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Effects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate

TitleEffects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLelieveld J., Klingmuller K., Pozzer A., Burnett R.T, Haines A., Ramanathan V
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Pagination7192-7197
Date Published2019/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0027-8424
Accession NumberWOS:000463936900011
Keywordsaerosols; air pollution; ambient air-pollution; burden; climate change; co2; constraints; global; Greenhouse gases; health impacts; Hydrologic cycle; impacts; model; premature mortality; rainfall; sahel drought; Science & Technology - Other Topics
Abstract

Anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols are associated with climate change and human health risks. We used a global model to estimate the climate and public health outcomes attributable to fossil fuel use, indicating the potential benefits of a phaseout. We show that it can avoid an excess mortality rate of 3.61 (2.96-4.21) million per year from outdoor air pollution worldwide. This could be up to 5.55 (4.52-6.52) million per year by additionally controlling nonfossil anthropogenic sources. Globally, fossil-fuel-related emissions account for about 65% of the excess mortality, and 70% of the climate cooling by anthropogenic aerosols. The chemical influence of air pollution on aeolian dust contributes to the aerosol cooling. Because aerosols affect the hydrologic cycle, removing the anthropogenic emissions in the model increases rainfall by 10-70% over densely populated regions in India and 10-30% over northern China, and by 10-40% over Central America, West Africa, and the droughtprone Sahel, thus contributing to water and food security. Since aerosols mask the anthropogenic rise in global temperature, removing fossil-fuel-generated particles liberates 0.51(+/- 0.03) degrees C and all pollution particles 0.73(+/- 0.03) degrees C warming, reaching around 2 degrees C over North America and Northeast Asia. The steep temperature increase from removing aerosols can be moderated to about 0.36(+/- 0.06) degrees C globally by the simultaneous reduction of tropospheric ozone and methane. We conclude that a rapid phaseout of fossil-fuel-related emissions and major reductions of other anthropogenic sources are needed to save millions of lives, restore aerosol-perturbed rainfall patterns, and limit global warming to 2 degrees C.

DOI10.1073/pnas.1819989116
Student Publication: 
No