Statement: Harvard Study Links Fossil Fuel Combustion to Incredible Number of Premature Deaths

Media Contacts
Hayley Berliner

Environment New Jersey

Trenton – Earlier this week, researchers from Harvard University, and partner institutions in the U.K., released a study indicating that fossil fuel emissions have caused significantly more deaths worldwide than previously accounted for. The study includes data on a continent-level, country-level, and even state-level, showing that exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel combustion accounted for nearly one in five deaths worldwide in 2018.

In New Jersey, 17,646 people die a premature death each year from long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM 2.5) emitted from fossil fuel combustion, and since 2012, air pollution of PM 2.5 was linked to a total of 97,747 deaths. Regions with the highest concentrations of air pollution from fossil fuel combustion saw the highest rates of premature death, including Eastern North America. This pollution comes from electricity generation, industry, ground transportation, shipping and aircraft.

Hayley Berliner, Clean Energy Associate with Environment New Jersey released the following statement:

“This study underscores what the public health and environmental community has been saying for decades – that we need to stop burning fossil fuels for the health of our planet and ourselves. Now we have concrete data showing that millions of people worldwide, and thousands of people in New Jersey die prematurely each year because we continue to be addicted to last century’s dirty outdated combustion technology. We need to transition New Jersey to clean, renewable energy sources as quickly as possible, and electrify our vehicles and buildings to move away from fossil fuels entirely.”