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Air Pollution from Fossil Fuels Claims 5 Million Lives Annually, New Study Reveals

Air Pollution from Fossil Fuels Claims 5 Million Lives Annually, New Study Reveals

Air pollution resulting from the usage of fossil fuels is responsible for the loss of 5 million lives globally each year. This staggering death toll, exceeding previous estimations, is disclosed in the most comprehensive study of its kind. [1]

Extensive research underscores that transitioning from fossil fuels to clean and sustainable energy sources could prevent numerous fatalities caused by air pollution and contribute to the battle against global warming. Nonetheless, until now, mortality projections have exhibited considerable disparities.

A novel modelling study indicates that air pollution originating from fossil fuel utilisation across industry, power generation, and transportation leads to 5.1 million preventable deaths on a global scale annually. These findings have been published in The BMJ. [1]

This contribution from fossil fuels equates to a substantial 61% of the total estimated 8.3 million deaths attributed to outdoor air pollution from all sources in 2019. Notably, these updated figures surpass most previously reported values, indicating that the elimination of fossil fuels could yield a more significant reduction in attributable mortality than previously envisaged. [1] [2]

The international team of researchers behind these findings conveyed, “Our results suggest that a global phase-out of fossil fuels will have substantial health benefits, surpassing the majority of earlier studies. These data align with the United Nations’ call for an increased reliance on clean and renewable energy, as outlined in the sustainable development goals for 2030 and the aspiration for climate neutrality by 2050.” [1]

Ambient air pollution remains the foremost environmental hazard linked to illness and fatality. Nevertheless, there have been limited global studies that attribute deaths to specific sources of air pollution, resulting in wide-ranging outcomes.[1]

To address this gap, a multi-national research consortium hailing from the UK, US, Germany, Spain, and Cyprus employed a novel model to ascertain deaths arising from air pollution attributable to fossil fuels. They also evaluated potential health gains resulting from policies advocating the replacement of fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy sources. [1]

Their assessment of excessive deaths relied on data from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study, alongside Nasa satellite-based data on fine particulate matter and population demographics. Additionally, they incorporated atmospheric chemistry, aerosol, and relative risk modelling for the year 2019. [1]

The outcomes of this analysis demonstrate that, in 2019, 8.3 million fatalities worldwide were linked to fine particles (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) present in ambient air, with fossil fuels accounting for a substantial 61% (5.1 million) of these deaths. [1]

The researchers concluded that “Significant reductions in emissions of air pollutants, particularly through the phased abandonment of fossil fuels, could yield considerable and beneficial health outcomes. The results indicate that the mortality toll attributed to air pollution from fossil fuel usage surpasses most prior estimations.” [1]

One noteworthy reason for their model generating larger estimates than earlier studies lies in its exclusive focus on outdoor air pollution. Despite prevailing uncertainties, the urgency of the Paris climate agreement’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050 underscores the potential for remarkable public health advantages and climate-related synergies associated with replacing fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy sources.

The dire revelations of this study underscore the urgent need for transformative solutions like those offered by Clearvolt. The staggering toll of 5 million lives annually lost to air pollution from fossil fuels is a clarion call for change. Clearvolt, with its innovative solar energy model, stands at the vanguard of this change. By offering zero CapEx solar solutions, Clearvolt empowers businesses to shift from fossil fuel dependence to cleaner, renewable energy sources. This transition is crucial not only for reducing the carbon footprint but also for combating the perilous air pollution highlighted in the study.

Clearvolt is offering a beacon of hope in the fight against the devastating effects of air pollution and climate change. Through such innovative energy solutions, we edge closer to a future where clean air and sustainable energy are not just aspirations but realities.

  1. Anon, (n.d.). Air pollution from fossil fuel use accounts for over 5 million extra deaths a year | BMJ. [online] Available at: https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/air-pollution-from-fossil-fuel-use-accounts-for-over-5-million-extra-deaths-a-year/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2023].
  2. Lelieveld, J., Haines, A., Burnett, R., Tonne, C., Klingmüller, K., Münzel, T. and Pozzer, A. (2023). Air pollution deaths attributable to fossil fuels: observational and modelling study. BMJ, [online] 383, p.e077784. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2023-077784.