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Energy and Air Pollution


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- Around 6.5 million premature deaths each year can be attributed to air pollution
- Energy production and use are by far the largest man-made sources of air pollutants
- Technologies to tackle air pollution are well known
- Small increase in energy investment could cut premature deaths from air pollution in half by 2040

Clean air is vital for good health. Yet despite growing recognition of this imperative, the problem of air pollution is far from solved in many countries, and the global health impacts risk intensifying in the decades to come.

The scale of the public health crisis caused by air pollution and the importance of the energy sector to its resolution are the reasons why the IEA is focusing on this critical topic for the first time.

Based on new data for pollutant emissions in 2015 and projections to 2040, this special report, the latest in the <em>World Energy Outlook</em> series, provides a global outlook for energy and air pollution as well as detailed profiles of key countries and regions: the United States, Mexico, the European Union, China, India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

In a Clean Air Scenario, the report proposes a pragmatic and attainable strategy to reconcile the world’s energy requirements with its need for cleaner air. Alongside the multiple benefits to human health, this strategy shows that resolving the world’s air pollution problem can go hand-in-hand with progress towards other environmental and development goals.

- Download the report:
- IEA press release:
- Reuters press release :
- Posts tagued AirPollution :

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Energy and Air Pollution

  1. 1. © OECD/IEA 2016 © OECD/IEA 2016 Presentation to the Press London, 27 June
  2. 2. © OECD/IEA 2016 Context  Air pollution is the fourth largest human health risk  3.5 million premature deaths are linked to energy poverty due to the use of biomass for cooking and kerosene for lighting  3 million premature deaths are linked to outdoor air pollution, mostly in cities  Many of its root causes – and cures – are in the energy sector  The majority of air pollutant emissions comes from the energy sector, mainly from fuel combustion  Currently only 8% of global energy production is combustion free: more than half of the rest has no effective technology in place to control emissions  No country in the world has solved the air pollution problem completely, but many are taking important policy steps  Can the energy sector step up efforts to combat this global public health crisis?
  3. 3. © OECD/IEA 2016 Air pollution is an energy problem Pollutant emissions, 2015 Energy is the single most important cause of emissions of all main pollutants 81 Mt108 Mt 41 Mt Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)Sulfur dioxide (SO2)Nitrogen oxides (NOX) >99% Non-energyEnergy-related >99%>99% >99% 85% Coal Oil Gas Bioenergy Other Biomass 43% Coal 43% Oil 61%
  4. 4. © OECD/IEA 2016 High risk air pollution areas Low (0-50) High (>100) Medium (50-100) Countries with the largest death toll are China and India, but on a per capita basis many countries across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe are affected Mortality rate due to air pollution, 2012 Deaths per 100 000 people Source: World Health Organization
  5. 5. © OECD/IEA 2016 MexicoSouth Africa Brazil Thousands 200 100 Indonesia 50 150 The death toll keeps rising… Premature deaths due to outdoor pollution in selected regions Despite planned policies premature deaths increase from 3 to 4.5 million in 2040 2015 Additional deaths in 2040 400 1 200 IndiaChina Thousands 1 600 800
  6. 6. © OECD/IEA 2016 4 8 Mt …but global trends mask significant regional differences Policies are successful to decouple pollutant emissions from energy demand growth to 2040; but the air pollution problem remains far from being solved Change in energy demand and pollutants to 2040 Mtoe Mt 400 800 1 200 Mtoe 4 Mt India 400 800 Mtoe AfricaChina 400 800 1 200 -20 -16 -12 -8 -4 Fossil fuels & bioenergy Wind, solar & other Energy demand (Mtoe) SO2 NOX Pollutants (Mt) PM2.5
  7. 7. © OECD/IEA 2016 What should the energy sector do?  The IEA proposes a pragmatic strategy to cut pollutant emissions & deaths by around 50%, compared with our main scenario  A Clean Air Scenario, based on existing technologies & tailored to local conditions, relies on actions in three areas: 1. A long-term air quality goal 2. A package of clean air measures for the energy sector:  An accelerated energy transition: more efficiency & more renewables  More widespread use of advanced pollution controls 3. Strict monitoring & enforcement and effective communication
  8. 8. © OECD/IEA 2016 The IEA Clean Air Strategy A 7% increase in investment can save over 3 million lives in 2040, while providing energy access for all, lower energy import bills and leading to a peak in CO2 by 2020 Cumulative investment 20 40 60 80 100 Trilliondollars(2014) 1 2 3 4 5 Millions 2015-2040 Premature deaths from outdoor air pollution Additional investment in the Clean Air Scenario Lives saved in the Clean Air Scenario 2040
  9. 9. © OECD/IEA 2016 1 2 3 Millions Premature deaths from indoor air pollution 2040 Lives saved in the Clean Air Scenario Improvement in cooking methods, 2040 715 million households Improved solid-fuel cookstoves LPG Electricity & natural gas The IEA Clean Air Strategy A 7% increase in investment can save over 3 million lives in 2040, while providing energy access for all, lower energy import bills and leading to a peak in CO2 by 2020
  10. 10. © OECD/IEA 2016 Conclusions  The impacts of air pollution are concentrated in fast-growing Asia & in Africa, but no country has solved the problem entirely  The overall death toll still rises, despite post-COP decarbonisation policies & targeted pollution measures that mitigate pollution trends  IEA’s Clean Air Strategy cuts 2040 pollutant emissions & premature deaths by around half, with only a 7% increase in investment  A well-designed air quality strategy will have major co-benefits for other policy goals, including energy access & climate change  IEA will continue to promote integrated policy approaches as it strengthens its role as a global hub for clean & efficient energy