Briefs: Climate change driving extreme weather; air pollution kills millions, hits poor worse

Monday, May 19, 2014

Climate change driving extreme weather: report

Last year again demonstrated the dramatic impact of droughts, heat waves, floods and tropical cyclones on people and property in all parts of the planet, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate.

The report confirms that last year tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest on record, continuing the long-term global warming trend. It provided a snapshot of regional and national temperatures and extreme events as well as details of ice cover, ocean warming, sea level rise and greenhouse gas concentrations — all inter-related and consistent indicators of our changing climate.

Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, and each of the past three decades has been warmer than the previous one, culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record.

Air pollution kills 7 million a year

In new estimates released in Mach, the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2012, about 7 million people died — one in eight of total global deaths — as a result of air pollution exposure. This more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

Low- and middle-income countries in south-east Asia and western Pacific regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012. They suffered a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution.

US air pollution hits non-whites hardest

In United States, Atlantic Cities wrote on April 14, your race affects everything from your job to to your brush-ups with the police. Why should it be different with the amount of air pollution you inhale?

It isn't, a University of Minnesota study has found. Atlantic Cities said: “By overlaying Census data with a recent map of air pollution, the researchers discovered that in most places in the country, lower-income non-white people breathe more airborne foulness than higher-income whites.

“On average, non-white people inhale 38% higher levels of air pollution than whites, they say. If non-white people were brought down to the levels of pollution enjoyed by whites, it would prevent 7000 deaths from heart disease in their communities each year.”

From GLW issue 1009