Pollutants cause climate change and wreak havoc on human health. It's a problem hurting Americans and the planet. Let our experts help with your coverage.

Pollutants cause climate change and wreak havoc on human health. It's a problem hurting Americans and the planet. Let our experts help with your coverage. Pollutants cause climate change and wreak havoc on human health.  It's a problem hurting Americans and the planet. Let our experts help with your coverage.

February 26, 20202 min read
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If you are a journalist covering climate change and environmental issues, let us help your coverage.


Jennifer Burney is an environmental scientist at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy whose research focuses on simultaneously achieving global food security and mitigating climate change. She also is an expert on short-lived climate pollutants and the negative impacts they have on human and plant health. Burney recently led a landmark study published in Nature Sustainability which estimated that between 2005 and 2016, the shutdown of coal-fired units saved 26,610 lives. Other research has linked Kawasaki disease outbreaks to increased concentration of aerosol particles in the air.


Burney is available to speak about these issues and their policy implications. “Policymakers often think about greenhouse gas emissions as a separate problem from air pollution, but the same processes that cause climate change also produce aerosols, ozone, and other compounds that cause important damages,” she said.


Her expertise was recently sought out by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which has recently appointed Burney to its eight-person council on the climate crisis. Burney and other members will help create a list of policy goals for the Democratic Party’s convention in July.


Her research has repercussions around the world because:  


  • We still are not producing enough food to feed the world. One in eight people suffer from hunger across the globe, and one in five Californians are not getting enough to eat.
  • Climate change limits our ability to produce food. Agriculture in regions such as California will in particular be affected by this, as many of our crops are more sensitive to climate change than and not as resilient as say, corn or wheat. For example, alfalfa, grapes, almonds, pistachio and avocado need certain temperatures and lots of water, which is problematic for an increasingly warm and dry California.
  • The way we grow food now, causes climate change. One-third to one-quarter of all man-made emissions come from the production of food. About a half of all the emissions from food production come from short-term pollutants. These include methane and ammonia—they follow different pathways than carbon and are more unpredictable. It is a more complicated problem to deal with, and these emissions have a negative impact on food and human health.


Burney is available to speak with media about these topics– simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.



Connect with:
  • Jennifer Burney
    Jennifer Burney Associate Professor of Environmental Science

    Jennifer Burney's research focuses on simultaneously achieving global food security and mitigating climate change.

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