Evaluating impacts of air pollution in China on public health: Implications for future air pollution and energy policies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our objective is to establish the link between energy consumption and technologies, air pollution concentrations, and resulting impacts on public health in eastern China. We use Zaozhuang, a city in eastern China heavily dependent on coal, as a case study to quantify the impacts that air pollution in eastern China had on public health in 2000 and the benefits in improved air quality and health that could be obtained by 2020, relative to business-as-usual (BAU), through the implementation of best available emission control technology (BACT) and advanced coal gasification technologies (ACGT). We use an integrated assessment approach, utilizing state-of-the-science air quality and meteorological models, engineering, epidemiology, and economics, to achieve this objective. We find that total health damages due to year 2000 anthropogenic emissions from Zaozhuang, using the "willingness-to-pay" metric, was equivalent to 10% of Zaozhuang's GDP. If all health damages resulting from coal use were internalized in the market price of coal, the year 2000 price would have more than tripled. With no new air pollution controls implemented between 2000 and 2020 but with projected increases in energy use, we estimate health damages from air pollution exposure to be equivalent to 16% of Zaozhuang's projected 2020 GDP. BACT and ACGT (with only 24% penetration in Zaozhuang and providing 2% of energy needs in three surrounding municipalities) could reduce the potential health damage of air pollution in 2020 to 13% and 8% of projected GDP, respectively. Benefits to public health, of substantial monetary value, can be achieved through the use of BACT; health benefits from the use of ACGT could be even larger. Despite significant uncertainty associated with each element of the integrated assessment approach, we demonstrate that substantial benefits to public health could be achieved in this region of eastern China through the use of additional pollution controls and particularly from the use of advanced coal gasification technology. Without such controls, the impacts of air pollution on public health, presently considerable, will increase substantially by 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1706-1721
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume40
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Air pollution impacts
  • China
  • Energy policy
  • Public health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating impacts of air pollution in China on public health: Implications for future air pollution and energy policies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this