Other Environment and Public Health Benefits
- Clean energy works to protect human health and the natural environment.
- Pennsylvania’s air quality presents significant health risks. Ground-level ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death, developmental and reproductive harm, lung cancer, cardiovascular symptoms, susceptibility to infection, respiratory distress, and a host of other health issues. According to the American Lung Association 2013 “State of the Air” report,
- For ground level ozone pollution, the Philadelphia area ranks #20 and the Pittsburgh area ranks #24 in nation’s list of most polluted cities.
- For year-round particle pollution, the Pittsburgh area ranks #8, the Philadelphia area ranks #11, and the Allentown area ranks #14 for the dirtiest cities in the nation.
- For short-term particle pollution, the Pittsburgh area ranks #7, the Harrisburg area ranks #19 and the Allentown area ranks #22 on the list of dirtiest cities in the nation.
- Clean Energy has no, or lower, emissions compared to fossil fuel alternatives, so it helps limit pollution that leads to asthma, lung disease and cancer.
- Fossil-fuel based energy generation is a major source of air pollution that causes negative human health impacts, such as increased respiratory illnesses, from fine particle pollution and ground-level ozone.
- Increasing clean energy can result in fewer fossil fuel-related emissions of criteria pollution, such as ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and lead.
- Increasing clean energy can also result in fewer toxic air emissions from fossil-fuel based power, such as mercury, arsenic and dioxins.
- Reducing fossil fuel emissions can improve public health by reducing the number of unhealthy air quality days and improving overall air quality. Improving air quality can lead to reduced negative public health effects, such as premature mortality and exacerbation of health conditions such as asthma, respiratory disease, and heart disease.
- Clean energy reduces the negative impacts of producing fossil fuels such as water pollution, and negative land and ecosystem impacts.
- Water consumption savings from wind projects in Pennsylvania total more than 760 million gallons of water per year.
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Pennsylvania State Fact Sheet, 2011 http://awea.rd.net/Resources/state.aspx?ItemNumber=5188