Your excellency, Dear Sir / Madam,

We have just published a set of papers for our latest topic, Air Pollution.

Air pollution is the world’s deadliest environmental problem. It kills 7 million people each year, or one in eight deaths globally. 4.3 million of these deaths are due to 2.8 billion people in the developing world who cook and keep warm inside their homes, by burning dung, firewood and coal – filling their living spaces with smoke and pollutants. Indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with open fires is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day.

How do we best address this problem?

As reported in China Daily, The Times (UK), The Australian and multiple Latin American newspapers (e.g. El Universal, Venezuela) providing 50% of these 2.8 billion people with improved cooking stoves – which dispels smoke outside through chimneys and vents, is one effective solution. The stoves are cheap and provide numerous benefits in terms of time, fuel and importantly health. It will save almost half a million deaths each year, and avoid 2.5 billion disease days. For every dollar spent we do $10 worth of good.

However, giving people improved cookstoves is not a panacea for air pollution, even if everyone has one. Why? Because improved cook-stoves, still pollute inside (but less) and at the same time worsen the situation outside by blowing smoke into the community.

Instead, we should aim to eventually have everyone use smoke free sources such as LPG stoves or electricity. The benefits from using LPG stoves are greater, but the costs much greater, so every dollar invested does $2 worth of good.
 
For outdoor air pollution, the problem is even more difficult. Globally, reaching the WHO’s targets for air pollution, through low-sulphur diesel and car filters is too expensive relative to the benefit.
 
TARGET Cost $B per year Benefit $B per year Benefit for Every Dollar Spent
50% of those using unimproved cookstoves switch to improved cookstoves    5   52   $10 
50% of those using unimproved cookstoves switch to LPG cookstoves  68  126  $2 
100% of those using unimproved cookstoves switch to LPG cookstoves 137  297  $2 
Outdoor particulate matter 2.5 does not exceed 35 µg/m3 50  13  $0.3 
Outdoor particulate matter 2.5 does not exceed 25 µg/m3 98  35  $0.4 
Outdoor particulate matter 2.5 does not exceed 15 µg/m3 190  78  $0.4 
Outdoor particulate matter 2.5 does not exceed 10 µg/m3 304  130  $0.4 


You can read all of the reports at www.post2015consensus.com/air-pollution

Here, Copenhagen Consensus Center has just released its latest research on Air Pollution targets for the post-2015 development agenda. Bjorn Larsen, independent economist, writes the main report, peer-reviewed in perspective papers by Marc Jeuland, Assistant Professor of Economics at Duke University and Mike Holland, independent economist. An additional viewpoint is provided by Katharina Stepping of German Development Institute.
 
Best regards,
 
Bjorn Lomborg
PhD and Adjunct Professor
President of Copenhagen Consensus Center

PS. The Post-2015 Consensus  project brings together 60 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals. If you have questions about the project, send an email to Research Project Manager Brad Wong by replying to this email.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
In a hurry?
Download the one page PDF summary here.


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