Physical sciences, Earth sciences

The health impact of less greenhouse gas

Chinese and EU researchers have built a model to evaluate the effects of different greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies on urban citizens' health and well-being

The EU is aiming for a 20 % decrease in total GHG emissions by 2020, while China is committed to similar reductions. Understanding how various policies to control GHG emissions affect health and well-being in urban environments will help policymakers to make better decisions.

The EU-funded URGENCHE (Urban reduction of GHG emissions in China and Europe) project brought together researchers from China and the EU to create a method to model the effects of different GHG emissions policies. The researchers specifically focused on how different policies affect health and quality of life.

URGENCHE started by assessing current GHG emissions from fuel use, heat and power, traffic and urban development, and construction for Chinese and EU cities. Pilot studies took place in Kuopio, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Thessaloniki, Basle, Xi’an and Suzhou.

Using collected data, the researchers built several modelling tools to understand energy use and factors influencing health in cities. URGENCHE also reviewed academic literature to define the measures of well-being used for the model.

These tools were combined into a larger model that predicts the health and well-being of citizens under different GHG emissions reduction policies. The model predicts outcomes up to 20 years in the future, which makes it relevant to current emissions targets.

These results will have a far-reaching impact on GHG emissions policy in both China and the EU, with relevance for the rest of the world. With more and more people living in cities around the world, there is an urgent need for well-informed decision making regarding urban climate change mitigation.

last modification: 2015-12-16 09:41:30

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