Sunday 8 December 2019
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The News - 19 days ago

Renewables could cut power generation health impact by 80 percent

PARIS: Switching to renewables could cut the health impacts of air pollution from power generation as much as 80 percent by mid-century, experts said on Tuesday.Scientists and environmental groups have long advocated a switch to low-carbon power to cap the rise in global temperature to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit), as stipulated in the Paris climate treaty.Despite several nations committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, few have so far explained precisely how they plan to get there.Emissions from power generation account for around 40 percent of all energy-related carbon pollution, and demand for energy is predicted to rise globally for years to come. Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus on the need to slash emissions, relatively little attention has been paid to the human health impacts of climate action.A team of experts at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) used climate and energy efficiency models to sketch out three scenarios for decarbonising the power sector by 2050. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, they then combined their calculations with human health indexes and analyses of the emission levels throughout a power unit s lifespan.They found that a scenario where the majority of energy is derived from solar and wind power could cut adverse health effects from electricity production by 80 percent compared with our current fossil-heavy economies. The main winner of decarbonisation is human health, said lead author Gunnar Luderer. That s a very substantial benefit, if climate change policies can be key contributors to reducing human health impacts, he said.

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