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Energy Pollution Increases Mortality in Covid-19 Cases

In April of this year (2020) Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a study that finds a correlation between air pollution and Covid-19 mortality. The study found that long-term exposure to an increase of 1.0 microgram of fine particulate matter per cubic meter of air escalated Covid-19 death rates by 15%. Their analysis of 3,080 U.S. counties concludes that even a slight increase in long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, “leads to a large increase in Covid-19 death rate.”

For consumer-facing businesses that have relied on an electrical grid powered by fossil fuels, diesel-powered backup generators and generally ignored their carbon footprint, either purposefully or simply because their focus was elsewhere, this should be a call-to-action. Now that a direct link between air pollution and the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers will be more proactive in deciding to spend their money at businesses that are invested in their health and safety.


Use the image slider to overlay Covid-19 mortality data on the pollution map.

How will Covid-19 change the consumer calculous for Arenas, Stadiums, and Convention Centers?

Venues that cater to large public gatherings are in an especially vulnerable position. With the highest bar to reopening, they must actively convince consumers that attending an event in such a space is worth the risk of exposure. A conversion to clean energy will be an important mitigating factor. Customers are weighing the risks of large in-person gatherings and will patronize live entertainment venues only when they feel safe. That health and safety calculation extends to pollution-free air. As the lockdowns ease, they will prefer not to patronize dirty-air businesses now that energy emissions have been linked to major public health disasters.

Four major studies suggest that ‘perception of safety’ will be the most influential factor informing when consumers will choose to return to public spaces. (Citations: American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, Nobel-Prize Winning economist Paul Romer.) An investment in clean energy generates earned media and good will from customers who, now more than ever appreciate businesses that divest themselves of disease-causing dirty energy.

Consumer-facing and B2B businesses need to lead on air-pollution issues now.

What was once an issue that could be passively tackled as technology and economies of scale made a switchover to renewables easy, is now a public health emergency that poses an existential threat to every medium to large business in the world. (Less is expected of small or family-owned businesses.) And it’s not just B2C companies that need to take this seriously.

Upstream B2B businesses will also be affected. Take the example of Starbucks. In 2019, they unilaterally decided to remove plastic straws from their stores after a viral video of a sea-turtle ignited the conversation. As the first major company to initiate such a ban they effectively turned what was a public relations disaster into a public relations boon. But what was a PR win for Starbucks came with consequences for their suppliers.

There has never been a better time to invest in clean energy.

Storage prices have reached an inflection point, enabling more projects to reach profitability. Consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits and will choose to patronize businesses that place a high value their health and safety, and government incentives are now plentiful.

At PositivEnergy, we architect and implement the most effective energy storage solutions from start to finish, taking all of the risk out of your move to clean energy making this the best time in history to invest in our planet. With PositivEnergy, it’s also the smartest. Find out more.


Sources: Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group; DHS; Johns Hopkins University, Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus  Resource Center; Alex Guillén, POLITICO Pro, American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, Nobel-Prize Winning economist Paul Romer.

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