Achieving the target set under the Paris Agreement could save over one million lives from air pollution alone every year, by 2050
India could get health benefits worth $3-8 trillion by limiting global warming, according to a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its special report released at the United Nations Climate Conference.
“The latest estimates from leading experts also indicate that the value of health gains from climate action would be approximately double the cost of mitigation policies at global level, and the benefit-to-cost ratio is even higher in countries such as China and India,” the report titled ‘Health and Climate Change’ said.
The Paris Agreement had set the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an absolute ceiling well below 2.0 degree Celsius.
The report said that achieving the target set under the Paris Agreement could save over one million lives from air pollution alone every year, by 2050.
China and India are likely to be the largest beneficiaries. This could help generate even larger net benefits by pursuing the 1.5 degree Celsius target rather than the 2.0 degree Celsius target ($0.27–2.31 trillion in China and $3.28–8.4 trillion in India).
“Exposure to air pollution causes seven million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated $ 5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4 percent of their GDP. Actions to meet the Paris goals would cost around 1 percent of global GDP,” the report said.
According to the report, air pollution is a particularly acute problem in Asia, with an estimated 2.2 million premature deaths annually, accounting for approximately a third of the global total.“There are known, quantifiable benefits to less carbon-intensive pathways. For example, if China were to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) commitments, the health benefits of mitigation would offset 18–62 percent of the cost,” the report added.