A Clean Air Message from Peter Sagan

Of all that great things Peter Sagan’s is doing in the sport, his advocacy is the most unique. I can’t think of another athlete who’s advocated more and it seems he just thinks everyone should ride instead of drive so much.


In this clip, he’s commenting about new research from the C40 Cities revealing the scale of the potential health benefits that could be achieved by cities and regions implementing climate action and policies to clean the air that citizens breathe. The summary is

Climate Action Adds 3 Weeks to Average Life Expectancy of Every Citizen of Paris and Could Prevent 45,000 Premature Deaths Globally Each Year

And, the bullet points.

  • Under the commitments made by Paris in the C40 Green & Healthy Streets Declaration, improvements to the air quality in Paris will avoid an estimated 400 air quality related premature deaths per year and add 21 days to life expectancy on average for every resident in the city of Paris.
  • This will prevent an estimated 1,280 respiratory hospital admissions and 6,350 cardiovascular hospital admissions in Paris each year triggered by air pollution
  • If all C40 cities reduced their annual average PM2.5 levels by 2.5 µg/m³ – by for example meeting the commitments of the Green & Healthy Streets Declaration and encouraging more people out of their cars – it would potentially prevent more than 45,000 premature deaths each year.
  • Switching from driving to an active commute (walking at a brisk pace or cycling 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week) can deliver the following health benefits for citizens:

23% reduced risk of heart disease,

23% reduced risk of stroke, 

15% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,

14% reduced risk of depression,

12% reduced risk of breast cancer

11% reduced risk of dementia, and

8% reduced risk of colon cancer

  • An active commute also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and therefore prevents climate change – If 10% of citizens in C40’s North American Cities switch from driving to cycling that would save over 1.6 million tonnes of CO2e per year, equivalent to 180 million gallons of gasoline consumed.

As a cyclist with asthma, the findings are important to me and are based on research conducted by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with support from Johnson & Johnson on the wider benefits of climate action on air quality and health, and Novo Nordisk in connecting active mobility to climate and health. 

In April 2017, C40 and R20, organisations representing the most powerful cities, states and regions of the world including Paris, London, Mexico City, California, British Columbia and Gujurat State in India, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate to tackle climate change. C40 and R20 will collaborate across a range of issues, including accessing finance for climate action projects and supporting the next generation of women climate leaders.

In Paris tomorrow, at the One Planet Summit, the findings will get shared, along with Peter’s encouragement. 

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