Thursday, January 03, 2008

Stanford Report

The key to this report (as so many around the recent alarm about global warming) is that one study indicates little, and many more are needed to determine a trend, which this story, as are many recently, notes.

Climate change's effect on state air detailed
Stanford research estimates warming's role in California pollution levels.
By Chris Bowman -
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, January 3, 2008

Global warming is making breathing more hazardous for Californians than other Americans, says a pioneering Stanford University study scheduled for release today.

The research is the first to estimate the health effects of air pollution attributed solely to climate change – specifically the heat-trapping or "greenhouse" effect of carbon dioxide from tailpipes and smokestacks – experts said.

The findings contradict a Bush administration rationale for denying California the power to enforce its first-in-the-nation limits on cars, passenger trucks and SUVs, said Mark Jacobson, the Stanford atmospheric scientist who did the study.

"The study shows carbon dioxide is causing the health impacts, it quantifies those impacts and shows California has been impacted greater than other states," Jacobson said. "They should revisit their decision."

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials declined to respond Wednesday to Jacobson's comments or his study.

Bart Croes, research chief at the state Air Resources Board, said the Stanford study "refutes the flimsy (EPA) argument" that climate change does not affect California in any compelling or extraordinary way to warrant state limits on greenhouse gases….

The study is the first to isolate the warming effects of carbon dioxide, and the first to estimate the public health impact from those changes – data scientists need to advise regulators on how best to curtail greenhouse gases, said Michael Kleeman, a University of California, Davis, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

"It's a great study," Kleeman said, "but you would never use the results of just one study to determine the effects of carbon dioxide on air pollution and public health. You really need to look at multiple studies from multiple groups."

Daniel Jacob, an atmospheric chemist at Harvard University, said the simulations he and other modelers have performed on the effects of climate change on air quality have produced widely varying results.

Greater consistency and confidence in results will emerge, he said, as more researchers develop models, refine them and compare results. It's a years-long process.

"Eventually you'll get enough of these models on the effects of climate change on air pollution so you'll have a range that will be useful," Jacob said.