Monday, February 22, 2016

Achieving Paris Climate Targets Could Save Nearly 300,000 American Lives

Clean energy and transportation policies could prevent about 29,000 asthma attacks in children under 18 and about 15,000,000 lost adult work days each year.

Stethoscope on the world (Photo-illustration Credit: Roy Scott/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
When the world's nations set a goal in Paris last year of limiting the average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the impact on health wasn't front and center.  But, a study published today in Nature Climate Change suggests that if the United States reduces emissions from the transportation and electricity sectors in order to meet those targets, 295,000 American lives could be saved by 2030.

Researchers from Duke University modeled emissions scenarios for the electricity and transportation sectors—the two biggest contributors to air pollution and carbon emissions—and calculated the effects of those scenarios to human health and climate in the near and long term, as well as both locally and globally.

The researchers also evaluated the economic impacts of those scenarios, taking into account the value of the lives saved and monetizing the value of emissions reductions.

Overall, they found that implementing a renewable energy policy in accord with the targets would result in preventing 175,000 premature deaths by 2030 and 22,000 fewer each year after. Implementing a clean transportation policy could prevent 120,000 premature deaths by 2030 and 14,000 premature deaths each year after.

In addition, they estimated that the near-term economic benefits could be US $250 billion per year, exceeding the potential $70 billion to $90 billion it could cost to implement the policies.  Long-term, worldwide benefits could be five times greater.

Read more at Achieving Paris Climate Targets Could Save Nearly 300,000 American Lives

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