Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major contributors to global warming. After the gas is released into the atmosphere, it remains there, making it difficult for heat to escape – and heating the planet.
It is mainly released from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, and from cement production.
The average monthly concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, as of April 2019, is 413 parts per million (ppm). Before the industrial revolution, the concentration was only 280 ppm.
CO2 concentration has fluctuated between 180 and 280 ppm over the past 800,000 years, but has accelerated tremendously due to pollution caused by humans.
The nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas comes from the burning of fossil fuels, car exhaust fumes and the use of nitrogen fertilizers used in agriculture.
Although there is much less NO2 in the atmosphere than CO2, it is 200 to 300 times more effective at capturing heat.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) also mainly arises from fossil fuel combustion, but can also be released from car exhaust.
SO2 can react with water, oxygen and other chemicals in the atmosphere to produce acid rain.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an indirect greenhouse gas because it reacts with and removes hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals shorten the life of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
What is fine dust?
Fine dust refers to small particles of solids or liquid materials in the air.
Some are visible, like dust, while others are not visible to the naked eye.
Materials such as metals, microplastics, earth and chemicals can occur in fine dust.
Fine dust (or PM) is described in micrometers. The two main ones mentioned in reports and studies are PM10 (less than 10 micrometers) and PM2.5 (less than 2.5 micrometers).
Air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels, cars, cement production and agriculture
Scientists measure the speed of particles in the air per cubic meter.
Fine dust is sent into the air through a number of processes, including the burning of fossil fuels, driving and making steel.
Why are particles dangerous?
Particles are dangerous because those with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers can get deep into your lungs, or even enter your bloodstream. Fine dust is found in higher concentrations in urban areas, especially along major roads.
Impact on health
What kind of health problems can cause pollution?
According to the World Health Organization, a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease may be related to air pollution.
Some of the effects of air pollution on the body are not understood, but pollution can increase inflammation causing the blood vessels to narrow, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
In addition, nearly one in 10 lung cancers in the UK are caused by air pollution.
Fine dust gets into the lungs and gets there, resulting in inflammation and damage. In addition, some chemicals in particles that enter the body can cause cancer.
Deaths from pollution
About seven million people die prematurely each year from air pollution. Pollution can cause a number of problems, including asthma attacks, strokes, various cancers, and cardiovascular problems.
Air pollution can cause problems in asthmatics for a number of reasons. Pollutants in traffic fumes can irritate the airways, and particles can get into your lungs and throat and inflame these areas.
Problems during pregnancy
Women who are exposed to air pollution before they become pregnant are almost 20 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects, research suggested in January 2018.
Living within 3 miles of a highly polluted area a month before they conceive makes women more likely to have babies with defects such as cleft palates or lips, according to a study from the University of Cincinnati.
For every increase of 0.01 mg / m3 of fine air particles, birth defects increase by 19 percent, the study adds.
Previous research suggests that this causes birth defects due to women with inflammation and ‘internal stress’.
What is being done to tackle air pollution?
Paris agreement on climate change
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to manage and mitigate climate change.
He hopes to keep the rise in global mean temperature below 2 ° C (3.6 ° F) and to continue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F).
Climate neutral by 2050
The British government has announced plans to make the country climate neutral by 2050.
They plan to do this by planting more trees and installing carbon capture technology at the source of the pollution.
Some critics are concerned that the government will use this first option to export its carbon offsets to other countries.
International carbon credits allow countries to continue to emit carbon while paying for trees planted elsewhere, offsetting their emissions.
No new petrol or diesel vehicles in 2040
In 2017, the UK government announced that sales of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2040.
From around 2020, town halls will be allowed to levy additional taxes on diesel drivers using the UK’s 81 most polluted routes if air quality does not improve.
However, MPs on the Climate Change Committee have urged the government to bring the ban forward by 2030, as they will have equivalent reach and the same price by then.
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to manage and mitigate climate change. Pictured: air pollution over Paris in 2019.
Subsidies for electric cars in Norway
The rapid electrification of the Norwegian car fleet is mainly attributed to generous state subsidies. Electric cars are almost completely exempt from the heavy taxes on petrol and diesel cars, which means they are competitively priced.
A VW Golf with a standard internal combustion engine costs nearly 334,000 crowns (34,500 euros, $ 38,600), while its electric cousin the e-Golf costs 326,000 crowns thanks to a lower load ratio.
Criticism of not acting on climate change
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said that there is a ‘shocking’ lack of government preparation for the risks to the country from climate change.
The committee assessed 33 areas where the risks of climate change needed to be addressed – from the water resistance of properties to effects on agricultural land and supply chains – and found no real progress in any of them.
The UK is not prepared for a warming of 2 ° C, the level at which countries have committed to curb temperature, let alone an increase of 4 ° C, which is possible if greenhouse gases are not reduced worldwide, Commission.
It added that cities need more greenery to stop the urban ‘heat island’ effect and prevent flooding by absorbing heavy rainfall.