Industry activities and infrastructure systems in the transportation, energy, and buildings sectors produce a variety of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and air pollutants that can lead to a wide range of adverse health impacts and contribute to climate change. Projects with the potential to reduce emissions of GHGs and pollutants can offer health benefits in the communities where they are implemented due to the reduction of emissions of these pollutants.
This report serves as a resource for energy and climate policymakers to reference in order to better understand and identify the health co-benefits associated with low-carbon infrastructure projects in buildings, transportation, and energy sectors. This report identifies potential health impacts of exposure to pollution from these three emitting sectors for the following sources of air, water and noise pollution:
- Particulate matter 2.5/10;
- Nitrogen oxides (notably nitrogen dioxide);
- Sulphur oxides (notably sulphur dioxide);
- Carbon monoxide;
- Noise pollution;
- Persistent organic pollutants (POPs); and,
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Overall, the report identified the following key findings:
- The most prominent and strongly established evidence of health benefits from reducing air pollutants through, which can be accomplished by implementing low-carbon infrastructure, are the significant positive impacts on cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Reductions in air pollution can decrease incidence of all-cause and specific disease related mortality.
- It is likely that the implementation of low carbon infrastructure may lead to even broader health benefits than previously thought.
- More research is needed to identify how noise pollution impacts biological systems, and how they can be reduced through low-carbon infrastructure projects.
Read more SPI research on the nexus of health, environment, and economy:
- A green and healthy recovery: How different green economic recovery investments compare for advancing human health in Canada
- The nature of health: integrating health considerations in urban nature-based solutions
- Supporting a Greener Well-Being: Broadening Health in a Green Recovery
- The Health Co-Benefits of a Clean Growth Future
- The Benefits of Cleaner Air