‘Invisible killer’: fossil fuels caused 8.7m deaths globally in 2018, research finds

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Pollution from power plants, vehicles and other sources accounted for one in five of all deaths that year, more detailed analysis reveals

Air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil was responsible for 8.7m deaths globally in 2018, a staggering one in five of all people who died that year, new research has found.

Countries with the most prodigious consumption of fossil fuels to power factories, homes and vehicles are suffering the highest death tolls, with the study finding more than one in 10 deaths in both the US and Europe were caused by the resulting pollution, along with nearly a third of deaths in eastern Asia, which includes China. Death rates in South America and Africa were significantly lower.

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