Air Pollution and Health

Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas, generates electricity and powers our vehicles, but it is also the leading contributor to air pollution and powerful greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollutants and greenhouse gases generated by these activities have adverse impacts on human health and also trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, leading to climate change.

Our faculty, postdocs, students, and other research collaborators conduct policy-relevant scientific studies and link them with economic analyses to understand environmental benefits and tradeoffs ("co-benefits") of various options. Our goal is to provide policy recommendations to governments that have the dual benefits of improving air quality while mitigating the human causes of climate change. In particular, we focus on opportunities within the energy and agricultural sectors that provide reductions in emissions while simultaneously improving transportation and heating options, public health, and food security. Our research informs policy action in the world’s top four largest emitters of greenhouse gases: China, the United States, the European Union, and India.

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