Premature Deaths Due to Diesel Emissions Grossly Underestimated

The impact of all real-world diesel nitrogen oxide emissions will grow to 183,600 early deaths in 2040 globally. 
 (Image:  Ian Holton via  flickr  /  CC BY 2.0 )
The impact of all real-world diesel nitrogen oxide emissions will grow to 183,600 early deaths in 2040 globally. (Image: Ian Holton via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

Researchers have found that diesel vehicle emissions are significantly underestimated in the real-world by as much as 50 percent. The research, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation and Environmental Health Analytics, tested the nitrogen oxide emissions from 11 major vehicle markets representing more than 80 percent of new diesel vehicle sales in 2015.

The study, published in Nature, found that of the 11 markets, the vehicles emitted 13.2 million tons of nitrogen oxide under real-world driving conditions. This results in 4.6 million tons more than the 8.6 million tons expected from vehicle performance under official laboratory tests.

Chris Malley, who was part of the study from the SEI, University of York, said in a statement:

Health impacts

A major contributor to outdoor air pollution is nitrogen oxide, and long-term exposure to these pollutants has been linked to many adverse health outcomes. These outcomes include disability and reduced life expectancy due to stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and lung cancer.

Josh Miller, researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), said that is was heavy-duty vehicles that were the largest contributor:

Premature deaths

The study authors estimated that the excess of diesel vehicle NOx emissions in 2015 was linked to approximately 38,000 premature deaths worldwide. The deaths were mostly from the European Union, China, and India.

Susan Anenberg, co-founder of Environmental Health Analytics, LLC, explained that:

The study also estimates that unless something is done to reduce it, the impact of all real-world diesel nitrogen oxide emissions will grow to 183,600 early deaths in 2040 globally. According to the researchers, by implementing the most stringent standards, it could substantially improve the situation.

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The 2017 Yilan Green Expo in Taiwan