Environmental and Public Health Benefits from Achieving Sustainable Energy in Los Angeles County

Project Summary

Anthropogenic emissions in California and emissions outside the western United States are major sources for PM2.5 concentrations in California, with the former being the most important sources for PM2.5 and the associated mortality in Los Angeles. In California, these emissions also make important contributions to ozone formation during summer months, when peak concentrations occur. These pollutants have a profound impact on public health. This study uses a combination of chemical transport and public health models to identify the major sources contributing to air pollutant PM2.5 and ozone concentrations. The project looks at the associated health impacts in California and subsequently quantifies the environmental and health benefits of deep decarbonization policies.  If renewable energy is fully applied by 2050, the greenhouse gas emissions in California could be reduced by about 80 percent.  Such deep decarbonization policies may translate into substantial air pollutant emission reduction, air quality improvement, and public health benefits.

Research Team

Yifang Zhu
Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health

K.N. Liou
Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, Physical Sciences

Michael Jerrett
Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health

Progress and Results

Researchers have performed air quality simulations for 2012 using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), and evaluated the simulation results against surface and satellite observations.In addition, the team developed health impact analysis method and analyzed 2012 base year health burden.

The team has quantified the contributions of major emission sources to PM2.5 and O3 (ozone) concentrations and the associated health effects in Los Angeles. This included emissions in California, those in western U.S. except California, and those outside western U.S.

The project has developed detailed emission inventories for the year of 2030 and 2050 under baseline and two decarbonization scenarios based on the California Emissions Projection Analysis Model (CEPAM) database and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Vision Model. As the project moves forward, the developed inventories will simulate air quality using WRF-Chem.


Other Information of Interest

Project image of a hazy LA skyline


Award Year