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Study: Greenhouse Gas Reductions Could Stave Off Millions Of Premature Deaths

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Heat waves emanate from the exhaust pipe of a city transit bus as it passes an American flag. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Heat waves emanate from the exhaust pipe of a city transit bus as it passes an American flag. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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DURHAM, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) - The findings of a new study indicate that a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions might prevent the premature deaths of millions of people.

As many as 3 million deaths per year could be avoided if emissions of the gases attributed to global warming were lessened by the year 2100, LiveScience is reporting.

“We found reducing greenhouse gases could lead to a pretty striking reduction in air pollutants, and thus a pretty significant impact on lives saved,” Jason West, an atmospheric scientist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who was involved in the study, was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

In all, the decline in pollutants could save an estimated 300,000 to 700,000 people from untimely deaths every year by 2030. By 2050, that number could reportedly go up to between 800,000 to 1.8 million people.

A significant portion of those persons whose lives would be saved would be from China, LiveScience learned – two thirds, in fact. In regards to cost, researchers involved with the study estimated each life saved to be worth between $50 and $380.

West added, “This is much more than the costs of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, so this can justify reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the point of view of human health.”

The study was said to have been published online in the journal Natural Climate Change on Sept. 22.

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