Clean air for all is achievable

Achieving clean air across the world is possible, according to a new study by IIASA. The researchers conclude that a combination of ambitious policies focusing on pollution controls, energy and climate, agricultural production systems and addressing human consumption habits could drastically improve air quality throughout the world.

By 2040, mean population exposure to PM2.5 from anthropogenic sources could be reduced by about 75 per cent relative to 2015 and brought well below the WHO guideline in large areas of the world, thus saving millions of premature deaths annually. At the same time, the measures that deliver clean air would also significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and contribute to multiple UN sustainable development goals.

“Even if WHO air quality standards are currently exceeded by more than a factor of ten in many parts of the world, clean air is achievable globally with enhanced political will,” concludes lead author Markus Amann.

Source: IIASA News, 29 September 2020. Link: https://iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/200929-Reducing-global-air-pollu...

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Editorial

The clock is ticking to achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. To be clear right from the start: this goal deserves every effort that mankind can pull off. In the name of realism, this is the goal we must focus on now, given the current level of progress in reducing greenhouse gases. However, damage to marine ecosystems will not be avoided even if we reach this goal1. In fact, damage already occurs at current levels of warming, as evidenced by the bleaching of coral reefs2. This may be an inconvenient truth when our current goal is 1.5°C.

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