5 countries now on notice face potential legal action
By Bob Berwyn
Five large EU countries are on warning after repeatedly failing to meet air pollution standards for nitrogen oxide, a precursor to smog and a serious health risk in and of itself. If Member States fail to act within two months, the Commission may decide to take the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Studies have shown that more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to poor air quality, while millions more suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) caused almost 70 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, which was almost three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year.
Because of the persistent breaches, the European Commission this week sent final warning to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, urging those countries to improve air quality and safeguard public health.
State fails to meet EPA standard set to protect public health; ozone problems to worsen with global warming
By Bob Berwyn
The modest steps taken by Colorado to try and improve air quality along the Front Range aren’t enough, according to the EPA. This week, the federal agency said the state has failed to meet air quality standards set to protect public health.
Scientists warn that mortality will increase even more without a serious push to cut toxic emissions in China and India
According to the results of a new international study, more than 5.5 million people die prematurely each year because of indoor and outdoor air pollution. Most of the deaths are in India and China, and the toll is expected to climb in the coming years without aggressive efforts to cut pollution.
The toxins come from power plants, factories, vehicle exhaust and from burning wood and coal for heating — all of which release tiny particles that are harmful.
“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada. “Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population,” Brauer said, discussing the study findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Continue reading “Air pollution kills 5.5 million people each year”→
Environmentalists say new rule is to weak; industry asks Congress to step into the fray
The EPA’s new smog-fighting ozone standard is likely headed down the same path as the agency’s other recent initiatives to improve the environment.
Like the recently updated wetlands rule and the Clean Power Plan, the new ozone limit was immediately criticized from all sides. Environmental advocates said the agency ignored its own experts when it set the new limit at 70 parts per billion. Industry claims the new rule will cut profits and cost jobs. Continue reading “EPA sets new ozone standard but faces challenges”→
Heat waves, increased air pollution seen as key climate risks for Colorado
FRISCO — A new EPA report suggests that failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions could cause up to 57,000 additional deaths across the U.S. in coming decades due to poor air quality.
The study was released as part of the run-up to the finalization of the controversial Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA is set to finalize the plan later this summer.
The report’s findings were part of the discussion at a Denver roundtable convened by Environment Colorado this week, as EPA experts joined with state leaders and health experts to bring the message home to Colorado.
As NOAA put it, “Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction … but while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.
Scientists hope to learn much more about the massive quantities of pollution escaping from fossil fuel development areas in the next few months as they launch this year’s Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, using airborne instruments to measure greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions.