Scientific Publications

A multi-scale health impact assessment of air pollution over the 21st century



Background: Ozone and PM2.5 are current risk factors for premature death all over the globe. In coming decades, substantial improvements in public health may be achieved by reducing air pollution. To better understand the potential of emissions policies, studies are needed that assess possible future health impacts under alternative assumptions about future emissions and climate across multiple spatial scales.

Method: We used consistent climate–air-quality–health modeling framework across three geographical scales (World, Europe and Ile-de-France) to assess future (2030–2050) health impacts of ozone and PM2.5 under two emissions scenarios (Current Legislation Emissions, CLE, and Maximum Feasible Reductions, MFR).

Results: Consistently across the scales, we found more reductions in deaths under MFR scenario compared to CLE. 1.5 [95% CI: 0.4, 2.4] million CV deaths could be delayed each year in 2030 compared to 2010 under MFR scenario, 84% of which would occur in Asia, especially in China. In Europe, the benefits under MFR scenario (219 000 CV deaths) are noticeably larger than those under CLE (109 000 CV deaths). In Ile-de-France, under MFR more than 2830 annual CV deaths associated with PM2.5 changes could be delayed in 2050 compared to 2010. In Paris, ozone-related respiratory mortality should increase under both scenarios.

Conclusion: Multi-scale HIAs can illustrate the difference in direct consequences of costly mitigation policies and provide results that may help decision-makers choose between different policy alternatives at different scales.