9.12. Secondary Health Benefits of Mitigation Policies
Actions taken to reduce GHG emissions are very likely to benefit population
health (Wang and Smith, 1999; WHO, 1999c; OECD, 2000; see also TAR
WGIII Chapter 9). Fossil fuel combustion releases
local hazardous air pollutants (especially particulates, ozone, nitrogen oxides,
and sulfur dioxide) and GHGs. Hence, policies to reduce GHG emissions via reductions
in vehicle exhausts or an increase in the efficiency of indoor household cookstoves
would yield great benefits to health (see also TAR WGIII
Section 18.104.22.168). Controlling road traffic also would
benefit health through reductions in road traffic accidentsa leading cause
of death worldwide (Murray and Lopez, 1996).
The benefits to health from mitigation are highly dependent on the technologies
and sectors involved. A study by Wang and Smith (1999) indicates that a significant
number of premature deaths can be prevented via reductions in particulate emissions
in the household sector (i.e., domestic fuel use) in China. The Working Group
on Public Health and Fossil Fuel Combustion (1997) estimates that a worldwide
reduction in outdoor exposure to particulate matter (PM10), under a Kyoto-level
(but global) emissions mitigation scenario, would avert 700,000 premature deaths
annually by 2020 compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This figure, however,
can be regarded only as indicative, given the broad assumptions and many uncertainties
that underlay the estimation. Large numbers of people lack access to clean energy.
Renewable energy sourcesparticularly solar and windcould help provide
this much needed energy while minimizing GHG emissions and maximizing health
gain (Haines and Kammen, 2000).