skip to main content


Title: Change in household fuels dominates the decrease in PM 2.5 exposure and premature mortality in China in 2005–2015

To tackle the severe fine particle (PM2.5) pollution in China, the government has implemented stringent control policies mainly on power plants, industry, and transportation since 2005, but estimates of the effectiveness of the policy and the temporal trends in health impacts are subject to large uncertainties. By adopting an integrated approach that combines chemical transport simulation, ambient/household exposure evaluation, and health-impact assessment, we find that the integrated population-weighted exposure to PM2.5(IPWE) decreased by 47% (95% confidence interval, 37–55%) from 2005 [180 (146–219) μg/m3] to 2015 [96 (83–111) μg/m3]. Unexpectedly, 90% (86–93%) of such reduction is attributed to reduced household solid-fuel use, primarily resulting from rapid urbanization and improved incomes rather than specific control policies. The IPWE due to household fuels for both cooking and heating decreased, but the impact of cooking is significantly larger. The reduced household-related IPWE is estimated to avoid 0.40 (0.25–0.57) million premature deaths annually, accounting for 33% of the PM2.5-induced mortality in 2015. The IPWE would be further reduced by 63% (57–68%) if the remaining household solid fuels were replaced by clean fuels, which would avoid an additional 0.51 (0.40–0.64) million premature deaths. Such a transition to clean fuels, especially for heating, requires technology innovation and policy support to overcome the barriers of high cost of distribution systems, as is recently being attempted in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei area. We suggest that household-fuel use be more highly prioritized in national control policies, considering its effects on PM2.5exposures.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1701526
NSF-PAR ID:
10079875
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
115
Issue:
49
ISSN:
0027-8424
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 12401-12406
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Nearly three billion people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rely on polluting fuels, resulting in millions of avoidable deaths annually. Polluting fuels also emit short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs). Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and grid-based electricity are scalable alternatives to polluting fuels but have raised climate and health concerns. Here, we compare emissions and climate impacts of a business-as-usual household cooking fuel trajectory to four large-scale transitions to gas and/or grid electricity in 77 LMICs. We account for upstream and end-use emissions from gas and electric cooking, assuming electrical grids evolve according to the 2022 World Energy Outlook’s ‘Stated Policies’ Scenario. We input the emissions into a reduced-complexity climate model to estimate radiative forcing and temperature changes associated with each scenario. We find full transitions to LPG and/or electricity decrease emissions from both well-mixed GHG and SLCFs, resulting in a roughly 5 millikelvin global temperature reduction by 2040. Transitions to LPG and/or electricity also reduce annual emissions of PM2.5by over 6 Mt (99%) by 2040, which would substantially lower health risks from household air pollution. Full transitions to LPG or grid electricity in LMICs improve climate impacts over BAU trajectories.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Long‐term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is the second leading risk factor of premature death in Sub‐Saharan Africa. We use GEOS‐Chem to quantify the effects of (a) trash burning, (b) residential solid‐fuel burning, and (c) open biomass burning (BB) (i.e., landscape fires) on ambient PM2.5and PM2.5‐attributable mortality in Africa. Using a series of sensitivity simulations, we excluded each of the three combustion sources in each of five African regions. We estimate that in 2017 emissions from these three combustion sources within Africa increased global ambient PM2.5by 2%, leading to 203,000 (95% confidence interval: 133,000–259,000) premature mortalities yr−1globally and 167,000 premature mortalities yr−1in Africa. BB contributes more ambient PM2.5‐related premature mortalities per year (63%) than residential solid‐fuel burning (29%) and trash burning (8%). Open BB in Central Africa leads to the largest number of PM2.5‐attributed mortalities inside the region, while trash burning in North Africa and residential solid‐fuel burning in West Africa contribute the most regional mortalities for each source. Overall, Africa has a unique ambient air pollution profile because natural sources, such as windblown dust and BB, contribute strongly to ambient PM2.5levels and PM2.5‐related mortality. Air pollution policies may need to focus on taking preventative measures to avoid exposure to ambient PM2.5from these less‐controllable sources.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    To reduce local air pollution, many ports in developed countries require berthed ships to use shore-based electricity instead of burning diesel to meet their electricity requirement for loads such as lights, cargo-handling equipment, and air conditioning. The benefits of this strategy in developing countries remain understudied. Based on government data for all major ports in India, we find that switching from high-sulfur fuel to shore power reduces hoteling emissions of particulate matter (PM2.5) by 88%; SO2by 39%; NOxby 85%; but increases CO2emissions by 12%. Switching from low-sulfur fuel reduces hoteling emissions of PM2.5by 46% and NOxby 84% but increases SO2emissions by 240% and CO2emissions by 17%. The lifetime cost savings from the switch to electricity are $73 M for high-sulfur fuel and $370 M for low-sulfur fuel. We estimate that switching from high-sulfur fuel to shore power might avoid at most a couple of dozen premature deaths each year, whereas switching from low-sulfur fuel could lead to a slight increase in premature mortality. Therefore, policymakers must first clean up power generation for shore power to be a viable strategy to improve air quality in Indian port cities.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract Ambient fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) is the world’s leading environmental health risk factor. Reducing the PM 2.5 disease burden requires specific strategies that target dominant sources across multiple spatial scales. We provide a contemporary and comprehensive evaluation of sector- and fuel-specific contributions to this disease burden across 21 regions, 204 countries, and 200 sub-national areas by integrating 24 global atmospheric chemistry-transport model sensitivity simulations, high-resolution satellite-derived PM 2.5 exposure estimates, and disease-specific concentration response relationships. Globally, 1.05 (95% Confidence Interval: 0.74–1.36) million deaths were avoidable in 2017 by eliminating fossil-fuel combustion (27.3% of the total PM 2.5 burden), with coal contributing to over half. Other dominant global sources included residential (0.74 [0.52–0.95] million deaths; 19.2%), industrial (0.45 [0.32–0.58] million deaths; 11.7%), and energy (0.39 [0.28–0.51] million deaths; 10.2%) sectors. Our results show that regions with large anthropogenic contributions generally had the highest attributable deaths, suggesting substantial health benefits from replacing traditional energy sources. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Global economic development and urbanization during the past two decades have driven the increases in demand of personal and commercial vehicle fleets, especially in developing countries, which has likely resulted in changes in year-to-year vehicle tailpipe emissions associated with aerosols and trace gases. However, long-term trends of impacts of global gasoline and diesel emissions on air quality and human health are not clear. In this study, we employ the Community Earth System Model in conjunction with the newly developed Community Emissions Data System as anthropogenic emission inventory to quantify the long-term trends of impacts of global gasoline and diesel emissions on ambient air quality and human health for the period of 2000–2015. Global gasoline and diesel emissions contributed to regional increases in annual mean surface PM2.5(particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters ⩽2.5μm) concentrations by up to 17.5 and 13.7µg m−3, and surface ozone (O3) concentrations by up to 7.1 and 7.2 ppbv, respectively, for 2000–2015. However, we also found substantial declines of surface PM2.5and O3concentrations over Europe, the US, Canada, and China for the same period, which suggested the co-benefits of air quality and human health from improving gasoline and diesel fuel quality and tightening vehicle emissions standards. Globally, we estimate the mean annual total PM2.5- and O3-induced premature deaths are 139 700–170 700 for gasoline and 205 200–309 300 for diesel, with the corresponding years of life lost of 2.74–3.47 and 4.56–6.52 million years, respectively. Diesel and gasoline emissions create health-effect disparities between the developed and developing countries, which are likely to aggravate afterwards.

     
    more » « less