If things don’t change, researchers say air pollution worsened by climate change could cost tens of thousands of lives a year
New research predicts thatworsened by climate change will cost tens of thousands of lives if changes are not made.
The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, estimates that if current trends continue, climate change will be responsible for another 60,000 air pollution-related deaths globally in the year 2030. By 2100, that number could jump to 260,000.
Previous research has found that some 5.5 million people worldwide already.
The authors say this is the most comprehensive study to date onas a result of exacerbating air pollution. The research incorporates results from several of the world’s top climate change modeling groups in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan and New Zealand.
Hotter temperatures “can speed up the reaction rate of air pollutants that form in the atmosphere,” lead study author Jason West, an associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told CBS News. “Places that by and large get drier from climate change would be expected to increase air pollution concentrations.”
The study estimates that climate change is expected to increase air pollution-related deaths globally and in all regions except for Africa.
“Air pollution affects things like, , cardiopulmonary disease, and ,” he said. “So because air pollution affects those causes it has a big effect on health.”
The researchers emphasize that a concertedcould make a big difference for our future. The U.S. commitment to such efforts was thrown into question when President Trump in June. That agreement, signed by more than 190 other countries, aims to reduce , which scientists say have been fueling global warming.
“Reducinghas a really big benefit for air pollution and therefore for human health,” West said.
In addition to increasing air pollution deaths, climate change is also expected to have a growing impact on health through rising rates of heat stress, the wider spread of infectious diseases, and reduced access to clean water and food.