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Journal Article

Exploring the economy-wide effects of agriculture on air quality and health: Evidence from Europe


Lelieveld,  Jos
Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Giannakis, E., Kushta, J., Giannadaki, D., Georgiou, G. K., Bruggeman, A., & Lelieveld, J. (2019). Exploring the economy-wide effects of agriculture on air quality and health: Evidence from Europe. Science of the Total Environment, 663, 889-900. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.410.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-0C64-0
Agricultural emissions strongly contribute to fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) and associated effects on human health. Environmentally-extended input-output models and a regional atmospheric chemistry model (WRF-Chem) were combined to conduct an economy-wide assessment of air pollution and pre-mature mortality in the European Union (EU), associated with a 20% increase in the final demand for the output of the agricultural sector. Model results revealed significant differences in air pollution originating from agricultural growth across the 28 EU countries (EU-28). The highest impact of agricultural growth on PM2.5 concentrations occur over the Northern Balkan countries (Bulgaria and Romania) and northern Italy. However, the highest excess mortality rates in the EU-28 due to changes in emissions and enhanced PM2.5 concentrations are observed in Malta, Greece, Spain and Cyprus. The least affected countries are mostly located in the northern part of Europe, with the exception of the Scandinavian Countries, which have relatively good air quality under current conditions. Our integrated modelling framework results highlight the importance of capturing both the direct and indirect air pollution emissions of economic sectors via upstream supply chains and underscore the non-linear response of surface PM2.5 levels and their health impacts to emission fluxes.