EU Commission promotes air pollution benefits of climate policy

The European Commission’s science and knowledge service explains on its website how climate policy improves air quality and saves lives. It says that “an integrated policy perspective will prevent technological lock-in and will maximise gains for global climate and local health. In December 2015, 196 parties gathered at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and signed the Paris Agreement, a joint commitment to address climate change.”

Concerning energy system transformation, it says “With our energy use as key driver of greenhouse gas emissions, the ambitious climate goals set forward in the Paris Agreement demand a fundamental rethink of energy systems across the world.

Climate policies also lead to cleaner air by transforming the energy systems across the world. A more efficient use of energy and a shift from fossil fuels to renewables are key elements in achieving co-benefits for climate and air quality.”

In addition to greenhouse gas emissions the Commission says that “energy is a key source of local air pollutants, such as particulate matter. Therefore, the transformation of energy systems needed to reach climate goals is a unique opportunity to improve air quality at the same time. Globally, avoided premature mortality by 2030 in a 2 °C scenario versus a reference scenario is estimated at  346,000 avoided premature deaths. By 2050, the number of avoided premature deaths in India would be 511,000 and in China 537,000. The website does not present the co-benefits of a 1.5 °C scenario.

Reinhold Pape




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