A new study estimates more than 200,000 premature deaths have been prevented by cutting carbon emissions worldwide
Fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal — are not only primarily to blame for climate change, due to the greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere when burned to generate energy. They also spew out harmful particulates that directly impact human health and cause millions of premature deaths around the world every year.
The good news is that weaning ourselves off these fossil fuels improves global health, and saves lives, as a new macro-study from The Lancet Countdown highlights. Between 2005 and 2020, annual deaths attributable to PM2.5 particles linked to fossil fuels fell from 1,437,000 to 1,212,000, or a 15.7% reduction, according to the calculations contained in the study, which was just released to the public on Wednesday, November 15, and involved the participation of 114 scientists and health professionals from 52 institutions.
The main reason for this drop in premature deaths is the decline in coal-derived air pollution worldwide, the report explains. Eighty percent of the reduction in mortality from PM2.5 particles (those with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns, which are more dangerous than larger particulates) is due to the decline in coal use.
Source: El Pais