World leaders have been urged to slash the planet’s level of air pollution as efforts to tackle the climate crisis are ramped up. Greenhouse gases have long been condemned by scientists for fuelling global warming, but now a UN branch has also called for a reduction in all toxic fumes. It hopes to stop high emissions of some chemicals which do not receive widespread attention. While most greenhouse gases contaminate the air, not all air pollutants have a warming effect and cutting emissions of all toxic chemicals is thought to have both ecological and public health benefits. Carbon monoxide and lead particles, for example, are not greenhouse gases but still contaminate the air. The shifting focus to promoting clean air marks a sea change in environmentalism – which has historically centred on carbon dioxide – and reflects the growing presence of climate change on the world stage. Pollution obscures the view of the skyline of Denver, Colorado, where clean air has long been fought for by campaigners Tourists wearing masks at the Temple of Heaven in haze-covered Beijing, China where air pollution was declared a ‘crisis’ by the World Health Organisation Jian Liu, air pollution expert with the UN Environment Programme,… Read full this story
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