Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-86
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-86

  15 Mar 2021

15 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Reducing future air pollution-related premature mortality over Europe by mitigating emissions: assessing an 80 % renewable energies scenario

Patricia Tarín-Carrasco1, Ulas Im2, Camilla Geels2, Laura Palacios-Peña1,3, and Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero1,4 Patricia Tarín-Carrasco et al.
  • 1Physics of the Earth, Regional Campus of International Excellence (CEIR) “Campus Mare Nostrum", University of Murcia, Spain
  • 2Aarhus University, Department of Environmental Science, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 3Dept. of Meteorology, Meteored, Almendricos, Spain
  • 4Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia (IMIB-Arrixaca), Spain

Abstract. Worldwide air quality has worsened in the last decades as a consequence of increased anthropogenic emissions, in particular from the sector of power generation. The evidence of the effects of atmospheric pollution (and particularly fine particulate matter, PM2.5) on human health is unquestionable nowadays, producing mainly cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, morbidity and even mortality. These effects can even enhance in the future as a consequence of climate penalties and future changes in the population projected. Because of all these reasons, the main objective of this contribution is the estimation of annual excess premature deaths (PD) associated to PM2.5 on present (1991–2010) and future (2031–2050) European population by using non-linear exposure-response functions. The endpoints included are Lung Cancer (LC), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Low Respiratory Infections (LRI), Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD), cerebrovascular disease (CEV) and other Non-Communicable Diseases (other NCD). PM2.5 concentrations come from coupled chemistry-climate regional simulations under present and RCP8.5 future scenarios. The cases assessed include the estimation of the present incidence of PD (PRE-P2010), the quantification of the role of a changing climate on PD (FUT-P2010) and the importance of changes in the population projected for the year 2050 on the incidence of excess PD (FUT-P2050). Two additional cases (REN80-P2010 and REN80-P2050) evaluate the impact on premature mortality rates of a mitigation scenario in which the 80 % of European energy production comes from renewables sources. The results indicate that PM2.5 accounts for nearly 895,000 [95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) 725,000-1,056,000] annual excess PD over Europe, with IHD being the largest contributor to premature mortality associated to fine particles in both present and future scenarios. The case isolating the effects of climate penalty (FUT-P2010) estimates a variation +0.2 % on mortality rates over the whole domain. However, under this scenario the incidence of PD over central Europe will benefit from a decrease of PM2.5 (−2.2 PD/100,000 h.) while in eastern (+1.3 PD/100,000 h.) and western (+0.4 PD/100,000 h.) Europe PD will increase due to increased PM2.5 levels. The changes in the projected population (FUT-P2050) will lead to a large increase of annual excess PD (1,540,000, 95 % CI 1,247,000-1,818,000), +71.96 % with respect to PRE-P2010 and +71.67 % to FUT-P2010) due to the aging of the European population. Last, the mitigation scenario (REN80-P2050) demonstrates that the effects of a mitigation policy increasing the ratio of renewable sources in the energy mix energy could lead to a decrease of over 60,000 (95 % CI 48,500-70,900) annual PD for the year 2050 (a decrease of −4 % in comparison with the no-mitigation scenario, FUT-P2050). In spite of the uncertainties inherent to future estimations, this contribution reveals the need of the governments and public entities to take action and bet for air pollution mitigation policies.

Patricia Tarín-Carrasco et al.

Status: open (until 10 May 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-86', Anonymous Referee #2, 22 Mar 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-86', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Apr 2021 reply

Patricia Tarín-Carrasco et al.

Patricia Tarín-Carrasco et al.

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Short summary
The evidence of the effects of atmospheric pollution (and particularly fine particulate matter, PM2.5) on human mortality is unquestionable nowadays. Here, 895,000 annual premature deaths (PD) for the present (1991–2010) are estimated, increasing to 1,540,000 due to the aging of the European population in the year 2050. Last, the implementation of a mitigation scenario (80 % of energy production in Europe from renewable sources) could lead to a decrease of over 60,000 annual PD for the year 2050.
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