The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s (EPIC) Clean Air Program is announcing the inaugural cohort of Clean Air Champions, a strategic advisory group aimed at providing localized insights, information and guidance towards improving air quality. The first cohort of Clean Air Champions are based in India and will help maximize EPIC’s research and outreach efforts in the country to have the greatest on-the-ground impact. The Champions include Chetan Bhattacharji, the former senior managing editor of NDTV 24X7; Namita Gupta, the founder of Airveda; Sarath Guttikunda, the founder of Urban Emissions; and Dr. Arvind Kumar, chairman of the Institute of Chest Surgery at Medanta Hospital and founder of the Lung Care Foundation.

“It’s an honor to have global leaders join us,” says EPIC Director Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. “The enormous knowledge this advisory group brings will help citizens better protect themselves against air pollution and provide policymakers with information on the benefits that cleaner air provides.”

EPIC’s flagship clean air initiative is the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), which measures the impact of air pollution on life expectancy and works to inform the global community about these impacts. As EPIC expands the footprint of this initiative and begins new work to fill the air pollution data gap worldwide, the Clean Air Champions will provide critical, localized knowledge that will strengthen EPIC’s goal of helping citizens lead healthier and longer lives through improved air quality.

“This advisory group comprises of experts and practitioners from various fields who have used their platforms to strengthen the dialogue and demand for clean air,” says Christa Hasenkopf, director of the Clean Air Program at EPIC, “It’s an exciting opportunity for us to work with them to advance the uptake of scientific research and use data-driven tools like the Air Quality Life Index to better inform citizens and policymakers about air pollution’s health impacts and drive positive policy change.”

AQLI has been widely covered by local media outlets around the world, including in India. Indian civil society representatives and Indian Members of Parliament have used the AQLI’s data to help justify changes to air quality policies. The Clean Air Champions will strengthen and expand on this work, starting in India, and expanding to other highly polluted countries in the future.

EPIC Clean Air Program

The EPIC Clean Air Program is working to bring actionable information about the quality of the air we breathe and its impact on our health to every corner of the globe in order to motivate action and lay guideposts for efficient air pollution policies. This work includes an Air Quality Monitoring and Data Access project to bring high quality and high frequency air pollution monitoring and data access to the places of the world where it is needed most; the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), which uses air pollution data to translate the impact of pollution on a person’s life expectancy; and several particulate pollution trading markets being piloted in Indian cities in coordination with state governments.

Areas of Focus: Environment
Definition
Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
Definition
Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...