December 1, 2021
Journal Article

Quantifying the reductions in mortality from air-pollution by cancelling new coal power plants

Abstract

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

Citation

Sampedro Martinez de Estivariz J., R. Cui, H.C. McJeon, S.J. Smith, N. Hultman, L. He, and A. Sen, et al. 2021. "Quantifying the reductions in mortality from air-pollution by cancelling new coal power plants." Energy and Climate Change 2. PNNL-ACT-SA-10477. doi:10.1016/j.egycc.2020.100023