Consumption in the G20 nations causes particulate air pollution resulting in two million premature deaths annually

Keisuke Nansai, Susumu Tohno, Satoru Chatani, Keiichiro Kanemoto, Shigemi Kagawa, Yasushi Kondo, Wataru Takayanagi, Manfred Lenzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Worldwide exposure to ambient PM2.5 causes over 4 million premature deaths annually. As most of these deaths are in developing countries, without internationally coordinated efforts this polarized situation will continue. As yet, however, no studies have quantified nation-to-nation consumer responsibility for global mortality due to both primary and secondary PM2.5 particles. Here we quantify the global footprint of PM2.5-driven premature deaths for the 19 G20 nations in a position to lead such efforts. G20 consumption in 2010 was responsible for 1.983 [95% Confidence Interval: 1.685–2.285] million premature deaths, at an average age of 67, including 78.6 [71.5–84.8] thousand infant deaths, implying that the G20 lifetime consumption of about 28 [24–33] people claims one life. Our results indicate that G20 nations should take responsibility for their footprint rather than focusing solely on transboundary air pollution, as this would expand opportunities for reducing PM2.5-driven premature mortality. Given the infant mortality footprint identified, it would moreover contribute to ensuring infant lives are not unfairly left behind in countries like South Africa, which have a weak relationship with G20 nations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6286
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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