PM2.5 pollution-related health impacts of China's projected CO2 mitigation in the power generation sector under the Paris Agreement
China's implementation of the ambitious mitigation pledge under the Paris Agreement is expected to bear significant economic costs, yet it would also bring notable health benefits. Excluding studies that compare implementation costs with potential health benefits at national levels, previous studies have not explored the health impacts of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by country and particularly in regional detail. In this modelling study, the health benefits of China's NDC in the power generation sector are estimated, economically quantified, and compared with the implementation costs, both at the national and regional level.
It is found that 18~62% of the implementation costs of China's NDC could be covered by the health benefits of these actions in 2030. Furthermore, in 2050 the overall health benefits would substantially increase to as much as three to nine times the original implementation costs of the NDC. However, important regional impacts emerge. Notably, this scenario shows greater implementation costs and higher air pollution levels in northwest China, resulting in 10,083 more premature deaths annually by 2030. Whilst highly undesirable, this situation would fade out by around 2050. Although a no-worse health than usual solution at the regional level does exist, this would not be cost effective overall. Health impacts should be carefully considered by both national and regional decision makers in realising China's NDCs and mechanisms (such as compensation schemes) should be established for communities that are negatively affected.
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