Poland faces two great challenges in the field of environment and atmosphere protection: improving air quality, especially by reducing particulate matter (PM) emissions, and reducing relatively high greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this research was to investigate how the fuel and technological transformations in the power, road transport, and household and tertiary sectors aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2
) emissions in Poland would affect air quality, human health, and the associated external costs. The study was conducted for 2050 while considering 2015 as the base year. Ambient PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm) concentration was used as a proxy air quality indicator. The analysis was based on decarbonization scenarios developed within the REFLEX Project (Analysis of the European energy system under the aspects of flexibility and technological progress). The three scenarios of the REFLEX Project focused on the reduction of CO2
emissions up to 2050 from various sectors, mainly by the means of fuel and technological switches. This also led to the changes in the emission levels of pollutants that directly affect air quality, which were calculated with the use of fuel- and technology-specific emission factors. Next, for each emission scenario, ambient concentrations of PM2.5 and others pollutants were calculated with the use of the Polyphemus—an Eulerian-type air quality modelling system. Subsequently, the health impact of population exposed to air pollution and associated external costs were calculated using the πESA (Platform for Integrated Energy System Analysis) platform. The health impacts considered were the number of years of life lost, restricted activity days, and number of chronic bronchitis cases. The results showed that the largest reductions in both greenhouse gas and PM emissions—and consequently improvements of air quality resulting in a decrease of negative impacts on human health and a decrease of external costs—can be achieved by the transformation of heat production in the household and tertiary sector. The results also showed that the decrease in PM2.5 emissions envisaged in the analyzed scenarios in 2050 will lead to a reduction in the number of lost years of life by about 35 thousand and an avoidance of external costs by EUR 2.4 billion.
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