Co-benefits of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies on Human Health through Reduced Emissions of Air Pollutants

Amann M (2009). Co-benefits of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies on Human Health through Reduced Emissions of Air Pollutants. Final Report to Sponsor: World Health Organization, Rome, Italy (August 2009)

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Abstract

In many cases emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases are emitted from the same sources. Thus, controls directed at air pollutants frequently affect greenhouse gas emissions, and vice versa. This co-control generates additional beneficial or negative environmental and health impacts that complement the main objective of an emission control strategy. While these benefits are often overlooked in the analysis of climate policies, the scientific literature demonstrates that such ancillary benefits are substantial and need to be taken into account in a full assessment of costs and benefits of emission control strategies.

The study quantifies for Europe co-benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies on human health through reduced emissions of air pollutants. Based on IIASA's GAINS model, the study compares health impacts attributable to the exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for a baseline energy projection that does not consider recent targets on greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., national energy projections that have been provided by Member States in 2006) with the impacts of a climate scenario in which EU GHG emissions would be reduced by 22% in 2020.

Reduced ambient concentrations of PM2.5 will cause lower premature mortality to the European population. It is estimated that the climate scenario with its lower air pollutant emissions would improve life expectancy by 3.3 months up to 2020, i.e., by one third more than in the scenario without climate measures.

An analysis for India highlights measures that could limit the increase in GHG emissions without compromising the welfare of the Indian population. Implementation of such measures could restrict the growth in GHG emissions to +150% until 2030, and, as an important local co-benefit, lead to a 25% lower increase in health impacts.

Although often ignored in the actual debate on GHG mitigation strategies, such cocontrols between GHG emissions and air pollutant are sizeable for the commitments discussed for a post-2012 climate agreement for industrialized countries. For instance, the set of high pledges for post-2012 GHG mitigation targets in Armex I countries that have been put forward as of June 2009 would imply S02 emissions to decline by almost 40% and NOx and PM2.5 emissions by 15% relative to baseline levels.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: Atmospheric Pollution (APD)
Bibliographic Reference: Final Report to Sponsor: World Health Organization, Rome, Italy (August 2009)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2016 16:45
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9005

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