Episode 9

Christa Hasenkopf Director, Air Quality Programs and the AQLI at EPIC

EPIC's Air Quality Life Index: Air pollution is costing the world an average 2.2 years of life

“Looking globally, data collection, opening up data, and air quality data management, is probably the most low hanging fruit in terms of addressing air pollution.”

-Dr. Christa Hasenkopf, Director, Air Quality Programs and the AQLI at the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC)

In 2021 the World Health Organization updated their global air quality guidelines for the first time since their original publication in 2006, significantly lowering the benchmark for the PM2.5 concentration considered “healthy” from 10µg/m3 to 5µg/m3; over 97% of the planet now breathes air considered to be “unhealthy”according to the revised guidelines. 

To discuss both the challenges and opportunities facing action on global air pollution, and in recognition of the 2022 UN International Day of Clean Air, we are honored to welcome back Christa Hasenkopf, Director of Air Quality Programs and the AQLI at the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC), for her second interview with Berkeley Earth’s Data Points podcast. 

In this episode we discuss: 

????How the AQLI connects air pollution exposure with life expectancy (2:26)
????The WHO’s significant 2021 update to global air quality guidelines (6:18)
????Changes to the AQLI following the 2021 WHO update (7:40)
????The many health impacts of PM2.5 air pollution… (10:59)
????…and how those impacts compare to other disease burdens (11:59)
????How our perception of “good” air may differ from what the AQLI shows (13:57)
????How wildfires are impacting wellbeing in areas with otherwise “good” air quality (16:03)
????The opportunity for high-impact philanthropic funding to tackle air quality…(19:25)
☁️… and the opportunity for high-impact data solutions to tackle air quality (22:02)
✨The many reasons for optimism as the world tackles the twin challenges of air pollution and climate change (26:07)

Referenced in this episode:

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) 
The AQLI 2021 Update Report
WHO’s 2021 updated air quality guidelines
Joined Up Action on Air Pollution and Climate Change – The Clean Air Fund
Air Pollution Kills Ten Million People Each Year: Why Do We Accept That As Normal? – David 
Wallace Wells, New York Times
How can a $10million investment help address global air inequality?Data Points Podcast (2021)
Berkeley Earth’s Searchable Air Quality Data

[Cover image courtesy of EPIC/Air Quality Life Index]
[Theme music courtesy of Coma-Media via Pixaby]

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