The cost of air pollution Highlights

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Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3.5 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems, from asthma to heart disease, for many more. This is costing OECD societies plus China and India an estimated USD 3.5 trillion a year in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health, and the trend is rising. But how much of the cost of those deaths and health problems is due to pollution from cars, trucks and motorcycles on our roads? Initial evidence suggests that in OECD countries, road transport is likely responsible for about half the USD 1.7 trillion total. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, The Cost of Air Pollution provides evidence that the health impacts of air pollution are about four times greater than previously estimated and the economic costs much higher than previously thought. These Highlights outline the key messages in the report.

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  • The cost of air pollution www.oecd.org/environment/cost-of-air-pollution.htm Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3.5 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems, from asthma to heart disease, for many more. This is costing OECD societies plus China and India an estimated USD 3.5trillion a year in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health, and the trend is rising. But how much of the cost of those deaths and health problems is due to pollution from cars, trucks and motorcycles on our roads? Initial evidence suggests that in OECD countries, road transport is likely responsible for about half the USD 1.7 trillion total. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, The Cost of Air Pollution provides evidence that the health impacts of air pollution are about four times greater than previously estimated and the economic costs much higher than previously thought. These Highlights outline the key messages in the report. policy highlights Health impacts of road transport
  • Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3.5 million people a year globally, far more than was previously estimated, according to new data collected under the auspices of the World Health Organization. Air pollution has now become the biggest environmental cause of premature death, overtaking poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water. In most OECD countries, the death toll from heart and lung diseases caused by air pollution is much higher than from traffic accidents. Building on this analysis, the OECD has estimated that people in its member countries would be willing to pay USD 1.6 trillion to avoid deaths caused by air pollution. In OECD countries, road transport is likely responsible for about half of this. Air pollution from all sources has fallen in many though not all, OECD countries in recent years, helped by stricter policies on emissions from vehicles. However, this has been offset by the switch to more polluting diesel vehicles. Emissions are increasing in China and India, because rapid growth in traffic is outpacing the adoption of tighter controls on emissions from vehicles. Main recommendations Remove any incentives for the purchase of diesel cars over gasoline cars. Maintain and tighten regulatory regimes, in particular vehicle standards regimes such as those currently in place in the European Union. Make test-cycle emissions more similar to the emissions the vehicles cause under normal use. Promote less-polluting forms of transport, including improved public transport. Continue the research on the cost of illness caused by air pollution and on the specific evidence linking it to road transport. Mitigate the impact of air pollution on vulnerable groups, such as the young and the old. The cost of air pollution Health impacts of road tranport 1 policyhighlights
  • 0,8 1,4 3,2 0,2 3,7 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 WHO's GDB 2000 study, 2000 data OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050, 2010 data WHO's GDB 2010 study, 2010 data WHO's GDB 2012 study, 2012 data PM (2005) PM (2010) Ozone PM+ ozone Ischaemic heart disease Heart strokes Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Lung cancer Acute lower respiratory infections in children 11% 3% Particulate matter is a complex mixture of sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water, suspended in the air. PM10 has a diameter of 10 microns or less, small enough to penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs. PM2.5 has a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, and can spread even further in the body. Nitrogen oxides (NOx ) are emitted by vehicles and industry. They react with sunlight to produce ozone. Excessive ozone in the air can cause breathing problems, trigger asthma, reduce lung function and cause lung disease. It includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), a toxic gas emitted by combustion processes (heating, power generation, vehicles engines), linked to bronchitis in asthmatic children and reduced lung function growth. Euro 4, Euro 5 (2009), and the forthcoming Euro 6 (2014) are European emissions standards for motor vehicles and replacement parts. The Euro emission limits regulate how much specific pollutants, such as NOx , may be emitted by a car when it is tested under laboratory conditions and using a specific driving cycle. Diesel vehicles in the EU under the Euro 5 standard are allowed a NOx emission level that is more than three times as high as for gasoline vehicles. Although emission standards as measured under test conditions have decreased over time, recent research suggests that actual, on-road NOx emissions from diesel vehicles did not change during the last decade. Adapted from WHO, 2014 and ICCT.org. Note: The Cost of Air Pollution is based on mortality figures from the GBD 2010 study. WHO has later on published 2012 data that indicate that mortalities from outdoor air pollution are still increasing. Source : WHO, 2014 40% 40% 6% OECD : the cost of air pollution Some 3.4 million deaths are attributed to ambient outdoor air pollution in 2010. The World Health Organization released an updated number of 3.7 million for 2012, emphasising the gravity and worsening of the problem. We now have more advanced monitoring technology for measuring emissions and ambient concentrations of pollutants, as well as a more comprehensive and rigorous methodology for relating exposure to air pollutants with mortality. In OECD countries, the total number of deaths was reduced by 4% between 2005 and 2010. However, progress has not been uniform. Mortalities fell in 20 OECD countries, but increased in 14. In China, deaths increased by about 5% in this period, and in India by 12%. China is home to one-fifth of the worlds population but accounts for nearly two-fifths of the global death toll linked to outdoor air pollution. India has far fewer air pollution-related mortalities, but deaths from ambient air pollution are rising more quickly. Even when emissions have been reduced, the lagged effect of past pollution often causes a continuing increase in the global death toll. Air pollution kills Figure 1: Outdoor air pollution- caused deaths. Breakdown by disease WHATs the matter with particulate matter ? Figure 2: Deaths caused by outdoor air pollution (in millions) OECD : the cost of air pollution policyHighlights 32
  • 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 140000 160000 Low Mid High MTFR EURmillionsperyear Costs over baseline Benefits over baseline (With mean VSL) A variety of sources are responsible for harmful air pollutants and these vary among countries. In many developing and emerging economies, small boilers are important sources. Indoor air pollution from heating and cooking is also a major cause of death, but this is not considered in this analysis. Electricity generation, industry and shipping (in coastal areas) can also generate harmful air pollutants. However, in many countries, road transport is a growing and sometimes the major source of harmful air pollutants. lower emissions per car... but more cars. Most countries have taken measures to reduce pollution from vehicles. Much of the OECD world, including the United States and the European Union, has shown a downward trend in emissions of pollutants due to vehicle emission standards. In Europe, transport-specific emissions diminished by 24% for PM10 , by 27% for PM2.5 and by 31% for NOx between 2002 and 2011 (EEA, 2013). This reduction is largely due to the introduction of progressively tighter emission limits for Euro 4 vehicles in 2005 and Euro 5 vehicles in 2009. Countries like China and India have established relatively strict vehicle standards, compared to other emerging and developing countries. For example, the Euro 5 Standard was adopted in Beijing in 2012. However, the rapid growth in traffic has outpaced the adoption of tighter emission limits. In many developing countries, vehicle standards remain very weak. economic growth brings a societal demand for clean air, but it also brings a rise in vehicle ownership and vehicle kilometres driven. Between 2008 and 2011, Chinas car population effectively doubled from around 50 million to around 100 million. While in OECD countries there has been a downward trend in emissions of pollutants from road transport over the last two decades, this has been off-set by a shift from less-polluting gasoline vehicles to more-polluting diesel vehicles. The full impact of air pollution occurs after a time lag. As a result, mortalities have not fallen in line with the overall decrease in air emissions. In much of the rest of the world, the shift to diesel has reinforced the prevailing upward trends in emissions. In India, this tendency has been amplified by large subsidies for diesel. diesel vehicles generate most of the harmful air pollutants emitted by vehicles, as much as 8090% in some countries. Although the technology is improving, diesel still generates more harmful pollutants than gasoline. In addition, the combustion of one litre of diesel causes more CO2 emissions than the combustion of one litre of gasoline. In many countries, the majority of new cars entering the market are diesel. One reason is that many countries provide tax incentives to purchase diesel cars. Switzerland, the UK and the US are the only countries where taxes on diesel are higher than on gasoline. Taxes on motor vehicles in many countries also tend to stimulate the purchase of diesel vehicles. The provision of incentives for diesel is often justified on the grounds that diesel vehicles are more efficient than gasoline. This is true: you can drive more kilometres per litre of diesel than gasoline. But drivers will benefit from this efficiency anyway,