution.

The study then quantified the health benefits of global GHG reductions, and for the first time separated those into contributions from foreign vs. domestic GHG mitigation. It showed that the health benefits to the US of reducing GHG emissions are significant, and in monetary terms would exceed the costs of reducing GHGs.

Lead author Dr. Jason West, from UNC, said: "PM2.5 and O3 have long enough lifetimes in the atmosphere to transport intercontinentally, which suggests that emissions from one source region can affect air quality and human health in multiple receptor regions.

"To explore the long-term effects of a global GHG mitigation strategy, we used dynamical downscaling from global simulations to predict the changes in air quality and related premature deaths."

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