Quantified, Localized Health Benefits of Accelerated Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions.
Societal risks increase as Earth warms, but also for emissions trajectories accepting relatively high levels of near-term emissions while assuming future negative emissions will compensate even if they lead to identical warming . Accelerating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions, including as a substitute for negative emissions, hence reduces long-term risks but requires dramatic near-term societal transformations . A major barrier to emissions reductions is the difficulty of reconciling immediate, localized costs with global, long-term benefits [3, 4]. However, 2°C trajectories not relying on negative emissions or 1.5°C trajectories require elimination of most fossil fuel related emissions. This generally reduces co-emissions that cause ambient air pollution, resulting in near-term, localized health benefits. We therefore examine the human health benefits of increasing ambition of 21st century CO2 reductions by 180 GtC; an amount that would shift a 'standard' 2°C scenario to 1.5°C or could achieve 2°C without negative emissions. The decreased air pollution leads to 153±43 million fewer premature deaths worldwide, with ~40% occurring during the next 40 years, and minimal climate disbenefits. More than a million premature deaths would be prevented in many metropolitan areas in Asia and Africa, and >200,000 in individual urban areas on every inhabited continent except Australia.
Shindell, D; Faluvegi, G; Seltzer, K; Shindell, C
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