Professor of Global Environmental Health, University of California Berkeley and Director of the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Center Delhi, a new institution involving three major Indian universities and UC Berkeley. He has worked in China since 1981 and India since 1978 and is currently conducting fieldwork in Mongolia and India. He is most known for his work on the scale of exposures and the resulting health impacts of air pollution from simple household cookfires, which Prof Smith pioneered with colleagues in India in the early 1980s and has continued since with fields studies India, Nepal, China, Laos, Mexico, Guatemala, Mongolia, Paraguay, and elsewhere. This risk is now recognized to cause as much or more ill-health as any other environmental risk factor globally partly through being a major contributor to outdoor air pollution. He has developed monitoring devices of several aspects of air pollution exposure in resource-poor settings and pioneered several fundamental concepts in global environmental health including the environmental risk transition and, what is now called, intake fraction.
He has written some 400 journal articles and other publications and been granted honorary professorships in universities in India, China, and Mongolia. He shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was co-chair of the health chapter of the most recent, IPCC Fifth Assessment. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the Heinz Prize in Environment and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
In the News
Climate change could constrain the Olympics going forward and not just because of rising sea levels.
China’s plans to curb Beijing’s health-damaging air pollution by focusing on restricting emissions from power plants and vehicles may have limited impact if household use of coal and other dirty fuels is not also curtailed, according to a new study.
The primary source of light for more than a billion people in developing nations is also churning out black carbon at levels previously overlooked in climate warming estimates, according to a new study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois.
UC Berkeley-led researchers have found a dramatic one-third reduction in severe pneumonia diagnoses among children in homes with smoke-reducing chimneys on their cookstoves. Reducing wood smoke could have a major impact on the burden of pneumonia, the leading cause of child mortality in the world, the researchers said. A separate pilot study also found a link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-aged children.
Six Berkeley faculty members experts were selected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to write the fifth comprehensive climate-change report.
Six international studies published this week in the British journel The Lancet show that cutting greenhouse gases, in particular ozone and black carbon, can save millions of lives worldwide in addition to slowing climate change.