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Research News: Path to zero emissions starts out easy, but gets steep

Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities must approach zero within several decades to avoid risking grave damage from the effects of climate change. This will require creativity and innovation, because some types of industrial sources of atmospheric carbon lack affordable emissions-free substitutes, according to a new paper in Sciencefrom team of experts led by University of California Irvine's Steven Davis and Carnegie's Ken Caldeira.

In addition to heating, cooling, lighting, and powering individual vehicles -- subjects that are often the focus of the emissions discussion -- there are other major contributors to atmospheric carbon that are much more challenging to address. These tough nuts to crack include air travel; long-distance freight by truck, train, or ship; and the manufacture of steel and cement.

Posted: 2018-09-12
 

Research News: Large trucks are biggest culprits of near-road air pollution

For the 30 per cent of Canadians who live within 500 metres of a major roadway, a new study reveals that the type of vehicles rolling past their homes can matter more than total traffic volume in determining the amount of air pollution they breathe.

A two-year U of T Engineering study has revealed large trucks to be the greatest contributors to black carbon emissions close to major roadways. Professor Greg Evans hopes these results gets city planners and residents thinking more about the density of trucks, rather than the concentration of vehicle traffic, outside their homes, schools and daycares. The study was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Posted: 2018-09-12
 

Research News: Analyzing roadside dust to identify potential health concerns

Everyone knows that cars contribute to air pollution. And when most people consider the source, exhaust is usually what comes to mind.

However, new research led by the University of Pennsylvania's Reto Gieré, working with collaborators across the world, is helping to illuminate another significant culprit when it comes to traffic-related air pollution: Tiny bits of tires, brake pads, and road materials that become suspended in the air when vehicles pass over.

"More and more I've noticed that we don't know enough about what is on our roads," says Gieré, professor and chair of Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences. "If you have lots of traffic, cars, and trucks driving by, they re-suspend the dust on the roads into the atmosphere, and then it becomes breathable. To understand the potential health implications of these dust particles, it's really important to understand what's on the road."

Posted: 2018-09-12
 
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