The climate is changing while concerns about air pollution linger on.
This issue has been with us for decades and now results in much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. My concerns include the need to consider energy systems globally rather than locally.
- Complex atmospheric modeling shows greenhouse gases heat the planet, leading to climate change. Global relief depends on major emission reductions from developing nations, for which the metrics should be emissions per capita and the relative abatement costs. Climate Change: "We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us."Cultural and societal factors contribute to our inability to address the issue. Advanced technologies could help. Let’s Ask ChatGPT - Climate Change
- EV benefits depend on the sources of the required electric power. Tire, brake, and road dust will continue. Enlarging the electric power grid may be disruptive. Electric Vehicles and the Environment: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?
- Continuing energy demands must be met by soaking up the sun, harvesting the wind, and promoting and exporting new technologies. The Globe Continues to Warm: What's Next?
- Greenhouse agents beyond CO2 have been neglected, notably methane. All nations are responsible for climate change; the strongest should help others. Climate Changes as Earth Warms; The Devil is in the Details
- Human respiration contributes. It is easier to install new renewables than to retire old polluters. When energy is scarce, coal can be a lifeline. Digging Deeper Into Climate Change
- The benefits of warmer winters have seldom been mentioned amid the heat tizzy. My analysis of premature mortality in the US shows that heat penalties tend to be outweighed by winter benefits The Summers Are Getting Hotter; What About Winters?
- Diversity among countries is huge. Decreased CO2 in the US and 12 other countries were canceled by increases from 23 different countries. Methane and black carbon issues have been neglected. Climate Change: What About Diversity & Inclusion?
Bottom Line: The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) closed with an agreement that signals “the beginning of the end,” to which I would respond, “Show me the money.” Nations and systems with the lowest costs per ton of CO2 or methane reductions should have priority.
My interests here go back 50 years; I might claim to be its oldest living researcher. My skepticism about whether exposure to urban air can initiate chronic disease has continued throughout, even as this canard persists and is applied globally.
- Clean air is a negative that depends on not polluting. EPA monitors and tries to control all kinds of particles rather than focusing on toxic ones like diesel smoke. Even if the outdoors were pristine, we are still exposed to uncontrolled indoor pollutants. Why Can’t We Totally Eliminate Air Pollution
- Gas cooking emits air pollution, but no epidemiology studies have found it unhealthy. In any event, the remedy is simple: turn on the exhaust fan. Consumer Product Safety Commission is Concerned About Gas Stoves. Are Candles, Pets Next?
- PM2.5 is studied because that’s what EPA monitors and regulates as presumed protection from various disorders. They don’t seem to realize that initiating a chronic disease requires decade-long exposures, as with smoking. PM2.5 & Lung Cancer: Promotion or Predilection?
- The fires in Canada brought smoke and poor air quality but no excess deaths. Nevertheless, frail individuals should avoid exposure. Smoke in the Big Apple: Be Very Afraid? No, Just Careful.
- The strongest evidence for the health effects of air pollution may be seen when peak exposures are followed by relief. Short-term effects are part of long-term effects but cannot initiate chronic disease. From the Archives: Timing the Health Effects of Air Pollution
- Global predictions of millions of deaths due to air pollution have been based on long-term differences among locations, such as urban vs. rural. However, cumulative and indoor exposures and confounders like smoking and economics have seldom been considered. Death By Air Pollution: Lessons From 70 Years of Air Sampling and Analysis
- Can reducing PM2.5 “promote healthy cognitive aging”? Most such particles cannot enter the bloodstream nor pass the blood-brain barrier. An Almost Perfect PM2.5 Study, (Well Not Quite)
- A highly cited study assigned mortality decreases entirely to the reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants, not recognizing that this also implies risk-free operation in the future. Pollution-Related Deaths May Have Declined Since 1999. What About the Future?
Bottom Lines: Air pollution can be unpleasant and may adversely affect the frail elderly, but indoor exposures have been ignored, and initiation of chronic disease has never been demonstrated. As we shelter from the heat, indoor air quality becomes more critical