Earth:Co-benefits of climate change mitigation

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Co-benefits of climate change mitigation as defined in the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are the positive benefits related to the reduction of greenhouse gases.[1] Examples of such climate mitigation policies include improved energy efficiency of plants, renewable energy uptake and fuel switching which might enable a range of co-benefits such as air-pollution impacts, technological innovation, energy-supply security through increased energy diversity, reduced fuel cost and employment possibilities.[1]

Co-benefits in policy-making

Co-benefits of GHG mitigation can be an important decision criteria in analyses carried out by policy-makers, but they are often neglected, and often the co-benefits are not quantified, monetised or even identified by businesses and decision-makers. Appropriate consideration of co-benefits can greatly influence policy decisions concerning the timing and level of mitigation action, and there can be significant advantages to the national economy and technical innovation.[1]

Co-benefits in research

Different research groups currently examine the impacts of co-benefits of climate change mitigation. One of these projects is the COBENEFITS project of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany. The COBENEFITS project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. The project is conducted in close collaboration with government ministries, agencies, research institutions, and think tanks as political partners and knowledge partners in the target countries. These four target countries are India , South Africa , Turkey , and Vietnam. The project team, thereby, cooperates with national authorities and knowledge partners to develop key insights that enable them to mobilise these co-benefits in their countries and accelerate domestic processes aimed at achieving their international climate protection commitments.[2]

Main co-benefits

Active lifestyle

Biking reduces greenhouse gas emissions[3] while reducing the effects of a sedentary lifestyle at the same time[4] According to PLoS Medicine: "obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which are in part related to physical inactivity, may be reduced by a switch to low-carbon transport—including walking and cycling."[5]

Clean air

Climate change mitigation policies can lead to lower emissions of co-emitted air pollutants, for instance by shifting away from fossil fuel combustion. In addition, gases such as black carbon and methane contribute both to global warming and to air pollution, such that their mitigation can bring benefits in terms of limiting global temperature increases as well as improving air quality.[6] Implementation of the climate pledges made in the run-up to the Paris Agreement could therefore have significant benefits for human health by improving air quality.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 IPCC. "Co-benefits of climate change mitigation". IPCC. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  2. "Cobenefits". 
  3. Blondel, Benoît; Mispelon, Chloé; Ferguson, Julian (November 2011). Cycle more Often 2 cool down the planet !. European Cyclists’ Federation. Retrieved 16 April 2019. 
  4. "Cycling - health benefits". Retrieved 16 April 2019. 
  5. A. Patz, Jonathan; C. Thomson, Madeleine (31 July 2018). "Climate change and health: Moving from theory to practice". PLOS Medicine 15 (7): e1002628. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002628. PMID 30063707. 
  6. Anenberg, Susan C. et al. (1 June 2012). "Global Air Quality and Health Co-benefits of Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change through Methane and Black Carbon Emission Controls". Environmental Health Perspectives 120 (6): 831–839. doi:10.1289/ehp.1104301. 
  7. Vandyck, Toon et al. (22 November 2018). "Air quality co-benefits for human health and agriculture counterbalance costs to meet Paris Agreement pledges". Nature Communications 9 (1): 4939. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06885-9. 

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