Climate change could devastate world’s biggest economic powers, report warns

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Emissions

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the main contributors to global warming. Once the gas is released into the atmosphere, it stays there, making it difficult for heat to escape – and warming the planet in the process.

It comes mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, as well as from the production of cement.

The average monthly CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere as of April 2019 is 413 parts per million (ppm). Before the Industrial Revolution, the concentration was only 280 ppm.

The concentration of CO2 has fluctuated over the past 800,000 years between 180 and 280 ppm, but has been greatly accelerated by human-caused pollution.

Nitrogen dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, car exhaust emissions and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers used in agriculture.

Although there is much less NO2 in the atmosphere than CO2, it is between 200 and 300 times more efficient at trapping heat.

Sulfur dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) also comes mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels, but can also be released from car exhaust fumes.

SO2 can react with water, oxygen and other chemicals in the atmosphere to cause acid rain.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an indirect greenhouse gas because it reacts with hydroxyl radicals, eliminating them. Hydroxyl radicals reduce the lifespan of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Particles

What is particulate matter?

Particles refer to tiny parts of solids or liquids in the air.

Some are visible, such as dust, while others are not visible to the naked eye.

Materials such as metals, microplastics, soil, and chemicals can be particles.

Particles (or PM) are described in micrometers. The two main ones mentioned in reports and studies are PM10 (less than 10 micrometers) and PM2.5 (less than 2.5 micrometers).

Air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels, cars, cement manufacturing and agriculture

Scientists measure the rate of particles in the air per cubic meter.

Particles are released into the air by a number of processes, including burning fossil fuels, driving cars, and making steel.

Why are particles dangerous?

Particles are dangerous because particles less than 10 microns in diameter can penetrate deep into your lungs and even pass into your bloodstream. Particulate matter is found in higher concentrations in urban areas, especially along major roads.

Health impact

What kinds of health problems can pollution cause?

According to the World Health Organization, a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease can be linked to air pollution.

Some of the effects of air pollution on the body are not understood, but pollution can increase inflammation that constricts arteries, leading to heart attacks or strokes.

On top of that, nearly one in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK is caused by air pollution.

The particles enter and lodge in the lungs, causing inflammation and damage. In addition to this, certain chemicals in the particles that enter the body can cause cancer.

Pollution deaths

About seven million people die prematurely each year from air pollution. Pollution can cause a number of problems, including asthma attacks, strokes, various cancers, and cardiovascular issues.

asthma triggers

Air pollution can cause problems for asthmatics for a number of reasons. The pollutants in traffic fumes can irritate your airways, and the particles can enter your lungs and throat and cause these areas to become inflamed.

Problems during pregnancy

Women exposed to air pollution before becoming pregnant are nearly 20% more likely to have babies with birth defects, according to a January 2018 study.

Living within 3 miles of a heavily polluted area one month before conception makes women more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palates or lips, according to a study from the University of Cincinnati.

For every 0.01 mg / m3 increase in fine air particles, birth defects increase by 19%, the research adds.

Previous research suggests that this causes birth defects due to women suffering from inflammation and “internal stress.”

What are we doing to fight air pollution?

Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement aimed at controlling and limiting climate change.

He hopes to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2 ° C (3.6 ° F) “and continue his efforts to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) “.

Carbon neutral by 2050

The UK government has announced plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

They plan to do this by planting more trees and installing “carbon capture” technology at the source of the pollution.

Some critics fear that this first option will be used by the government to export its carbon offset to other countries.

International carbon credits allow nations to continue to emit carbon while paying for trees to be planted elsewhere, thus balancing their emissions.

No new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2040

In 2017, the UK government announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2040.

However, climate change committee members urged the government to postpone the ban until 2030, because by then they will have an equivalent range and price.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement aimed at controlling and limiting climate change.  Pictured: Air pollution over Paris in 2019.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement aimed at controlling and limiting climate change. Pictured: Air pollution over Paris in 2019.

Norwegian subsidies for electric cars

The rapid electrification of the Norwegian vehicle fleet is mainly due to generous state subsidies. Electric cars are almost entirely exempt from the heavy taxes imposed on gasoline and diesel cars, making them competitively priced.

A VW Golf with a standard combustion engine costs almost 334,000 crowns (34,500 euros, $ 38,600), while its electric cousin the e-Golf costs 326,000 crowns thanks to a lower tax quotient.

Criticism of inaction on climate change

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) said there was a “shocking” lack of preparedness by the government for the risks to the country from climate change.

The committee assessed 33 areas where climate change risks needed to be addressed – from the resilience of properties to flooding to impacts on farmlands and supply chains – and found no real progress in any of them. them.

The UK is unprepared for a 2 ° C warming, the level at which countries have pledged to curb rising temperatures, let alone a 4 ° C rise, which is possible if gases greenhouse gases are not being reduced globally, the committee said.

He added that cities need more green space to stop the urban “heat island” effect and to prevent flooding by absorbing heavy rains.

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