Regional disparities in health and employment outcomes of China's transition to a low-carbon electricity system

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Journal Article

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Understanding the costs and the spatial distribution of health and employment outcomes of low-carbon electricity pathways is critical to enable an equitable transition. We integrate an electricity system planning model (GridPath), a health impact model (InMAP), and a multiregional input–output model to quantify China's provincial-level impacts of electricity system decarbonization on costs, health outcomes, employment, and labor compensation. We find that even without specific CO2 constraints, declining renewable energy and storage costs enable a 26% decline in CO2 emissions in 2040 compared to 2020 under the Reference scenario. Compared to the Reference scenario, pursuing 2 °C and 1.5 °C compatible carbon emission targets (85% and 99% decrease in 2040 CO2 emissions relative to 2020 levels, respectively) reduces air pollution-related premature deaths from electricity generation over 2020–2040 by 51% and 63%, but substantially increases annual average costs per unit of electricity demand in 2040 (21% and 39%, respectively). While the 2 °C pathway leads to a 3% increase in electricity sector-related net labor compensation, the 1.5 °C pathway results in a 19% increase in labor compensation driven by greater renewable energy deployment. Although disparities in health impacts across provinces narrow as fossil fuels phase out, disparities in labor compensation widen with wealthier East Coast provinces gaining the most in labor compensation because of materials and equipment manufacturing, and offshore wind deployment.


Environmental Research: Energy



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An open-access version of this article published in Environmental Research: Energy can be viewed and downloaded here.


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