Anthropogenic climate change wasn’t on our minds in 1970. Air pollution was, but only rich countries measured it and they didn’t look at the global picture.
Two Dalhousie scientists, Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin, are helping NASA and the world get a clearer view of air pollution. Their research uses satellite imaging to estimate pollution in murkier regions. “Fine aerosol---small particles in the air that are linked to negative effects on health---have dropped by about half,” says van Donkelaar. We’ve fared better than the national average. Air pollution has decreased in most of North America and Europe.
One reason for the improvements is that regulations---the kind activists always demand--- “have driven down emissions from sources such as power plants and cars.”
But that’s not the whole story. Cheap overseas labour is a driving force---businesses have moved their factories to Asia and South America, exporting their environmental footprint. “North American air pollution has, in general, declined and our health and environment have benefited, but we’ve shipped much of our pollution to Asia for approximately three billion people to breath,” van Donkelaar says.
That “can also lead to less jobs and less income to put towards more environmentally friendly products,” he adds.
The jury is out on whether global air pollution has gotten better or worse. It was a problem then and still is. Eighty percent of the world’s population, according to NASA, “now breathes polluted air that exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.”
posted by MICHELLE CAMERON, Apr 21/16
Alberta initiative wants to help unemployed Maritimers in an eco-friendly career transition. comments 0
posted by JACOB BOON, Jan 21/16
Margaret Miller on carbon pricing, coal and the fracking moratorium. comments 6
posted by JACOB BOON, Nov 26/15
Paris talks are our last, best chance at beating climate change. comments 0
posted by LEAH BATSTONE, Nov 26/15
No need to go to Paris, there are plenty of amazing people and programs right here fighting for a better future. comments 5
posted by CHRIS BENJAMIN, Nov 26/15
Climate change is driving conflicts across the world, and we're starting to see the results. comments 0
posted by CHRIS BENJAMIN, Nov 5/15
"There are no non-radical options left." comments 1
Matthew M: Regarding Ontario. I agree with you. I live in Ontario and we are…
We just brought over 25,000 Syrians, we can't let one British born woman stay? So…
No but people who post ACTUAL racist and sexist things are, in fact, racist and…