Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: low-carbon electricity generation

Anil Markandya, B G Armstrong, S Hales, A Chiabai, P Criqui, S Mima, C Tonne, P Wilkinson

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142 Citations (SciVal)


In this report, the third in this Series on health and climate change, we assess the changes in particle air pollution emissions and consequent effects on health that are likely to result from greenhouse-gas mitigation measures in the electricity generation sector in the European Union (EU), China, and India. We model the effect in 2030 of policies that aim to reduce total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50% by 2050 globally compared with the effect of emissions in 1990. We use three models: the POLES model, which identifies the distribution of production modes that give the desired CO2 reductions and associated costs; the GAINS model, which estimates fine particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter 2.5 mu m or less (PM2.5) concentrations; and a model to estimate the effect of PM2.5 on mortality on the basis of the WHO'S Comparative Risk Assessment methods. Changes in modes of production of electricity to reduce CO2 emissions would, in all regions, reduce PM2.5 and deaths caused by it, with the greatest effect in India and the smallest in the EU. Health benefits greatly offset costs of greenhouse-gas mitigation, especially in India where pollution is high and costs of mitigation are low. Our estimates are approximations but suggest dear health gains (co-benefits) through decarbonising electricity production, and provide additional information about the extent of such gains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2006-2015
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9706
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2009


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