Articles | Volume 13, issue 15
Research article
12 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 12 Aug 2013

Contribution from the ten major emission sectors in Europe and Denmark to the health-cost externalities of air pollution using the EVA model system – an integrated modelling approach

J. Brandt, J. D. Silver, J. H. Christensen, M. S. Andersen, J. H. Bønløkke, T. Sigsgaard, C. Geels, A. Gross, A. B. Hansen, K. M. Hansen, G. B. Hedegaard, E. Kaas, and L. M. Frohn

Abstract. We have developed an integrated model system, EVA (Economic Valuation of Air pollution), based on the impact-pathway chain, to assess the health-related economic externalities of air pollution resulting from specific emission sources or sectors, which can be used to support policy-making with respect to emission control. Central for the system is a newly developed tagging method capable of calculating the contribution from a specific emission source or sector to the overall air pollution levels, taking into account the non-linear atmospheric chemistry. The main objective of this work is to identify the anthropogenic emission sources in Europe and Denmark that contribute the most to human health impacts. In this study, we applied the EVA system to Europe and Denmark, with a detailed analysis of health-related external costs from the ten major emission sectors and their relative contributions. The paper contains a thorough description of the EVA system, the main results from the assessment of the main contributors and a discussion of the most important atmospheric chemical reactions relevant for interpreting the results. The main conclusion from the analysis is that the major contributors to health-related external costs are major power production, agriculture, road traffic, and non-industrial domestic combustion, including wood combustion. We conclude that when regulating the emissions of ammonia from the agricultural sector, both the impacts on nature and on human health should be taken into account. This study confirms that air pollution constitutes a serious problem for human health and that the related external costs are considerable. The results in this work emphasize the importance of defining the right questions in the decision-making process. The results from assessing the impacts from each emission sector depend clearly on the assumption that the other emission sectors are not changed, especially emissions changing concentrations of atmospheric OH and therefore lifetimes of other chemical species.

Final-revised paper