We evaluate public health and climate impacts of low-sulphur fuels in global shipping. Using high-resolution emissions inventories, integrated atmospheric models, and health risk functions, we assess ship-related PM 2.5 pollution impacts in 2020 with and without the use of low-sulphur fuels. Cleaner marine fuels will reduce ship-related premature mortality and morbidity by 34 and 54%, respectively, representing a ~ 2.6% global reduction in PM 2.5 cardiovascular and lung cancer deaths and a ~3.6% global reduction in childhood asthma. Despite these reductions, low-sulphur marine fuels will still account for ~250k deaths and ~6.4 M childhood asthma cases annually, and more stringent standards beyond 2020 may provide additional health benefits. Lower sulphur fuels also reduce radiative cooling from ship aerosols by ~80%, equating to a ~3% increase in current estimates of total anthropogenic forcing. Therefore, stronger international shipping policies may need to achieve climate and health targets by jointly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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