| LONDON, June 27
LONDON, June 27 Premature deaths from air
pollution will continue to rise to 2040 unless changes are made
to the way the world uses and produces energy, the International
Energy Agency said on Monday.
Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year
to poor air quality inside and outside, making it the world's
fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood
pressure, dietary risks and smoking.
Harmful pollutants such as particulate matter - which can
contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles - sulfur oxides
and nitrogen oxides, are responsible for the most widespread
effects of air pollution.
Tiny particulate matter can cause lung cancer, strokes and
heart disease over the long term, as well as trigger symptoms
such as heart attacks that kill more rapidly.
The release of these pollutants is mainly due to the
unregulated or inefficient production and use of energy, the IEA
said in a special report on energy and air pollution.
Without action, premature deaths attributable to outdoor air
pollution will increase to 4.5 million in 2040 from around 3
million currently. Premature deaths due to household air
pollution however, should fall to 2.9 million from 3.5 million.
Asia will account for almost 90 percent of the rise in
Even though global emissions are forecast to decline overall
to 2040, existing and planned energy policies will not be enough
to improve air quality, the report said.
"Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses
energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set
to rise," the IEA said.
Harmful greenhouse gas emissions should continue to fall in
industrialised countries and recent signs of decline in China
should continue, but emissions are set to rise in India,
southeast Asia and Africa as energy demand growth dwarfs efforts
to improve air quality.
New energy and air quality policies can deliver cleaner air,
however, such as access to clean cook stoves and fuels to
replace inefficient biomass stoves; strictly enforced emissions
standards for road transport; controlling emissions and
switching fuels in the power sector and more energy efficiency
These measures could ensure global emissions of particulate
matter fall by 7 percent, sulfur dioxide by 20 percent and
nitrogen oxides by 10 percent to 2040.
As a result, premature deaths from outdoor pollution would
fall to 2.8 million in 2040 and from household air pollution to
1.3 million, the report said.
(Editing by Alexandra Hudson)