Boosting Health for Children: Benefits of Zero-Emission Transportation and Electricity

Children face greater risks from air pollution and climate change, and these threats can harm their health today and for the rest of their lives. Children exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution associated with catastrophic wildfire smoke events or extreme heat episodes can experience immediate health emergencies as well as longer-term impacts on lung function and development among other impacts. Children may face traumas associated with experiences of forced relocation or evacuation due to wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and other events. Physical health impacts of climate change can include heat-related stress, impacts on fetal development, drowning, injuries and death. Children are especially vulnerable to these impacts; meaningful and substantial attention must be paid to reducing these threats to their health and their future.

This report analyzes the positive impacts that a nationwide transition to zero-emission transportation and electricity generation would have on children’s health outcomes. The analysis finds that through 2050, nearly 3 million pediatric asthma attacks and millions of other health impacts on people up to 18 years of age, along with hundreds of infant deaths, could be avoided over the coming decades. Policymakers have the power to set the nation on a course to reducing harmful emissions to protect health.