Report links 6.5 million deaths worldwide to air pollution

Karl Ritter, Associated Press

Each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution, a number that could grow in coming decades unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions, the International Energy Agency warned Monday.

In this Nov. 24, 2014 file photo, smoke streams from the chimneys of the E.ON coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The International Energy Agency said Monday June 27, 2016 that each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution and warns that the number will grow unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution, a number that could grow in coming decades unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions, the International Energy Agency warned Monday.

In the Paris-based agency's first report on the subject, the IEA said air pollution is the fourth biggest threat to human health, after high blood pressure, bad diets and smoking.

"Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set to rise," the report said.

Outdoor air pollution comes mainly from power plants, factories and cars while household pollution stems from dirty cook stoves, primarily in developing countries. About 3 million premature deaths are linked to outdoor air pollution and 3.5 million premature deaths to inhaling smoke from stoves in the household, the report said.

The latter number is projected to fall to 3 million in 2040 as access to cleaner-burning stoves improves in poor countries, IEA said. But it projected that the death toll linked to outdoor air quality would rise to 4.5 million, mainly in Asia, as growing demand for energy results in higher emissions.

"Air pollution in many of the region's growing cities continues to be a major public health hazard and, indeed, to affect a larger share of an increasingly urban population," the report said.

However, the IEA said sharp health improvements could be achieved with a 7 percent increase in total energy investment over the period to 2040. That would entail additional reductions of household emissions, stricter fuel standards for cars and trucks, improving energy efficiency and accelerating a shift in power generation from high-polluting sources such as coal to renewable alternatives.

The report said energy production is the biggest source of man-made air pollution, accounting for 85 percent of the particulate matter and nearly all of the sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

Energy production is also a key source of carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Making DDoS Mitigation Part of Your Incident Response Plan: Critical Steps and Best Practices

Like a new virulent strain of flu, the impact of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is...

The Multi-Tax Challenge of Managing Excise Tax and Sales Tax

To be able to accurately calculate multiple tax types, companies must be prepared to continually ...

Operational Analytics in the Power Industry

Cloud computing, smart grids, and other technologies are changing transmission and distribution. ...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013