25 Nov 2009:
Major Health Benefits Seen
From Reduction of Greenhouse Gases
Slashing carbon dioxide emissions has the added benefit of significantly reducing air pollution and could prevent millions of premature deaths each year, according to a series of studies in the British medical journal, The Lancet
. The six studies demonstrate that cutting greenhouse gas emissions will significantly reduce air pollutants such as fine particulate matter — known as black carbon — and ground-level ozone. One study in India looked at the benefits of a proposed program that would replace 150 million heavily polluting wood or dung stoves with cleaner stoves that use renewable energy or natural gas. Replacing the dirty stoves by 2020 would not only prevent an estimated 2 million premature deaths but would also reduce greenhouse gas pollution by hundreds of millions of tons and cut down on black carbon deposits, which settle on glaciers in the Himalayas and hasten their melting, the study said. “These papers demonstrate there are clear improvements for health if we choose the right strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, which helped fund the studies.
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