Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change

Raquel A. Silva, J. Jason West, Jean François Lamarque, Drew T. Shindell, William J. Collins, Greg Faluvegi, Gerd A. Folberth, Larry W. Horowitz, Tatsuya Nagashima, Vaishali Naik, Steven T. Rumbold, Kengo Sudo, Toshihiko Takemura, Daniel Bergmann, Philip Cameron-Smith, Ruth M. Doherty, Beatrice Josse, Ian A. MacKenzie, David S. Stevenson, Guang Zeng

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Abstract

Ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are associated with premature human mortality; their future concentrations depend on changes in emissions, which dominate the near-term, and on climate change. Previous global studies of the air-quality-related health effects of future climate change used single atmospheric models. However, in related studies, mortality results differ among models. Here we use an ensemble of global chemistry-climate models to show that premature mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change, under the high greenhouse gas scenario RCP8.5 (ref.), is probably positive. We estimate 3,340 (-30,300 to 47,100) ozone-related deaths in 2030, relative to 2000 climate, and 43,600 (-195,000 to 237,000) in 2100 (14% of the increase in global ozone-related mortality). For PM2.5, we estimate 55,600 (-34,300 to 164,000) deaths in 2030 and 215,000 (-76,100 to 595,000) in 2100 (countering by 16% the global decrease in PM2.5-related mortality). Premature mortality attributable to climate change is estimated to be positive in all regions except Africa, and is greatest in India and East Asia. Most individual models yield increased mortality from climate change, but some yield decreases, suggesting caution in interpreting results from a single model. Climate change mitigation is likely to reduce air-pollution-related mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-651
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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    Silva, R. A., West, J. J., Lamarque, J. F., Shindell, D. T., Collins, W. J., Faluvegi, G., Folberth, G. A., Horowitz, L. W., Nagashima, T., Naik, V., Rumbold, S. T., Sudo, K., Takemura, T., Bergmann, D., Cameron-Smith, P., Doherty, R. M., Josse, B., MacKenzie, I. A., Stevenson, D. S., & Zeng, G. (2017). Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 7(9), 647-651. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3354