I underwent surgery yesterday. All went well, but the anesthesia knocked me on my ass. Today was a day of recovering, with a mind that was ready to work, and a body that was completely unwilling. So, it was off to the internet to solve the world’s problems.
In 2005, surface ozone damaged enough of India’s crops to feed 94 million people. What makes this study interesting is that it provides an economic value to the damage done by pollution now ($1.29 Billion for India in in 2005), which is politically easier to deal with than looking to the future. This study points to a political demographic that is directly harmed by climate change, and gives a specific number to that harm.
That number is only about 0.002% of the GDP of India,* so it’s unreasonable to expect wholesale change based on this report, but a specific price-tag does make policy easier to develop. Simply put, can India develop regulations that will clean up the air for $1,29 Billion a year or less.?
I am optimistic that the answer is yes. I am also optimistic that the answer is not necessarily telling people what they can not have, but by improving what they do have.
There is only so far we can go with increasing the fuel efficiency of cars and power plants. Eventually, in a democracy, leaders will reach a point when they are too far ahead of the people we are leading. Fortunately, we are developing architectural elements that can improve the air we breathe.
At the Milan Expo in 2015, a canopy over the food court is set to (hopefully) produce as much oxygen as 4 hectares of trees, presumably sequestering carbon in the process. Meanwhile, microalge street lamps could, in theory, pull 100 tons of carbon a year out of the environment. Again, not much individually, but it is something that can be done by government in the process of building and rebuilding civic structures, especially if we can set a price at not doing so (in India, say $1.25 Billion a year).
*In 2005, the GDP of India was $834.2 Billion, so around 0.002% of the total economy,