NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Implementing the Paris climate agreement by investing trillions of dollars to slow greenhouse gas emissions would be far cheaper than paying the costs of people sickened by polluted air, scientists said on Friday.
Governments worldwide could save $54 trillion in health care by investing less than half that amount in green projects by mid-century, researchers said in a study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, an online academic journal.
Such an investment would result in 30 million fewer premature deaths related to air pollution, said the study’s co-author Jon Sampedro, a researcher at Spain’s Basque Centre for Climate Change.
The Paris agreement reached in 2015 by nearly 200 countries committed to curbing greenhouse emissions enough to keep the global hike in temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for a far tougher 1.5 C ceiling.
A United Nations draft report earlier this year projected that unless governments take unprecedented measures, the global temperature rise is on track to exceed the accord’s tougher target.