China: Greenpeace research finds country's coal plants responsible for over 250,000 premature deaths & impaired health of hundreds of thousands of children in 2011

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12 December 2013

Chinese coal pollution ‘responsible for 250,000 deaths’ in 2011 [China]

Author: Tom Revell, Blue & Green Tomorrow

Air pollution from China’s coal plants was responsible for over 250,000 premature deaths in 2011, while also harming hundreds of thousands of Chinese children, according to new research. The study, commissioned by Greenpeace, found that in 2011, air pollution in China caused 36,000 babies to be born with low weight, 320,000 children and 61,000 adults to suffer from asthma, 340,000 hospital admissions and 2m doctor visits… The Greenpeace study estimates that the proposed addition of 570 new coal-fired power stations, on top of the 2,300 already operating in China, would cause an further 32,000 deaths per year…A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in July claims that air pollution in northern China reduces average life expectancy by five-and-a-half years…[I]n November, an unnamed eight-year-old girl reportedly became the youngest person in China to be diagnosed with lung cancer, with her doctor saying that air pollution was to blame.

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12 December 2013

Interactive Map: Health impact of China's coal plants mapped

Author: Christine Ottery, Greenpeace UK

The level of emissions from coal plants in China in 2011 could have contributed to an estimated quarter of a million premature deaths that year…The some 257,000 premature deaths – which theoretically could have been avoided if there was no air pollution - were calculated using modeling techniques based on the links between air pollution and risk of illness or death…We mapped the impact of the coal plant emissions on estimated premature deaths…The Greenpeace study…also considered coal-fired plants that are in the pipeline. If the 570 proposed coal plants are built they could cause 32,000 premature deaths a year, the analysis projected. China is building coal plants at a rapid rate and depends on coal as its primary source of energy – at almost 80% - half of which is burned by the power sector. China’s Big Five state-owned power firms (Huaneng, Guodian, Huadian, Datang and China Power Investment) account for about half of China’s capacity.

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