By Lisa Aliferis
Why climate change and public health policy make good chemistry
A major study released today in Fresno details the direct link between higher levels of air pollution and asthma-related ER and hospital admissions. So, what’s that got to do with climate change? Plenty.
Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images
Tourists snap photos of a murky sunset in San Diego
“There’s a division in the public’s mind between global warming and health effects of pollution,” says Dimitri Stanich of the California Air Resources Board.
In reality, there’s significant overlap. Some components of air pollution shown to have harmful warming effects on the planet are also harming people, especially children, right now.
Let’s start with ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is different from the ozone layer, which lies about 15 miles above the earth (not exactly ground level). The ozone layer shields us from most of the sun’s harmful rays. Ozone is good in the atmosphere but bad, in many ways, at or near ground level. Continue reading
And they’re not necessarily the ones you might guess
California may have great weather but also some of the nation’s worst air. The advocacy group Environment California has issued a report ranking the nation’s worst metropolitan areas for air quality. The five worst are in California, as are six of the top ten.
Smog in the Los Angeles Basin
Based on data from 2010, the report’s “Top Smoggiest Areas in the US” were:
1. Riverside-San Bernardino
3. Bakersfield (tie)
3. Los Angeles-Long Beach (tie)
5. Fresno Continue reading
A new online tool maps where Americans’ health may be most vulnerable to climate change
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released an interactive tool today that maps climate-related health risks across the country, including extreme heat, poor air quality, drought, flooding, and infectious diseases. The maps present a snapshot of current health vulnerabilities using recent data at the state and county levels.
“If we stay on our present course, we can expect these health vulnerabilities from climate change to accelerate” said NRDC Senior Scientist Kim Knowlton on a conference call with reporters. “We need to prepare for the worst in extreme events and the health vulnerabilities that will result.” Continue reading
Los Angeles cloaked in smog shortly after sunrise. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
Air pollution, already a problem for much of central and southern California, will get worse as temperatures warm, according to a new report from scientists at UC Davis and UC Berkeley.
By mid-century, trouble spots like the Central Valley and Los Angeles could experience between six and 30 more days per year when ozone concentrations exceed federal clean-air standards, depending on how much temperatures rise, and assuming that pollutant emissions in the state remain at current levels, the scientists project. Continue reading