A Global Perspective on Coal-Fired Power Plants, Climate Change and Disease Burden
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AbstractThis dissertation investigates the disease burden from coal-fired power plants from global perspective. First, the study estimated changes in national lung cancer incidence decades after building or closing coal-fired power plants. The study secondly estimated the relative risks and incident cases of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), particularly ischemic heart disease (IHD), attributable to sulfate oxide (SOx) emission from coal-fired power plants from a global perspective. Since China is one of the most greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting country, we proposed “flying S” pattern to examine and forecast carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in the next decades.
For the chapter one, standardized lung cancer incidence from every country with electrical plants using coal as primary energy supply were followed from 2000 to 2016. We applied a Poisson regression longitudinal model to estimate the association between lung cancer incidence and per capita coal capacity. We fund that with 1 kilowatts (KW) increase of coal capacity per person in a country, the relative risk of lung cancer increase by a factor of 85.1% (95%CI=1.217~2.816) among males and 58.5% (95%CI=1.070~2.347) among females. Based on the model, we estimate a total of 1.41 million standardized incident cases from lung cancer were associated with coal-fired power plants in 2015.
Chapter two analyzed the relative risk of CVD incidence associated with national SOx reduction for 13,581 coal-fired power-generating units in 79 countries. A 10% decrease in SOx emission was associated with 0.28% (males; 95%CI=-0.39%~0.95%) and 1.69% (females; 95%CI=0.99%~2.38%) lower CVD risk. The effects on IHD were >2 times stronger among males than females (2.78%, 95%CI=1.99%~3.57% vs. 1.18%, 95%CI=0.19%~2.17%). Further, 1.43% (males) and 8.00% (females) of CVD cases were attributable to suboptimal SOx reduction. Thus, enhancing regulations on SOx emission control represents a target for national and international intervention to prevent CVD.
In chapter three, we applied mixed effect model to examine the ex post data and predict per capita emission for selected countries in the same flying geese (FG) group in Asia. The “flying S” hypothesis says the trajectories of per capita CO2 emission would just mirror each other for countries within a same FG and having relatively constant energy matrix across time, ceteris paribus.
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