A “climate penalty” on air quality, the alarm of the WMO
World Meteorological Organization publishes annual report on air quality and climate
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The interaction between pollution and climate change will impose an additional “climate penalty” for hundreds of millions of people. Even in a low-emission scenario. Because if man-made greenhouse gases go down, air quality will suffer greatly from the increase in fires in much of the planet. This is stated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the annual report WMO Air Quality and Climate Bulletin, published on the occasion of World Clean Air Day.
The negative spiral starts from the increase in global temperatures. Global warming will increase the intensity and frequency of many extreme events, climate models predict. Including heat waves and droughts. A combination that generates an increase in fires.
“With global warming, fires and associated air pollution are expected to increase, even in a low-emission scenario. In addition to impacts on human health, this will also affect ecosystems, as air pollutants are deposited from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface,” explains WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
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It’s not just something that will happen in the future. Part of this phenomenon is already happening. And summer 2022, which has repeatedly broken records of heat throughout the northern hemisphere, from the United States to Great Britain to China, passing through Siberia and the European Arctic, proves this.
Last week, the EU Copernicus satellite monitoring system announced that burning emissions in Europe this year have been at their highest levels for 15 years.
This combination of pollution and climate change effects “we saw it in this year’s heat waves in Europe and China, when stable and high weather conditions, sunlight and low wind speeds favored high levels of pollution” Taalas adds.