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Clearing the Air – Climate Change Mitigation

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Mitigating Climate Change will Clear the Air, Literally!
Mitigating Climate Change will Clear the Air, Literally!

According to the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions has several side effects, one of which is improving air quality.

For decades, under the Clean Air Act in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working hard to reduce emissions. For a long time, those emissions-reduction measures were related to sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, and soot (PM2.5) emissions, among others. The effect on public health, due to the reduction of smog and ozone, has been substantial, but there is still plenty of work to do. California, for example, is still rated as one of the worst-polluted states in the nation. Thousands of people across the country suffer, some dying, due to PM2.5-related asthma and respiratory problems.

Many of these emissions-reduction measures have indirectly been responsible for lessening of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. In the transportation and energy sectors, responsible for 66% of United States greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient systems burn less fossil fuels, emitting less carbon dioxide, which is believed to be directly responsible for climate change. Interestingly, the IPCC’s 5th Report concludes that mitigating climate change will have even better consequences on air quality.

China is a major case in point, whose mainly coal-fired power grid and poorly-regulated transportation system is responsible for the world’s biggest carbon footprint. Additionally, China also has what may be the world’s worst air quality, unprecedented levels of PM2.5, which is killing the very people that rely on those power and transportation systems. The effects of mitigating climate change, in China alone, would require eliminating coal-fired power plants and strengthening the transportation sector’s emissions regulations. The effects would be almost immediately noticeable, to the respiratory relief of hundreds of millions of Chinese living in her greatest cities.

Image © IPCC via ShrinkThatFootprint

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1 COMMENT

  1. You call this journalism?
    We have clean air now!
    Most of the Great Lakes area and most of Canada and the USA hasn’t
    had a smog warning day (actual smog) in close to 10 years now.  It’s never good enough is it, even after
    defeating the smoggy 70’s when a river caught fire in Ohio. But we keep that
    finger on the fear button as usual.
    Note: “Be kind to the air days” and smog
    “alerts” and “advisories” and “watches” are not
    measurements of smog, just predictions that a “Smog Warning” could be
    issued within the next 36 hours.
    What do you call 32 years of nothing beyond; “95%”
    certainty?
    Climate blame “belief” or anything you want it to
    be except sustainable.
    Get ahead of the curve;
    *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list
    of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock
    markets ruled by politicians.
    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change
    denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists
    warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

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