Quantifying the health impacts of eliminating air pollution emissions in the City of Boston
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Quantifying the health impacts of eliminating air pollution emissions in the City of Boston

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  • Journal Title:
    Environmental Research Letters
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    Cities around the world are taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions through ambitious climate targets and climate action plans. These strategies are likely to simultaneously improve local air quality, leading to public health and monetary co-benefits. We quantify and monetarily value the health impacts of eliminating emissions from the City of Boston, and in doing so, highlight the importance of considering health impacts alongside environmental impacts of local climate action. We simulated at a 4 km resolution how the elimination of anthropogenic emissions from the City of Boston would impact air quality within a 120 km by 120 km study domain. We then estimated how this change in air quality would impact a number of annual health outcomes, as well as the associated monetary savings. We found that eliminating anthropogenic emissions from Boston would result in a decline in PM2.5 concentration across the entire study region ranging from 8.5 µg m−3 in Boston to less than 1 µg m−3 elsewhere in the domain. In addition, we estimate that summer ozone would increase for the Greater Boston Area and areas west, and decrease elsewhere. The monetary impact of the change in air quality on health is estimated to be a $2.4 billion per year savings across the full domain and $1.7 billion within Suffolk County only, about 1.4% of the gross domestic product of the county. These monetary impacts are driven primarily by reduced incidence of mortality. We estimate that 288 deaths would be avoided per year across the study domain from eliminating Boston anthropogenic emissions, about six deaths avoided, annually, per 100 000 people. Within Suffolk County, we estimate that 47 deaths would be avoided per 100 000 people, around 16% of all-cause premature mortality. We also found a net decrease in cardiovascular and respiratory illness. Across the study domain, these health benefits would be disproportionately conferred upon people of color.
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    Environmental Research Letters, 15(9), 094017
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    CC BY
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