South Korea had the highest annual average PM2.5 exposure levels in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2019, and air pollution is consistently ranked as citizens’ top environmental concern. South Korea is also one of the world’s top ten emitter countries of CO2. Co-benefit mitigation policies can address both air pollution and climate change. Utilizing an alternative co-benefit approach, which views air pollution reduction as the primary goal and climate change mitigation as secondary, this research conducts a scenario analysis to forecast the health and climate benefits of fuel substitution in South Korea’s electricity generation sector. Health benefits are calculated by avoided premature mortality and years of life lost (YLL) due to ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI). The study finds that use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of coal over the 2022-2050 period would result in an average of 116 fewer premature deaths (1,152 YLL) and 80.8 MTCO2e fewer emissions per year. Over the same period, maintaining and maximizing the use of its nuclear energy capacity, combined with replacing coal use with LNG, would result in an average of 161 fewer premature deaths (1,608 YLL) and 123.7 MTCO2e fewer emissions per year.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by Charlie Heaps and the rest of the LEAP development team of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) through their development and provision of the Low Emissions Analysis Platform (LEAP) – Integrated Benefits Calculator (IBC).
© 2021 by the authors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science