New study by Environment and Resources graduate student reports the health benefits of reducing air pollution

Nick Mailloux
Nick Mailloux

Nick Mailloux, an Environment and Resources graduate student, is lead author of a newly published report in the journal GeoHealth addressing the health benefits of removing dangerous fine particulates released into the air by electricity generation, transportation, industrial activities and building functions like heating and cooking — also major sources of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, since they predominantly rely on burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas.

“Our work provides a sense of the scale of the air quality health benefits that could accompany deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system,” says Nick Mailloux. “Shifting to clean energy sources can provide enormous benefit for public health in the near term while mitigating climate change in the longer term.”

Jonathan Patz, senior author of the study and a professor in the Nelson Institute and Department of Population Health Sciences offered, “Our analysis is timely, following last month’s report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that called for urgent action to transform the world’s energy economy.” Further adding, “My hope is that our research findings might spur decision-makers grappling with the necessary move away from fossil fuels, to shift their thinking from burdens to benefits.”

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