The impact of power generation emissions on ambient PM2.5 pollution and human health in China and India

Meng Gao*, Gufran Beig, Shaojie Song, Hongliang Zhang, Jianlin Hu, Qi Ying, Fengchao Liang, Yang Liu, Haikun Wang, Xiao Lu, Tong Zhu, Gregory R. Carmichael, Chris P. Nielsen*, Michael B. McElroy

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    115 Citations (Scopus)


    Emissions from power plants in China and India contain a myriad of fine particulate matter (PM2.5, PM ≤ 2.5 μm in diameter) precursors, posing significant health risks among large, densely settled populations. Studies isolating the contributions of various source classes and geographic regions are limited in China and India, but such information could be helpful for policy makers attempting to identify efficient mitigation strategies. We quantified the impact of power generation emissions on annual mean PM2.5 concentrations using the state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry model WRF-Chem (Weather Research Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry) in China and India. Evaluations using nationwide surface measurements show the model performs reasonably well. We calculated province-specific annual changes in mortality and life expectancy due to power generation emissions generated PM2.5 using the Integrated Exposure Response (IER) model, recently updated IER parameters from Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015, population data, and the World Health Organization (WHO) life tables for China and India. We estimate that 15 million (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 10 to 21 million) years of life lost can be avoided in China each year and 11 million (95% CI: 7 to 15 million) in India by eliminating power generation emissions. Priorities in upgrading existing power generating technologies should be given to Shandong, Henan, and Sichuan provinces in China, and Uttar Pradesh state in India due to their dominant contributions to the current health risks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)250-259
    Number of pages10
    JournalEnvironment International
    Volume121 (Part 1)
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Air quality modeling
    • Power generation
    • China
    • India
    • WRF-Chem


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