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Journal Article

Air quality and health implications of 1.5 °C–2 °C climate pathways under considerations of ageing population: a multi-model scenario analysis


Rafaj,  Peter
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Kiesewetter,  Gregor
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Krey,  Volker
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Schoepp,  Wolfgang
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Bertram,  Christoph
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Drouet,  Laurent
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Fricko,  Oliver
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Fujimori,  Shinichiro
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Harmsen,  Mathijs
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Hilaire,  Jérôme
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Huppmann,  Daniel
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Klimont,  Zbigniew
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Kolp,  Peter
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Aleluia Reis,  Lara
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van Vuuren,  Detlef
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Rafaj, P., Kiesewetter, G., Krey, V., Schoepp, W., Bertram, C., Drouet, L., Fricko, O., Fujimori, S., Harmsen, M., Hilaire, J., Huppmann, D., Klimont, Z., Kolp, P., Aleluia Reis, L., van Vuuren, D. (2021): Air quality and health implications of 1.5 °C–2 °C climate pathways under considerations of ageing population: a multi-model scenario analysis. - Environmental Research Letters, 16, 4, 045005.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26745
Low-carbon pathways consistent with the 2 °C and 1.5 °C long-term climate goals defined in the Paris Agreement are likely to induce substantial co-benefits for air pollution and associated health impacts. In this analysis, using five global integrated assessment models, we quantify the emission reductions in key air pollutants resulting from the decarbonization of energy systems and the resulting changes in premature mortality attributed to the exposure to ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter. The emission reductions differ by sectors. Sulfur emissions are mainly reduced from power plants and industry, cuts in nitrogen oxides are dominated by the transport sector, and the largest abatement of primary fine particles is achieved in the residential sector. The analysis also shows that health benefits are the largest when policies addressing climate change mitigation and stringent air pollution controls are coordinated. We decompose the key factors that determine the extent of health co-benefits, focusing on Asia: changes in emissions, urbanization rates, population growth and ageing. Demographic processes, particularly due to ageing population, counteract in many regions the mortality reductions realized through lower emissions.