News: News Archives
S&T Forum Panel: Addressing Climate Change Will Benefit Global Health
Shifting global energy use away from carbon-rich sources like fossil fuels and coal is a critical step to mitigate climate change, but it also would have profound benefits for public health, a panel of experts concluded at the 2009 AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy.
Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health at the University of California- Berkeley, said that reducing the use of coal and traditional biomass such as wood for energy would greatly improve air quality—especially in the developing world—which overwhelmingly relies on them for energy.
Often used inside the home for cooking and heating, these sources release harmful particles and gases due to poor and incomplete combustion. Smith said that there are strong epidemiological studies showing that these byproducts have been linked to pneumonia, low birth-weight, lung and heart disease, blindness, cancer—and, ultimately, 1.6 million premature deaths per year. Outdoor air pollution from poorly managed fuel combustion adds additional health burdens.
For more information, read the full text.