Impacts of air pollutants from rural Chinese households under the rapid residential energy transition

Guofeng Shen, Muye Ru, Wei Du, Xi Zhu, Qirui Zhong, Yilin Chen, Huizhong Shen, Xiao Yun, Wenjun Meng, Junfeng Liu, Hefa Cheng, Jianying Hu, Dabo Guan, Shu Tao

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Rural residential energy consumption in China is experiencing a rapid transition towards clean energy, nevertheless, solid fuel combustion remains an important emission source. Here we quantitatively evaluate the contribution of rural residential emissions to PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm) and the impacts on health and climate. The clean energy transitions result in remarkable reductions in the contributions to ambient PM2.5, avoiding 130,000 (90,000-160,000) premature deaths associated with PM2.5 exposure. The climate forcing associated with this sector declines from 0.057 ± 0.016 W/m2 in 1992 to 0.031 ± 0.008 W/m2 in 2012. Despite this, the large remaining quantities of solid fuels still contributed 14 ± 10 μg/m3 to population-weighted PM2.5 in 2012, which comprises 21 ± 14% of the overall population-weighted PM2.5 from all sources. Rural residential emissions affect not only rural but urban air quality, and the impacts are highly seasonal and location dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3405
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019

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