Coal Pollution is projected to cut 5.5 yrs off of 5mil Chinese People

WashingtonPost covers a study that says coal pollution in China will cut 5.5 years off of 5 million people.

What they found was surprising. Concentrations of “total suspended particulates” were about 55 percent higher in the north, thanks to the heavy coal burning. And life expectancy for those living in the north was also about 5.5 years shorter — an effect due entirely to differences in cardio-respiratory problems, which is exactly what you’d expect if pollution was the cause. (There’s a long appendix detailing all the different controls they applied.)


The study concluded that nearly 500 million people living north of the Huai River will lose an estimated 2.5 billion life years because of pollution from widespread coal burning, compared with those south of the river. The study is based on analyses of health and air-quality data from 1981 to 2000.

The study is here.


This paper's findings suggest that an arbitrary Chinese policy that greatly increases total suspended particulates (TSPs) air pollution is causing the 500 million residents of Northern China to lose more than 2.5 billion life years of life expectancy. The quasi-experimental empirical approach is based on China’s Huai River policy, which provided free winter heating via the provision of coal for boilers in cities north of the Huai River but denied heat to the south. Using a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, we find that ambient concentrations of TSPs are about 184 μg/m3 [95% confidence interval (CI): 61, 307] or 55% higher in the north. Further, the results indicate that life expectancies are about 5.5 y (95% CI: 0.8, 10.2) lower in the north owing to an increased incidence of cardiorespiratory mortality. More generally, the analysis suggests that long-term exposure to an additional 100 μg/m3 of TSPs is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 y (95% CI: 0.4, 5.6).

Wow.  2.5 billion life years vs. coal power.  Could you imagine if you were told given where you live you'll die 5.5 years earlier than others in a lower carbon region?