The Critical Role of Policy Enforcement in Achieving Health, Air Quality, and Climate Benefits from India's Clean Electricity Transition

Wei Peng, Hancheng Dai, Hao Guo, Pallav Purohit, Johannes Urpelainen, Fabian Wagner, Yazhen Wu, Hongliang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The coal-dominated electricity system poses major challenges for India to tackle air pollution and climate change. Although the government has issued a series of clean air policies and low-carbon energy targets, a key barrier remains enforcement. Here, we quantify the importance of policy implementation in India's electricity sector using an integrated assessment method based on emissions scenarios, air quality simulations, and health impact assessments. We find that limited enforcement of air pollution control policies leads to worse future air quality and health damages (e.g., 14 »200 to 59 »000 more PM2.5-related deaths in 2040) than when energy policies are not fully enforced (5900 to 8700 more PM2.5-related deaths in 2040), since coal power plants with end-of-pipe controls already emit little air pollution. However, substantially more carbon dioxide will be emitted if low-carbon and clean coal policies are not successfully implemented (e.g., 400 to 800 million tons more CO2 in 2040). Thus, our results underscore the important role of effectively implementing existing air pollution and energy policy to simultaneously achieve air pollution, health, and carbon mitigation goals in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11720-11731
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume54
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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