Fossil fuel combustion produces greenhouse gases that heat the planet, but it also emits air pollutants that harm human health. Fine particulate matter and ozone, for example, have been linked to fatal lung and heart issues. And a recent study published in GeoHealth adds to the growing body of research that shows that when countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the associated improvements in air quality could save countless lives.
Reducing emissions in these countries from power plants alone could reduce that death toll by nearly 300,000 lives.
Researchers used computer simulations to quantify the deaths associated with power plant emissions globally. Then, they modeled how those numbers might change if G20 countries, which include the world’s biggest economies, kept on pace to reach their net zero emissions goals.
The team concluded that particulate matter and ozone caused more than 2.2 million premature deaths each year in G20 countries. Reducing emissions in these countries from power plants alone could reduce that death toll by nearly 300,000 lives by 2040.
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