Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main contributor to global warming. After 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 is released primarily from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, as well as from cement production.
As of April 2019, the average monthly CO2 concentration in the earth’s atmosphere is 413 ppm. Before the industrial revolution, the concentration was only 280 ppm.
The concentration of CO2 has fluctuated between 180 and 280 ppm over the past 800,000 years, but has been accelerated significantly by man-made pollution.
The gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) comes from the burning of fossil fuels, car exhaust emissions and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers used in agriculture.
Although the atmosphere contains far less NO2 than CO2, it is between 200 and 300 times more effective at trapping heat.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) also comes mainly from burning fossil fuels, but it can also be released from car exhaust.
SO2 can react with water, oxygen, and other chemicals in the atmosphere, causing acid rain.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an indirect greenhouse gas because it reacts with and removes hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals shorten the lifespan of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
What is particulate matter?
Particulate matter refers to tiny pieces of solid or liquid materials in the air.
Some are visible, e.g. B. Dust, while others are invisible to the naked eye.
Materials such as metals, microplastics, soil and chemicals can be fine dust.
Particulate matter (or PM) is described in micrometers. The two most important ones mentioned in reports and studies are PM10 (less than 10 microns) and PM2.5 (less than 2.5 microns).
Air pollution comes from fossil fuel burning, automobiles, cement making, and agriculture
Scientists measure the amount of particles in the air in cubic meters.
Particulate matter is 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 they are less than 10 microns in diameter and can get deep into your lungs or even get into your bloodstream. Particulates are found in higher concentrations in urban areas, especially along main roads.
What health problems can pollution cause?
One third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease can be linked to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization.
Some of the effects air pollution has on the body are unknown, but pollution can increase inflammation, which narrows arteries, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
In addition, almost one in ten cases of lung cancer in the UK is caused by air pollution.
Particles find their way into the lungs and get trapped, causing inflammation and damage. In addition, some chemicals in particles that enter the body can cause cancer.
Deaths from pollution
Every year around seven million people die prematurely as a result of air pollution. Pollution can cause a number of problems, including asthma attacks, strokes, various cancers, and cardiovascular problems.
Air pollution can cause problems for asthmatics for a number of reasons. Pollutants in traffic fumes can irritate the airways, and particles can get into your lungs and throat, igniting those areas.
Problems in pregnancy
Women exposed to air pollution prior to pregnancy are nearly 20 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects. This is evident from research proposed in January 2018.
A study by the University of Cincinnati found that women lived within 3 miles of a heavily polluted area a month before conception and were more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palates or lips.
With every increase in fine air particles by 0.01 mg / m3, the birth defects increase by 19 percent.
Previous research suggests that this causes birth defects related to inflammation and “internal stress” in women.
What is being done to combat air pollution?
Paris Agreement on Climate Change
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.
She hopes to keep the global mean temperature rise below 2 ° C and to make efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C.
Climate neutral by 2050
The UK government has announced plans to make the country climate 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 offsets to other countries.
With international emission allowances, nations can continue to emit carbon while paying to have trees planted elsewhere to offset their emissions.
No new gasoline or diesel vehicles until 2040
In 2017, the UK government announced that sales of new gasoline and diesel cars would be banned until 2040.
However, the members of the climate committee have asked the government to bring the ban forward to 2030, as by then they will have an equivalent range and an equivalent price.
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. Pictured: Air pollution over Paris in 2019.
Norway’s subsidies for electric cars
The rapid electrification of the Norwegian car fleet is mainly due to generous government subsidies. Electric cars are almost completely exempt from the high taxes that are levied on gasoline and diesel cars, making them competitively priced.
A VW Golf with a standard combustion engine costs almost 334,000 kroner (34,500 euros), while its electric cousin, the e-Golf, costs 326,000 kroner thanks to a lower tax ratio.
Criticism of inaction on climate change
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) said there was a “shocking” lack of government preparation on the risks of climate change for the country.
The committee assessed 33 areas where climate change risks needed to be addressed – from flood resistance of properties to impacts on farmland and supply chains – and did not see any real progress in any of them.
The UK is not prepared for a 2 ° C warming, the level at which countries have pledged to contain, let alone a 4 ° C rise, which is possible if greenhouse gases are not cut globally said the committee.
It added that cities need more green space to stop the urban “heat island” effect and prevent flooding by soaking up heavy rainfall.