Transport contributes to air pollution in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A range of measures to address air pollution and climate change impacts are considered in the LEAP-IBC framework including the implementation of higher Euro emission standards for road vehicles in Bangladesh. Photo: Alit Saha / Pixabay.

Low- and middle-income countries have the largest health burdens associated with air pollution exposure, and are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Substantial opportunities have been identified to simultaneously improve air quality and mitigate climate change due to overlapping sources of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions and because a subset of pollutants, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), directly contribute to both impacts. However, planners in low- and middle-income countries often lack practical tools to quantify the air pollution and climate change impacts of different policies and measures.

The modelling framework implemented in LEAP-IBC estimates emissions of greenhouse gases, SLCPs and air pollutants for historical years, and future projections for baseline and mitigation scenarios. These emissions are then used to quantify i) population-weighted annual average ambient PM2.5 concentrations across the target country, ii) household PM2.5 exposure of different population groups living in households cooking using different fuels/technologies and iii) radiative forcing from all emissions. Health impacts (premature mortality) attributable to ambient and household PM2.5 exposure and changes in global average temperature change are then estimated.

This framework is applied in Bangladesh to evaluate the air quality and climate change benefits from implementation of Bangladesh’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and National Action Plan to reduce SLCPs. Results show that the measures included to reduce GHGs in Bangladesh’s NDC also have substantial benefits for air quality and human health. Full implementation of Bangladesh’s NDC, and National SLCP Plan would reduce carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon and primary PM2.5 emissions by 25%, 34%, 46% and 45%, respectively in 2030 compared to a baseline scenario. These emission reductions could reduce population-weighted ambient PM2.5 concentrations in Bangladesh by 18% in 2030, and avoid approximately 12,000 and 100,000 premature deaths attributable to ambient and household PM2.5 exposures, respectively, in 2030. As countries are simultaneously planning to achieve the climate goals in the Paris Agreement, improve air quality to reduce health impacts and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the LEAP-IBC tool provides a practical framework by which planners can develop integrated strategies, achieving multiple air quality and climate benefits.