Air
Greenhouse Gasses Declining Globally, But In U.S., Air Pollution Not Down As Much

Greenhouse Gasses Declining Globally, But In U.S., Air Pollution Not Down As Much

A study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change found that greenhouse gas emissions are down by 17% globally compared to 2019 levels thanks to strict coronavirus lockdowns, which could result in as much as a 7% decline in emissions for the year. 

Why This Matters:  We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4-7% each year globally for the foreseeable future to keep global temperature increases in check.

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Will We Ensure Environmental Justice in the COVID-19 Recovery?

Will We Ensure Environmental Justice in the COVID-19 Recovery?

For many who live near refineries, incinerators, and other heavy industry, lockdowns and shelter in place orders like we have all experienced lately are a far too common occurrence.  The New York Times took a closer look at these communities to show why the residents are so vulnerable to the disease. 

Why This Matters:  Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali explained to put the COVID deaths into context, “we know more than 100,000 people die prematurely in the U.S. every year because of air pollution.”

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Is Public Transit Going to Be Able To Recover From COVID?

Is Public Transit Going to Be Able To Recover From COVID?

Public transportation nationwide is taking a huge hit from coronavirus — in California, for example, ridership is down by 90% or more and each week, public transportation systems are losing millions due to social distancing and shelter in place orders. 

Why This Matters:  Public transportation is vital and it is also key for the automobile emissions reductions that we need to combat climate change and air pollution generally.

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The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

On Thursday, the Trump Administration continued its environmental armageddon by changing the way costs and benefits of rules are calculated in favor of polluters and thus fundamentally weakening current regulatory protections from mercury and other toxic metals emitted by oil and coal-fired power plants.

Why This Matters:  The polluters win again – President Trump continues to deliver for his big donors.

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EPA Refuses to Tighten Air Quality Standard, Overruling Agency Scientists’ Recommendation

EPA Refuses to Tighten Air Quality Standard, Overruling Agency Scientists’ Recommendation

On Tuesday, the Trump administration proposed to leave in place the national ambient air quality standards for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) or soot, even though the Agency’s science staff recommended tightening it, saying that a tougher standard would save 12,000 lives each year.

Why This Matters:  Industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce “cheered” the decision saying the air in the U.S. is clean enough.

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New Study Shows People In Areas With Bad Air Pollution Are More Likely to Die

New Study Shows People In Areas With Bad Air Pollution Are More Likely to Die

Harvard researchers looked at the death rates for people who have had long term exposure to high levels of soot pollution (particulate matter or PM that comes from coal plants and older cars) and found they are higher than the death rates for people who lived in areas with cleaner air. 

Why This Matters:  This study should be raised every time the Republicans (or anyone) says that a stimulus measure tied to reducing air pollution is unrelated to recovery from COVID-19.  That is just flat out wrong.  Long term exposure to air pollution by its victims makes this virus more deadly.

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