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Journal Article

Tradeoffs between air pollution mitigation and meteorological response in India


Chowdhury,  Sourangsu
Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Upadhyay, A., Dey, S., Chowdhury, S., Kumar, R., & Goyal, P. (2020). Tradeoffs between air pollution mitigation and meteorological response in India. Scientific Reports, 10(1): 14796. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-71607-5.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5A30-E
To curb the staggering health burden attributed to air pollution, the sustainable solution for India would be to reduce emissions in future. Here we project ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure in India for the year 2030 under two contrasting air pollution emission pathways for two different climate scenarios based on Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). All-India average PM2.5 is expected to increase from 41.4 ± 26.5 μg m−3 in 2010 to 61.1 ± 40.8 and 58.2 ± 37.5 μg m−3 in 2030 under RCP8.5 and RCP4.5 scenarios, respectively if India follows the current legislation (baseline) emission pathway. In contrast, ambient PM2.5 in 2030 would be 40.2 ± 27.5 (for RCP8.5) and 39.2 ± 25.4 (for RCP4.5) μg m−3 following the short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) mitigation emission pathway. We find that the lower PM2.5 in the mitigation pathway (34.2% and 32.6%, respectively for RCP8.5 and RCP4.5 relative to the baseline emission pathway) would come at a cost of 0.3–0.5 °C additional warming due to the direct impact of aerosols. The premature mortality burden attributable to ambient PM2.5 exposure is expected to rise from 2010 to 2030, but 381,790 (5–95% confidence interval, CI 275,620–514,600) deaths can be averted following the mitigation emission pathway relative to the baseline emission pathway. Therefore, we conclude that given the expected large health benefit, the mitigation emission pathway is a reasonable tradeoff for India despite the meteorological response. However, India needs to act more aggressively as the World Health Organization (WHO) annual air quality guideline (10 µg m−3) would remain far off.