Study projects big gains for India, China from climate change mitigation efforts

A new study projects that the overall cost of implementing the Paris climate deal between 2020 and 2050 could be offset by savings made from reduced air pollution-related deaths and diseases. It says India and China would likely be the biggest beneficiaries of mitigation efforts.

The study, which is published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, said that the two countries would benefit immensely from climate mitigation efforts because a large section of their populations is exposed to unacceptable levels of pollution.

According to the study, there would be significantly fewer deaths due to air pollution between 2020-2050 globally. It added deaths could be reduced by 21-27 per cent (101-93 million) if the 2C target were met.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement signed by nearly 195 countries aims to limit the impact of climate change by preventing the global average temperature from rising to 2C above pre-industrial levels. The agreement will commence in 2020.

The study projects, the current country-level strategies could cost $7.5 trillion and potentially lead to 5 per cent fewer air pollution-related deaths globally between 2020-2050, compared with no mitigation strategies being in place. It estimated 128 million deaths for no mitigation and 122 million using country-by-country interventions.

''Depending on the strategy used to mitigate climate change, estimates suggest that the health savings from reduced air pollution could be between 1.4-2.5 times greater than the costs of climate change mitigation, globally,'' the study says.

Air pollution related health costs include medical treatment, patient care, and lost productivity.

''The health savings are exclusively those related to curbing air pollution,'' study co-author Anil Markandya of the Basque Centre for Climate Change in Spain told AFP.

''Other health benefits are not included, which of course makes our figures underestimates of the total benefits.''