New IEA Report Highlights Need to Address Air Pollution and Clean Cooking
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its first in-depth analysis of the intersection of energy, air pollution, and health – paired with a powerful call to action for governments to intervene. The report highlights the role and potential for impact that the energy sector has in improving air quality around the world. In a comprehensive country- and sector-specific analysis of two scenarios (one in which existing policies remain in place and another one in which robust supplemental measures are put in place to further reduce emissions) the IEA projects that premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution will increase by 50% and those due to indoor air pollution will decrease by 18% 2030 if the current policies remain, whereas a strengthened energy agenda could result in a 10% and 73% reductions in those numbers respectively.
The report makes a strong case for better regulations and management of energy consumption and associated pollution by international governments. Three key areas for action were identified:
- Setting ambitious long-term air quality goals
- Putting in place country-specific clean air policies for the energy sector to achieve those long-term goal, through avoiding emissions, Innovating, and Reducing emissions (A-I-R).
- Ensuring effective monitoring, enforcement, evaluation and communication strategies
Because each region of the world is faced with a different set of circumstances, the IEA offers a menu of potential air pollution mitigation strategies for each nation or region to implement its own cocktail of policies adapted to their most pressing issues. Of particular relevance to the Alliance’s mission is the call for universal access to cleaner cooking fuels and electricity. Household air pollution, among the leading risk factors for child mortality and chronic cardiopulmonary conditions, burdens nearly half of the global population on a daily basis. The Alliance, which promotes the use of clean and/or efficient cooking technologies and fuels, is encouraged by the importance that household energy consumption has been afforded in this global call for policy reform and energy sector regulation.