Green Energy Will Save Lives
An analysis by researchers at the University of North Carolina has concluded that by 2050 1.3 million early deaths could be avoided every year by switching to green energy sources. The news comes hot on the heals of the US Environmental Protection Agencies announcement last week proposing a limit on carbon dioxide emissions from new coal and gas fired power plants. Whilst producing greenhouse gases, fossil fuels also give rise to large quantities of air pollutants, including small particulates.
It’s estimated that air pollution kills 2 million people globally every year. The study simulated global air quality in 2030, 2050 and 2100 using two scenarios. One where greenhouse gas emissions are quickly cut and another with no global climate policy. Scientists also looked at the economic benefit of cutting greenhouse gases showing that a saving of between $50 and $380 is made for every tonne of carbon dioxide that is cut depending on location. It’s likely that even these calculations were underestimated as they didn’t include effects on children?s health or the costs to society of caring for people suffering from pollution related disease. Whilst welcoming the research, Professor Martin Williams from the Environmental Research Group at Kings College in London sounded a note of caution, pointing out that pollution will only fall if emissions of greenhouse gases are cut in the right way as; “uncontrolled and inefficient combustion of wood can lead to the emission of lots of particles.”?