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. 


EPA tells 15 states they missed air pollution plan deadline

By Zack Budryk 08/29/22
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued notices to 15 states for failure to submit plans for air pollution reduction, four months after a lawsuit on the matter from a coalition of environmental groups. In…
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Stop Ruining Starry Nights

By Andrea Stanley 07/21/22
After over a decade of living in the city, I chose the plot of land, a flat patchwork of pine and oak at the base of the Catskill Mountains, for its terrible lighting. The area…
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Opinion: Switching from natural gas to electricity will reduce Colorado’s smog

By Eric Reinhardt 06/09/22
Seventy percent of Colorado’s homes burn gas for heating. Although burning fossil fuels like gas is the primary cause of the continued heating of the earth’s climate, this figure represents more than just a climate…
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As the Great Salt Lake dries up, Utah faces an ‘environmental nuclear bomb’

By Christopher Flavelle 06/07/22
Climate change and rapid population growth are shrinking the lake, creating a bowl of toxic dust that could poison the air around Salt Lake City.
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Air Pollution Can Mean More, or Fewer, Hurricanes. It Depends Where You Live.

By Henry Fountain 05/11/22
Global warming can affect hurricanes, in part because a warmer ocean provides more energy to fuel them. But it’s not the only factor in play: A study released on Wednesday confirms that, for the frequency…
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Microplastic particles are found deep in human lungs

By Katherine Martinko 04/12/22
Microplastic particles have been discovered in the lungs of live human patients. A team of researchers from Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull in the United Kingdom has published a study in…
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Switching To Electric Vehicles Could Save More Than 100,000 Lives, Study Finds

By Jamie Hailstone 03/30/22
Moving to zero-emission vehicles and energy could help prevent up to 110,000 deaths in the United States, according to a new report.
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Alaska air pollution holds clues for other Arctic climates

By Mark Thiessen 03/25/22
In the pristine expanse of Alaska’s interior lies a dirty secret: some of the most polluted winter air in the United States can be found in and around Fairbanks. The Fairbanks North Star Borough, which…
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Study: Every single country is failing the WHO’s new air quality standards

By Adam Mahoney 03/24/22
No country in the world met the new air quality standards established in September by the World Health Organization, or WHO, according to a new survey that analyzed 117 countries’ air last year.
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Why EPA’s new heavy truck rule could yet be a gamechanger

By The Climate Reality Project 03/14/22
EPA’s new proposed rule limiting toxic tailpipe emissions from heavy trucks could not only mean clean air for millions but also jumpstart electrification of the trucking and bus sectors on a massive scale. But only…
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EPA plans sweeping regulatory strategy for power plants

By Ethan Howland 03/11/22
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to issue a series of proposals covering air, water and waste pollution from power generators, especially coal-fired power plants, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Thursday.
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Biden’s EPA chief puts power plants on notice for pollution

By Dino Grandoni 03/10/22
Previewing a suite of new fossil fuel rules, Michael Regan said more needs to be done to clean up the air and water around power plants
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Ongoing climate change, caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gasses.

Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution

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 moves forward with phase down of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons

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

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

Search for statistics and air conditions anywhere in the world. 

EarthJustice: The Fight for Clean Air

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

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

Technical Air Pollution Resources

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.


Blowing the Cover off the ‘Cleanest Air’ Illusion of the Trump Administration

By Julie McNamara   02/17/20  
By Julie McNamaraFirst, a fact: People want clean air. And who can blame them — in the United States more than 100,000 people still die from...
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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
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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…
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Room to breathe: My quest to clean up my home’s filthy air

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

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…
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East Boston mothers sound alarm about air pollution from Logan Airport

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. ...
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Ozone Depleting Gas Declines After Rising For Years

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

Air pollution in the north of India has "reached unbearable levels," the capital Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says.
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The pollution-enabling impacts of the Clean Power Plan “replacement”

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

By Hiroko Tabuchi   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…
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How much pollution is in the air? It’s gotten worse under Trump

After years of steady decline, pollution is back on the rise. It's not a huge mystery as to why....
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Air Pollution Linked to Risk of ‘Silent’ Miscarriage

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

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.…
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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...
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The Atmosphere: Earth’s Security Blanket

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…
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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…
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Angry Schwarzenegger condemns Trump for wrecking clean-air standards

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

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…
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Pittsburgh region’s political leaders pledge to fight air pollution

Citing public health concerns, more than five dozen endorse stricter health-based limits on polluters and stronger penalties ...
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People breathing dirty air more likely to have mental health problems

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…
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This is warming the planet even faster than carbon dioxide

Black carbon also pollutes the air, in case you needed another reason to worry....
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Tracking Smoke From Fires to Improve Air Quality Forecasting

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

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…
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A Global Pollution Observatory Hunts for Hidden Killers

By Zak Jason   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…
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EPA’s air pollution chief steps down after ethics probe raises new questions

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.
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Tornadoes and climate change: what does the science say?

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

By Lisa Friedman   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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Western Wildfires Undermining Progress on Air Pollution

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

By Lisa Friedman, Julia Rosen and Brad Plumer   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.
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Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks

By E360 Digest   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 —…
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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…
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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.”
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Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks

By E360 Digest   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…
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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.
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Growing Corn Is A Major Contributor To Air Pollution, Study Finds

By Jonathan Lambert   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…
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EPA quietly telling states they can pollute more

By Rene Marsh, Gregory Wallace and Ellie Kaufman   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…
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