Air Pollution Impacts Cost $8 Billion Per Day, Greenpeace Study Shows
The health impacts of air pollution cost countries US$8 billion per day, according to a study released this week by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
“That’s about 3.3% of global gross domestic product, or $2.9 trillion per year,” Bloomberg News reports. “China, the U.S., and India bear the highest economic cost of soaring pollution, at an estimated $900 billion, $600 billion, and $150 billion a year, respectively.”
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“Every year, air pollution from fossil fuels takes millions of lives, increases our risk of stroke, lung cancer, and asthma, and costs us trillions of dollars,” said Greenpeace East Asia clean air campaigner Minwoo Son. “But this is a problem that we know how to solve, by transitioning to renewable energy sources, phasing out diesel and petrol cars, and building public transport.”
“Not only is the burning of fossil fuel cooking our climate, it’s impacting our health and economy,” agreed Greenpeace Canada Senior Energy Strategist Keith Stewart. “Many in Canada’s oil patch fear the transition to renewable energy, but switching to cleaner energy will literally make it easier to breathe, while creating jobs and helping solve the climate crisis.”
“Air pollution continues to harm billions of people on a daily basis, despite efforts by some countries and companies to push for greater use of renewable energy and cleaner fuels,” Bloomberg adds, citing the report. “Burning coal, oil, and gas causes health issues, potentially leading to 4.5 million premature deaths around the world each year, with 40,000 children dying before their fifth birthday due to the exposure to fine dust particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres.”
“While toxic air pollution is a global threat, the solutions are increasingly available and affordable,” Greenpeace adds. “Moreover, many of the solutions to air pollution are also the solutions to climate change. Renewable energy and clean energy-powered mass transport systems not only reduce toxic air pollution, but are also critical to limiting the global temperature increase to below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels.”