Save lives and costs by cutting GHG

The greenhouse emission cuts that the United States of America agreed to at the Paris climate conference may come with a significant public health benefit – the prevention of 295,000 premature deaths – according to a Duke University study, if the US reduces its emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The US would prevent many premature deaths and save the economy billions of dollars should it make the necessary emissions cuts, the Duke study shows. A total of 295,000 Americans who would otherwise die from lung cancer, heart attacks or respiratory diseases by 2030 would be saved due to the reduction in air pollution.

Similarly, in the EU, many lives could be saved through greenhouse emission cuts, which would also bring cost savings. 

This would bring multiple economic and environmental benefits that would make the EU more sustainable and competitive. Not only GHG emissions but also air pollution will be cut, benefiting human health. Raising the GHG reduction target for 2020 from 20 to 30 per cent would reduce costs related to air pollution in the EU by €6.5–11 billion per year. The Commission argues that the EU target of 40 per cent reduction in GHG will bring cuts in particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations that would reduce health damage from air pollution in 2030 by around €5 to 11 billion and air pollution control costs by more than €2 billion. NGOs demand that the EU should reduce GHG emissions in the EU by at least 60–90 per cent by 2030, which would cut many billions from the costs of dealing with health damage and air pollution.

Compiled by Reinhold Pape

Source: “Climate and Health Impacts of U.S. Emissions Reductions Consistent with 2 Deg C,” Drew T. Shindell, Yuhna Lee, Greg Faluvegi. Nature Climate Change, Feb. 22, 2016. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2935. Link:

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