The Future Health Impacts of Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution in India under Climate Change, Demographic Change and Urbanisation

Asya Dimitrova , ISGlobal
Marois Guillaume, IIASA
Gregor Kiesewetter, IIASA
Peter Rafaj, IIASA
Cathryn Tonne, ISGlobal

Rapid socio-economic development in India has been accompanied by gains in life expectancy and improvements in a range of health outcomes. However, it is uncertain how the fast pace of urbanisation, the aging of the population and climate change will alter this trend in the future. This study estimates the health co-benefits from projected changes in exposure to ambient fine particulates (PM2.5) in India up to 2050 and under alternative climate change mitigation and air quality abatement scenarios, considering future demographic change and urbanisation trends. A multi-dimensional cohort-component projection model is employed to explore dynamically over time the range of potential health impacts across urban and rural areas in all states of India. We show that pursuit of aspirational climate change mitigation targets can bring clear co-benefits from cleaner air by averting up to 10 million deaths and increasing life expectancy at birth by up to one year by mid-century compared to business-as-usual. Combining these targets with policy measures that target air pollution explicitly can double these benefits to human health. The spatial distribution of the health burden from air pollution shows rural areas to be disproportionately affected despite lower concentrations and indicates substantial differences between states, driven by population size, baseline exposure and life expectancy as well as their progression over time.

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 Presented in Session P10. Health Consequences of Environmental and Climate Change