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Global Air Quality and Health Co-benefits of Mitigating Near-term Climate Change Through Methane and Black Carbon Emission ControlsTropospheric ozone and black carbon (BC), a component of fine particulate matter (PM < or = 2.5 microns in aerodynamic diameter; PM2.5), are associated with premature mortality and they disrupt global and regional climate. Objectives: We examined the air quality and health benefits of 14 specific emission control measures targeting BC and methane, an ozone precursor, that were selected because of their potential to reduce the rate of climate change over the next 20-40 years. Methods: We simulated the impacts of mitigation measures on outdoor concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone using two composition-climate models, and calculated associated changes in premature PM2.5‑ and ozone-related deaths using epidemiologically derived concentration-response functions. Results: We estimated that, for PM2.5 and ozone, respectively, fully implementing these measures could reduce global population-weighted average surface concentrations by 23-34% and 7-17% and avoid 0.6-4.4 and 0.04-0.52 million annual premature deaths globally in 2030. More than 80% of the health benefits are estimated to occur in Asia. We estimated that BC mitigation measures would achieve approximately 98% of the deaths that would be avoided if all BC and methane mitigation measures were implemented, due to reduced BC and associated reductions of nonmethane ozone precursor and organic carbon emissions as well as stronger mortality relationships for PM2.5 relative to ozone. Although subject to large uncertainty, these estimates and conclusions are not strongly dependent on assumptions for the concentration-response function. Conclusions: In addition to climate benefits, our findings indicate that the methane and BC emission control measures would have substantial co-benefits for air quality and public health worldwide, potentially reversing trends of increasing air pollution concentrations and mortality in Africa and South, West, and Central Asia. These projected benefits are independent of carbon dioxide mitigation measures. Benefits of BC measures are underestimated because we did not account for benefits from reduced indoor exposures and because outdoor exposure estimates were limited by model spatial resolution.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Anenberg, Susan C. (Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC, United States)
Schwartz, Joel (Harvard School of Public Health Boston, MA, United States)
Shindell, Drew Todd (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Amann, Markus (International Inst. for Applied Systems Analysis Laxenburg, Austria)
Faluvegi, Gregory S. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Klimont, Zbigniew (International Inst. for Applied Systems Analysis Laxenburg, Austria)
Janssens-Maenhout, Greet (CEE Joint Research Center Ispra, Italy)
Pozzoli, Luca (CEE Joint Research Center Ispra, Italy)
Dingenen, Rita Van (CEE Joint Research Center Ispra, Italy)
Vignati, Elisabetta (CEE Joint Research Center Ispra, Italy)
Emberson, Lisa (York Univ. United Kingdom)
Muller, Nicholas Z. (Middlebury Coll. VT, United States)
West, J. Jason (North Carolina Univ. Chapel Hill, NC, United States)
Williams, Martin (London Univ. United Kingdom)
Demkine, Volodymyr (United Nations Environment Programme Nairobi, Kenya)
Hicks, W. Kevin (York Univ. United Kingdom)
Kuylenstierna, Johan (York Univ. United Kingdom)
Raes, Frank (CEE Joint Research Center Ispra, Italy)
Ramanathan, Veerabhadran (Scripps Institution of Oceanography San Diego, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
March 20, 2014
Publication Date
June 1, 2012
Publication Information
Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume: 120
Issue: 6
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 509496.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
air quality
outdoor air
climate change
particulate matter
health impact analysis

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