Quantifying the Economic Cost of Fossil Fuels

Key messages
● First-of-a-kind assessment of the global economic cost of air pollution from fossil fuels,
building on recent advances in research on the contribution of fossil fuel burning to air
pollutant levels around the world and the health impacts of air pollution.
● The economic costs of air pollution from fossil fuels are estimated at US$2.9 trillion in
2018, or 3.3% of global GDP, far exceeding the likely costs of rapid reductions in fossil fuel
use.
● An estimated 4.5 million people died in 2018 due to exposure to air pollution from fossil
fuels. On average, each death was associated with a loss of 19 years of life.
● Fossil fuel PM2.5 pollution was responsible for 1.8 billion days of work absence, 4 million
new cases of child asthma and 2 million preterm births, among other health impacts that
affect healthcare costs, economic productivity and welfare.”