LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: (EDITOR'S NOTE: THE FRAME HOLDING THE PIECECONTAINS DUST AND DIRT) Peter ... Swanston of the London Mint Office holds a twenty dollar gold coin ' Double Eagle 'at Goldsmith ' s Hall on March 2, 2012 in London, England. Almost half a million of these coins were originally minted amid the Great Depression in the United States. Only 13 are known today after the rest were melted down before they even left the US Mint, sacrificed as part of a strategy to stabilize the US economy. In 2002, a Double Eagle sold at auction for $ 7.6 million. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid / Images) Images
It is often said that climate change is a wide church - a very wide church.
From the conservation and protection of endangered species to the development of sustainable manufacturing methods, it now covers a multitude of problems, all of which now compete for our attention.
For many years, air pollution has emerged as one of those niches, often overlooked.
But as global temperatures continue to rise, forest fires are raging in LightRocket via Images
Larissa Lockwood, director of clean air at the environmental charity Global Action Plan is among those who argue that climate change and air pollution are "two sides of the same coin. same room ”.
"They both have issues with fossil fuels in their hearts," she said.
“The sources are the same. It is the production and manufacture of electricity,heating, transport, especially in the UK.
"Almost anything you can do to improve air quality is going to improve climate change as well, but it looks like as a subject, air pollution affects people in ways that climate change does not yet do.
"With air pollution, the impacts about health are much more immediate. They are happening today. People feel much more affected by air pollution than other aspects of climate change. "
But Ms Lockwood added that politicians, in particular, still view the two issues as separate.
"What bothers me is that air pollution and climate change are both considered to be exclusively environmental problems.In the UK, Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) is not receiving enough funding or focus. Air pollution is always seen as a problem that the environmental sector can fix, when in reality the solutions run much deeper. It's about infrastructure, how developments are designed and how we heat our homes. These go well beyond the remit of Defra.
Andrea Lee, head of clean air campaigns at environmental law charity ClientEarth, also believes that climate change and air pollution are closely linked.
“The solutions and strategies proposed to control greenhouse gases can reduce air pollutants and vice versa,” Ms. Lee said.
"Stopping the burning of fossil fuels is obvious, because ita would reduce both air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
COLOGNE, GERMANY - 2018/11/24: The exhaust pipes of a parked diesel car seen in Eau de Cologne. Ban on ... diesel vehicles with Euro 4 engines or older engines as well as for petrol engines of Euro 1 classes and 2 will be effective from April 2019 and from September 2019 for Class 5 diesel cars. (Photo by Osama Faisal / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Images)
"But we know that's not always the case," she added. “The push towards diesel vehicles is one example. The UK government and other European countries started promoting diesel vehicles as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, as diesel engines were at that time more efficient and produced less CO 2 thattheir gasoline counterparts. Governments knew about the air quality problems that diesel vehicles would cause, but they relied "on industry promises that it could get these problems under control. However, the testing regime was flawed - at a cost to the industry. people's health. ”
But Dr Jonny Higham, senior professor at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool, sees the relationship between air pollution and climate change as "an iteration of a multidimensional fractal tree with many iterations flowing from it ".
"Of course, there is a relationship between the two, but the extent of the link relates to what we perceive air pollution to be, "explained Dr Higham.
" We know the earth is getting warmer due to the build-up of greenhouse gases producedby humans that trap heat in the atmosphere. Although the atmosphere itself is a finely tuned and balanced chemical system; at all scales, different air pollutants have different effects, moreover, different air pollutants have very different chemical compositions which in some cases can react with each other to create even more pollutants.
“To be as generic as defining the two as the same part, I don't think that's possible, they are definitely related; how we determine this link all depends on the extent to which we follow the iterations of the fractal tree, ”he added.
"The term 'climate crisis' in my opinion almost seems like a catchphrase / normalizing an important set of events that will have serious long and short term impacts on the earth and the way we are live our lives, "said Dr Higham.
" To change the copublic behavior and reducing the pollutants that lead to climate change on a personal level, we must act at the local level. Providing people with localized, digestible information is just one of the ways we can do this; it 's something I am currently playing at Liverpool.
"Therefore, using air pollution as an indicator of the 'climate crisis' and showing how even small changes in our behaviors can have a neighborhood-wide impact, hopefully, will spur others to think about what they can do to reduce their personal pollution. "
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: The city of London covered in smog as seen from Hampstead Heath on April 10, 2015 ... in London, England Air pollution and smog have blanketed much of central and southern England today, posing a potential health risk to people with respiratory illnesses , elderly people andt children, according to health charities. (Photo by Dan Kitwood / Images) Images
In the end, Ms Lee said "Air pollution is far too big a problem for an individual to tackle it on their own".
"Either way, we need government-led systemic change." Individuals can raise concerns with friends and family and, more importantly, with their elected representatives to demand changes.
"Air pollution causes cross- pollution because some pollutants are able to travel thousands of kilometers, especially fine particles and ozone. ClientEarth has taken legal action against a notorious coal power plant "in Bulgaria whose vast pollution crosses the era with Greece.
“Unfortunately, although essential, international agreements are not always ambitious enough and countries do not always take the necessary steps to meet their obligations. The commitments made under the European directive on national emission reduction commitments should have been stronger, but countries, including the United Kingdom, have pushed to dilute them. And although it is weaker, the UK government is still at risk of missing legal targets for four "of the five pollutants covered by this directive - which has been passed into national law in the UK. This failure will affect not only the health of our neighbors, but our own as well.
The COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow is now only a few weeks away and although it will have to cover a lot of ground, it will be interesting to see what topics policymakers deem worthy of debate, let alone those on which they can reach agreement. Air pollution deserves to be at the heart of the climate change agenda, not on the sidelines. articlebody>