AIR

AIR


Greenhouse gases have kept the Earth’s climate habitable for humans and millions of other species by trapping heat from the sunThese gases  carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4— act like a blanket absorbing the sun’s energy and not allowing it to escape into space. This was essentially positive until the Industrial Revolution, when, as humans began burning fossil fuels, the release of gases into the air accelerated beyond the Earth’s ability to absorb them.

This release of gases into the atmosphere has decreased the quality of the air we breathe, creating many health risks. Polluted air is shown to damage mental health in children and adults. And, as heat accelerates, so do respiratory and lung illnesses due to climate change related wildfires and smogAs the concentrations of heat grow ever greater, the Earth will change which living things can survive on this planet — and where.

The Clean Air Act of 1970 (amended in 1977 and 1990) was designed to protect human health and the environment from the effects of air pollution. In August 2019, the EPA under the Trump administration, seeking to dismantle the Clean Air Act, moved to deregulate methane, revoke California’s vehicle emissions standards, and more. All of this was done despite the fact that CO2 is currently at the highest levels ever recorded.

President Joe Biden delivered a slew of clean air and carbon issues as top environmental priorities for his administration in a new executive order signed on his inauguration. In it agencies were directed to examine dozens of Trump-era rules, including carbon emission, clear air rollbacks and Clean Air Act rules.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed Biden a huge win on Jan. 19 when it struck down President Donald Trump’s carbon rule for coal-fired power plants. The new White House now has a fresh start to craft greenhouse gas standards for existing sources.

And, GM gave Biden another win when they followed with an announcement that they would shift to producing 100% electric vehicles by 2035. 

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

WMO AIR QUALITY AND CLIMATE BULLETIN

09/01/21
Ongoing climate change, caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gasses.

Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution

06/11/21
Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM). The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because…
EPA

Epa moves forward with phase down of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons

05/03/21
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing its first rule under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020 to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), highly potent greenhouse gases…

MethaneEmissions: A Primer

12/21/20
Methane: The ChemicalMethaneis the world’s simplest hydrocarbon,with achemical formula CH4(one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen). It is gaseous under normal atmospheric conditions and iscommonly produced through the decomposition of organic materials in…

Real-time Air Quality Index

09/09/19
Search for statistics and air conditions anywhere in the world. 

EarthJustice: The Fight for Clean Air

09/09/19
The Clean Air Act gives us all the legal right to breathe clean, healthy air. We demand clean air now.

Air Pollution: Everything You Need to Know

09/09/19
How smog, soot, greenhouse gases, and other top air pollutants are affecting the planet—and your health.
EPA

Technical Air Pollution Resources

09/09/19
This website provides access to a collection of EPA resources with technical information about many areas of air pollution prevention, technology, regulation, measurement, and science.

MORE NEWS

Trouble in the Air

By D. Posnett   02/01/20  
Air pollution such as black carbon, a form of particulate pollution, exacerbates global warming. Black carbon in the air readily absorbs sunlight, increasing the temperature of the atmosphere.1

Report: 108M Americans face unhealthy air quality

By Jason Plautz   01/28/20  
One-third of Americans live in regions that saw more than 100 days with unhealthy air quality in 2018, according to a new national report from Environment America, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and…

Room to breathe: My quest to clean up my home’s filthy air

12/13/19  
Poor indoor air quality causes serious health issues. Things can be improved with determination to sniff out the cause of the problem—and some pricey hardware....

Living” Chandelier Made with Algae-Filled Leaves Naturally Purifies the Air

11/26/19  
2017 was indeed a good year for London based inventor, engineer and entrepreneur, Julian Melchiorri. Forbes recognized Melchiorri as a leading EU social entrepreneur under 30 and he was also awarded the Emerging Talent Medal…

East Boston mothers sound alarm about air pollution from Logan Airport

11/25/19  
Julia Burrell and her two young children were enjoying a day at the park near their East Boston home when their noses started to burn. ...

Ozone Depleting Gas Declines After Rising For Years

11/05/19  
An ozone depleting gas is on the decline after rising since 2012, according to preliminary data reported by scientists yesterday, as the New York Times reported. Scientists...

India air pollution at ‘unbearable levels’, Delhi minister says

11/04/19  
Air pollution in the north of India has "reached unbearable levels," the capital Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says.

The pollution-enabling impacts of the Clean Power Plan “replacement”

10/30/19  
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has suggested that ACE – the Trump administration’s harmful and deeply flawed replacement for the Clean Power Plan – is just as effective in protecting climate and public health as its…

General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry

By Hiroko Tabuchi  Photo by Jeff Kowalsky   10/28/19  
Breaking with some of their biggest rivals, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards…

How much pollution is in the air? It’s gotten worse under Trump

10/25/19  
After years of steady decline, pollution is back on the rise. It's not a huge mystery as to why....

Air Pollution Linked to Risk of ‘Silent’ Miscarriage

10/15/19  
A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale...

Parents of child cancer victims plead with PA Governor Wolf to attend cancer crisis meeting

10/04/19  
Air pollution creates a high level of cancer risk for residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania, where at least 67 children have been diagnosed with rare cancers in some of the most heavily-fracked counties in the nation.…

Even Small Spikes in Air Pollution Can Threaten Children’s Mental Health, Research Suggests

By Sam Nickerson   09/27/19  
Climate change is making air pollution worse and is exacerbating smog-related health risks such as heart and lung diseases, pregnancy complications and development issues. Now, a...

The Atmosphere: Earth’s Security Blanket

09/26/19  
Part One Most of us probably don’t think much about Earth’s atmosphere, let alone how much humans are affecting it. After all, it’s just there. Gazing into the sky during the day, it’s tough to…
AP

Study finds air pollution reaches placenta during pregnancy

By Lauran Neergaard   09/18/19  
A new study suggests when a pregnant woman breathes in air pollution, it can travel beyond her lungs to the placenta that guards her fetus. During pregnancy it's been linked to premature births and low…

Monitoring air pollution from fires

By European Space Agency   09/09/19  
The wildfires that have been devastating the Amazon rainforest have been international headline news over the last weeks. These fires are not only an environmental tragedy in terms of lost forest and biodiversity, but they…

Angry Schwarzenegger condemns Trump for wrecking clean-air standards

09/09/19  
Ex-California governor: administration ‘downright hypocritical’Officials move to revoke California’s car emissions waiverArnold Schwarznegger has condemned Donald Trump over his unprecedented rollback of environmental protections, particularly his move against California’s regulation of automobile emissions. Related: Taliban…

30,000 lives could be saved with cleaner air, CMU professor says

08/31/19  
Pittsburgh’s air quality has improved dramatically over the past 20 years, but a Carnegie Mellon University researcher says that’s no reason for area residents to be satisfied. Allen Robinson, director of CMU’s Center for Air…

Pittsburgh region’s political leaders pledge to fight air pollution

08/29/19  
Citing public health concerns, more than five dozen endorse stricter health-based limits on polluters and stronger penalties ...

People breathing dirty air more likely to have mental health problems

08/21/19  
People exposed to high levels of air pollution have much greater odds of suffering from a psychiatric illness such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a new study. While no mental illness can…

This is warming the planet even faster than carbon dioxide

08/06/19  
Black carbon also pollutes the air, in case you needed another reason to worry....

Tracking Smoke From Fires to Improve Air Quality Forecasting

07/22/19  
NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory took to the skies on Monday to kick off a two-month investigation into the life cycles of smoke from fires in the United States. The goal is to better understand smoke…

China’s Deadly Air Pollution Is Also Costing Billions in Solar Efficiency

07/11/19  
China is leading the way on renewable energy, having installed half the world's solar panels in 2017. But its transformative economic growth fueled by coal and other fossil fuels and its outsized manufacturing sector have…

A Global Pollution Observatory Hunts for Hidden Killers

By Zak Jason  Photo by Himanshu Bhatt   07/08/19  
Diseases caused by pollution killed more than 9 million people in 2015, 16 percent of all deaths worldwide. That’s three times more deaths than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and 15 times more than…

EPA’s air pollution chief steps down after ethics probe raises new questions

06/27/19  
The move that comes after he provided conflicting information to Congress about his connections to the industry, three sources knowledgeable about the matter told POLITICO.

America’s Skies Have Gotten Clearer, but Millions Still Breathe Unhealthy Air

By John Oswald Method   06/19/19  
When asked about climate change, President Trump often shifts the focus to America’s “clean air.”

Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks

By E360 Digest  Photo by Jacob W. Frank/NPS   06/12/19  
Some 85 percent of U.S. national parks have levels of air pollution that are hazardous to human health, according to a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association. Some of the country’s most popular…

Tornadoes and climate change: what does the science say?

05/31/19  
The US has recently experienced one of its worst tornado outbreaks of the past decade, with more than 500 reported over 30 days. The number so far this year is also more than 200 above…

E.P.A. Experts Objected to ‘Misleading’ Agency Smog Decision, Emails Show

By Lisa Friedman  Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images   05/24/19  
Newly released emails show that Environmental Protection Agency scientists raised strong objections to a 2018 decision by Scott Pruitt, who was head of the agency at the time, to exempt most of southeastern Wisconsin from…
CNN

EPA veteran: Changing math on air pollution is deadly

By Christiane Amanpour   05/23/19  
Fmr. Associate EPA Director John Bachmann talks to Amanpour about the agency's controversial plan to change how it calculates the health risks of air pollution.

Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks

By E360 Digest  JACOB W. FRANK/NPS   05/09/19  
Some 85 percent of U.S. national parks have levels of air pollution that are hazardous to human health, according to a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association. Some of the country’s most popular parks —…
NPR

Growing Corn Is A Major Contributor To Air Pollution, Study Finds

By Jonathan Lambert  Photo by Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images   04/01/19  
Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk factor in the United States, and agriculture contributes in a number of ways. Fertilizer application, gas use, pesticide production and dust kicked up from tilling all affect…

Study links air pollution to early death

By Scott Tong   11/19/18  
What’s the benefit of cleaner air? An extra two years of life for the average person in the world, a new study finds.
CNN

EPA quietly telling states they can pollute more

By Rene Marsh, Gregory Wallace and Ellie Kaufman  Photo by Mark Ralston   10/31/18  
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly signaled it may allow states to release more ozone air pollution, commonly known as smog, dirtying the air in those states and neighboring ones, but the agency did not…

E.P.A. to Disband a Key Scientific Review Panel on Air Pollution

By Lisa Friedman   10/11/18  
An Environmental Protection Agency panel that advises the agency’s leadership on the latest scientific information about soot in the atmosphere is not listed as continuing its work next year, an E.P.A. official said.

E.P.A. to Disband a Key Scientific Review Panel on Air Pollution

By Lisa Friedman, Julia Rosen and Brad Plumer  Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis, via Getty Images   10/11/18  
The ruling in the closely watched case was a defeat for San Francisco and Oakland, which had sued fossil fuel companies over the costs of a warming world.

Pollution watch: summer’s deadly wildfires cause pollution worldwide

By Gary Fuller   08/30/18  
Widespread wildfires have taken lives and destroyed habitats as well as causing air pollution.

Western Wildfires Undermining Progress on Air Pollution

11/07/17  
Research Report by Climate Central November 2017 Summary Read "Breathing Fire," our feature story on fire pollution Smoke pollution is leading to serious public health impacts as large wildfires across the American West become more…