Gains in air quality that would come from reducing greenhouse gas emissions could save up to three million lives per year by 2100, according to U.S. researchers.
Their findings, published in Nature Climate Change, come ahead of an important interim report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, set to be released on Friday.
Cutting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, vehicles, and other sources would reduce particulate matter and ozone emissions, which are tied to cardiovascular distress, respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, and strokes.
The study estimated that by 2100, 1.4 million to 3 million premature deaths a year could be avoided thanks to cuts of CO2 emissions. The researchers calculated that health care savings alone would outweigh the projected costs of cutting carbon emissions over the next few decades.
China and East Asia stand to benefit the most from reduced air pollution, the study found; health care savings in that region would surpass the costs of curbing carbon emissions 10- to 70-fold.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.