Fossil fuel emissions are responsible for one-in-five deaths globally.
New research by Harvard University, in collaboration with the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and University College London, estimates more than eight million people died in 2018 from polluted air,
Regions with the highest concentrations of fossil fuel-related air pollution, including eastern northern America, Europe and southeast Asia also have the highest rates of mortality, according to the analysis published in the journal Environmental Research.
Researchers’ estimates of the number of air pollution deaths surpass calculations of a previous study, which had put the number of global deaths from all outdoor airborne particulate matter, including dust and smoke from wildfires and agricultural burns, at 4.2 million.
Eloise Marais, Associate Professor at the University College London, said: “Our study adds to the mounting evidence that air pollution from ongoing dependence on fossil fuels is detrimental to global health.
“We can’t in good conscience continue to rely on fossil fuels when we know that there are such severe effects on health.”