Climate change-related issues in the UK

The World Health Organization made a critical statement about air quality in the world’s biggest countries because pollution is worsening and threatening citizens’ health. On a global scale, a “public health emergency” urges the government to provide financial support. Many factors such as toxic gases, construction dust, and transport fumes are causing this climate crisis. There are different kinds of polluting factors that contribute to global warming. Every substance introduced into the atmosphere that has damaging effects on living things and the environment is considered as being part of air pollution. It comes principally from cars, factories, homes, and power plants that burn fossil fuels.

            According to a new report made by the WHO, London went beyond its pollution limit in 2015 even if, in 2013, the WHO had declared that pollution was carcinogenic (people exposed to polluted air are likely to have lung problems and cancers). In China, pollution has more tremendous consequences on people’s lives than in any other country. On January 11th they had to close schools and restrict traffic as the pollution rate was ten times higher than recommended by the WHO. Reducing pollution is not only a  matter of health but also of money because the more people get sick the more NHS spendings will be on the rise. It also leads to more absenteeism at work. For instance, in 2015, the spendings and financial losses related to these issues represented more than 100 billion dollars for France.

            Air Pollution has an impact on global warming : greenhouse effect gases such as carbon dioxide or methane remain in the atmosphere and trap the sun’s heat. Coal-burning power plants are the most important polluters of the United States with a production of 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year. Automobiles come second with an annual production of 1.5 billion tons of C02. Thus the United States is the largest source of global warming pollution, producing 25% of the CO2 pollution (more than India and China combined). An other important air pollution-related issue is that it harms living species, directly or indirectly, via their habitat, food, and water.

            Extreme weather events are the main consequences of climate change and air pollution, such as the recent coastal floods in the United Kingdom. In fact, like climate change, events such as floods tend to be more frequent, they cause more and more damage and cost a lot to the government. Measures have to be taken to reduce risks in the future. The Health Professional Alliance to Combat Climate Change, an alliance in the United Kingdom, said that to fight climate change we must quickly take action on the improvement of air quality, the increase of clean transportation, nutrition and healthcare in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom tries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the air quality by controlling emissions and concentrations of harmful pollutants in the environment. It launched new measures despite the limits put by budget constraints. The country could reach a better reduced rate of national emissions than the one expected in compliance with the objectives defined by the Kyoto Protocol— it would be a better performance than those of many countries in the OECD. However this reduction is in part due to the use of other greenhouse gases than CO2 such as nitrous oxide or methane, which are also causing climate change.

Adam ATTAL, David DIAKITE & SPRINGER Zakaria

Sources :

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/27/uk-air-pollution-public-health-emergency-crisis-diesel-cars

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/environment

The Weather Network

National Geographic

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2016/01/150113-methane-aliso-canyon-leak-noaa-flaring-map/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160321-climate-change-petm-global-warming-carbon-emission-rate/

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/pollution-overview/

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