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Greenhouse Gases, Air Pollution, Electrification, Zero Emissions

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Larry E. Erickson


There are many good reasons to promote sustainable development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other combustion emissions. The air quality in many urban environments is causing many premature deaths because of asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and dementia associated with combustion emissions. The global social cost of air pollution is at least $3 trillion/year; particulates, nitrogen oxides and ozone associated with combustion emissions are very costly pollutants. Better air quality in urban environments is one of the reasons for countries to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. There are many potential benefits associated with limiting climate change. In the recent past, the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been increasing and the number of weather and climate disasters with costs over $1 billion has been increasing. The average global temperature set new record highs in 2014, 2015, and 2016. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the transition to electric vehicles and electricity generation using renewable energy must take place in accord with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This work reviews progress and identifies some of the health benefits associated with reducing combustion emissions. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 36: 982–988, 2017


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