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Reducing Carbon Emissions Could Save Millions of Lives in 2100


15-thispicturetScientists from University of North Carolina, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, UCAR/NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the US Environmental Protection Agency, conducted a study which determines the economic and health benefits of reducing carbon emissions.

The research indicates that if in 2100 the average temperatures are not more than 2.6 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, up to 2.2 million deaths per year could be avoided.

As the 27th of September, the day of release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is fast approaching, major journals release various publications on greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and temperature rise. Nature Climate Change, the journal with the an indisputable reputation of always being the first to report on groundbreaking and innovative findings in the field of global warming, did not wait long to publish the results from a simulation of the benefits from greenhouse gas reduction and clean-up.

As reported, the lead author Jason West from University of North Carolina, and team, used new modelling methods to create future scenarios of possible reduction in premature deaths over the coming century by taking into account reduction in exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone. To put their findings in prospective, the authors used a reference scenario known as RCP4.5, in which average surface temperatures in 2100 are 2.6 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial times.

The results of the study indicate that if RCP4.5 is the reality in 2100, a total of 2.2 million deaths will be avoided. The authors state that global average marginal co-benefits of avoided mortality equal US $50-380 per tone of CO2. This means that for many regions of the world, the cost to reduce emissions will be much higher.

The authors emphasize that these numbers could only indicate a much bigger need for fast transition to a low-carbon future. Improved air quality and the health benefits associated with it is a must especially in regions such as East and South-East Asia, where the co-benefits in 2100 could reach up to 70 times the marginal cost of 2030.

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