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Quantifying air quality co-benefits of climate policy across sectors and regions


  • Toon Vandyck

    () (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Kimon Keramidas

    (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Stéphane Tchung-Ming

    (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Matthias Weitzel

    (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Rita Dingenen

    (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)


The overlap in sources of greenhouse gas and local air pollutant emissions creates scope for policy measures to limit global warming and improve air quality simultaneously. In a first step, we derive estimates for the air pollution mortality-related component of the social cost of atmospheric release for 6 pollutants and 56 regions in the world. Combining these estimates with emission inventory data highlights that sector contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution health impacts differ widely across regions. Next, simulations of future emission pathways consistent with the 2 °C and 1.5 °C targets illustrate that strengthening climate policy ambition raises the total value of air quality co-benefits despite lower marginal co-benefits per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions abated. Finally, we use results from a multi-model ensemble to quantify and compare the value of health-related ambient air quality co-benefits of climate policy across sectors and regions. On the global level, overall air quality co-benefits range from $8 to $40 per tonne of greenhouse gases abated in 2030, with median across models and scenarios of $18/tCO2e. These results mask strong differentiation across regions and sectors, with median co-benefits from mitigation in the residential and service sectors in India exceeding $500/tCO2e. By taking a sector- and region-specific perspective, the results presented here reveal promising channels to improve human health outcomes and to ratchet up greenhouse gas reduction efforts to bridge the gap between countries’ pledges and the global targets of the Paris Agreement.

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  • Toon Vandyck & Kimon Keramidas & Stéphane Tchung-Ming & Matthias Weitzel & Rita Dingenen, 2020. "Quantifying air quality co-benefits of climate policy across sectors and regions," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 1501-1517, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:163:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s10584-020-02685-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02685-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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