The cost of air pollution to the world’s largest economies runs into the trillions of euros, with emissions from road transport accounting for about half of the total, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The study estimates the cost of air pollution to the OECD member countries and China and India, at $3.5 trillion (€2.6 trillion).

The cost to the OECD’s club of 34 “advanced” economies, which includes the majority of EU countries, is an estimated $1.7 trillion (€1.2 trillion).

Road transport accounts for an estimated 50% of the economic cost of air pollution in its member countries, according to a review of literature presented in the study. This was also the figure for the 24 EU countries included in the study.

The OECD, an influential Paris-based think tank, predicts that these costs will rise unless governments take action to limit vehicle emissions.

The think tank published a number of policy recommendations along with the study, including tightening emission standards, expanding bicycle-sharing and electric vehicle programmes, extending road charge schemes and phasing out preferential tax arrangements for diesel compared to petrol, for which Gurría said there was “no environmental justification”. Diesel emissions are known to be among the most harmful.

Source: Euractiv

Full article available on the Euractiv website