Globally, the cost of the Paris Climate Agreement could be outweighed by health savings from reduced air pollution – expert comment

Authors of a new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, say that depending on the strategy used to mitigate climate change, the health savings from reduced air pollution could be greater than the costs of climate change mitigation

The Paris Climate Agreement, which is due to commence in 2020, aims to reduce the impacts of climate change by preventing an increase in the global average temperature.

Responding to the study, Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“This important paper provides compelling evidence that reducing greenhouse gas emissions not only reduces the risks of dangerous climate change but also provides major near term health and economic benefits from reduced air pollution.

“When the health (co)-benefits of reduced air pollution exposure are taken into account using a standard economic approach the monetised benefits outweigh the costs in India and China and substantially offset the costs in Europe and the USA. The results should provide added motivation for decision makers to implement deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, building on the ambitions of the Paris Treaty.”

Andy was a member of Working Group 2 of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the second and third assessment reports and review editor of the health chapter in the fifth assessment report. He also gave a keynote speech at the recent WHO European Healthy Cities Network Summit of Mayors - stressing that the future of planetary health for generations to come will depend very much on the policies cities put in place now.