Quantifying the reductions in mortality from air-pollution by cancelling new coal power plants
Deep decarbonization paths to the 1.5°C or 2°C temperature stabilization futures require a rapid reduction in conventional coal-fired power plants, but countries are currently building 223 GW of new coal power capacity and plan to build 377 GW more in the next decade. Coal-fired plants are also a major contributor to air pollution related health impacts. We couple an integrated human-earth system model (GCAM) with an air quality model (TM5-FASST) to examine regional health co-benefits from cancelling new coal-fired plants worldwide. We find that cancelling all new proposed projects would decrease air pollution related premature mortality between 101,388 - 213,205 deaths (2-5%) in 2030, and 213,414 - 373,054 (5-8%) in 2050, globally, but heavily concentrated in developing Asia. Furthermore, we estimate that strengthening the climate target from 2°C to 1.5°C would avoid 326,351 additional mortalities in 2030, of which 251,011 (75%) are attributable to the incremental coal plant shutdown.
Revised: January 18, 2021 |
Published: December 1, 2021