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3 Million Premature Deaths Could be Prevented by Lowering Greenhouse Gases

Update Date: Sep 23, 2013 12:49 AM EDT
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Lowering the course of greenhouse gases which stimulate global warming, could prevent up to 3 million premature deaths per year by 2100, a new study suggests.

The study comes ahead of a global conference in Stockholm where scientists are reporting their extensive research of climate science. Their final report is due to be released on Friday 27 September and will set out projections of wide-ranging impacts of global warming from droughts to floods to sea-level rise.

The study,  published Sundayin the journal Nature Climate Change says reduced emissions would prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths a year and up to three million annually by the end of the century.

The report notes that the"statistical value" of these lives far outweighs the costs of emission reduction, particularly over the next few decades.

"The benefits of avoided air pollution mortality justify substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, apart from other benefits of slowing global climate change," the paper says.

"Air quality and health co-benefits, especially as they are mainly local and near-term, provide strong additional motivation for transitioning to a low-carbon future," they say.

They expect two-thirds of the global benefits would occur in China.

The researchers calculate health savings of up to $380 for every ton of CO2 removed from the earth's atmosphere - far higher than previous estimates of up to $196 a ton.

The benefits are greatest in highly populated areas experiencing rapid industrialization. In China, emission reductions could deliver health savings as high as $840 per ton of CO2.

Meanwhile, the wider assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due on 27 September, its first since 2007, will play a crucial role in the international negotiations towards a global deal to tackle global warming in 2015.

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