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The impact of carbon emission and forest activities on health outcomes: empirical evidence from China

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The higher economic growth of China intensifies the consumption of fossil fuel, such as coal and oil, for electricity generation, transportation etc., which is responsible for environmental degradation through the emissions of carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen etc. The objectives of this study are to investigate the impact of greenhouse gas emission on health issues and provide the effective solution to overcome health-related issues, caused by carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen emission. For this purpose, we propose that higher afforestation activities can help to mitigate the carbon emission and can help to reduce the health diseases. The findings of quantile regressions reported that an increase in carbon emission causes significantly higher health issues. On the contrary, afforestation activities reported a negative coefficient, suggesting that growth of forests can be useful measure in control of health issues. The findings of the current study can be utilized in policy making and to explore the nexus between greenhouse gas emission, afforestation, and health issues.

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  1. 1.

    Reforestation specifies to plant new trees in existing forest land. Afforestation indicates to form new forests on non-forest land.

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    \( CO{2}_t=\sum \limits_{i,j} CO{2}_{ij}^t=\sum \limits_{i,j}{E}_{ij}^t\times {O}_j\times E{F}_j \), for further details, visit IPCC (2006) report.


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Correspondence to Umer Shahzad.

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1. Carbon emission induces increase in health issues in China.

2. Greenhouse gases such as nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon are the major contributor of air pollution and harmful diseases.

3. Afforestation activities and stop deforestation can help to minimize health issues and to save health-related expenditures.

4. By increasing investments on forests can help to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emission, which further lowers health issues.

5. The government should provide better living conditions to the urban and rural population, through planting green belts, parks, and better sewerage systems.

Responsible editor: Muhammad Shahbaz

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Fig. 3

Quantile regression plot

Fig. 4

Health issues, carbon emission, and afforestation of China in 2005

Fig. 5

Health issues, carbon emission, and afforestation of China in 2010

Fig. 6

Health issues, carbon emission, and afforestation of China in 2015

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Farooq, M.U., Shahzad, U., Sarwar, S. et al. The impact of carbon emission and forest activities on health outcomes: empirical evidence from China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 12894–12906 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04779-x

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  • Carbon emission; afforestation
  • Health issues
  • China