To access the RAEL and International Centre for Climate Change and Development report: click here.
The direct URL is:
An Op Ed summarizing this report appeared in the Dhaka Daily Star: click here to access.
To access the RAEL and International Centre for Climate Change and Development report: click here.
The direct URL is:
An Op Ed summarizing this report appeared in the Dhaka Daily Star: click here to access.
Dr Saleemul Huq and Daniel Kammen
For a pdf of this article, access the RAEL publications page link: or just click here.
Last week, Bangladesh’s Power Development Board (PDB) and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) announced that they will form a committee to decide whether to build a large coal plant or solar farm in India for additional power import into Bangladesh. Going by the numbers—economic, job creation and environmental—there really should be no debate. The choice is solar.
The facility will be run by the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company, which was initially formed to build the controversial 1320MW coal-fired power plant near Rampal, Khulna. The fact that PDB and NTPC might seriously compare the costs and benefits of coal versus solar PV for the first time is good news for citizens of both countries.
Here are three undeniable reasons why solar farms are the superior choice to coal plants in both countries.
Renewable energy costs in India have fallen by 50 percent in two years, and are forecast to continue dropping apace. New wind and solar is now 20 percent cheaper than existing coal-fired generation’s average wholesale power price, and 65 percent of India’s coal power generation is being sold at higher rates than new renewable energy bids in competitive power auctions. Bangladesh would save money in the short– and long-term by developing its own solar resources as well as by importing solar-generated electricity from India, and using its existing gas-fired power plants at night to back up solar power.
Our international team of researchers at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and the University of California, Berkeley are about to publish groundbreaking maps of Bangladesh that indicate potential areas for solar and wind energy projects. After excluding all areas likely to be environmentally or socially unacceptable for such projects, we found that there is far more utility solar energy potential than previously estimated, at costs lower than new coal power.
In 2016, electricity demand in Bangladesh was 11.4GW, mostly coming from natural gas. The government of Bangladesh currently plans to develop 13.3GW of new thermal coal by 2021, and less than 2GW of solar farms. But Bangladesh could replace all 13.3GW of planned coal plants with solar farms at 20 percent lower costs than new coal plants.
Solar farms can be built much faster than coal plants, and battery storage isn’t needed as long as solar comprises less than 20 percent of the grid. Solar resources are free and deflationary, while coal is inflationary and subject to price hikes. Overall, solar PV is excellent financial news for electricity consumers and governments, and PV costs are expected to keep falling, in line with India’s experience.
Our study makes clear that solar farms can supply 13.3GW of energy without converting large areas of precious agricultural lands. Solar plants can now be designed with space between the panels to allow for fish ponds or crop production, preventing impacts on food security and farmers.
Choosing solar farms will avoid the widespread toxic contamination of air with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates that come from even the best coal plants, sparing tens of thousands of Indians and Bangladeshis from premature deaths, low birthweight babies, heart attacks, respiratory disease, and cancer. Mercury spewed from coal plants falls on rice fields and wetlands, concentrating in rice grains as well as fish, crustaceans and shellfish. Pregnant women eating these contaminated foods have babies with birth defects and permanent brain damage.
Solar farms also avoid coal ash waste dumps that pollute downstream ecosystems like the Sundarbans mangroves, which protect millions of people in both countries from floods, storm surges, and cyclones. The proposed coal plant at Rampal alone is predicted to cause an additional 6,000 premature deaths as far away as Dhaka and Kolkata; low birth weight of 24,000 babies; and spew 10 tonnes of mercury into the air or water, threatening Sundarbans and Bay of Bengal fisheries.
Burning coal is the largest source of greenhouse gas, warming the ocean and melting sea ice at the poles. Low-lying Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries on earth to the impacts of climate change. These effects on our climate cause deadly storms, floods, droughts, extreme heat waves, sea level rise, salinification, and desertification. Bangladesh has committed to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 pending international support; and a five percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the power, industry and transport sector by 2021. These global effects are important, but they pale in comparison to the local health impacts and the water costs alone.
Bangladesh and India can better meet their goals for sustainable electricity for all, sustainable development and climate justice by channelling investment into cheaper, well-planned solar farms than into coal-fired power plants.
For a pdf of this article, access the RAEL publications page link: or just click here.
Dr Saleemul Huq is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh. Professor Dan Kammen is Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California Berkeley, and until August 2017 served as Science Envoy for the US Secretary of State. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob Straus, class of UCB 2016 with an ERG Minor, has been selected as a semifinalist for a Fulbright research grant. If awarded the grant, he will travel to India to perform a survey of rural communities targeted by energy access initiatives, including national grid connection, community solar microgrids and small-scale hydro.
Jacob graduated with degrees in Environmental Policy and Comparative Literature. He worked to implement efficiency codes for the City of Berkeley as an AmeriCorps Fellow in 2016–17 before being hired by the city as an Energy Efficiency Specialist. He grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York and lives in Oakland.
El profesor Daniel Kammen ha ejercido durante dos décadas en un puesto no remunerado llamado Enviado Especial para la Ciencia del Departamento de Estado de EE UU. El pasado 23 de agosto comunicó su dimisión por carta al presidente Donald Trump. La carta tuvo cierto impacto porque, tomando la primera letra de cada uno de sus siete párrafos, se podía leer “IMPEACH” (destitución). Se trataba de un movimiento abruptamente político para un científico, autor de varios informes del Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático, que ganó el Premio Nobel y es uno de los mayores expertos de EE UU sobre energías renovables.
Kammen se sentó con EL PAÍS cerca de la Universidad de California en Berkeley, donde es profesor de energía y políticas públicas. El relato de sus razones viene a ser una descripción de lo que está ocurriendo en el Gobierno de Estados Unidos desde enero. Dice que hubo dos cosas que le hicieron perder definitivamente la fe en el presidente. “La posición de Trump de salir del Acuerdo de París fue importante para mí. Cometió un error. Tenía que haber escuchado a Rex Tillerson, que aconsejaba quedarse. El argumento de que habrá un acuerdo mejor no tiene sentido. El acuerdo fue redactado por EE UU. Es una decisión política”. Sin embargo, Kammen no dimitió inmediatamente. Su trabajo para el Departamento de Estado consiste en crear asociaciones para el desarrollo de energías limpias en el extranjero con tecnología norteamericana, y de alguna forma eso iba por otro lado.
“Entonces pasó lo de Charlottesville”, explica. Un grupo de neonazis se manifestó en esa ciudad en agosto y se desató la violencia. “Los comentarios de Trump no tenían sentido, legitimaba a los neonazis. Pero más allá de eso, muchos gobernantes han defendido que la democracia de EE UU no acaba en sus fronteras. La forma en la que tratas a los inmigrantes, a los musulmanes, los vetos migratorios…, las interacciones que tenemos en el extranjero se ven muy afectadas por cómo tratamos a los inmigrantes”.
El trabajo de Kammen se centraba sobre todo en fomentar las energías limpias en África. Decidió que no podía seguir en la Administración. “Puedes pensar que puedes quedarte y hacer un buen trabajo aunque no estés de acuerdo con el presidente. Yo no estaba de acuerdo con Bush, pero podía hacer mi trabajo sobre cambio climático. Pero Trump ha eliminado gran parte del Departamento de Estado. No hay plantilla. Hay un secretario de Estado y algunos asesores, pero no subsecretarios, ni secretarios adjuntos. De los cerca de 100 puestos designados, la mayoría están vacíos”. Para hacer algo, afirma, hay que hablar con Tillerson en persona. El Departamento de Estado es totalmente ineficiente. “Era el momento de irme”.
Si eres un político conservador del sur y ves los huracanes de este año, estás viendo una representación de lo que te advirtieron los científicos
Una semana después de que dimitiera, Tillerson canceló todos los puestos como el suyo de enviados especiales. “Creo que estamos teniendo una conversación sin tenerla. Embajadores con quienes he trabajado me han dicho que he hecho lo correcto. El primer día recibí como 25.000 e-mails, el 80% positivos. De los negativos, si quitas los insultos, lo más común es que dijeran ‘un liberal menos cobrando del Gobierno’. Es de risa, porque el puesto no era remunerado”.
Kammen explica el acróstico de su carta de dimisión apelando a una razón muy concreta: “Yo no tenía un cargo electo, no soy senador ni congresista, y mi definición de qué es cometer un delito contra el país es distinta a la suya. Creo que si el presidente está poniendo sus intereses por delante del país, debería ser destituido. Y creo que Trump ha cruzado esa línea ampliamente. Si se ponen los intereses de un ciudadano por delante de los del Estado, aunque éste sea muy rico, debería ser destituido. Sin más. Incluso si eres de derechas, si eres un aislacionista, debes poner el interés nacional, tu definición de lo que esto es, por delante”.
“Hay una frase de Eisenhower muy importante”, continúa Kammen: “La gente que otorga más valor a sus privilegios que a sus principios acaba perdiendo ambos”. Kammen la incluyó en su carta. Curiosamente, el propio Trump la tuiteó hace años. “Creo que todo parece apuntar en contra del impeachment”, reconoce, “pero deberíamos movernos hacia eso”.
Estamos tomando un té orgánico en Berkeley rodeados de estudiantes. Este campus es el epítome de la burbuja progresista, cuyas críticas le resbalan al presidente y a sus seguidores. “Puede que esto sea una burbuja. Pero paso la mitad del año fuera del país. No hay burbuja progresista en los arrabales de Nairobi, o en Johannesburgo, o en los sitios donde hago mis proyectos. Me siento con empresarios norteamericanos, embajadores, cámaras de comercio, y ellos suelen pertenecer a grupos muy conservadores”.
Abandonar el Acuerdo de París porque habrá otro mejor no tiene sentido. Ese fue redactado por EE UU. Salirse fue una decisión política
En cuanto a las políticas de cambio climático, es tarde para que Trump pueda oponerse, explica. “Todos los países lo han asumido. El Gobernador de California, Jerry Brown; el presidente Macron, la canciller Merkel…, ellos son los líderes ahora mismo. Trump se ha quedado al margen y lo que hace daña a un solo grupo: a las empresas de EE UU. Es el único grupo que está sufriendo. A los chinos les encanta. China ha invertido 360.000 millones en proyectos de energía limpia. Los europeos, encantados. México y Argentina han incrementado su producción de energía limpia. Pero las empresas de EE UU que podían haber sido líderes en este campo y podían haber vendido más en el extranjero no lo van a hacer”.
Kammen ha renunciado a convencer a esta Administración de la necesidad de combatir el cambio climático. Ignoran los datos porque quieren, afirma. Pero este año el país ha visto un número notable de desastres naturales, y quizá eso acabe ayudando a provocar un vuelco en la opinión pública. “Es triste que sea así, pero creo que si eres un político conservador del sur y ves los efectos de Harvey, Irma y María, estás viendo una representación muy concreta de lo que la mayoría de los científicos te advertían”, afirma Kammen. “Esto es exactamente lo que esperábamos. Puedes creernos o no, pero no hay teorías alternativas. Todos pagamos el coste de la inacción. Todos contratamos seguros médicos para que nos cubran ante cosas que son mucho menos probables que el cambio climático. Porque esos seguros no son para una revisión, sino por si pasa algo extremo. Y esto es lo que estamos viendo. Necesitamos ese seguro”.
For the original article link, click here.
Sergio Castellanos, alongside a team of researchers from UC Berkeley, in partnership with the Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC), and Waze, took home the grand prize at the Data for Climate Action (D4CA) challenge at an event during COP23, a United Nations climate change conference held in Bonn, Germany. The challenge, launched earlier this year by United Nation’s Global Pulse, and Western Digital, is an unprecedented open-innovation competition to harness data science and big data to accelerate climate solutions.
Sergio Castellanos, director of the Berkeley/Mexico Energy & Climate Initiative,along with the UC Berkeley team formed by Prof. Dan Kammen, Apollo Jain, Pedro Sánchez, Alan Xu, Hector Rincón, and Alex Gao, and the INECC team formed by Claudia Octaviano, Fabiola Ramirez, Oscar Araiza, Itzchel Nieto, Adolfo Contreras, and Ulises Ruiz, developed the prize winning entrywith their work on “Electro-mobility: Cleaning Mexico City’s Air with Transformational Climate Policies”.
The project, as summarized by Dr. Claudia Octaviano, “looked at how we can use Waze data from Google, which shows the mobility patterns of people using their cellphones to try to optimize their routes, to build a picture of where congestion is occurring in Mexico City– and where that congestion is causing pollution. Once we had a picture of this congestion, we then carried out modeling analysis to understand different climate change policies related to electric mobility, i.e. electric cars.”
The project endeavors to plan a clean energy infrastructure for Mexico City, one of the most congested cities in the world. The project, and the D4CA challenge more generally, represent what’s possible when public and private sector organizations partner for social good; an aim perfectly in sync with BECI’s mission statement.
SCIENTIST EU FOREST BIOMASS SIGN-ON LETTER
To Members of the European Parliament,
As the European Parliament commendably moves to expand the renewable energy directive, we strongly urge members of Parliament to amend the present directive to avoid expansive harm to the world’s forests and the acceleration of climate change. The flaw in the directive lies in provisions that would let countries, power plants and factories claim credit toward renewable energy targets for deliberately cutting down trees to burn them for energy. The solution should be to restrict the forest biomass eligible under the directive to residues and wastes.
For decades, European producers of paper and timber products have generated electricity and heat as beneficial by-products using wood wastes and limited forest residues. Since most of these waste materials would decompose and release carbon dioxide within a few years, using them to displace fossil fuels can reduce net carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere in a few years as well. By contrast, cutting down trees for bioenergy releases carbon that would otherwise stay locked up in forests, and diverting wood otherwise used for wood products will cause more cutting elsewhere to replace them.
Even if forests are allowed to regrow, using wood deliberately harvested for burning will increase carbon in the atmosphere and warming for decades to centuries – as many studies have shown – even when wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas. The reasons are fundamental and occur regardless of whether forest management is “sustainable.” Burning wood is inefficient and therefore emits far more carbon than burning fossil fuels for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced. Harvesting wood also properly leaves some biomass behind to protect soils, such as roots and small branches, which decompose and emit carbon. The result is a large “carbon debt.” Re-growing trees and displacement of fossil fuels may eventually pay off this “carbon debt’ but only over long periods. Overall, allowing the harvest and burning of wood under the directive will transform large reductions otherwise achieved through solar and wind into large increases in carbon in the atmosphere by 2050.
Time matters. Placing an additional carbon load in the atmosphere for decades means permanent damages due to more rapid melting of permafrost and glaciers, and more packing of heat and acidity into the world’s oceans. At a critical moment when countries need to be “buying time” against climate change, this approach amounts to “selling” the world’s limited time to combat climate change.
The adverse implications not just for carbon but for global forests and biodiversity are also large. More than 100% of Europe’s annual harvest of wood would be needed to supply just one third of the expanded renewable energy directive. Because demand for wood and paper will remain, the result will be increased degradation of forests around the world. The example Europe would set for other countries would be even more dangerous. Europe has been properly encouraging countries such as Indonesia and Brazil to protect their forests, but the message of this directive is “cut your forests so long as someone burns them for energy.” Once countries invest in such efforts, fixing the error may become impossible. If the world moves to supply just an additional 3% of global energy with wood, it must double its commercial cuttings of the world’s forests.
By 1850, the use of wood for bioenergy helped drive the near deforestation of western Europe even when Europeans consumed far less energy than they do today. Although coal helped to save the forests of Europe, the solution to replacing coal is not to go back to burning forests, but instead to replace fossil fuels with low carbon sources, such as solar and wind. We urge European legislators to amend the present directive to restrict eligible forest biomass to appropriately defined residues and wastes because the fate of much of the world’s forests and the climate are literally at stake.
John Beddington, Professor, Oxford Martin School, former Chief Scientist to the government of the United Kingdom
Steven Berry, Professor, Yale University, former Chairman, Department of Economics, fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences, winner of the Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society.
Ken Caldeira – Professor, Stanford University and Carnegie Institution for Science, Coordinating lead author or lead author of multiple IPCC reports.
Wolfgang Cramer, Research Director, CNRS, Mediterranean Institute of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology, Aix-en-Provence, member Académie d’Agriculture de France France, Coordinating lead author and lead author of multiple IPCC reports,
Felix Creutzig, Chair Sustainability Economics of Human Settlement at Technische Universität Berlin, Leader, leader Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Lead author of IPCC V Assessment Report and coordinator of appendix on bioenergy.
Phil Duffy, President, Woods Hole Research Center, former Senior Advisor White Office of Science and Technology Policy, Contributing author of multiple IPCC reports
Dan Kammen – Professor University of California at Berkeley, Director Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, Coordinating lead author or lead author of multiple IPCC reports.
Eric Lambin – Professor Université catholique de Louvain and Stanford University, member European and U.S. Academies of Science, 2014 laureate of Volvo Environment Prize
Simon Levin – Professor Princeton University, Recipient, U.S. National Medal of Science, member U.S. National Academy of Sciences
Wolfgang Lucht – Professor Humboldt University and Co-Chair of Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, lead author of multiple IPCC reports
Georgina Mace FRS, Professor, University College London, Lead author IPCC report and Winner International Cosmos Prize
William Moomaw – Emeritus Professor, Tufts University, Coordinating lead author or lead author of multiple IPCC reports
Peter Raven – Director Emeritus Missouri Botanical Society, Recipient U.S. National Medal of Science and former President of American Association for Advancement of Science
Tim Searchinger — Research Scholar, Princeton University and Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute
Nils Chr. Stenseth, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Oslo, Past president of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, member Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, The National Academy of Science (Washington), French Academy of Sciences, and Academia Europaea
Jean Pascal van Ypersele, Professor, Université catholique de Louvain, Former IPCC Vice-chair (2008–2015), member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, lead author or review editor of multiple IPCC reports
Pontifican Academy of Sciences: Meeting declaration.
Published online: 14 November 2017 | doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1217-28
For more on this project, see our real.berkeley.edu twitter feed:
Mariette DiChristina and Bernard S. Meyerson
What if drinking water could be drawn from desert air easily, without requiring enormous amounts of electricity from a grid? What if a doctor could do a biopsy for a suspected cancer without a blade of any sort? What if we didn’t have to wait too long for the result? Technologies that make these visions a reality are expected to become increasingly commonplace in the next few years. This special report, compiled and produced in a collaboration between Scientific American and the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, highlights 10 such emerging technologies.
To choose the entrants in this year’s emerging technologies report, we convened a steering group of world-renowned technology experts. The committee made recommendations and elicited suggestions from members of the Forum’s Expert Network and Global Future Councils, Scientific American’s board of advisers and others who are tuned in to burgeoning research and development in academia, business and government. Then the group whittled down the choices by focusing on technologies that were not yet widespread but were attracting increased funding or showing other signs of being ready to move to the next level. The technologies also had to offer significant benefits to societies and economies and to have the power to alter established ways of doing things. —Mariette DiChristina and Bernard S. Meyerson
Instead of “greening” individual houses, entire blocks of homes are retrofit into a single efficient unit
By Daniel M. Kammen
In the past decade the construction and retrofitting of individual homes to reduce energy and water use has grown explosively. Yet applying green construction to multiple buildings at once may be an even better idea. Sharing resources and infrastructure could reduce waste, and retrofitting impoverished or moderate-income neighborhoods could also bring cost savings and modern technology to people who would typically lack such opportunities. Working at the neighborhood level does add complexity to planning, but these neighborhood efforts offer rewards that even green single-family homes cannot offer.
One such example is the Oakland EcoBlock project, which I lead at the University of California, Berkeley, with my colleague Harrison Fraker, a professor of architecture and urban design. It is a multidisciplinary endeavor involving urban designers, engineers, social scientists and policy experts from city, state and federal governments, academia, private industry, nonprofits and grassroots organizations. For more on our projects, click here. Or look at the RAEL group twitter feed: @dan_kammen
The program, which has been planned in great detail but has not yet begun construction, will retrofit 30 to 40 contiguous old homes in a lower– to middle-income neighborhood near California’s famous Golden Gate Bridge. It aims to apply existing technology to dramatically reduce fossil-fuel and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We expect to rapidly recoup the money spent on infrastructure with savings from operating expenses while ensuring residents’ long-term comfort and security.
To bring in renewable power, we will install solar panels on buildings throughout the area and send the energy to a smart microgrid. Excess solar energy will be stored via flywheels housed in a communal building. The residents will also share electric cars, which will have access to more than two dozen local charging stations. These measures should reduce annual electricity consumption by more than half and bring carbon emissions to zero—a valuable feat, considering that more than a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions emanate from residences.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as much as 50 percent of California’s home water consumption goes to lawns and gardens. We will treat and reuse wastewater from toilets as well as gray water sent down drains and released by washing machines. The recycled fluid will go toward gardening and irrigation. We will collect rainwater and deliver it to toilets and washers and install efficient fixtures and taps. Treated solid wastes, meanwhile, will be incorporated into compost. Our estimates suggest that the EcoBlock’s system-level redesign will cut demand for potable water by up to 70 percent.
The Oakland EcoBlock project will provide local construction jobs and help revitalize a community. If it is as successful as we predict, it could serve as a model of sustainability that can be replicated elsewhere in the U.S. and beyond. To date, we have received inquiries from Europe, North Africa and Asia, confirming widespread interest in targeting and redesigning whole communities, not just individual homes.
For a direct link to the article, click here.
This declaration is based on the data and concepts presented at the workshop:
Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.
O God of the poor,
Help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, So, precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives,
That we may protect the world and not prey on it,
That we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Pope Francis, Laudato si’
Statement of the Problem
With unchecked climate change and air pollution, the very fabric of life on Earth, including that of humans, is at grave risk. We propose scalable solutions to avoid such cat– astrophic changes. There is less than a decade to put these solutions in place to preserve our quality of life for genera– tions to come. The time to act is now.
We human beings are creating a new and dangerous phase of Earth’s history that has been termed the Anthro– pocene. The term refers to the immense e ects of human activity on all aspects of the Earth’s physical systems and on life on the planet. We are dangerously warming the planet, leaving behind the climate in which civilization developed. With accelerating climate change, we put ourselves at grave risk of massive crop failures, new and re-emerging infectious diseases, heat extremes, droughts, mega-storms, oods and sharply rising sea levels. The economic activities that contribute to global warming are also wreaking other profound damages, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and massive land degrada– tion, causing a rate of species extinction unprecedented for the past 65 million years, and a dire threat to human health through increases in heart disease, stroke, pulmo– nary disease, mental health, infections and cancer. Climate change threatens to exacerbate the current unprecedent– ed ow of displacement of people and add to human mis– ery by stoking violence and con ict.
The poorest of the planet, who are still relying on 19th century technologies to meet basic needs such as cooking and heating, are bearing a heavy brunt of the damages caused by the economic activities of the rich. The rich too are bearing heavy costs of increased ooding, mega-storms, heat extremes, droughts and major forest fres. Climate change and air pollution strike down the rich and poor alike.
Supporting data are summarized in the attached background section. Climate change and air pollution are closely interlinked because emissions of air pollutants and climate-altering greenhouse gases and other pollutants arise largely from humanity’s use of fossil fuels and bio– mass fuels, with additional contributions from agriculture and land-use change. This interlinkage multiplies the costs arising from our current dangerous trajectory, yet it can also amplify the benefits of a rapid transition to sustainable energy and land use. An integrated plan to drastically reduce climate change and air pollution is essential.
We have already emitted enough pollutants to warm the climate to dangerous levels (warming by 1.5°C or more). The warming as well as the droughts caused by climate change, combined with the unsustainable use of aquifers and surface water, pose grave threats to availability of fresh water and food security. By moving rapidly to a zero-car– bon energy system – replacing coal, oil and gas with wind, solar, geothermal and other zero-carbon energy sources, drastically reducing emissions of all other climate altering pollutants and by adopting sustainable land use practices, humanity can prevent catastrophic climate change, while cutting the huge disease burden caused by air pollution and climate change.
We declare that governments and other stakeholders should urgently undertake the scalable and practical solu– tions listed below:
1. Health must be central to policies that stabilize climate change below dangerous levels, drive ze– ro-carbon as well as zero-air pollution and prevent ecosystem disruptions.
2. All nations should implement with urgency the glob– al commitments made in Agenda 2030 (including the Sustainable Development Goals) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
3. Decarbonize the energy system as early as possible and no later than mid-century, shifting from coal, oil and gas to wind, solar, geothermal and other ze– ro-carbon energy sources;
4. The rich not only expeditiously shift to safe energy and land use practices, but also provide nancing to the poor for the costs of adapting to climate change;
5. Rapidly reduce hazardous air pollutants, including the short-lived climate pollutants methane, ozone, black carbon, and hydro uorocarbons;
6. End deforestation and degradation and restore de– graded lands to protect biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions and to absorb atmospheric carbon into natural sinks;
7. In order to accelerate decarbonization there should be e ective carbon pricing informed by estimates of the social cost of carbon, including the health ef– fects of air pollution;
8. Promote research and development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmos– phere for deployment if necessary;
9. Forge collaboration between health and climate scienc– es to create a powerful alliance for sustainability;
10. Promote behavioral changes bene cial for human health and protective of the environment such as increased consumption of plant-based diets;
11. Educate and empower the young to become the leaders of sustainable development;
12. Promote an alliance with society that brings togeth– er scientists, policy makers, healthcare providers, faith/spiritual leaders, communities and founda– tions to foster the societal transformation necessary to achieve our goals in the spirit of Pope Francis’s en– cyclical Laudato Si’.
To implement these 12 solutions, we call on health professionals to: engage, educate and advocate for cli– mate mitigation and undertake preventive public health actions vis-à-vis air pollution and climate change; inform the public of the high health risks of air pollution and cli– mate change. The health sector should assume its obliga– tion in shaping a healthy future. We call for a substantial improvement in energy e ciency; and electri cation of the global vehicle eet and all other downstream uses of fossil fuels. Ensure clean energy bene ts also protect so– ciety’s most vulnerable communities. There are numerous living laboratories including tens of cities, many universi– ties, Chile, California and Sweden, who have embarked on a pathway to cut both air pollution and climate change. These thriving models have already created 8 million jobs in a low carbon economy, enhanced the wellbeing of their citizens and shown that such measures can both sustain
economic growth and deliver tangible health bene ts for their citizens.
We especially thank the global leaders who spoke at the workshop: Honorable Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Honorable Governor Alberto Rodríguez Saá, the Governor of San Luis, Argentina, Honorable Dr. Marcelo Mena, Argentine Minister of Environment of Chile, Honorable Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore of California Senate, and Honorable Scott Peters of the US house of representatives.
We also thank the contributions of the faith leaders: Rev Leith Anderson, President of the National Association for Evangelicals, USA; Rev Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, UK; Rev Mitch Hescox, CEO of Evangelical Environmental Net– work, USA. We thank Dr. Jeremy Farrar, CEO of the Wellcome Trust for his contributions as a speaker and for thoughtful ed– its of the document.
We acknowledge the major contributions to the drafting of the declaration by Drs: Maria Neira (WHO), Andy Haines (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Jos Lelieveld (Max Planck Inst of Chemistry, Mainz). For a list of speakers and panelists at the symposium, please see the agenda of the meeting attached at the end of this document.
We are thankful to the sponsors of the workshop: Maria Neira of WHO; Drs Bess Marcus and Michael Pratt of Institute of Public Health at the University of California at San Diego; Drs Erminia Guarneri and Rauni King of the Miraglo Foundation.
End of Declaration