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Weatherwatch: how reducing air pollution adds to climate crisis
Climate Environment World News

Weatherwatch: how reducing air pollution adds to climate crisis

Curbs on the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere are just one of the ways that politicians are reacting to the scientific evidence that we are damaging our health and our planet. An even greater threat to human life in the short term has been air pollution in the form of particulate matter from the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and many industrial processes.

Clean air has become a crusade everywhere from Beijing to London, to save lives and improve economic output. At the same time as damaging lungs and hearts, the aerosols produced by pollution increase cloud formation, change rainfall patterns and reflect sunlight back into space, thus cooling the planet.

Scientists studying the significant progress that has been made in cutting air pollution this century concluded that this success had also “added considerably to amount of global warming we can expect”. The removal of pollution is already partly responsible for the “unprecedented rate of human-induced warming in the last decade”, they said.

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The problem is that carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, the main greenhouse gases, remain in the atmosphere for long periods, continuing to add to global heating, while the disappearance of aerosols instantly removes any protection. So, they say, less air pollution means we may expect continued acceleration of surface temperatures this decade.

Source: theguardian.com