Over at Fast Company, Terry Tamminen notes the effects that tailpipes might have on human behavior in advance of COP15:
New research from Cairo shows that rats become more belligerent when exposed to gasoline fumes and tailpipe pollution. If the same thing happens to humans, that might explain why the guy in the Escalade was waving his Smith & Wesson on the freeway in L.A. the other night, but it may also highlight the co-benefits of a low-carbon economy. While all of us probably feel like trapped rats from time to time, a more relevant recent study, published in the British medical journal Lancet, reports that cutting carbon emissions could save human lives. For example, using cleaner cars in London, England (like those now mandated by California law) would save 160 total person-years of life per million residents every year. In Delhi, India, such a switch would save nearly 1,700 total person-years of life per million people each year, largely because of reduced lung disease, heat stress, and related heart problems. As the focus in Copenhagen next week turns towards how to pay for cutting the carbon, it may be useful to be honest about the real cost of business-as-usual. These health studies certainly show that we’re already paying for the cost of burning fossil fuels, but not all of those costs are included in the price at the pump or on the electric meter.