The burning of fossil fuels kills over five million people every year. That’s about 61 percent of all deaths caused by air pollution, according to the latest study. In the opinion of its authors, a shift towards renewable energy may bring “much greater” health benefits than previous analyzes indicated.
Each year, air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels in industry, energy and transport contributes to the deaths of approximately 5.1 million people worldwide. This is approximately 61 percent of all deaths related to poor air quality, according to a modeling study by scientists from the UK, USA, Germany, Spain and Cyprus, published on Wednesday, November 29 in the scientific journal BMJ.
According to the authors, the data they obtained confirms the need to increase the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption. “These results suggest that the global phase-out of fossil fuels will bring enormous health benefits,” they say.
The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for over five million deaths each year
An international team of scientists based their analysis on data from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study, which describes the causes of death, disease and injury in 204 countries and territories. The work also used NASA data on the amount of dust suspended in the air and models of the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the distribution of aerosols.
The number of 5.1 million deaths per year we obtained is higher than previous estimates suggest, note the authors of the study published in the BMJ. They believe the reason their model showed a higher number of deaths from burning fossil fuels than previous studies is because it was based solely on studies of outdoor air pollution. These findings indicate that a shift towards renewable energy sources could bring “significantly greater” health and climate benefits than previously thought.
The study results were published on the eve of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. One of the decisions to be taken there there is a possible agreement to gradually reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
Main photo source: Reuters