Economic Effects of Sulphur Dioxide Emissions

Study published in Atmosphere Journal

Monsoon rain at an Indian tea plantation
  • News 26.04.2019

Air pollutant emissions are known to have negative consequences for human health, but they also can have additional negative consequences for countries' economies. As they are often co-emitted with CO2, this is an important part of the discussion on climate change mitigation.
In their study "Marginal Benefit to South Asian Economies from SO2 Emissions Mitigation and Subsequent Increase in Monsoon Rainfall", Kain Glensor, Research Fellow in the Energy, Transport and Climate Policy Division at the Wuppertal Institute, and Prof. Neil R. P. Harris of the Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Informatics at Cranfield University, discuss the impact of SO2 emissions in India. 

Sulphur dioxide – SO2 for short – is produced during coal combustion. "Coal combustion dominates the Indian electricity sector. The associated SO2 emissions are likely to have a short-term but significant negative impact on the South Asian summer monsoon rainfall," explains Kain Glensor. Given that Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall provides most (around 80 per cent) of the fresh water to the region, reduced rainfall leads to declining crop yields and thus negative consequences for the economy. The study concludes that mitigating SO2 emissions may have a partially net positive effect on the Indian economy, whereby the mitigation costs are lower than the potential benefits.

The full article by Kain Glensor and Neil R. P. Harris is in the Atmosphere Journal (Volume 10, Issue 2) and is available at the link below.

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