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Title: Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050

Abstract

Policies to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will not only slow climate change but can also have ancillary benefits of improved air quality. Here we examine the co-benefits of both global and regional GHG mitigation for US air quality in 2050 at fine resolution, using dynamical downscaling methods, building on a previous global co-benefits study (West et al., 2013). The co-benefits for US air quality are quantified via two mechanisms: through reductions in co-emitted air pollutants from the same sources and by slowing climate change and its influence on air quality, following West et al. (2013). Additionally, we separate the total co-benefits into contributions from domestic GHG mitigation vs. mitigation in foreign countries. We use the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to dynamically downscale future global climate to the regional scale and the Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) program to directly process global anthropogenic emissions to the regional domain, and we provide dynamical boundary conditions from global simulations to the regional Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. The total co-benefits of global GHG mitigation from the RCP4.5 scenario compared with its reference are estimated to be higher in the eastern US (ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 µg m -3)more » than the west (0–0.4 µg m -3) for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), with an average of 0.47 µg m -3 over the US; for O 3, the total co-benefits are more uniform at 2–5 ppb, with a US average of 3.55 ppb. Comparing the two mechanisms of co-benefits, we find that reductions in co-emitted air pollutants have a much greater influence on both PM 2.5 (96 % of the total co-benefits) and O 3 (89 % of the total) than the second co-benefits mechanism via slowing climate change, consistent with West et al. (2013). GHG mitigation from foreign countries contributes more to the US O 3 reduction (76 % of the total) than that from domestic GHG mitigation only (24 %), highlighting the importance of global methane reductions and the intercontinental transport of air pollutants. For PM 2.5, the benefits of domestic GHG control are greater (74 % of total). Since foreign contributions to co-benefits can be substantial, with foreign O 3 benefits much larger than those from domestic reductions, previous studies that focus on local or regional co-benefits may greatly underestimate the total co-benefits of global GHG reductions. We conclude that the US can gain significantly greater domestic air quality co-benefits by engaging with other nations to control GHGs.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1340880
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-121099
Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324; KP1703030
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 15
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Zhang, Yuqiang, Bowden, Jared H., Adelman, Zachariah, Naik, Vaishali, Horowitz, Larry W., Smith, Steven J., and West, J. Jason. Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.5194/acp-16-9533-2016.
Zhang, Yuqiang, Bowden, Jared H., Adelman, Zachariah, Naik, Vaishali, Horowitz, Larry W., Smith, Steven J., & West, J. Jason. Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050. United States. doi:10.5194/acp-16-9533-2016.
Zhang, Yuqiang, Bowden, Jared H., Adelman, Zachariah, Naik, Vaishali, Horowitz, Larry W., Smith, Steven J., and West, J. Jason. Mon . "Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050". United States. doi:10.5194/acp-16-9533-2016.
@article{osti_1340880,
title = {Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050},
author = {Zhang, Yuqiang and Bowden, Jared H. and Adelman, Zachariah and Naik, Vaishali and Horowitz, Larry W. and Smith, Steven J. and West, J. Jason},
abstractNote = {Policies to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will not only slow climate change but can also have ancillary benefits of improved air quality. Here we examine the co-benefits of both global and regional GHG mitigation for US air quality in 2050 at fine resolution, using dynamical downscaling methods, building on a previous global co-benefits study (West et al., 2013). The co-benefits for US air quality are quantified via two mechanisms: through reductions in co-emitted air pollutants from the same sources and by slowing climate change and its influence on air quality, following West et al. (2013). Additionally, we separate the total co-benefits into contributions from domestic GHG mitigation vs. mitigation in foreign countries. We use the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to dynamically downscale future global climate to the regional scale and the Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) program to directly process global anthropogenic emissions to the regional domain, and we provide dynamical boundary conditions from global simulations to the regional Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. The total co-benefits of global GHG mitigation from the RCP4.5 scenario compared with its reference are estimated to be higher in the eastern US (ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 µg m-3) than the west (0–0.4 µg m-3) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), with an average of 0.47 µg m-3 over the US; for O3, the total co-benefits are more uniform at 2–5 ppb, with a US average of 3.55 ppb. Comparing the two mechanisms of co-benefits, we find that reductions in co-emitted air pollutants have a much greater influence on both PM2.5 (96 % of the total co-benefits) and O3 (89 % of the total) than the second co-benefits mechanism via slowing climate change, consistent with West et al. (2013). GHG mitigation from foreign countries contributes more to the US O3 reduction (76 % of the total) than that from domestic GHG mitigation only (24 %), highlighting the importance of global methane reductions and the intercontinental transport of air pollutants. For PM2.5, the benefits of domestic GHG control are greater (74 % of total). Since foreign contributions to co-benefits can be substantial, with foreign O3 benefits much larger than those from domestic reductions, previous studies that focus on local or regional co-benefits may greatly underestimate the total co-benefits of global GHG reductions. We conclude that the US can gain significantly greater domestic air quality co-benefits by engaging with other nations to control GHGs.},
doi = {10.5194/acp-16-9533-2016},
journal = {Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)},
number = 15,
volume = 16,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}
  • Policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can bring ancillary benefits of improved air quality and reduced premature mortality, in addition to slowing climate change. Here we study the co-benefits of global and domestic GHG mitigation on US air quality and human health in 2050 at fine resolution using dynamical downscaling, and quantify for the first time the co-benefits from foreign GHG mitigation. Relative to a reference scenario, global GHG reductions in RCP4.5 avoid 16000 PM2.5-related all-cause deaths yr-1 (90% confidence interval, 11700-20300), and 8000 (3600-12400) O3-related respiratory deaths yr-1 in the US in 2050. Foreign GHG mitigation avoids 15%more » and 62% of PM2.5- and O3-related total avoided deaths, highlighting the importance of foreign GHG mitigation on US human health benefits. GHG mitigation in the US residential sector brings the largest co-benefits for PM2.5-related deaths (21% of total domestic co-benefits), and industry for O3 (17%). Monetized benefits, for avoided deaths from ozone, PM2.5, and heat stress from a related study, are $148 ($96-201) per ton CO2 at high valuation and $49 ($32-67) at low valuation, of which 36% are from foreign GHG reductions. These benefits likely exceed the marginal cost of GHG reductions in 2050. The US gains significantly greater co-benefits when coordinating GHG reductions with foreign countries. Similarly, previous studies estimating co-benefits locally or regionally may greatly underestimate the full co-benefits of coordinated global actions.« less
  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions also influences air quality. We simulate the co-benefits of global GHG reductions on air quality and human health via two mechanisms: a) reducing co-emitted air pollutants, and b) slowing climate change and its effect on air quality. Relative to a reference scenario, global GHG mitigation in the RCP4.5 scenario avoids 0.5±0.2, 1.3±0.6, and 2.2±1.6 million premature deaths in 2030, 2050, and 2100, from changes in fine particulate matter and ozone. Global average marginal co-benefits of avoided mortality are $40-400 (ton CO2)-1, exceeding marginal abatement costs in 2030 and 2050, and within the low range ofmore » costs in 2100. East Asian co-benefits are 10-80 times the marginal cost in 2030. These results indicate that transitioning to a low-carbon future might be justified by air quality and health co-benefits.« less
  • Actions to slow atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases also would reduce conventional air pollutants yielding 'ancillary' benefits that tend to accrue locally and in the near-term. Using a detailed electricity model linked to an integrated assessment framework to value changes in human health, we find a tax ofmore » $$25 per metric ton of carbon emissions would yield NO{sub x}-related health benefits of about $$8 per metric ton of carbon reduced in the year 2010 (1997 dollars). Additional savings of $4-$$7 accrue from reduced investment in NO{sub x} and SO{sub 2} abatement in order to comply with emission caps. Total ancillary benefits of a $$25 carbon tax are $12-$14, which appear to justify the costs of a $25 tax, although marginal benefits are less than marginal costs. At a tax of $75, greater total benefits are achieved but the value per ton of carbon reductions remains roughly constant at about $12.« less
  • The recent International Panel on Climate change (IPCC) report identifies significant co-benefits from climate policies on near-term ambient air pollution and related human health outcomes [1]. This is increasingly relevant for policy making as the health impacts of air pollution are a major global concern- the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study identifies outdoor air pollution as the sixth major cause of death globally [2]. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) are an effective tool to evaluate future air pollution outcomes across a wide range of assumptions on socio-economic development and policy regimes. The Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) [3] were the firstmore » set of long-term global scenarios developed across multiple integrated assessment models that provided detailed estimates of a number of air pollutants until 2100. However these scenarios were primarily designed to cover a defined range of radiative forcing outcomes and thus did not specifically focus on the interactions of long-term climate goals on near-term air pollution impacts. More recently, [4] used the RCP4.5 scenario to evaluate the co-benefits of global GHG reductions on air quality and human health in 2030. [5-7] have further examined the interactions of more diverse pollution control regimes with climate policies. This paper extends the listed studies in a number of ways. Firstly it uses multiple IAMs to look into the co-benefits of a global climate policy for ambient air pollution under harmonized assumptions on near-term air pollution control. Multi-model frameworks have been extensively used in the analysis of climate change mitigation pathways, and the structural uncertainties regarding the underlying mechanisms (see for example [8-10]. This is to our knowledge the first time that a multi-model evaluation has been specifically designed and applied to analyze the co-benefits of climate change policy on ambient air quality, thus enabling a better understanding of at a detailed sector and region level. A second methodological advancement is a quantification of the co-benefits in terms of the associated atmospheric concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and consequent mortality related outcomes across different models. This is made possible by the use of state-of the art simplified atmospheric model that allows for the first time a computationally feasible multi-model evaluation of such outcomes.« less
  • In this study, we estimate the costs of climate change to US agriculture, and associated potential benefits of abating greenhouse gas emissions. Five major crops' yield responses to climatic variation are modeled empirically, and the results combined with climate projections for a no-policy, high-warming future, as well as moderate and stringent mitigation scenarios. Unabated warming reduces yields of wheat and soybeans by 2050, and cotton by 2100, but moderate warming increases yields of all crops except wheat. Yield changes are monetized using the results of economic simulations within an integrated climate-economy modeling framework. Uncontrolled warming's economic effects on major cropsmore » are slightly positive—annual benefits <$4 B. These are amplified by emission reductions, but subject to diminishing returns—by 2100 reaching $17 B under moderate mitigation, but only $7 B with stringent mitigation. Costs and benefits are sensitive to irreducible uncertainty about the fertilization effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, without which unabated warming incurs net costs of up to $18 B, generating benefits to moderate (stringent) mitigation as large as $26 B ($20 B).« less