Study: Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually

From the “US and European manufacturing was exported to China and India department” and the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA:

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India. CREDIT Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington
New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.
CREDIT Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington

Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health. New research, presented today at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.

“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada. “Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.”

For the AAAS meeting, researchers from Canada, the United States, China and India assembled estimates of air pollution levels in China and India and calculated the impact on health.

Their analysis shows that the two countries account for 55 per cent of the deaths caused by air pollution worldwide. About 1.6 million people died of air pollution in China and 1.4 million died in India in 2013.

In China, burning coal is the biggest contributor to poor air quality. Qiao Ma, a PhD student at the School of Environment, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, found that outdoor air pollution from coal alone caused an estimated 366,000 deaths in China in 2013.

Ma also calculated the expected number of premature deaths in China in the future if the country meets its current targets to restrict coal combustion and emissions through a combination of energy policies and pollution controls. She found that air pollution will cause anywhere from 990,000 to 1.3 million premature deaths in 2030 unless even more ambitious targets are introduced.

“Our study highlights the urgent need for even more aggressive strategies to reduce emissions from coal and from other sectors,” said Ma.

In India, a major contributor to poor air quality is the practice of burning wood, dung and similar sources of biomass for cooking and heating. Millions of families, among the poorest in India, are regularly exposed to high levels of particulate matter in their own homes.

“India needs a three-pronged mitigation approach to address industrial coal burning, open burning for agriculture, and household air pollution sources,” said Chandra Venkataraman, professor of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, in Mumbai, India.

In the last 50 years, North America, Western Europe and Japan have made massive strides to combat pollution by using cleaner fuels, more efficient vehicles, limiting coal burning and putting restrictions on electric power plants and factories.

“Having been in charge of designing and implementing strategies to improve air in the United States, I know how difficult it is. Developing countries have a tremendous task in front of them,” said Dan Greenbaum, president of Health Effects Institute, a non-profit organization based in Boston that sponsors targeted efforts to analyze the health burden from different air pollution sources. “This research helps guide the way by identifying the actions which can best improve public health.”



The research is an extension of the Global Burden of Disease study, an international collaboration led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington that systematically measured health and its risk factors, including air pollution levels, for 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. The air pollution research is led by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Health Effects Institute.

Additional facts about air pollution:

  • World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines set daily particulate matter at 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • At this time of year, Beijing and New Delhi will see daily levels at or above 300 micrograms per cubic meter metre; 1,200 per cent higher than WHO guidelines.
  • While air pollution has decreased in most high-income countries in the past 20 years, global levels are up largely because of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. More than 85 per cent of the world’s population now lives in areas where the World Health Organization Air Quality Guideline is exceeded.
  • The researchers say that strict control of particulate matter is critical because of changing demographics. Researchers predict that if air pollution levels remain constant, the number of deaths will increase because the population is aging and older people are more susceptible to illnesses caused by poor air quality.
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease study, air pollution causes more deaths than other risk factors like malnutrition, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, and unsafe sex. It is the fourth greatest risk behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking.
  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of deaths from air pollution with additional impacts from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory infections.
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February 13, 2016 3:59 am

Poor air quality is certainly a factor in many diseases, but that does not mean it is the only cause or even the main cause. Poor health is a complex topic made more complex by all the competing, biased groups involved in trying to blame something other than their vested interest.
The whole “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming via CO2” scare story has made me even more skeptical that there are any honest scientists left in the world. (sure there are some, but how do I tell which ones???)

Jeff (FL)
Reply to  markstoval
February 13, 2016 10:21 am

‘ … but how do I tell which ones???’
There’s a spectrum. The more h0onest scientists are found toward the single subject end while the dubious congregate at the multi-disciplinary end.
That said, CAGW advocates aren’t even on the ‘scientist’ spectrum anyway.

Pete J.
Reply to  markstoval
February 15, 2016 4:40 pm

Probably a lot of double counting — if “(c)ardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of deaths from air pollution” how is it the we in the states are only told the best way to decrease risk factors is through healthy eating, exercise, avoidance of tobacco smoke and limiting alcohol intake. No mention of air pollution.
Only very limited studies have been done on PM2.5 (larger can be coughed up for the most part) and at best the data suggests an 8-18% increased mortality risk gradients, hardly distinguishable when the baseline number for CVD accounts for over a third of all deaths worldwide. Curiously though, not if Africa, given their higher propensity to cook over open fires (but may be due to little need for supplemental heating or energy for industry, which happens to be virtually non-existent).

February 13, 2016 4:01 am

The chart could have easily been a list of population rather than premature deaths from pollution. I’d guess that there are more deaths in China and India for each possible reason because there are that many more people available to die in any given year. All the smaller population countries are in the blue end of the spectrum only because there are fewer people available to die.

David Chappell
Reply to  DonK31
February 13, 2016 5:45 am

That was my immediate thought too. India and China have between them about half the world’s population so it’s not surprising they have about half the number of deaths. That map needs re-drafting as a rate – something like deaths per million of the population – to have any meaning.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  David Chappell
February 13, 2016 7:53 am

David: according to Google India has a population of 1.2B whereas Africa is at 1.1B. Yet the ‘study’ shows Africa close to European levels. That’s hard to believe. Also, was it a ‘study’ of models or demographics? I wonder.

Reply to  David Chappell
February 14, 2016 6:14 pm

Someone should ask them what has happened to life expectancy in India and China. It is possible that there are more people dying of pollution, but far fewer dying from malnutrition, cold, heat, and other climate related causes. As for Africa, my guess would be malaria kills the vulnerable before environmental pollution can get them.

Reply to  DonK31
February 13, 2016 2:00 pm

They also have poorer health care, poorer water quality, and much, MUCH worse pollution. London-smog levels.
Let’s not carry skepticism too far. I seriously question the accuracy of their quantification. There are valid questions about the damage (or more accurately, lack thereof) of low-level pollution. However, it’s just nonsensical to not believe that extreme pollution does not affect health.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  DonK31
February 14, 2016 11:25 am

Having lived in China for several years, I can assure you that the air pollution in Beijing – and many other cities in China – is outrageously bad. Like, I can’t see 50 feet because the pollution (black/grey soot) in the air is so thick. Some cities (like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Xiamen) have high population densities as well but due to their geographic location the air pollution never gets that bad.
When you’re walking down a Beijing street for just 1 block (about 3 minutes) and take your mask off and it’s got a nice big black spot where you were breathing through – you know it’s bad.

February 13, 2016 4:05 am
Reply to  rovingbroker
February 13, 2016 5:55 am

Apart from the fallacy, are you implying AW cannot post anything that has been posted before? Even the original media release? It would be a bit quiet in blogosphere if this were so.

Reply to  Span Ows
February 13, 2016 7:42 am

Span Ows wrote, ” … are you implying AW cannot post anything that has been posted before?”
No. I didn’t see a link to the original press release so I posted one.

Reply to  Span Ows
February 14, 2016 8:42 am

Sorry. And thanks.

Walt D.
February 13, 2016 4:06 am

How does this compare to lives lost through:
1) Malnutrition
2) Malaria
3) Poor sanitation
4) Lack of medical supplies.
None of the money spent to combat the phantom menace global warming will be spent to combat any of the above real and preventable causes of premature death.

Reply to  Walt D.
February 13, 2016 4:27 am

You’re missing the point….man-made global warming causes THOSE things! Get with the program.

Reply to  Walt D.
February 13, 2016 12:38 pm

You can add a fifth – little or no availability of electricity which causes people to burn, well, just about anything they can find that will burn for cooking or warmth – wood, leaves, animal dung, etc. There is an almost perfect correlation between the availability of inexpensive and plentiful energy (mostly from fossil fuels, directly or indirectly) and average lifespan. I can’t believe that Africa wasn’t specifically mentioned due to the high number of illness and death caused by Indoor air pollution. Western envirofascists are insisting that developing countries must go “green” when generating electricity with apparently little care for the welfare of people.

February 13, 2016 4:09 am

The USDA and UN’s World Health Org., Kills by Far more people with their dietary advice for diabetics, heart and most other chronic diseases. Day 5 in the trial: – to spin their products, and influence dietary guidelines, nutrition advice and our ideas about obesity and weight loss. He showed how food and soft-drinks industries have made low-fat, high-carb foods the dominant ‘conventional’ dietary paradigm without any science to back it up, contributing to global epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes to name but a few; disease, Noakes took special aim at the sugar industry, but had many other targets, including his own profession, saying doctors were telling patients diabetes was incurable when they had the means to reverse it: ’We are practising medicine of failure, sponsored by Big Food and Big Pharm? Follow The Money.

Reply to  Russell
February 13, 2016 4:15 am

More doesn’t this sound like Climate Scientists !!! Bhoopchand was powerless to stop Noakes in full sail as he waded into these vested interests worldwide, showing how they are embedded in academia, have bought off top scientists and academics, sponsor dietitians’ associations – including the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA), whose former president, Claire Julsing Strydom, laid the complaint that led to the charge against him.

Reply to  Russell
February 13, 2016 4:23 am

On a Roll on who is killing people :

Old England
February 13, 2016 4:11 am

As ‘green energy’ and ‘environmental’ policies in the West are exporting manufacturing to third world countries which don’t worry about air pollution and, as a result, killing millions of people will the Green Blob acccept responsibility for that ??? Don’t hold your breath.

February 13, 2016 4:13 am

The plot was horribly done. In a case like this you need to plot deaths per capita. Even if you went with deaths per country, looking at the scale it clearly needs to be a log scale so the colors are more evenly distributed.

February 13, 2016 4:22 am

Irian Jaya is really bad, but Papua New Guinea is good???? There must be bloody high fence along the border, or fans, or evil spirits.
This has UN written all over it.

February 13, 2016 4:30 am

All formulaic steps to reach a guess. No real science performed.
Then, in order to make their numbers almost fit, they borrow casualties from related disciplines; heart disease, pulmonary, stroke, respiratory…
After all of their hyperbole about third world countries with polluted air, they manage to completely miss the first solutions; cheap plentiful relatively clean energy!
Their wonderful graphic for ‘global burden of air pollution’ even includes drawings of cooling towers emitting steam.

Reply to  ATheoK
February 13, 2016 10:09 am

Back in the 80’s, an advocacy group released a report with a very large number for US homeless. Years latter another study group couldn’t duplicate that number falling far short. Going back to the advocacy group they were told that the number was not based on a study, rather was selected to create a sense of alarm.

Reply to  RichardT
February 13, 2016 2:17 pm

As a result of that and other exaggerated alarms, one skeptic wrote an article that estimated that “advocacy research” overestimated things by a factor of five. That sounds about right for climatism too.

February 13, 2016 4:38 am

Fred. Agreed. Even if the numbers are right, there is no way to get context without deaths/100,000 . Getting statistics without control groups is also meaningless. I imagine there is some correlation …but even that is tenuous without accounting for things such as poverty level and acces to healthcare.

Reply to  Kirkc
February 13, 2016 4:50 am

Ah. There it is. I just noticed that “Power generation” is at the top of the list of causes so we better deal with that first. Burning dung on an open fire in your living room seems to be last of the last of all world problems.

February 13, 2016 4:43 am

The West learned decades ago how to minimize (real) pollution from burning carbonaceous fuels by removing particulates and the combustion products of minor constituents; the countries noted could easily do the same, but as long as we/they are chasing the chimera of CO2 as a “pollutant”, which it isn’t, genuine pollution is not addressed.

February 13, 2016 4:45 am

Is it not also a FACT that all those environ-mentalists have stopped homes from receiving clean power and condemning those households to burn wood and dung to cook their meals ?
Those are the very people with blood on their hands and they are even PROUD of that achievement.

Reply to  Christian J. (@whatmenaresayin)
February 13, 2016 10:00 am

I’ve read that in the neighborhood of 1 million people die in Africa each year due to malaria. The judicious use of DDT could reduce that substantially, if allowed. It hasn’t been. Worshippers at the green alter block it.

February 13, 2016 5:01 am

Replacing indoor wood burning by kerosene stoves saves a lot of lives. But for the greenees wood burning is good and kerosene (=fossil) is by by definition bad.

February 13, 2016 5:08 am

The worst offenders are the environmentalists who restrict the production of electric power to the third world.

February 13, 2016 5:17 am

How many people die every year because their stomach is empty? You know, that dreaded disease called starvation!
Tilting at windmills will cost 1.5TRILLION per annum……to solve a modeled problem 100 years hence……spending that sum TODAY on the World’s destitute poor would be a real climate change.

February 13, 2016 5:21 am

Imagine that, there is a real pollution problem, that is actually killing people. What do the climate alarmists and the EPA have us focused on? CO2. How many people are killed by 400ppm CO2 in a year? Zero. The breath we exhale had a far greater concentration of CO2. Our blood is rich with CO2. Jets have CO2 as high as 4,000ppm, and submarines as high as 10,000ppm. This climate change nonsense is the greatest misallocation of resources I’ve seen in my lifetime.

February 13, 2016 5:25 am

Coal combustion is no doubt a major problem, but not in power stations, which are normally sited well away from urban areas, but in home heating and in small urban factories, as was the case in the famous post-war UK smogs.
Greens will exploit this for their anti-coal crusade, but the reality is that MORE coal-fired electricity is needed, so that fewer people are forced to use the dirtier alternatives for heating, cooking and manufacturing.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  climanrecon
February 13, 2016 8:33 am

Coal combustion is in two forms: power stations (big stationary) and domestic. Domestic coal combustion is hundreds of time more polluting than a power station per ton because of really inappropriate combustion technologies.
“In the last 50 years, North America, Western Europe and Japan have made massive strides to combat pollution by using cleaner fuels, more efficient vehicles, limiting coal burning and putting restrictions on electric power plants and factories.”
This quote from the article is partly true and partly a big fib. Limiting coal combustion has NOT been major contributor. The mass burned has increased greatly. But it has been done very much more cleanly because of improved technologies, technologies not applied to the major problem in places like Hebei Province which surrounds Beijing, polluting the capital with drifting clouds of smoke from domestic heating stoves.
As you can see, the war on coal is embedded deeply in this air pollution narrative. The effort is to try to define CO2 as a pollutant which if reduced, will save lives. Obviously this is nonsense.
The ‘restrictions’ are on the minimum efficiency of combustion and the collection of flyash. Surprisingly, perhaps, domestic stoves that produce so much of the PM2.5 produce virtually no flyash. To improve the living environment requires burning more completely, not changing fuels, just like vehicle emissions.
Regarding the question of ‘is this models’, yes. The emissions are modelled on modelled consumption patterns. The airshed is then modelled. Exposure is modelled on the airshed model. Disease is modelled on the exposure model. Deaths are modelled on the exposure model. It is six layers of models with basically data underlying it. This is info from a WB emissions and exposure consultant.
Using this modelling approach it was claimed only a few years ago that 1600 people were dying annually in Toronto from the emissions of the (now closed) Nanticoke coal-fired power station 100 km to the south west.
5.5 million? Show me the bodies.

February 13, 2016 5:28 am

5.5 million seems a bit low, as we’ve all seen the reports that over 4 million children in poverty stricken areas die of respiratory problems due to open wood fires burned inside their huts.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  JasonH
February 13, 2016 8:39 am

That claim (it is 4.3 million) about domestic stove emissions is also based on a set of models with no underlying data, particularly for China which starts with a blank sheet of paper.
The number of claimed deaths rises about 40% every 18 months with regularity. The brain behind it is in Berkeley. The rise from 4.3m , 5.5m is right on time, 18 months after t 4.3 number was claimed. The ‘solution’ is always to ban the combustion of solid fuels and promote electricity and LPG.
As there are now multiple examples of coal and wood and wood pellet burning stoves that have lower emissions of PM2.5 they are in a tight spot. Why go to LPG if it quadruples emissions and exposure? Watch this space. They will go after black carbon next claiming that it has one hundred times the effect of PM2.5 (which is is size, not a substance).

February 13, 2016 5:33 am

Reply to  PiperPaul
February 13, 2016 7:09 am

I like that Dire Straits album. It’s hard to believe it was released 34 years ago, in 1982.

February 13, 2016 6:19 am

Underdevelopment is a pretty effective killer of humans. You can reduce the particulates from a power station or motor vehicle, but you can’t make poverty more efficient.
To see what all humans really need and want, attend an Earth Hour function…and observe what people do immediately AFTER the hour is up.
Electrify the world. A power station making a bit of stink is also giving many homes immediate, controllable, safe, reliable heat and light without smoke, flame or smell. And power stations are only dirty if you don’t upgrade and modernise them. You don’t drive a forty year old Falcon as your regular drive, do you? (Hitachi-Mitsubishi make a nice coal power plant. I want a fleet of them for Oz.)

David Sivyer
Reply to  mosomoso
February 13, 2016 5:51 pm

Exactly! I can remember urban power stations such as Balmain (Sydney) and East Perth (Perth, WA) operating without precipitators; now that was a real pollution problem. Given that modern coal burners are situated close to coal fields, in rural areas, and are fitted with very effective precips or bag houses, it is hard to consider power generation as a modern, major contributor to premature deaths.

February 13, 2016 6:39 am

More models, not facts.

Tom Halla
February 13, 2016 6:48 am

Duh. Unventilated open dung fires are hazardous. Reverting to a third-world lifestyle will accomplish the goals of the Paul Ehrlich faction of the green blob–reducing the population.

February 13, 2016 7:13 am

No actual medical diagnoses, just estimates based on assumptions based on estimates. In the US criteria pollutants have decreased by 69% and respiratory problems like asthma have increased. When observations don’t agree with assumptions, you always ignore the observations, I suppose.

February 13, 2016 7:30 am

Judging from their (poorly ledgered) graph, it seems the US comes in at around 100 thousand deaths a year from pollution. Well, who are they? I assume with that many people dying they should be able to list some of them. Let’s make it easier. 1%. Show me the names of just 1,000 people who died in the US from pollution. And no, everyone who died of asthma, or the 3 pack a day smokers from lung disease, don’t all count.
Now I might allow a percentage of them to be used, IF I’m shown some actual data on how pollution levels might aggravate these conditions. I’ll need more then EPA style hand waving though. We do REAL science around here.

Reply to  schitzree
February 13, 2016 7:49 am

schitzree : lung surfactant is the problem with asthma. Please go to the 50 minute 42 second mark of the video the Doc will explain the issue and climate.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  schitzree
February 13, 2016 9:33 am

You are on the right track. For a claim of deaths to be true, one has to judge the global burden of disease, with one factor removed. That gives insight to the effect of the one factor. For PM2.5 this is judged by experts to be an impossible task. For one simple indicative example, the lifestyle of a now-60 year old who could have had zero exposure (or a daily average of 25 micrograms of PM2.5) v.s. a similar background person with 100 exposure, how is that to be interpreted in terms of the exposure to a young person who eats junk food and does no exercise and uses perfume and deodorant and cooks stir-fry daily? With a completely different diet and exposure profile it is impossible to judge what the impact of a reduction in exposure from 100 to 25 would be. That is just how it is. If a child dies of malaria in 2016 at the age of 8, how I that better than dying of complications of pneumonia at 75 in 2083?
The death claims are statistical unicorns – everyone has heard of them but no one has seen one.
That air should be cleaner is blinking obvious. To try to relate that to “reducing CO2 emissions” is silly, foolish. The anti-coal agenda is obvious throughout the sector. The claim is in essence that the emissions from bad combustion are inherent in the fuel. This is a critical point. Bad combustion is blamed on the fuel – imagine. Just like burning dung in a smoky open fire – the smoke is blamed on the fuel, not the open fire. Failing to have understood literally the first thing about combustion, they have not only modelled the death of millions, they have advocated ‘solutions’ that are off-mark, expensive and impractical. Sound familiar?

February 13, 2016 7:52 am

I really, really wish we’d get rid of the “premature death” statistic, and instead use something a bit more meaningful. Perhaps something like a number that quantifies the actual reduction in life expectancy.
Yes, there is usually an uptick in the death rate during extreme pollution events, but it’s mostly occurring in a very sick subset of the population, who were likely not expected to survive much longer anyway.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  DaveK
February 13, 2016 9:39 am

The relevant question is, would some or all of them have died anyway? Further, who says that dying ‘from’ a single episode of smoky air means that long term exposure to 50 instead of 25 micrograms per cu m of PM2.5 would have caused them to die even earlier?
Remember there are no actual deaths involved in this calculation. A far more important (theoretically) useful figure would be the number of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) but nearly no one has any confidence in claims for DALYs because of how they are modelled. When I mention them people snicker and dismiss all claims.
Something I have notice is that when a DALY number is published, it later emerges in the MSM as a number of deaths. Years become lives. Or lies.

Sandy In Limousin
February 13, 2016 7:54 am

Like everything all aspects of life should be taken into account. Getting rid of indoor cooking over open fires, or just getting rid of cooking over open fires will go a long way to improving health.
Between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy at birth in China increased from 69.3 years to 75.7 years.
China’s rate of premature mortality in 2010, for example, was only slightly higher than in the US and lower than all emerging economies in the G20 when accounting for changes in population age.
Rapid change in China brings significant improvements in health
Statistics released by the Union ministry of health and family welfare show that life expectancy in India has gone up by five years, from 62.3 years for males and 63.9 years for females in 2001-2005 to 67.3 years and 69.6 years respectively in 2011-2015. Experts attribute this jump — higher than that in the previous decade — to better immunization and nutrition, coupled with prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
Life expectancy in India goes up by 5 years in a decade
Life expectancy improved for both men and women in Pakistan at an average of 3.4 years gained since 1990, according to a new, comprehensive analysis of trend data from 188 countries.
You could claim that particulates are increasing life expectancy along with quality of of life and the nations wealth.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
February 13, 2016 9:48 am

Yes you could make the case that smoke improves lives, but it would be as groundless as the claim that >5m people die per year from PM2.5 inhalation. How about this: how much extra nutritious food compensates fully for an increase in PM2.5 exposure from 50 to 75 micrograms per cu m? Suppose annual average exposure drops from 300 to 20 and the diet improves by 1500 calories per day? Health improves and life is extended. How should the result be apportioned to those two contributors?
It is basically impossible to separate the global burden of disease into contributing percentages, much less assign ‘extra deaths’ to a change in one of them from a higher to lower exposure.
Further, the models of effects (illness and disease) are based on the assumption that all particles have the same toxicity. Check the fine print in the model descriptions.

February 13, 2016 8:04 am

Headline: Kills
Body: People die prematurely
Not the same thing.
Michael Brauer was co-author on a paper titled, “Health impacts of anthropogenic biomass burning in the developed world” which stated in part, “A conservative estimate of the current contribution of biomass smoke to premature mortality in Europe amounts to at least 40 000 deaths per year.”
In 2014, there were 25,900 “road fatalities” in the EU which were certainly premature.
I wonder why there’s no excitement about biomass deaths — maybe it’s the tobacco industry again.

Bruce Cobb
February 13, 2016 8:30 am

…the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.

Air quality is a local, regional, and to some extent, national issue. So why on earth is the AAAS concerning itself with air pollution in China, India and elsewhere? How is it any of our concern or business? Unless they have a certain agenda here…

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 13, 2016 9:51 am

They are part of the effort to stop China burning coal, which is an indirect way of competing economically. Odd, because if China started running their industries on windpower, the cost of windmills would quadruple. Would Warren Buffet still invest in them?

February 13, 2016 8:35 am

It is a shame that we can get so lost in cynicism that we frequently miss the message. There are far more important things for governments to worry about than a few tenths of a degree of average temperature increase. Things like indoor and outdoor air pollution, for example. This is one of the important points Bjorn Lomborg has been making with his Copenhagen Consensus – climate change is not near the top of the list of the world’s problems.
Government of China – You are killing millions and making hundreds of millions sick by burning coal and not scrubbing the particulates and SO2 out of the exhaust. If you want to help your people, insist that scrubbers be installed on coal-burning furnaces and plants.
Governments of India and Sub-Saharan Africa – You are killings millions and making hundreds of millions sick by forcing people to burn dung to produce heat because you have not installed power plants to generate electricity for your population to use. If you want to make the lives of your people better, provide a more healthful way for your people to heat their homes.
Governments of Indonesia and Brazil – You are killing thousands and making millions sick by uncontrolled burning of grasslands and forest to support agriculture. Find a better way to clear your land and you can improve the lives of your population and that of your neighbors.
All governments of the developing world – Stop pretending that the poor health of your people is the fault of the U.S. and Western Europe. Go to work to improve the well-being of your people. If you need us to help you with technologies or funding some projects, we may be able to help. But stop demanding that we hand you (the governments) a wad of cash as some sort of penance or recompense for our prior bad acts.

Janice Moore
Reply to  BillW
February 13, 2016 9:28 am


Jeff Stanley
Reply to  BillW
February 13, 2016 9:30 am

Exactly. The thumb-sucking climate fraudsters have trumped the real issue, which is regular old air and water pollution. The crony capitalists and their government enablers of the third world thank you, Michael Mann et. al., for letting them get away with murder.

Reply to  BillW
February 14, 2016 3:46 am

China, India – that’s what you get when you burn dung inside a house for cooking

February 13, 2016 8:36 am

Missing from the report is any useful information such as:
Average age at death for those attributed to pollution
Average age at death for those not attributed to pollution
How have these numbers changed over time
Using unquantified claims as they do we have no idea if this is a problem or just an interesting conversation piece. Will file under “Stupid” until some data are provided.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  dp
February 13, 2016 9:53 am

There is virtually no data. It is Monte Carlo simulations based on guesses of what the range of parameters and effects are.

February 13, 2016 8:56 am

5.5 million is a lot of bodies, but I have not seen any. If this study was true their would be no people alive in china, an actual experiment, not junk science.

February 13, 2016 8:56 am

In 17 years of practice as a pathologist, I’ve never signed “air pollution” as a cause of death. Air pollution at ordinary levels is not a significant topic in medical litterature. It is essentially impossible to measure the effect of air pollution on health because their are too many confounding variables. Where do the authors of these studies get their numbers from?

Reply to  Manny
February 13, 2016 9:07 am

Where do the authors of these studies get their numbers from?
They do a cranial/rectal inversion.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Manny
February 13, 2016 9:35 am

Air pollution at ordinary levels is not a significant topic in medical literature … there are too many confounding variables.

Manny (8:56 am)
And THAT, gentlemen and ladies, is science.
Contrasted with these professionals, the climate clowns styling themselves “scientists” are seen for the science buffoons they are.
Congratulations to you, Dr. Emmanuel, and to your profession.

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 1:39 pm

Yes absolutely. On the other hand, my son has asthma. The doc told us, if we’d relocate to a place in the mountains, my son would have much less problems with his lungs because of the cleaner air.
This also is science. Observable and reproducible. Unfortunately not very practical for us.
So I do believe that pollution has a health impact. But to get from there to a ‘prematural death’ number seems impossible for me, as each human live is unique. You can’t answer the ‘what would have happened if …’ questions.
Further, the human being is NOT a machine. How much impact has the mindset?
As a friend of me once said: Thinking sh*t is worse than smoking cigarettes.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  Manny
February 13, 2016 10:00 am

Manny – well said. The numbers are from simulations of deaths from simulations of exposure from simulations of air movements plus simulations of emissions based on estimates of the masses of fuels burned and their estimated locations. That is how the numbers for China were produced. I know of no other methods used to generate them. There were some ‘clinical observations’ done in the mid-90’s in India using numerous assumptions and assumed parameters for modelling the impact, particularly on children and upper respiratory tract infections. They did not control for parasites, weather or nutrition.
When I objected to the claims being bandied about I was told (by Berkeley) to keep quiet and “a lot of money will come into the cookstove sector”. Read into that what you will.

Bruce Cobb
February 13, 2016 9:17 am

I suspect the agenda isn’t the “concern” for air quality in undeveloped and developing countries (assuming it’s any of our business to begin with), but rather a blanket blaming of all fossil fuels, and most especially coal for premature deaths. In other words, coal is evil, and nobody should be using it because, “pollution”. It’s a backdoor way of sidestepping the increasingly problematic CO2 faux issue.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 13, 2016 10:00 am

Spot on.

Jeff Stanley
February 13, 2016 9:43 am

The crony capitalists and their government enablers, especially in the third world, love the climate change alarmists. Keeping that fraud on the front burner helps them dodge the real issues of regular old air and water pollution. Which — for all you libertarians out there — happen to be in the proper province of government regulation.
Just because I live upstream from you, doesn’t mean I am at liberty to foul your water free of charge. Or wouldn’t, in a sane world. Thank you Michael Mann et. al. for allowing me to get away with murder.

Bob Denby
February 13, 2016 10:15 am

Safe sex is the solution: the fewer births, the fewer deaths.

February 13, 2016 10:16 am

Irrational economic principles will cause significant destruction of per capita wealth which does harm people; some fatally so. Also, such irrational economic principles block formation of increases of per capita wealth above some subsistence level.
Severe lack of per capita wealth is linked to lack of funds to implement even the most minimal pollution controls. N’est ce pas?
So, the question is what economic principles are so profoundly irrational that they cause significant destruction of per capita wealth? And likewise, what irrational economic principles also block formation of increases of per capita wealth above some subsistence level?

February 13, 2016 10:40 am

I’m sure the White heterosexual male is somehow behind it all. Probably the Koch brothers. 😉

Reply to  Logoswrench
February 13, 2016 11:39 am


George Lawson
February 13, 2016 11:07 am

“the number of deaths will increase because the population is aging and older people are more susceptible to illnesses caused by poor air quality”
Amazing. If the population is aging, then it must have aged in spite of ‘poor air quality’. If the poor air is causing premature deaths, how has the population managed to age?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
Reply to  George Lawson
February 13, 2016 11:18 am

George: surplus people will no longer be ageing.
In a follow-up to the sponsored agitation to get Queens University in Kingston Ontario to divest itself of all ‘fossil fuel investments’ and impose that condition on any fund they did invest in has arrived in Waterloo. Waterloo’s investments are being targeted in an identical campaign minus the obvious presence of
This dog and pony show is aimed at the closure of the entire oil industry in Canada. It was defeated in Kingston. One of the prof engineers submitted that to deny poor people access to cheap fuels was a crime against humanity. Look for a letter to the editor of the Waterloo Chronicle, next edition, which the editor says they will print, pointing out that this campaign seeks to take liquid fuels literally off the market, dismounting Asians on 100cc motorcycles and having them walk instead.
If a hearing is held in Waterloo, Ontarioans and alumni should feel free to contribute to the discussion.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
February 13, 2016 11:08 am

It is interesting that if you add up the claimed outdoor air induced deaths and indoor air pollution deaths the number is much higher than 5.5 million, by at least two million. I wonder how they were so miraculously saved from certain death.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Toronto
February 13, 2016 11:35 am

I see Swaziland in Southern Africa with a population of 1.1m I in the “under 4000 deaths per year’ category. It would be a bit of a surprise if it weren’t.
The metric is inappropriate. They are just trying to make China and India look bad by reporting the total (modelled) deaths instead of the number per unit population. The suggestion above of deaths per 100,000 population is sensible and would provide a completely different map colouring. For China the number would be 56. For democratic Republic of Congo it would be 200. How many people in the DRC live long enough to die of smoke inhalation?
The numbers on the map, even if true, tell us nothing about where to spend money solving problems.

Peter Sable
February 13, 2016 11:36 am

Given that “your graph has the wrong units” is so completely obvious at first glance, cross off “American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),” as source of actual science. Might as well call them “American Association for the Advancement of Cargo Cult Science (AACCS)”

February 13, 2016 11:39 am

Formula: x is bad. Give us money.

February 13, 2016 11:44 am

Death by air pollution: largely a matter of particulate matter, which is largely a matter of indoor open fires.
The “West” for decades could have been pushing for infrastructure development, such as running electricity into the various corners of India and Africa.
Instead, what have we devoted energy to in India and Africa?
Population control, by working to overrule the individual lives and choices of the locals and pressure them to abide by our goals of birth control use, and abortion. Everywhere in the UN stuff on Pop Control, you see “access to abortion” either directly stated, or represented by euphemism and code.

Gerald Machnee
February 13, 2016 11:45 am

My grandfather lived his whole life in a house where all the cooking and heating was done on a wood stove or heater. Unfortunately as a result he passed away prematurely at the age of 92.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
February 13, 2016 11:47 am

And my father only made it to 93. He also had an oil heater.

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
February 13, 2016 12:11 pm

Gerald good stuff. My mother passed 18 month ago 5 days short of 95. She immigrated from Newfoundland to Toronto and joined the Cdn., Army.and meet my Dad. I would ask her way she lived so long answer Cod liver oil and Sardines I kid you not.

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
February 13, 2016 12:43 pm

My father smoked 2 packs of Players Plain a day. Started becoming ill at 69. I remember [ Dad cut out the salt, stop with all that butter use margarine, stop with all that fat dripping on your mash potatoes, cut the fat of your pork chop. Remember this was early 80’s cholesterol was the main topic on all news media just like Climate Change today. I was so so WRONG. He passed at 70.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
February 18, 2016 3:12 am

It was the smoke wot dunnit.

February 13, 2016 12:31 pm

How much blame should be assigned to President Obama since he has allowed China to continue to build more coal fired power plants until 2030 while the US must shut down it’s clean coal fired plants because of CO2. Obviously shutting down industry in the US and moving it to China is contributing to continued dirty coal fired plants in China where the particulate problem is especially more prevalent.

February 13, 2016 12:59 pm

Will there be a spike in lung related deaths in countries that are fracking their way to glory.
“Authors of the new study, published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, say they focused on Pennsylvania because it has one of highest residential radon levels in the country, and because the state has a huge, detailed database of home radon measures. Researchers found that radon levels fluctuated from 1989 to 2004. But radon levels in the state began to rise around 2004, when fracking really took off, the study says.”

Ralph Knapp
February 13, 2016 3:14 pm

I would humbly suggest that wind turbines are killing a hellava lot more birds than they air they breathe.

February 13, 2016 3:48 pm

“10% of al deaths were from air pollution in 2013.”
And yet, air pollution was listed as Cause of Death on a big fat zero autopsy reports. These people have fabricated every single number in this ridiculous non-study..

Eric Gisin
February 13, 2016 4:57 pm

Could someone take the data from the study and redraw the world map with per-capita death rates? It is standard practice in medicine to state deaths per 10,000.

Just Some Guy
February 13, 2016 6:02 pm

This doesn’t pass the sniff test. It says ….
“Cardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of deaths from air pollution with additional impacts from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory infections.”
So a large junk of the 5.5 million deaths from air pollution are cases of air pollution leading to heart attacks?
According to World Heart Federation. There are around 17 million total deaths from cardiovascular disease worldwide. So (without checking the fine details), it sounds like they are essentially saying a large percentage of heart attacks are caused by air pollution? That makes no sense. The risk factors commonly associated with heart disease are things like age, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, etc. Perhaps air pollution is a mitigating factor, but the above statistic just seems way out of wack.
Not that I wish to “defend” air pollution, but this sounds like a case of alarmist exaggerating to me…..

February 13, 2016 6:43 pm

This study is an embarrassment to UBC alumni. The graph is showing that more people die in bigger countries. So if you move to a very small country you will never die. 100% garbage.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
February 13, 2016 9:44 pm

I have seen some ofthe comments above. Here are some of my observations:
Health improves and life is extended — it is not that simple, in the tradition life due to non-availability of medicine people [children] used to die. With the modern medicine, the life is extended;
The data on death due to air pollution is pictitious figures. However, the people effected will have to live on medication throughout their life. The medical bill [hospital + tests + doctor fee + medicine] costs a family around 30-40% of their income. This is mostly in urban areas with concentrated pollution throughout the day. While in rural areas it is not so with industry as the wind direction play the major role. Domestic use of wood & coal are not that important as the exposure is very little;
Stan Cox in 2008 brought out book “Sick Planet: Food & Medicine”– he presented the facts on hospitals-doctors-tests. India & China produces medicine and export to developing countries. This is the major air & water pollution in India & China that are causing very severe health hazards including children born with disability;
Ill heath reduces the work eeficiency;
The health is affected by several types of pollution: air, water, land & food related to transport, industry, agriculture [chemical inputs], etc. Also, chemical inputs is also causing food pollution. The businessmen introduced a new thing — adulterated food [milk, food products], etc. In India, food pollution and adulterated food are the major causes for heath;
Some of the international agencies, to divert main issue, the put forth some hypothetical exagerated statistics like air pollution 5.5 million deaths annualy. In place environmental issues bring in global warming a non-entity to protect multinational companies that produce chemicals that are used in agriculture & genetically modified seed. The companies miting trillions of dollars each year but we them spending at least 5 to 10% towards the health & encironment. Same is the case with drug manufacturing companies.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

February 14, 2016 3:21 am

China, India – that’s what you get when you burn dung inside a house for cooking

February 14, 2016 4:46 am

The original COPY above Has BEEN restricted BY wordpress or this site, to ensure that the truth be not told. Well done censorshipers..NEVER let the truth be told..

February 14, 2016 4:47 am

Those very same “Promoters of D**th” still refuse to accept that the reason for those millions of deaths is using home FIRES to cook their food. What level of hypocrites completely ignores the facts that ENVIRONMENTALISTS are the current D**** enforcers for refusing to accept the FACT that people in poorer countries need CLEAN POWER to LIVE.
Why do those LEFTIST environ-mentalists refuse those same opportunities that WE have had. THEY are deliberately KILLING those people in INDIA, CHINA and AFRICA..

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Christian J Wmasaw
February 14, 2016 8:04 pm

Christian J Wmasaw — I am an anvironmentalists to the core and fighting against pollution [air, water, soil and food]. The poor governance is the major problem in India as they obey the orders of USA at the cost of people.
I was born and brought up in a village where my mother and her mother cooked food using wood — dung was used for agriculture manure in majority of the cases. Some areas coal & dung is used in place of wood. I am now 72 years old. My father lived up to 84 years and my mother lived up to 80 years. My brother and sisters now migrated to cities where we are facing severe air pollution problem.
In India large part of the villages have power supply.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

February 14, 2016 5:11 am

My apologies for the above. I used my TWITTER login and they CENSORED my comment as seen above. Good reason to BAN TWITTER for Killing FREE speech..

February 14, 2016 3:12 pm

The real problem has nothing to do with climate change but everything to do with Mankind’s out of control population.

February 14, 2016 9:55 pm

STAMP this item with
“Created more for propaganda, than for science”

Reply to  stewgreen
February 14, 2016 10:03 pm

(I mean the original Canadian item/report not the WUWT deconstruction, of course)

February 14, 2016 10:00 pm

“While air pollution has decreased in most high-income countries in the past 20 years, global levels are up largely” cos
#1 We didn’t measure such stuff in the past, so death was often not attributed
#2 Such particulate effects often don’t kick in until very late in life and it is only now that health services have improved to stop people dying of other stuff that they life long enough to get the particulate diseases.
..These are a start of my suggestions

February 15, 2016 1:44 am

This map looks weird for me, something is missing. Air quality in Poland is absolutely awful. We have entire months with 150+ ug/m3 pm10 and every year several days with 500-600 ug/m3. Shops selling anti-pollution masks and air quality monitoring apps are flourishing. This area (Krakow, Katowice, Bratislawa) used to be called the “black triangle” and it is still one of the worse places in the world for air quality. The burden for Poland is estimated about 40 000 premature deaths per year.
Similar thing in the Alps, no air flow during winter in valleys + wood/coal heating + thermal inversion preventing fumes from escaping vertically. Premature deaths from air pollution are estimated 65000 in Italy.The map should show several red areas in Europe IMO.

Reply to  Juls
February 15, 2016 1:53 am

Of course premature deaths figures are highly questionable, but bad air quality is a real problem. I was born in north of France, a very windy place near the sea. Since I moved to Poland, Krakow, I spend every single winter coughing. My elder son has permanently the nose blocked in spite of a clean indoor environment and his symptoms disappear every time we travel abroad. Many people I know who moved to Krakow have to take anti-asthma drugs during winter. It smells coal/wood smoke everywhere, clothes smell like cigarette after walking outside, and a black, fine, sticky dust covers everything outside.

Proud Skeptic
February 15, 2016 4:19 am

I’m a big fan of clean air…really. But I get tired of studies that try to compare something they think might happen to something that by definition, will never happen. Isn’t that the basis of climate alarmism?
How did we get to this point?

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