Future Global Air Quality Indices under Different Socioeconomic and Climate Assumptions

Future socioeconomic developments and climate policies will play a role in air quality improvement since greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions are highly connected. As these interactions are complex, air quality indices are useful tools to assess the sustainability of future policies. Here, we compute new global annual air quality indices to provide insights into future global and regional air quality, allowing for the evaluation of the sustainability of climate policies. We project the future concentrations of major the air pollutants for five socioeconomic pathways covering a broad range of climate radiative forcing targets in 2100, using a fast transport chemistry emulator and the emission database produced for the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our findings show that climate policies are very relevant in reducing air pollution exposure by mid-century. Climate policies will have a stronger effect on the pollution reduction timing, while socioeconomic developments will have a greater impact on the absolute pollution level. A 1.5 ∘ C policy target may prevent all regions from exceeding the annual average limit for all pollutants considered, except PM 2.5 . We emphasize the importance of considering exposure air quality indices, when assessing sustainable policies, as being more informative rather than a population-weighted average index.

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