Sunday, August 19, 2018

Action on air pollution with EU support not fast enough - what will it be like post-Brexit?

A new study shows very strong correlations between changes in the heart structure and air pollution:

"Air pollution is linked to changes in the structure of the heart of the sort seen in early stages of heart failure, say researchers.

The finding could help explain the increased number of deaths seen in areas with high levels of dirty air. For example, a report last year revealed that people in the UK are 64 times more likely to die from the effect of air pollution than people living in Sweden. Such premature deaths can be linked to a number of causes including respiratory problems, stroke and coronary artery disease."

This is a major front upon which our governance systems are failing.  As a backdrop this new paper in PNAS, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, outlines how vulnerable our situation is, yet despite Paris, we collectively 'fiddle'!

"We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.