Hatzopoulou: Cleaner vehicles can be a pathway to cleaner air

Head shot of Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou

Marianne Hatzopoulou

The evidence we’ve released today in our Clearing the Air report shows that cleaner vehicles can be a pathway to cleaner air, improved public health, and reduced climate change impacts.

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou co-authored “It’s Clean Air Day: Here’s how we can permanently reduce air pollution” with Sarah Buchanan and Helen Doyle, published in the Hamilton Spectator, June 2, 2020.

The article discusses the recent research report, Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles and Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health and Save Lives in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The foundation of the report is air pollution and health modelling carried out by Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulou and Laura Minet leading a team from the University of Toronto’s Transportation and Air Quality Research Group (TRAQ).

In the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area (GTHA) alone, our modelling found that shifting to electric vehicles and cleaner, newer trucks could save hundreds of lives every year, cut about one sixth of the GTHA’s greenhouse gas emissions, and lead to billions of dollars in social benefits.

The article states that reducing traffic-related air pollution has the immediate benefit of improving air quality, and also provides valuable long-term benefits to society and the planet.

Every electric vehicle replacing a gas-powered car brings close to $10,000 in social benefits in the GTHA. These, and other benefits — like improved health and reduced burden on the health-care system — are shared by everyone, not just EV buyers. This justifies strong action to quickly electrify vehicles on our roads.

Authors urge action on the part of policy makers:

Now is the time for governments to invest in cleaner air and a healthier population. Our report outlines many evidence-based policy solutions to get cleaner cars, trucks and buses on the road. These solutions will bring major public health benefits both now and in the future.

Read the full article: “It’s Clean Air Day: Here’s how we can permanently reduce air pollution” by Sarah Buchanan, Helen Doyle, and Marianne Hatzopoulou, Hamilton Spectator, June 2, 2020.

Link to report: Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles and Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health and Save Lives in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Environmental Defence and the Ontario Public Health Association, June 2020.


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