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Air Pollution, Black Carbon, Transportation, Zero Emissions

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Transportation has a negative impact on health because of its negative impact on air quality. The particulates in diesel exhaust often contain organic compounds that are associated with cancer [2],[8],[9]. Vehicle emissions, including particulates, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, are elevated in urban areas, and they impact human health [2]. The global health impacts associated with air pollution have economic costs of more than one trillion dollars per year [2],[13],[14] and there are many deaths attributed to the impacts of transportation on air quality.

Particulate matter and black carbon in particulate matter have significant impacts on human health with an estimated 2.9 million attributable deaths in the year 2013 [46]. Ambient particulate matter in air is the sixth largest overall risk factor for global premature mortality [47].


Erickson LE, Jennings M. Energy, Transportation, Air Quality, Climate Change, Health Nexus: Sustainable Energy is Good for Our Health. AIMS Public Health. 2017 Feb 16;4(1):47-61. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2017.1.47. PMID: 29922702; PMCID: PMC5963114.


Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles Are Good for Our Health There are many good reasons to promote sustainable development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The costs associated with climate change and poor air quality are very large. The global social cost of air pollution is at least $3 trillion/year because of illness and premature deaths due to asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, autism, and dementia caused by combustion emissions. The number of weather and climate disasters with costs over $1 billion dollars has been increasing. The average global temperature set new highs in 2014, 2015, and 2016. When all of these issues are considered, it is clear that every effort should be made to transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. There has been significant progress in reducing the costs of power generation with wind and solar energy. In 2015, wind was number one and solar number two in new generation capacity added. In 2016, solar was number one, and it accounted for 39% of all new generating capacity added. Wind is now the low cost alternative for generation of electricity in many locations with reported costs of about $0.056/kWh. There has also been great progress in reducing the costs of batteries for energy storage, and this has made electric vehicles very competitive. Electric buses are replacing diesel buses in many major cities because of reduced cost and health benefits. More than 5 million electric vehicles are now in service. Solar powered charging infrastructure is present in many parking lots in many countries. There are significant incentives to purchase electric vehicles because of the significant costs associated with air pollution and climate change. These incentives are appropriate and in the best interests of society. Research to further advance the electrification of transportation and the transition to renewable energy should continue. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change provides a way for countries to work cooperatively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The justification for taking action to reduce carbon emissions and pollution associated with combustion is very positive when climate change, air quality and health are all included in the analysis. We have now reached the conditions where renewable energy and electric transportation are wise choices Larry Erickson


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