Stanford: Urban CO2 domes mean more death

I find it funny though, that this study (full PDF here) mentions urban warming related to CO2 only. The terms “Urban Heat Island” (and variants including UHI) are not found in this study at all. The image from the study below, looks roughly like the CONUS nightlights image I provided for Dr. Roy Spencer’s latest essay on population versus temperature. – Anthony

Urban CO2 domes increase deaths, poke hole in cap-and-trade proposal

From Stanford University via Eurekalert

From figure 5 of the Jacobson study - looks like nightlights doesn't it?

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem. Now a Stanford study has shown it is also a local problem, hurting city dwellers’ health much more than rural residents’, because of the carbon dioxide “domes” that develop over urban areas. That finding, said researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, exposes a serious oversight in current cap-and-trade proposals for reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, which make no distinction based on a pollutant’s point of origin. The finding also provides the first scientific basis for controlling local carbon dioxide emissions based on their local health impacts.

“Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal,” said Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering. “As in real estate, location matters.”

His results also support the case that California presented to the Environmental Protection Agency in March, 2009, asking that the state be allowed to establish its own CO2 emission standards for vehicles.

Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford, testified on behalf of California’s waiver application in March, 2009. The waiver had previously been denied, but was reconsidered and granted subsequently. The waiver is currently being challenged in court by industry interests seeking to overturn it.

Jacobson found that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations – discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago – cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air.

In modeling the health impacts for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area, he determined an increase in the death rate from air pollution for all three regions compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted.

The results of Jacobson’s study are presented in a paper published online by Environmental Science and Technology.

The cap-and-trade proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 puts a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that each type of utility, manufacturer or other emitter is allowed to produce. It also puts a price tag on each ton of emissions, which emitters will have to pay to the federal government.

If the bill passes the Senate intact, it will allow emitters to freely trade or sell their allowances among themselves, regardless of where the pollution is emitted.

With that logic, the proposal prices a ton of CO2 emitted in the middle of the sparsely populated Great Plains, for example, the same as a ton emitted in Los Angeles, where the population is dense and the air quality already poor.

“The cap-and-trade proposal assumes there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates,” Jacobson said. “This study contradicts that assumption.”

“It doesn’t mean you can never do something like cap and trade,” he added. “It just means that you need to consider where the CO2 emissions are occurring.”

Jacobson’s study is the first to look at the health impacts of carbon dioxide domes over cities and his results are relevant to future air pollution regulations. Current regulations do not address the local impacts of local carbon dioxide emissions. For example, no regulation considers the local air pollution effects of CO2 that would be emitted by a new natural gas power plant. But those effects should be considered, he said.

“There has been no control of carbon dioxide because it has always been thought that CO2 is a global problem, that it is only its global impacts that might feed back to air pollution,” Jacobson said.

In addition to the changes he observed in local air pollutants, Jacobson found that there was increased stability of the air column over a city, which slowed the dispersal of pollutants, further adding to the increased pollutant concentrations.

Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states.

“This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts,” he said.

Current estimates of the annual air pollution-related death toll in the U.S. is 50-100,000.

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JEM

What is it with all these fools who see a temperature change and immediately want to attribute it to CO2?
Is that the only way they can get funding?

p.g.sharrow "PG"

Is this study “PEER REVIEWED” like the others?

“His results also support the case that California presented to the Environmental Protection Agency in March, 2009, asking that the state be allowed to establish its own CO2 emission standards for vehicles.”
I am sure this “modeling” study supports EPA’s claim. It was an EPA grant that funded it.
I am sure it ignores all the other factors that cause urban heat islands. The objective is clearly to generate more CO2 alarmism.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if his colleague Stephen Schneider help push such a study to help create more CO2 alarmism that Schneider advocates..

Frank

Trap heat ? This work is very scientific.

Henry chance

I have a problem when Climate science violates rules of experimental design and fudges data.
This makes me angry. The crooks and cheaters have no reason to get into epidemiology. They are far too stupid to deal with health and death issues.
1 example. As rural folks age, they move to the city and retire sometines even in an urban nursing home. That would alone skew the data.
Their study doesn’t treat variables such as smoking and other influences.
Actually one of my fields we used identical twin studies as often as possible.
There is one expression used in medical studies and it is called a blind control group. Can’t set up climate experiments the same way.
Want me to give some greenie weenie Hansen a temp chart and have him tell me where in the world the graph was taken from? He couldn’t do it.

Michael Jankowski

“…Jacobson found that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations – discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago – cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air…”
Hmmm…seems as if their conclusions rest upon a correlation between local CO2 output and mortality. But if CO2 emissions are high, so generally are emissions of true pollutants. You have CO2 emissions from cars – with associated emissions of particulates, benzene, etc. you have CO2 emissions from coal fired power plants – with associated emissions of particulates, mercury, etc.
I’m curious as to how they accounted for this (especially considering their claim that warmer temps cause the concentrations of these to be higher).

Mark Wagner

I just have a hard time believing that a highly localized difference in CO2 concentration measured in ppm can create a measurable temperature difference.
Show me the data.

Nolo Contendere

Repeat after me “CO2 is not a pollutant”….

Manfred

if EPA ges through with their nonsense, increased poverty would kill a lot more americans. a stanford professor should know that.

tty

I wonder if he is aware that CO2 levels indoors are regularly much higher than outdoors? I suppose it is just a matter of time before California prohibits houses too.

Allan M

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem.
Oh no we don’t.
Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states.
That’s got to be lower than measurable. Models again.
“This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts,” he said.
Well, that’s what he was paid for. Make the system more complicated, more expensive, more bureaucratic, more controlling.

Gary

“Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem.”

When they start out with a false truism, why continue reading?

hell_is_like_newark

good lord these people are getting desperate. Next they will blame CO2 for male pattern baldness.

Curiousgeorge

Big metro areas have been known deathtraps for centuries – think various plagues, crime, wars, mountains of pollution of all kinds, etc., etc. CO2 domes are the least of a city dwellers worries.

mbabbitt

My first reflexive response was a sad one: I don’t trust scientists anymore. Let’s have someone replicate their results who are not in the “CO2 is bad” camp.

Scott Covert

It would be difficult to peer revue this study without application of severe head trauma.

This study suggests that automotive CO2 emissions and CO2 emissions from residential and commercial space and water heating equipment are of greater local consequence in cities than emissions from power generation facilities, with the possible exceptions of municipal power plants and co-generation facilities, since IOU power generation facilities would generally be located remotely from the cities. That should raise a few eyebrows!

David

Does the study look at the other side of the equation, the number of lives saved from a warmer city? The last I saw, more people died from cold than heat.

Jason Bair

Are they seriously implying that CO2 is the cause of these deaths and not any of the other REAL pollutants?
At what concentration does CO2 need to be to be poisonous to humans again?

Chris H

An interesting paper but purely computer modelling with myriad assumptions. Where are the actual measurements? Virtually every factor mentioned in this paper has been or can be measured from atmospheric pollutants to ER admission rates and cancer rates.
Carbon dioxide itself is effectively harmless to human beings at concentrations found in the atmosphere. Nitric and sulphur oxides and hydrocarbons are toxic. It’s not the CO2, it’s all the other pollutants that usually accompany it.
It seemed to be suggested that the CO2 bubbles affected ozone levels, they may be associated but I’m struggling to see chemically how CO2 can affect ozone levels.

Mike McMillan

… on the order of 50-100 deaths/yr … [CO2] increased the [population weighted] air temperature by about 0.0063 K …
Give somebody a grant and a computer with enough decimal places, and he thinks he’s a comedian. Well, dying is easy, comedy is hard.

John Galt

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem.

“The problem ain’t what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so that’s the problem.”
— Will Rogers

There may well be health impacts related to living in a city, but CO2 is not a significant driver. Ozone, particulate etc. have little to do with CO2, and are related to industrial output, not Co2. This is realy a bad science issue

Nat McQueen

“Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem. ”
Uh, no. Its only a problem in the realm of computer models. Despite the house of cards falling down around them, some still cling the the “concensus” mantra.

bryan

A better idea might be to regreen cities and urban areas by planting more faster growing trees, like the eastern Larch whish responds very well to increased CO2 levels and acts to Sink the Carbon. These trees could be turned into lumber for construction materials and then replanted to sink more domed CO2

Jim Masterson

They must be using E. O. Wilson’s model that claims climate change will cause 17,000-100,000 species to disappear every year.

Matt

Plant more trees in Urban areas, might help lower the temp and soak up that nasty CO2.
How many more people and businesses do you want to drive out of California?

cal

They seem to be calculating tiny changes due to CO2. I really can’t see the point they are making. Cities have higher temperatures more NOx Ozone etc, but this is little to do with CO2. Maybe I have missread the paper but it seems designed to make a headline rather than enhance our understanding. There is a good reason why AGW is assumed to be a non local effect. That reason is the fact that it is a tiny effect. If it has any impact it is because it effects the whole of the worlds surface. If one just looks at the column of air over a big city it must be negligible. Yes there are heat islands but there are numerous reasons for that (change of albedo, building airconditioning and heating etc). I do not understand how these things get published.

Dillon Allen

Tying everything to CO2/global warming/climate change is getting ridiculous. Yes CO2 is probably higher in urban areas…
1. more fuel (transpo, electric generation, heating) is being burned,
2. more people are exhaling,
3. fewer plants sucking it up.
I have to think #1 is the major contributor. But what about all of the other things that are spouting out of tail pipes and exhaust stacks? To say the CO2 is causing higher death rates seems ludicrous. How about more particulates, polyaromatic hydrocarbons from incomplete combustion, et cetera? Throw in additional stresses and generally less-healthy lifestyles in urban areas with the NON-CO2 pollutants and you might just have somthing causal to point towards that ISN’T CO2.
Maybe it’s just me, but I would not be at all surprised to find that stressed out people that don’t live very healthy lifestyles breathing in more junk sitting in traffic jams are probably gonna die more frequently than people that can sit on their porch, look out at their pristine back 40, breathe some fresh country air, and go to their “happy place” with relative ease.

David Corcoran

I grew up in Southern California. Back in the 60s and 70s, on smog days my lungs would burn. The air is amazingly clean now compared to then.
Is this the essence of environmentalism? Finding new things to scare people about? I guess with warming alarmism collapsing, new excuses for seizing more control over us all have to be played up.

philincalifornia

“This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts,” he said.
There you go. We Californians will stand up and fight for the right to pay people to regulate CO2, and we’ll do it even at the expense of teaching our children. Remember, we’re doing it for our …. errmmm …. children ?
http://www.insidebayarea.com/timesstar/localnews/ci_14680683?source=rss

Hal

Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states.
………………………………………
Jacobson establishes the death rate increase using “Equation 1”, which comes from his reference (23), a 2001 study by Thurston, G.D. & Ito K. Epidemiological studies of acute ozone exposures and mortality.
(no free access to that study, so no equation to look at).
CO2 dome => ozone => pre-mature death rate increase =>
“This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts,” he said.
Wow, lets get started on local CO2 control, before it’s too late.

Michael D Smith

I haven’t even read it yet and I can already think of 10 ways to drive a Mack Truck through it… Going to read now, here comes 20.

Jeremy

And, believe it or not, California has done a marginally-respectable job in cleaning up it’s own air while preserving the economy. The current downturn aside, the insane restrictions on auto-emissions in California have worked wonders at cleaning up the air in the Los Angeles basin, where ocean air flow butts up against tall mountains and prevents pollution from easily blowing east. In this time the California economy has had a steady stream of manufacturing jobs leave, however, it was not destroyed by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s this argument that should never have gotten lost in the fraud that CAGW is, the argument that local populations should be allowed to self-determine on what level of pollution is acceptable to them.

Hmmm … ‘domes of CO2’ … not well-mixed throughout the atmosphere after all …
.
.

Steve

I think the point they are going to try to twist this into is that even if the data on global warming isn’t really correct, we should still do cap-n-trade because the local effect of these CO2 domes is killing millions of innocent people. They are not going to give up on controlling people one way or another.

JN

Being that most of that urban CO2 comes from polluting sources isn’t more logical that the sources are causing both the increase CO2 and the increased pollution. Not increased carbon dioxide concentrations…cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants

DesertYote

Jacobson needs to return to flipping burgers along with everyone who gives credence to this yahoos ramblings.
This guy publishes a paper that just so happens to support a radical political agenda that he has been championing, and we are supposed accept it.

Steve (Paris)

“Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem”.
Like they are living on another planet or what?

What a load of total trot.

Curt

Hmmm…
A model of temperature response to local CO2 increases.
A model of pollutant response to local temperature response.
A model of health impact response to local temperature response.
Nothing could go wrong here, could it?
No context that this modeled temperature response is a trivial part of urban heating. No context that heating might ameliorate other health issues.

D. King

“He’s a “Big Picture” kind of thinker, focused on finding large scale, but practical, solutions to the problems of climate change. For example: a few months ago, Jacobson co-authored a cover-story in Scientific American sub-titled, “Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.””
http://tinyurl.com/yfqknub
Wow, he should move to Spain. They could use the help.

One teensy problem-as CO2 emissions have risen, air quality in our cities has improved.
http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrends.html
Go figure.

WasteYourOwnMoney

See it does make sense for the USA and GB to trash their economies and lower CO2 emissions even if India and China don’t!
Just moving the playing field folks!
Move along.
Nothing to see here.
We have always been at war with Eastasia!

From the article;
“The cap-and-trade proposal assumes there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates,” Jacobson said. “This study contradicts that assumption.”
I thought CO2 was supposed to be a very well mixed gas so how can this study contradict the stated assumption. Have I missed something?
tonyb

Peter

The alarmists are now starting to make more than enough rope with which to hang themselves.
The more of this type of unmitigated drivel they produce, the sooner the day that the public at large see this scam for what it is.

So what we need to do is put a huge tax on gasoline, dig up freeways and plant trees in there place, build subways and underground cities. If we could find the money it could create full employment. On the other hand, if CO2 is not the cause of the heat island, then it would be a huge waste of resources that would not save any lives.

Wow just wow….
They are “estimating” deaths for CO2 exposure?
This is insane. I expect the EPA will follow suit with an impact study estimating the number of deaths from dihydrogen monoxide vapor – with the understanding that not all dihydrogen monoxide is created equal.

David Schnare

The news story overstates the conclusions of the published paper. Keep in mind, this is another of those “correlation” studies. It isn’t physics-based, although the logic is mildly credible. Having examined the underlying health effect assumptions, remember, they are extreme estimates, not “most likely” estimates, so you are looking at the tail, not the best estimate of impacts.
All that notwithstanding, it is a means to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act, but under a much different scenario than that currently proposed. It would cause most cities to be viewed as “not in attainment”, and states would have to figure out how to reduce the CO2 levels in order to reach attainment.
This would still require EPA to begin with a National Ambient Air Quality Standard, but it would not be based on climate change “science”. Rather it would be based on traditional health impacts (seeking zero risk levels). The allowed CO2 levels would probably be less than historic (pre-industrial) CO2 levels.
If this moved forward on a traditional CAA track, it would require the elimination of automobiles (and buses and trucks) in cities, and when that was not enough, it would require closing major industrial facilities, or require CO2 capture (if that could be done in a cost-efficient manner).
None of this would happen on the current President’s watch (just takes too long, regardless of whether he gets one term or two). Lots could happen between now and then, including congressional action. In any case, for those of you subject to further fear mongering, you are now on watch to be more fearful.
Oh, I almost forgot. They will have to ban carbonated drinks too. And, they can have mine as long as they understand they will have to pry it out of my cold dead hand.
Cheers,
d.

Henry chance

“Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal,” said Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering. “As in real estate, location matters.”

I can have fun with this. Back when I studied medicine, we took delivery on a new bypass pump and did blood gasses outside the heart lung machine. Now the sensors are built in. As an engineer, I suspect Jacobsen has no clue regarding medicine
Several questions
1. Has he taken blood gas measurements in rural and urban people?
2 How do they compare?
3 Does Jacobsen know what CO2 concentration is in an exhaled breath?
4 Just a thought. Exercise is a factor relating to cardiovascular disease. How did he control for that?
Trivia. GE bought out the old OHIO brand anesthesia equipment. An anesthesia machine has several cannisters of gases including Nitrous Oxide, Oxygen, and used to have cyclopropane and CO2. I suspect an arm chair engineer has no clue why CO2 would be adminstered when a patient was under a general anesthetic.
Was the CO2 canister there to poison the patient?
It is crazy how they get on an alarmist tear and look ignorant when they get into a field they don’t understand and look stupid.

Current estimates of the annual air pollution-related death toll in the U.S. is 50-100,000.

Has Jacobsen read a single autopsy report and found “cause of death air pollution” I suspect that he pulled the 50,000 – 100,000 out of the air.
He is also acting a little ignorant in that he comingles his thinking about CO2 and other polution in general including aerosols. He thinks he is clever since people do often carry a general fear of dying. Obama says people without insurance are dying. Last time I checked, there wasn’t a reference on autopsy reports either that said lack of insurance was the cause of death or even if they had insurance. I am sure Obama’s white coats can look at people in the morgue and tell whether they had insurance.