(Press-News.org) For more than 30 years, scientists on the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have focused on human-induced climate change. Their fifth assessment report led to the Paris Agreement in 2015 and, shortly after, a special report on the danger of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Nobel Prize-winning team stressed that mitigating global warming "would make it markedly easier to achieve many aspects of sustainable development, with greater potential to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities."
In a first-of-its-kind study that combines assessments of the risks of toxic emissions (e.g., fine particulate matter), nontoxic emissions (e.g., greenhouse gases) and people's vulnerability to them, University of Notre Dame postdoctoral research associate Drew (Richard) Marcantonio, doctoral student Sean Field (anthropology), Associate Professor of Political Science Debra Javeline and Princeton's Agustin Fuentes (formerly of Notre Dame) found a strong and statistically significant relationship between the spatial distribution of global climate risk and toxic pollution. In other words, countries that are most at risk of the impacts of climate change are most often also the countries facing the highest risks of toxic pollution.
They also measured other variables, including the correlation of the spatial distribution of toxic environments, total mortality due to pollution and climate risk, and they found a strong interconnection. They write in their in their forthcoming PLOS paper, "Global distribution and coincidence of pollution, climate impacts, and health risk in the Anthropocene": "Deaths resulting from toxic pollution are highest where the distribution of toxic pollution is greatest and, critically, also where the impacts of climate change pose the greatest risk."
"It is not surprising to find that these risks are highly correlated, but this article provides the data and analysis to inform policy, data and analysis that were previously lacking," Javeline said.
To complete the study, Javeline, Marcantonio, Field and Fuentes used data from three indexes. ND-GAIN is an index of 182 countries that summarizes a country's vulnerability and exposure to climate impacts risks and its readiness to improve climate resilience. EPI ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. Lastly, GAHP estimates the number of toxic pollution deaths for a country, including deaths caused by exposure to toxic air, water, soil and chemical pollution globally.
In order to make their results the most advantageous for policymakers, the authors created what they call "Target," a measure that combines a country's climate impacts risk, toxic pollution risk and its potential readiness to mitigate these risks. Based on these criteria, the top 10 countries they recommend concentrating on are Singapore, Rwanda, China, India, Solomon Islands, Bhutan, Botswana, Georgia, the Republic of Korea and Thailand. Among those countries appearing at the bottom of the list are Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Central African Republic and Venezuela. These nations are most likely to have outstanding governance issues that currently stand in the way of effectively addressing pollution.
"Notably, our results find that the top one-third of countries at risk of toxic pollution and climate impacts represent more than two-thirds of the world's population, highlighting the magnitude of the problem and unequal distribution of environmental risk. Given that a large portion of the world's population lives in countries at higher toxic pollution and climate impacts risk, understanding where and how to target in pollution risk mitigation is critical to maximizing reductions of potential human harm," they write.
The authors also note that by mitigating toxic pollution in large countries with high populations such as China and India, neighboring countries will also benefit. China's Air Pollution and Prevention and Control Action Plan of 2013, which specifically targets toxic emissions, is producing impressive results. Researchers have found a 40 percent reduction in toxic emissions since the plan was enacted.
"The idea of Target is to highlight where action can be taken to reduce risk to human health and flourishing, but how that targeting is done -- e.g., incentives vs. sanctions -- requires moral reflection to determine what actions should be taken and who should take them. This is especially true given the general inverse relationship between who is most responsible for producing these risks versus who is most at risk," Marcantonio said.
During the 2021-22 academic year, the University, through its annual Notre Dame Forum, will engage in a series of conversations devoted to the theme "Care for Our Common Home: Just Transition to a Sustainable Future." Inspired by Laudato Si' and Pope Francis' continued emphasis on these issues, the forum will feature a wide range of discussions and events over the coming year. Since its establishment in 2005, the Notre Dame Forum has featured major talks by leading authorities on issues of importance to the University, the nation and the larger world, including the challenges and opportunities of globalization, the role of presidential debates, immigration and the place of faith in a pluralistic society.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Exoskeletons - wearable devices used by workers on assembly lines or in warehouses to alleviate stress on their lower backs - may compete with valuable resources in the brain while people work, canceling out the physical benefits of wearing them, a new study suggests.
The study, published recently in the journal Applied Ergonomics, found that when people wore exoskeletons while performing tasks that required them to think about their actions, their brains worked overtime and their bodies competed with the exoskeletons rather than working in harmony with them. The study indicates that exoskeletons may place enough burden on the brain that potential benefits to the body are negated.
"It's almost like dancing with a really bad partner," said ...
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A new approach to treating breast cancer kills 95-100% of cancer cells in mouse models of human estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers and their metastases in bone, brain, liver and lungs. The newly developed drug, called ErSO, quickly shrinks even large tumors to undetectable levels.
Led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the research team reports the findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"Even when a few breast cancer cells do survive, enabling tumors to regrow over several months, the tumors that regrow remain completely ...
Unlike the rest of the body, there is not enough real estate in the brain for stored energy. Instead, the brain relies on the hundreds of miles of blood vessels within it to supply fresh energy via the blood. Yet, how the brain expresses a need for more energy during increased activity and then directs its blood supply to specific hot spots was, until now, poorly understood.
Now, University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Vermont researchers have shown how the brain communicates to blood vessels when in need of energy, and how these blood vessels respond by relaxing or constricting to direct blood flow to specific brain regions.
In their new paper, published on July 21 in Science Advances, ...
Every year, Santa Ana Winds drive some of the largest wildfires in Southern California during autumn and winter, and a new analysis of 71 years of data suggests that the total amount of land burned is determined more by wind speed and power line ignitions than by temperature and precipitation. The findings suggest that maintaining utility lines and carefully planning urban growth to reduce powerline ignitions may help to reduce future losses from Santa Ana-driven autumn and winter fires, which occur far less frequently than summer fires but account for the largest blazes annually. While California's summer fires are typically driven by an abundance of fuels such as dry twigs and logs, and are often ignited by lightning in remote areas, the state's autumn and winter fires are typically ...
To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have - searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo - in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment.
Algorithm outperforms professional pilots
The best human drone pilots are very good at doing this and have so far always outperformed autonomous systems in drone racing. Now, a research group at the University of Zurich (UZH) has created an algorithm that can find the quickest ...
Commonly accepted advice to keep a straight back and squat while lifting in order to avoid back pain has been challenged by new Curtin University research.
The research examined people who had regularly performed manual lifting through their occupation for more than five years and found those who experienced low back pain as a result were more likely to use the recommended technique of squatting and keeping a straight back, while those without back pain tended not to adhere to the recommended lifting advice.
Lead researcher PhD candidate Nic Saraceni from the Curtin School of Allied Health said the study required participants to each perform 100 lifts using two differently weighted boxes, with researchers ...
Every brain function, from standing up to deciding what to have for dinner, involves neurons interacting. Studies focused on neuronal interactions extend across domains in neuroscience, primarily using the approaches of spike count correlation or dimensionality reduction. Pioneering research from Carnegie Mellon University has identified a way to bridge these approaches, resulting in a richer understanding of neuronal activity.
Neurons use electrical and chemical signals to relay information throughout the body, and we each have billions of them. Understanding how neurons interact with each other is important, ...
Imagine opening up a book of nature photos only to see a kaleidoscope of graceful butterflies flutter out from the page.
Such fanciful storybooks might soon be possible thanks to the work of a team of designers and engineers at CU Boulder's ATLAS Institute. The group is drawing from new advancements in the field of soft robotics to develop shape-changing objects that are paper-thin, fast-moving and almost completely silent.
The researchers' early creations, which they've dubbed "Electriflow," include origami cranes that can bend their necks, flower petals ...
Alexandria, Va., USA - IADR President Pamela Den Besten presented and chaired the IADR President's Symposium "Enamel Defects as Biomarkers for Exposure to Environmental Stressors" at the virtual 99th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the 45th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), on July 21-24, 2021.
Enamel pathologies may result from mutations of genes involved in amelogenesis, or from specific environmental ...
Alexandria, Va., USA - Muthuthanthrige Cooray, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, presented the oral session "Oral and General Health Associations Using Machine Learning Prediction Algorithms" at the virtual 99th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the 45th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), on July 21-24, 2021.
General health and oral health are conventionally treated as separate entities within the healthcare delivery, however most general health and oral health problems share common ...