Air pollution caused directly by burning fossil fuels and indirectly by climate change poses one of the biggest health risks on the planet today.
Did you know that nine out of every ten people across the world breathe polluted air, causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year? In the United States alone, nearly 134 million Americans are exposed to unhealthy air every day.
So, what’s the problem? Well, air pollution causes cardiovascular disease, asthma, lung disorders, adversely affects the development of brain function, and can even pass through the placenta to developing babies. And, a 2013 study by researchers at MIT found that in the United States, air pollution accounts for approximately 200,000 premature deaths per year, with electricity generation contributing to 52,000 of those deaths. A recent American Lung Association report found that, “More than four in 10 people (41.4 percent) in the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.”
What are some solutions? Fortunately, many people, organizations, countries, and communities recognize this health issue and are working to decrease carbon pollution that causes the unhealthy air. Switching to clean energy is a big part of the solution.
Improving Air Quality and Reducing Impacts of Climate Change
According to the World Health Organization, which recently released a report on air pollution and climate change: “Political leaders at all levels of government, including city mayors, are now starting to pay attention and take action. We are seeing more governments increasing commitments to monitor and reduce air pollution as well as more global action from the health sector and other sectors like transport, housing, and energy.”
In short, switching from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable resources like wind and solar decrease the amount of illness- and death-causing particulates in the atmosphere.
As they burn, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide—which is a key emission responsible for climate change—as well as a bevy of dangerous and polluting substances including fine particles, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. Switching over from burning fossil fuels decreases smog and significantly improving air quality—especially in poor and vulnerable communities where people are most at risk.
Clean Energy Means Cleaner Air and Clean Energy Jobs
Clearly, there are health benefits of using clean energy over dirty, fossil-fuel based energy. Let’s not forget about the economic benefits, too.
Switching to more efficient and cleaner energy could generate 13.7 million jobs and save 40 billion hours of commuters' time as well as billions of dollars in reduced household expenses each year, according to new research from C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the New Climate Institute. Those benefits are on top of the millions of lives saved and improved by cleaner, healthier air.
In a 2017 study, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that already wind and solar power are saving lives and saving the country money. In 2015, the researchers found that the cumulative benefits of wind and solar energy on air quality saved the United States between $29.7 billion to $112.8 billion. Most of that benefit comes from avoiding premature deaths. They estimate the solar and wind industry saved between 3,000 and 12,700 lives in the last decade.
Across the U.S., regions could also save $5.7 to $210 million per year by replacing coal-fired power with renewable or energy efficiency measures, too.
Choosing CleanChoice Energy as your green electricity supplier is a way to immediately decrease air pollution and take a step toward a cleaner, healthier planet. CleanChoice Energy sources renewable energy from wind and solar farms as close as possible to where customers live. Learn how you can switch your home to 100% pollution-free clean energy today!