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Assessing the environment and health benefits of reducing GHG--related emissions in Canada: a discussion *.

In Canada, the public and policy discourse on the costs of climate change has focused predominantly upon the costs of mitigation actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and most recently in the context of the costs of meeting the targets outlined in the Kyoto Protocol. In the climate science and policy literature, however, the issue is much broader and includes the costs associated with climate change impacts (otherwise known as the costs of inaction) in addition to the co-benefits for environment and health that could occur with reductions in greenhouse gas-related emissions. Emissions of air pollutants also contribute to a suite of atmospheric issues, including stratospheric ozone depletion, acid deposition, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, and hazardous airborne pollutants. This paper draws upon the report The Relative Magnitude of the Impacts and Effects of Greenhouse Gas--Related Emission Reductions that was prepared for Environment Canada, and outlines the relative importance of co-benefits for environment and health in Canada's climate change national implementation strategy. While the issue of co-benefits may be an important message that should be communicated to Canadians, in terms of generating public support for emission abatement measures, it is also inherently regional in its dimensions. A conceptual model is presented, which situates the benefits for human health from reductions in criteria air contaminants (CAC's) within a broader set of benefits for ecosystems, environment and social welfare. The paper concludes by emphasizing the need for regional scale analysis, and outlines a pathway forward, which invites interdisciplinary analyses that addresses human health issues in a broader conceptual context.

Au Canada, le discours public et politique concernant les couts du changement climatique a mis l'accent surtout sur les couts des actions d'attenuation afin de reduire les emissions de gaz a effet de serre, et plus recemment le debat a ete entrepri dans le contexte des couts necessaires pour atteindre les objectifs donnes par le Protocole de Kyoto. Toutefois, dans la litterature traitant de la science et de la politique par rapport au climat, l'enjeu est defini de facon plus large et comprend les couts associes avec les impacts de changement climatique (appele aussi les couts de l'inaction) en plus des co-benefices pour l'environnement et la sante qui pourraient venir avec des reductions dans les emissions de ces gaz a effet de serre. Les emissions de pollutants contribuent aussi a toute une serie de problemes atmospheriques, y compris la depletion de l'ozone dans la stratosphere, la deposition de l'acide, l'ozone au niveau de la terre, de la matiere de particules, et des polluants dangereux transmis dans l'air. Dans cet article, nous utilisons des informations tirees du rapport The Relative Magnitude of the Impacts and Effects of Greenhouse Gas--Related Emission Reductions prepare pour Environnement Canada; nous mettons en evidence l'importance relative des co-benefices pour l'environnement et pour la sante dans la mise a execution de la strategie nationale canadienne par rapport au changement climatique. Bien que la question des co-benefices peut etre un message important qui devrait etre transmis aux canadiens en termes de la mobilisation de l'appui public pour des mesures d'attenuation des emissions, elle presente egalement des dimensions regionales. Nous presentons un modele conceptuel, qui place les benefices pour la sante humaine provenant de reductions dans les contaminants aeriens critiques dans le contexte d'un plus large ensemble de benefices pour les ecosystemes, l'environnement et le bien-etre social. En conclusion, nous soulignons le besoin d'analyses a l'echelle regionale, et nous proposons une solution qui interpelle des analyses interdisciplinaires portant sur les questions de sante humaine dans un contexte conceptuel plus large.


There is broad scientific consensus that greenhouse gases (e.g. Carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]), Methane (C[H.sub.4]), Nitrous Oxide ([N.sub.2]O), and Halocarbons (HCFCs, PFCs and S[F.sub.6])) generated by anthropogenic activities are reaching levels of atmospheric concentration which are having a measurable effect on the global climate. According to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" (Albritton et al 2001: 10). This concern has led to an international response to the issue, initially with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, followed by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Developing an effective emission abatement response to climate change represents an enormous policy challenge to most signatories of the Kyoto Protocol, and Canada is no exception. Under the Protocol, Canada is committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. However, by 2002 Canada's emissions were already 19.6% higher compared to 1990 (Government of Canada 2002). Subsequently, scenarios of emission trends project a gap of 240 Mt between the Business As Usual and the Kyoto Protocol target, thereby requiring a reversal in emissions of almost 30% by 2010 if Canada is to meet its reduction commitment.

At their December 11-12, 1997 meeting, Canada's First Ministers discussed the Kyoto Protocol and agreed that the development of an effective national implementation strategy required a thorough understanding of the impact, the cost and the benefits of the Protocol's implementation and of the various implementation options open to Canada (Barclay 1998). By early 1998, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of energy and environment approved a process to engage governments and stakeholders in examining the impacts, costs and benefits of implementing the Kyoto Protocol. This process has involved a multi-faceted approach, including the creation of 16 Issue Tables comprised of numerous stakeholders and experts, and the allocation of $300 million over six years (1998-2004) through a Climate Change Action Fund towards various research, education and outreach projects. Central to this process has been the Analysis and Modelling Group (AMG), whose mandate was to provide the data, analytical and modelling needs in developing a national [climate change] implementation strategy. Designed to work with the other 15 Issue Tables, they were given the task of assessing the costs of mitigation actions, and through the Environment and Health Impacts (EHI) subgroup, appraise the full welfare implication of abatement measures (AMG 2000; EHI 2000).

However, the public discourse regarding the costs associated with climate change has focused almost exclusively upon the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol and reducing the rate of increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Economic estimates of the costs of mitigation vary considerably, ranging from a loss of 2.5% of GDP ($33 billion) by 2010 (Government of Alberta 2002) to a slight positive gain to the economy by 2014 (Standard and Poor's DRI 1997). The Federal Government estimates fall somewhere in the middle of this range, projecting an impact of plus 0.4% to minus 1.7% of GDP, while recognising that the Canadian economy is still expected to grow 29-31% by 2012 (Government of Canada 2002).

Virtually absent in the public debate and relegated to the scientific literature has been a comparison of the costs of mitigation vis-a-vis the costs of impacts from climate change if the "business as usual" case continues as projected without effective emission reduction. This is often referred to as comparing the 'costs of mitigation' to 'the costs of inaction'. Tol (1995) has estimated a 1.5 % reduction in Gross Domestic Product (using a 1988 base year) under a 2 X C[] scenario (2080), an amount that is likely to be somewhat conservative since it excludes the value of non-market goods and services. Although this translates into an annual cost of $12 billion to the Canadian economy (in 1986 dollars), the range in the annual costs of climate change impacts could be much larger, reaching an amount somewhere between $3.5-$24.5 billion (Chiotti and Urquizo 1999).

Any comparison of these two costs, however, would provide an incomplete picture of the full welfare implications of abatement measures. Actions directed at reducing energy consumption through efficiency measures, for example in the manufacturing process, residential heating, or transportation behaviour, among other activities could generate considerable cost savings to companies, agencies or individuals. As part of a broader strategy to address climate change that includes joint implementation, the levying of a carbon tax and the adoption of a tradable carbon permit, some studies have estimated that abatement measures can generate long-term benefits to the economy and the environment (e.g. Repetto and Austin 1997; Lovins and Lovins 1997). Many actions that slow atmospheric GHG accumulation will also generate a wide range of co-benefits, through reductions in other air pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide (S[O.sub.2]), nitrogen oxides (N[O.sub.x]), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), heavy metals and other toxic pollutants. These pollutants are linked to other atmospheric stresses such as acid deposition, ground-level ozone ([O.sub.3]) and hazardous airborne pollutants (HAPs) which are known to have a wide range of adverse impacts upon aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as significant effects upon environmental and human health.

Drawing upon the report The Relative Magnitude of the Impacts and Effects of GHG--Related Emission Reductions (Chiotti and Urquizo 1999) that was prepared for Environment Canada as part of the EHI subgroup assessment, this paper outlines the important role that environment and health benefits can play in the national implementation strategy. The paper is preliminary in scope, since at the time of writing the issue of the co-benefits from abatement measures has not yet become a major component of the public, nor policy discourse. However, a review of the literature suggests that there is sufficient information to make some general observations regarding potential co-benefits in Canada. A conceptual model is presented, which situates the benefits for human health from reductions in criteria air contaminants within a broader set of benefits for ecosystems, environment and social welfare. The paper concludes by emphasizing the need for regional scale analysis that combines both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and outlines a pathway forward which invites interdisciplinary analyses that addresses human health issues in a broader conceptual context.

Background and Science Context

Responses to climate change include policies and autonomous actions that can be classified as either mitigation or adaptation. Mitigation refers to measures designed to reduce human-induced emissions and, consequently, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, whereas adaptation refers to measures designed to reduce impacts from and vulnerability to climate change. It has been estimated that global emissions of greenhouse gases will need to be reduced by more than 50% over the next century, if atmospheric concentrations are to be stabilised (Haites 1996). This implies that while the Kyoto Protocol is an important first step towards achieving noticeable reductions, further decreases will be necessary in the future, requiring the participation of an even greater number of countries, if stabilisation is ever to be attained. As a country that contributes approximately 2% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases, Canada is unlikely to reduce climate change to any significant degree by unilateral action. Even if all of the signatories of the Kyoto Protocol achieve their targets (which is highly unlikely to occur), such reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will only delay a doubling of C[O.sub.2] by 6 years (Houghton et al 2001). Consequently, more aggressive emission reductions will become necessary, especially at the international level, and that adaptation will ultimately have to take an increased role in future national response strategies.

Despite the inevitability of some degree of climate change, most of the policy discourse has focused on abatement measures, and in the context of the Kyoto Protocol, the costs of meeting these emission reduction targets. Predictions of the economic impacts from abatement measures to reduce GHG emissions have generally followed one of two approaches, commonly referred to as "top-down" and "bottom-up" models (Hourcade et al 2001). The former are aggregate models of the whole economy and give greater consideration to linkages between sectors and measures, and macroeconomic parameters such as those which affect final household consumption (e.g. economic indices of prices and elasticities). Top-down models usually incorporate a mix of policy responses, such as a carbon tax, subsidies for energy efficiency, or emission trading in their analyses. In contrast, bottom-up models focus on best available technological options such as for energy efficiency and fuel switching that are available to individual sectors of the economy. By definition, they tend to estimate more "optimistic" outcomes than top-down models. By estimating future possibilities through the adoption of more efficient and profitable technology, they typically predict a more positive impact on GDP. In their analysis of the impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on the Canadian economy, the AMG used a combination of macro-economic and micro-economic models (AMG 2000). This included the bottom-up MARKAL integrated partial equilibrium model, that has also been used in similar studies for the United States, Japan and the European Union (Hourcade et al 2001).

In reviewing the literature on the costs of abatement, the Second Assessment Report of the IPCC (Hourcade et al 1996a; Hourcade et al 1996b) focused primarily upon the differences between the two approaches. By 2001 and the publication of the Third Assessment Report (Hourcade et al 2001; Barker et al 2001), the literature had progressed to address the linkages between international and domestic policies. Studies on the ancillary benefits of climate policies have also emerged, particularly at the local and regional scale. In both cases, attention has increased in the aftermath of the Kyoto meeting in 1997. The ancillary or co-benefits perspective recognises that mitigation actions can themselves produce a wide range of benefits that accrue more positively in terms of time and space. The benefits associated with mitigation can be assessed in two ways. First, reductions in emissions from baseline projections will generate reduced damages that would otherwise have occurred in the absence of action. These avoided damages, which are often referred to as 'abatement benefits', accrue at the global level and are expected to increase over time, generating greater benefits in the future than at present (Pearce et al 1996). Second, there are the benefits of greenhouse gas abatement that spill over into other sectors, specifically through the enhancement of sinks to sequester carbon, and via actions which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The latter recognises that actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can also reduce other 'conventional' environmental pollutants. The co-benefits of greenhouse gas--related emission reductions would accrue in the near term, and accrue largely in regions where the abatement actions occur.

Co-benefits from Greenhouse Gas--Related Emission Reductions

Presently, due to technological limitations, the most cost-effective method of reducing energy generated greenhouse gas emissions is through actions to reduce fossil fuel combustion. This includes energy conservation, energy efficiency, and fuel switching. Reductions in emissions from fossil fuel combustion will also function to reduce a wide range of pollutants. Among them are sulphur dioxide (S[O.sub.2]), nitrogen oxides (N[O.sub.x]), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), ground-level ozone ([O.sub.3]), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury) and other toxic pollutants (e.g. acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, organic aromatics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and chlorinated dioxins and furans) (Canadian Global Change Program 1997). These pollutants are also precursors for other atmospheric issues, such as acid deposition, smog, and hazardous air pollutants. All of these are known to have a wide range of adverse impacts upon aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as effects upon environmental, social and human health.

S[O.sub.2] and N[O.sub.x] are precursors for acid deposition, which have adverse effects upon aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. S[O.sub.2] and [O.sub.3] can cause foliar damage in crops and trees, with the latter known to reduce agricultural yields. Particulate matter and secondary pollutants such as sulphates and nitrates are particularly hazardous to human health, impairing both respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Pollutants are also known to impair visibility and damage materials, accelerating the decay of infrastructure (roads and bridges), buildings, statues and monuments. The size of these effects (and therefore the size of the benefits) depends upon the magnitude and duration of exposure to specific pollutants, and the sensitivity of the exposed population, among other factors. Interactions among air pollutants and atmospheric issues will also influence the magnitude of benefits. Whether it involves chemical reactions in the atmosphere (Munn and Maarouf 1997), impacts upon aquatic ecosystems (Schindler 1998) and agricultural crops (Krupa and Kickert 1989), or effects upon human health (Burnett et al 1998), multiple pollutants and stresses have the capacity to generate outcomes that are synergistic, counteractive or non-linear in nature. Even measures implemented to address a specific pollutant or air issue could lead to an unexpected outcome. For instance, sulphur abatement achieved through end-of-pipe scrubbers could lead to lower efficiency, and consequently higher emissions of C[O.sub.2], thereby presenting policy makers with the dilemma of choosing between acid deposition or climate change (Pearce et al 1996). Consequently, estimating the potential benefits from reducing GHG--related emissions presents a major challenge to policy- and decision-makers, especially at the national scale and for a country with such a diverse landscape as Canada.

Estimates of Co-benefits

There is a growing literature that directly addresses the issue of co-benefits from greenhouse gas-related emission reductions (e.g. see Barker et al 2001; Hourcade et al 2001; Burtraw and Toman 1997; Pearce et al 1996). Common elements in most assessments of co-benefits include:

* Estimating changes in atmospheric conditions between the no-control and control (emission reduction) scenarios;

* Estimating human and other populations exposed to these changes in atmospheric conditions;

* Applying a set of concentration-response equations that translate changes in atmospheric conditions in environmental and health outcomes for the affected population; and

* Developing valuation estimates of avoided impacts.

Most studies suggest that co-benefits can be significant, yet estimates vary considerably in the literature, due largely to uncertainties and limitations of the data assessed, and differences in assumptions and methodologies employed. Variations in estimates can be attributed to differences in:

* Estimates of economic growth;

* Cost and availability of existing and new technologies;

* Air pollutants covered and the mix of energy sources considered;

* Background baseline information on ambient air quality and trends in pollutant emissions;

* Types of emission reduction measures adopted and the role of technology;

* Extent to which atmospheric transport of emissions is considered;

* Coverage of impacts and effects; and

* Valuation of methods employed.

Consequently, there are wide variations in estimates of co-benefits, making national (and in some cases regional) comparisons difficult.

Not surprisingly, the value of benefits or avoided damages that have been projected in many studies are also extremely variable. In a review of co-benefit studies for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the value of avoided damages range from US$2 to US$500 per tonne of carbon reduced (Pearce et al 1996). Despite this wide range, there is general agreement in the literature to suggest that on average the value of co-benefits would offset at least 30% of the computed costs of greenhouse emission reductions, although in some cases savings could be much higher. For example, it has been estimated that co-benefits could offset between 30-50% of the initial abatement costs in Norway (Alfsen et al 1992), and over 100% in the UK (Barker 1993) and Japan (Amano 1994) leading to a no regrets outcome.

Avoided human health effects from a narrow set of criteria air contaminants are the most dominant areas of concern (e.g. S[O.sub.2], N[O.sub.x], VOCs, CO and Total Suspended Particles). Some studies also consider a wider range of co-benefits such as the social value of residential visibility (e.g. visibility of downtown skylines and urban landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty) and recreational visibility (e.g. landmarks in national parks such as Mount Rushmore). The relatively restricted focus upon criteria air contaminants and human health effects is based on the assumption that these are "likely to constitute the lion's share of ancillary benefits" (Burtraw and Toman 1997: 1). Criteria air contaminants will account for between 90-96% of the avoidable damage through all environmental pathways, whereas avoided premature deaths will account for between 75-85% of all estimated benefits in economic assessments of improved air quality. A study by Lee Davis et al (1997) provides preliminary estimates of health benefits from achieving global greenhouse gas emission reductions. Expressed in terms of avoided premature mortality, the estimates are based upon a hypothetical climate policy of a 15% and 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2010 for developed and developing countries respectively. PM is treated as the sentinel air pollutant, with emissions and concentrations of both coarse and fine particles considered. By the end of the second decade of the next century, just over 700,000 premature deaths would be avoided on an annual basis if the above emission reductions were achieved by this time, of which 138,000 would occur in developed countries. For the U.S., it is estimated that at least 33,000 deaths a year could be avoided by 2020, which is the same order of magnitude that currently occurs from human immunodeficiency and chronic liver diseases.

Although this study does not specifically provide estimates for Canada, assuming that the rate in avoided deaths annually is similar to figures in the United States, it would be expected that 3,300 premature deaths could be avoided annually by 2020, with many of those occurring in Ontario. However, there are many uncertainties imbedded in this estimate, and the number of avoided deaths is likely to be smaller given the lower emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Conversely, the study only addresses PM and does not take into account the full range of criteria pollutants, such as N[O.sub.2], S[O.sub.2], [O.sub.3] and CO. There is growing epidemiological evidence that a mix of these gaseous pollutants may combine to have a greater human health affect than P[M.sub.10] and even P[M.sub.2.5] (Burnett et al 1998). Morbidity is also not included in the study, and not all age groups are considered in the mortality estimates. Consequently, their estimates of health effects are undoubtedly conservative, and the actual value of the benefits realised would be much higher.

Many other benefits are likewise ignored or underestimated in most studies, specifically the diminution of impacts and effects from improvements in stratospheric ozone depletion, acid deposition and hazardous air pollutants. Further, emissions from transportation sources, impacts upon ecosystems, human health effects from ozone and secondary particles less than 2.5 microns (P[M.sub.2.5]) such as sulphates and nitrates, and effects upon water resources, agriculture, forestry and other environmental features of intrinsic value are frequently ignored. The unquantified ancillary emission benefits could also be extensive, as suggested in the U.S. Presidential response paper to the Kyoto Protocol (Table 1). Toxic air pollutants are rarely included in assessments of co-benefits, ignoring the fact that greenhouse gas mitigation strategies will result in additional reductions in a variety of substances that are capable of producing a wide array of health and environmental effects. This includes heavy metals, acetaldyhyde, formaldehyde, organic aromatics, polycyclic aramotic hydrocarbons (PAH), and chlorinated dioxins and furans (Administration Economic Analysis 1998).

In addition to improving regional air quality and reducing the adverse impacts and effects from other atmospheric issues, it is also important to recognise that the actions themselves could generate supplementary 'externality' benefits. Regarding transportation, for instance, modal shifts from motor vehicles to bicycles may improve human health through increased exercise, while shifts from single occupant vehicles to public transit would reduce injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents. Transportation related externality effects can also be extended to include unwanted noise, its role as a significant consumer and shaper of land use, traffic congestion, and resource consumption (Greene et al 1997). Such costs have been estimated to reach upwards of 5% of Gross Domestic Product (Lakshmanan et al 1997), suggesting that transportation actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could result in considerable non-air related benefits by avoiding some externality costs. Similarly, the literature regarding externalities associated with electricity and residential energy efficiency is also extensive (Miyamoto 1997; Ottinger et al 1991), and highlights the need to explore other non-outdoor air quality benefits from actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Canada, for example, R2000 homes are energy efficient and with proper air exchangers can help reduce the incidence of child asthma by improving indoor air quality (Morton and Kassirer 2000).

Estimates for Canada

Unfortunately, for Canada, specific estimates of co-benefits are relatively few, limited in scope, and cursory at best. Most Canadian studies have attempted to estimate reductions in fossil fuel related emissions that would occur as a result of implementing various measures to reduce greenhouse gases, with only one recent study attempting to estimate or value the environmental impacts and human health effects (Canton and Constable 2000). In the latter case, the report is clearly identified as preliminary, and may be more significant for raising the profile of the issue, rather than for the actual numbers presented. This represents a rather large knowledge gap in our understanding of co-benefits in Canada, and makes economic analyses of greenhouse gas control strategies difficult. Nonetheless, the message from these studies is quite clear--that meeting the Kyoto target for greenhouse gas emissions will result in significant reductions in other air pollutants. For example, Canadian studies have projected:

* For every 1,000 tonnes of C[O.sub.2] emissions reduced, there will be a corresponding reduction of S[O.sub.2] emissions between 0.85 and 1.30 tonnes, N[O.sub.x] emissions between 0.75 and 1.55 tonnes, and VOC emissions between 0.40 and 1.40 tonnes (Forecast Working Group 1995);

* A 147 Mt reduction of C[O.sub.2] by 2010 (approximately 6.5% below 1990 levels) would result in emission reductions of 376 kilotonnes of S[O.sub.2] (24 %), 281 kilotonnes of N[O.sub.x] (16%), and 135 kilotonnes of VOCs (13%) (Comeau 1998);

* For every 1,000 tonnes of C[O.sub.2] emission reductions, there will be a corresponding reduction of S[O.sub.2] emissions between 0.4 and 14.5 tonnes, N[O.sub.x] emissions between 1.3 and 6.6 tonnes, and VOC emissions between--4.4 and 0.2 tonnes (fuel switching to natural gas may actually cause a slight increase in VOC emissions) (Haites 1996);

* Selected measures in transportation, electricity generation, and energy efficiency in buildings could result in C[O.sub.2] reductions of 68 million tonnes/ year by 2010, representing 36% of the reductions needed to meet Canada's Kyoto target. This would result in a 9% reduction in S[O.sub.2] and a 7% reduction in N[O.sub.x], with avoided damages from improved air quality estimated to be valued between $340 million and $2.2 billion (Canton and Constable 2000).

It is important to note that these reductions are dependent upon the types of actions selected and the regions where they are taken. For example, taking action on emissions from coal fired electricity generation could have a substantial impact on improving air quality in southern Ontario, whereas actions that also reduce S[O.sub.x] emissions from transportation may have a larger benefit in Toronto or Montreal compared to Vancouver, that has more aggressive policies in place which regulate sulphur content in fuels (CCME 1995).

In the absence of any credible estimates of co-benefits in Canada, the EHI subgroup completed a comprehensive and extensive analysis of co-benefits, as part of the National Implementation Strategy. This included a complex quantitative exercise, involving a multi-tiered set of interconnected macro- and micromodels, in addition to a complementary qualitative national assessment. It should be noted that this analysis was carried out separately from climate change impact assessments on human health (e.g. the effects on illness, injury, hospital admissions and mortality from extreme temperatures, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, water-borne and food-related diseases, and UV radiation). Consideration of the direct and indirect effects on health from climate change was noticeably absent from the 16 issue tables, and fell upon the responsibility of the Impacts and Adaptation Issues Table as one of ten sectors considered to be particularly vulnerable. A national roundtable was later convened by the Canadian Public Health Association, which was followed by a series of Health Canada workshops, but to date the health issue has largely been addressed separately into its two component parts: co-benefits for health by abatement measures that improve air quality, and the direct and indirect effects on health.

The quantitative pathway adopted a top-down approach, beginning with the integration of the greenhouse gas inventory into the national criteria air contaminant emissions inventory data base system, and culminating with an assessment of the benefits from decreases in conventional air pollutants arising from greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives using the Air Quality Valuation Model (AQVM). The quantitative analysis, however, did not cover the full spectrum of pollutants and did not include sulphate reductions in western Canada (EHI 2000). The social benefits projected were 92-150 avoided annual mortality by 2010 and reduced human health costs of $300 to $500 million per year. The results from these analyses were given scant attention in the "roll up" phase, and are virtually absent from the information provided by the Federal Government as input into the recent debate over ratification. The specific reasons for their exclusion remain unclear, but history suggests that quantitative values will be perceived by industry stakeholders as being highly contentious (e.g. see Appendix F in The Acidifying Emissions Task Group 1997).

A greater concern lies elsewhere however, not in the assumptions or thresholds adopted in the models, but rather in their limited coverage of environment and health benefits associated with other air issues, and as a result contributing a conservative value of co-benefits into the national implementation strategy. According to Chestnut et al (1999), a wide variety of human health and welfare effects are omitted from the AQVM, due to limitations in the literature, difficulties in valuation, or because the values are believed to be relatively insignificant. The health effects from air quality is perhaps covered the most extensively by the model, addressing ground-level ozone, particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5), and CO. Air toxics, however, are limited to the cancer risks associated with benzene, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and 1,3 butadiene, ignoring many other toxic pollutants that may have both carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic effects on health. Although much uncertainty still exists in this field, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act a much longer list of toxic substances are believed to be released from fossil fuel (predominantly coal) electric power generation. These include, but are not restricted to, inorganic arsenic, cadmium and flourides, mercury, nickel compounds, lead, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (Environment Canada 1997a). Neither is it possible for the model to incorporate the externalities not directly associated with benefits in air quality, such as in transportation, electricity generation, and residential energy efficiency. Non-air quality effects, especially those impacting the environment rather than human health, is an acknowledged weakness of the AQVM. Acid deposition, for example, is limited to the reduced effects on recreational fishing yields, and fails to consider the broader impacts on forests, crops/vegetation, and cultural/historic materials. Similarly, key omissions are found in agriculture, which ignores ozone sensitivity for canola and potatoes, as well as recreational nonuse values for visibility, damages on certain materials, among others.

Collectively, these limitations suggest that a broader framework to assess co-benefits is required, in order to generate a fuller picture of the impacts and effects of greenhouse gas-related emission reductions on environment and health. Indeed, there is ample evidence in the literature to suggest that the impacts upon health, as well as unmanaged and managed ecosystems, and social welfare from acid deposition, ground-level ozone and PM is quite extensive in specific regions of Canada. For example, we know that:

* S[O.sub.2] and N[O.sub.x] are precursors for acid deposition, which has recently been estimated to put 20-30 million hectares of Canada's forests, 890,000 hectares of lakes in the southeastern Boreal region, and 162,000 fish populations at risk (Environment Canada 1997b).

* S[O.sub.2] and [O.sub.3] can cause foliar damage in crops and trees, with the latter known to reduce agricultural yields (Multi-stakeholder NOX/VOCs Science Program 1997). In Ontario, the value of increased agricultural productivity from achieving a 35 ppb [O.sub.3] threshold would be between $17-$70 million annually, in 1988 dollars (Pearson 1989).

* PM and secondary pollutants such as sulphates and nitrates are especially hazardous to human health, impairing both respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It has been estimated that 1,800 annual premature deaths in Ontario has been attributed to PM (McPhail et al 1998). A recent report by the Ontario Medical Association has estimated that 1,925 premature deaths will occur in 2002 due to air pollution, and that the costs to the Ontario economy and health care system will exceed $1 Billion annually (OMA 2000).

* Pollutants are also known to impair visibility and damage materials, accelerating the decay of infrastructure (roads and bridges), buildings, statues and monuments (The Acidifying Emissions Task Group 1997).

While the complementary qualitative assessment will help address some of these knowledge gaps, three key conclusions emerge from this discussion regarding the output expected from the EHI subgroup's quantitative assessment (Chiotti and Urquizo 1999). First, the overall magnitude of environment and health benefits will be greater than those estimated solely from improvements in air quality. Second, the relative magnitude of benefits for the environment will be much greater than presently estimated for unmanaged and managed ecosystems, and social welfare. Third, the benefits for health from actions external to air quality could also be substantial, thereby increasing the total value presently attributed to health.

Pathway Forward

Given the anticipated gap between the quantitative modelling exercise and the broader environmental and health benefits identified in the literature, the pathway forward should involve a combination of quantitative and, where needed, qualitative analysis. Qualitative techniques have been used extensively in the social sciences, including research on climate change impacts (Bryant et al 2000), and could help fill in some of the knowledge gaps that quantitative methods cannot address. The assessment framework proposed (Figure 1) underscores the importance of broadening our understanding of environmental and health benefits, especially from an integrative perspective. This involves extending the range of pollutants considered beyond criteria or conventional pollutants, and including toxic substances and heavy metals in the assessment, the policy environment within which activities operate, and the impacts and effects on both natural and human systems. Co-benefits analyses could be focused on different air sheds across the country, following the regional approach that is often adopted in climate change impacts assessment studies (e.g. Cohen 1997; Mills and Craig 1999).

Many criteria air contaminants have undergone significant scientific scrutiny, leading to a wide suite of policies that have been implemented at various spatial scales to regulate their emissions. The success or failures of these policies to reduce other air pollutants would influence the level of benefits achieved by actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore important to situate the assessment within a broader policy environment that may affect the base case for emissions and ambient atmospheric levels. This should include reductions in S[O.sub.2] that are driven by the Air Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada, and potential reductions in PM and [O.sub.3] under the Canada Wide Standards process currently being negotiated. Regionally specific policies administered provincially or by municipalities should also be factored into the assessment. For example, the introduction of new Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) into the Ontario automobile market and reductions in the sulphur content in gasoline and diesel fuel should also be considered. Future substitutes for CFCs will further influence emissions, particularly those that are less potent greenhouse gases.

The impacts of emissions upon the whole atmosphere must be considered, including any feedback or synergistic linkages that could occur. The range of impacts should also include both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, whereas the range of effects needs to be extended beyond human health, and consider more carefully the benefits for the environment (both unmanaged (forestry) and managed (agriculture) ecosystems) and social welfare. Assessments of human health must go beyond PM and consider gaseous pollutants, in addition to evaluating externalities associated with specific measures to reduce emissions. The latter should include the environment and health benefits from actions themselves, not just due to improvements in air quality. For example, more sustainable land use practices on farms may help reduce GHG emissions, but could also help improve ground water quality. Reducing the number of single occupant vehicle trips through active commuting such as walking or cycling could improve fitness and the health of Canadians, especially children.

Undertaking an assessment of co-benefits in Canada represents both a unique opportunity and an extraordinary challenge for interdisciplinary research. This would require experts who have knowledge regarding emissions and externalities associated with various sectors of the economy, scientists with expertise on specific environmental impacts and health effects, and most importantly scholars who can bring an integrative perspective and help elucidate complex interactions. Regional and urban researchers can also bring forward an understanding of the factors driving emissions of pollutants, the underlying causes, and the most effective solutions. The linkage between emissions of particulate matter and light duty diesel trucks warrants connection with just-in-time delivery systems, and the integration of the global economy. Similarly, emissions from automobiles demands consideration of land use policies, consumptive lifestyles in suburban areas, declining support for public transit, and changes in governance leading to a downloading of responsibilities from Provincial to Municipal levels of government.

There is also an opportunity to link co-benefits analysis with other research related to climate change, such as the economic benefits that could accrue from energy efficiency actions, or in combination with impact assessments. In the latter case, it may be especially prudent to address health issues in a broader and integrative context, addressing both abatement measures and adaptation actions. This would likely require a more inclusive approach that brings together material and scientists from both the natural and social sciences (Rayner and Malone 1998). Although the need to address the health effects from the interaction of climate change and air quality has been proposed in some studies (e.g. Patz and Balbus 2001; Duncan et al 1998), there are few examples in the literature directed at a broader, public audience, where an integrated message has been communicated (Last et al 1998).

But what regions in Canada should be the focus of such an assessment? Data on emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria air contaminants (Table 2) and electricity generation (Table 3) provides some direction, as does the evidence presented on environmental impacts and health effects from various air issues. These would suggest focusing primarily upon large urbanised areas such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, for health benefits, and areas in central and eastern Canada that have unmanaged and managed ecosystems which are sensitive to acid deposition and [O.sub.3]. For Alberta and the Prairie Provinces, it may be prudent to direct attention towards the environmental benefits from actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, and the health benefits from reductions in toxic substances from coal-fired electricity generation and fossil fuel extraction (particularly in the Alberta Tar Sands) for aboriginal populations living in northern regions of Canada.

Transboundary pollution is also a significant issue in parts of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, not only from domestic sources of pollutants, but in addition from the United States. In the latter context, any sizable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions obtained via off-shore emission trading could significantly reduce the health benefits achieved in Ontario, where upwards of 50% of their air pollutants originate from south of the border. In eastern Canada, for example, the benefits of a 50% reduction in the emissions contributing to acid deposition has been estimated to be 40 times greater with United States participation, relative to Canada acting alone (Chestnut 1995). Given that international and domestic emission trading is a key option in the Federal Kyoto plan, any deviation from targeted measures in regions where air quality is a problem will result in the attainment of fewer co-benefits for environment and health. Further, credit for clean energy exports, and specifically for exports of natural gas, would only result in domestic co-benefits if Canadian energy was being used to replace coal in electricity generation. If the latter was taking place in the Ohio Valley, the main source of transboundary air pollution in Ontario, then emission trading on an airshed basis should result in improved air quality and reduced health effects in the most populous region of Canada. Not surprisingly, the Toronto-Niagara Region has been proposed as an ideal location for a regional case study (Chiotti and Urquizo 1999). The region also has the added benefit of having a wide body of literature that addresses the direct and indirect effects of climate change on human health (Chiotti et al 2002).


We began this paper by introducing the need to have a thorough understanding of the impact, the cost and the benefits of the implementation of actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and related pollutants, and of the various options open to Canada. In response to this requirement, there is little doubt that the Kyoto Protocol represents a significant opportunity for policy-makers to address air issues from an integrated science and policy perspective, through greenhouse gas-related emission reductions. The fact that upwards of 40 Kyoto Protocols are needed to stabilise global atmospheric concentrations of C[O.sub.2] underscores the importance of focusing on the bigger and longer term picture of emission reduction, beyond the 6% target currently under debate. The benefits for environmental and human health could be substantial, and an improved understanding of these benefits should be an integral part of the national implementation strategy. Indeed, in places such as the Greater Vancouver Region or the Greater Toronto Area, if the prospect for co-benefits is insufficient to generate an effective greenhouse gas emission reduction response, then it is highly unlikely that Canada will meet its Kyoto target by 2010.

This opportunity, however, should not be viewed as a substitute for adopting an integrated approach to all pollutants, atmospheric issues, and their impacts. As Pearce et al (1996) note, the question of secondary benefits from carbon abatement should also be distinguished from the more comprehensive issue of the optimal abatement mix with respect to all pollutants. With the Kyoto Protocol, the argument is driven by the implicit primacy of the greenhouse problem, with co-benefits viewed as welcomed side effects, rather than considered in their own right. This is not necessarily the best way to proceed, and perhaps each pollutant (and air issue) should be assessed (and emissions reduced) in proportion to the environmental damage that it causes. Thus, the key message regarding Canada's response to emission reduction is no longer whether the current state of science provides a powerful rationale to take prompt, prudent action to limit climate change, but rather what steps will generate the 'greatest return on investment'. Taking actions that maximise co-benefits, help Canadians realise the greatest cost savings from energy efficiency, and help reduce vulnerability to climate change, is a step in the right direction.
TABLE 1 Unquantified Ancillary Emissions Benefits

 Other Possible
Effect Category Effects Effects

Human Health Cancer Mortality
 Non-cancer Effects
 - neurological
 - respiratory
 - reproductive
 - hematopoietic
 - developmental
 - immunological
 - organ toxicity

Ecological Wildlife Loss of habitat for
 Plants endangered species
 Biological diversity

Welfare Decreases in: Loss of biological
 - recreation opportunities diversity; building
 - agricultural yields, and deterioration
 - visibility

Source: Adapted from Administration Economic Analysis (1998).

TABLE 2 Emissions of Selected Air Pollutants
for Canada (1), by Province, 1995 (2)

Province eq) (3) P[M.sub.10] P[M.sub.2.5] S[O.sub.x]

NFLD 8,360 39,237 23,225 65,013
 (1.2%) (7%) (5%) (2%)
PEI 1,990 2,601 2,193 2,547
 (0.3%) (0%) (1%) (0%)
NS 19,400 24,510 19,833 167,071
 (2.9%) (4%) (5%) (6%)
NB 16,800 26,425 20,576 115,542
 (2.5%) (5%) (5%) (4%)
QUE 87,000 101,059 79,245 373,625
 (13.0%) (17%) (19%) (14%)
ON 191,000 126,215 91,755 632,712
 (28.5%) (22%) (22%) (24%)
MAN 22,300 18,742 13,192 365,396
 (3.3%) (3%) (3%) (14%)
SASK 59,300 44,217 21,372 130,998
 (8.8%) (8%) (5%) (5%)
ALTA 199,000 71,376 55,685 608,025
 (29.7%) (12%) (13%) (23%)
BC 62,400 121,564 94,049 176,058
 (9.3%) (21%) (22%) (7%)
YUK 638 662 468 396
 (0.1%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
NWT 2,100 1,159 792 15,619
 (0.3%) (0%) (0%) (1%)
CANADA (4) 671,000 577,767 422,386 2,653,002

Province N[O.sub.x] VOC CO

NFLD 42,602 52,650 233,703
 (2%) (2%) (2%)
PEI 7,975 9,819 53,803
 (0%) (0%) (1%)
NS 73,042 78,782 315,661
 (3%) (3%) (3%)
NB 62,636 65,279 323,373
 (3%) (2%) (3%)
QUE 373,480 444,749 2,171,103
 (17%) (17%) (22%)
ON 537,185 741,367 3,186,496
 (24%) (28%) (32%)
MAN 73,668 85,095 446,621
 (3%) (3%) (4%)
TASK 169,164 221,032 548,950
 (8%) (8%) (5%)
ALTA 636,996 695,259 1,457,332
 (28%) (26%) (15%)
BC 256,801 226,268 1,256,548
 (11%) (9%) (13%)
YUK 4,718 2,746 13,883
 (0%) (0%) (0%)
NWT 9,124 15,283 17,025
 (0%) (1%) (0%)
CANADA4 2,247,393 2,638,331 10,024,498

Note: (1.) GHG emissions in Million metric tonnes, emissions
of Criteria Air Contaminants in tonnes; percentages in parentheses.

(2.) 1996 values for GHG emissions; 1995 values for Criteria Air
Contaminant emissions from non-open sources

(3.) Carbon dioxide equivalent

(4.) Totals do not add up to 100 due to rounding

Source: Derived from Neitzert et al (1999); Pollution Data Branch,
Environment Canada, Criteria Air Contaminant Emissions Inventories
(CAC) Summaries:

TABLE 3 Electricity Energy Generation (GWh) by Fuel Type -- 1996


 Coal Oil Gas Nuclear Hydro Other Total

NFLD 0 1,480 0 0 35,336 0 36,816
PEI 0 6 0 0 0 0 6
NS 7,850 788 0 0 1,151 187 9,976
NB 5,474 1,246 0 4,591 3,472 571 15,354
QC 0 1,368 0 5,232 163,861 0 170,461
ON 18,899 141 5,078 77,693 40,945 891 143,647
MAN 180 35 32 0 30,865 60 31,172
SASK 11,225 10 769 0 4,386 122 16,512
ALTA 41,518 70 6,727 0 2,261 1,200 51,776
BC 0 145 3,315 0 66,300 964 70,724
YUK 0 139 0 0 361 0 500
NWT 0 475 102 0 260 0 837
CANADA 85,146 5,903 16,023 87,516 349,198 3,995 547,781

Source: Electric power annual statistics -- 1996, Statistics
Canada, catalogue 57-202 (June 1998); Electric power statistics
- September 1998, Statistics Canada, catalogue 57-001 (December
1998); Quarterly report on energy supply-demand in Canada --
1997 -- IV, Statistics Canada, catalogue 57-003.

* The final version of this paper was produced in early November, 2002. The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their useful comments.


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Quentin Chiotti

Pollution Probe

425 Church Street, Suite 402

Toronto, ON, M4Y 2G1

Natty Urquizo

Rainmakers Environmental Group

P.O. Box 218

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
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