Topic：Local Pollution Drives Global Pollution: Emissions Feedback via Residential Electricity Usage
Speaker：Alberto Salvo, National University of Singapore
Date: April 26, 2019
Venue: Room 106B, Zhonghui Building
Introduction to Speaker:
Alberto Salvo is an environmental economist and Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the National University of Singapore. His research falls under the broad theme: Individual Behavior, the Environment, and Socioeconomic Outcomes. Salvo studies how the behavior and incentives of economic agents, such as households, workers and firms, interact with scarce environmental resources, such as air and water. As his publications and co-authors indicate, Salvo collaborates across disciplines, including atmospheric sciences and environmental health. His recent work focuses on Asia's under-studied and globally critical environment and society.
This study links two major societal phenomena and shows that this link matters. First, home energy demand is increasing sharply as incomes rise in the urbanizing developing world. Second, particle pollution afflicts much of the world’s rising middle classes. I access longitudinal data for Singapore, a newly affluent and leading Asian city, to show that air quality is a key driver of residential electricity demand. Electricity use grows by 10% when PM2.5 rises by 100 µg/m3. Counterfactually, blowing 1 year of Beijing’s ambient air over Singapore increases electricity use by 10% and annual expenditure by US$ 163 for a household with air conditioning (AC) at home. Singapore uniquely combines rich-country defensive capital stocks, such as AC, with routine developing-country PM2.5 levels. Local pollution control has the co-benefit of reducing electricity generation, via household demand, and mitigating carbon emissions. Defensive expenditure may also exacerbate health inequalities, as a public health debate suggests.
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