A recent study has found that 10,000 die each day from fossil fuel air pollutants and that climate change is not the only significant consequence of fossil fuel burning but also air pollution. The research was published in the Cardiovascular Research journal.
The Benefits of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are burned to produce power, run vehicles, and operate industry. They are also consumed for heat production in homes in some countries, as well as for cooking.
Currently, society is run by fossil fuels. Now, however, alternatives already exist to replace fossil fuels, particularly in vehicles and power.
Findings of the Study
The study found that in 2015, 3.6 million deaths worldwide should not have occurred if there was no air pollution coming from fossil fuel burning. This shocking estimate amounts to 10,000 needless deaths each day.
According to the authors, air pollution claims significantly more lives than AIDS, HIV, and other infectious and parasitic diseases. It also surpasses deaths from violence and smoking.
Deaths caused by air pollution in 2015 account for 35 percent of mortalities in East Asia, 32 percent in South Asia, 11 percent in Africa, and 9 percent in Europe. In China, the estimate is 1.6 million deaths, while in India, the number is 700,000.
The US is the top three worldwide, with nearly 200,000 mortalities. For Europe, the figure is roughly 430,000.
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The Health Effects of Air Pollution
Air pollution causes premature death, especially for people with lung and heart disease. According to the authors, except for isolated countries like those in war zones, air pollution kills more people than violence.
Air pollution's harmful effects have been obscured by the significant increase in the lifespan of modern humans. This increase, the study authors acknowledge, has primarily been achieved due to advances made in science and technology made possible by fossil fuel burning. Life expectancy worldwide was 72 years last 2015 from a mere 52 back in 1960. In wealthy countries, it is 80 years. However, many developing countries are still less than 60.
The consequences of air pollution on health are usually not focused on during policy deliberations regarding transitions to cleaner energy concerning climate change.
Air pollution causes an immediate health concern backed by scientific evidence and is unobscured by the political implications surrounding climate science. The time may have come to rapidly phase out fossil fuels in consideration of policies on air pollution.
Implications for the Future
According to the study's estimates, if the numbers are projected to the year 2030, over 35 million will die worldwide from complications caused by air pollution from fossil fuel burning. This figure is equivalent to the combined number of people in LA, New York, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Jose, Dallas, and the entire Colorado population.
The Need to Go Green
We should ask whether a slow transition to clean energy is worth the costs to human lives from the continued use of fossil fuels. The apparent effects that air pollution has on our health are enough reason to wean ourselves from fossil fuels.
In summary, it merely means no air pollution means no unnecessary deaths.
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