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A Pandemic That Cleared Skies and Halted Cities Isn’t Slowing Global Warming

In some ways, the dire lockdowns undertaken to stop Covid-19 have fast-forwarded us into an unlikely future—one with almost impossibly bold climate action taken all at once, no matter the cost.

Just months ago it would have been thought impossible to close polluting factories virtually overnight and slash emissions from travel by keeping billions at home. Now we know that clear skies and silent streets can come about with shocking speed.

The pandemic is a cataclysmic event so big and disruptive that it can be measured in the planetary metrics of climate change. As many as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, about 8% of the estimated total for the year, will never be emitted into the atmosphere, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency. Pick any world-shaking event from 20th century history—none has produced a bigger decrease in emissions.

Air Quality 2

World’s largest platform for air quality data launched at Tenth World Urban Forum

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), together with UN-Habitat and IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company, today launched the world’s largest air quality data platform, bringing together real-time air pollution data from over 4,000 contributors, including citizens, communities, governments and the private sector to work towards healthier, more sustainable cities.

Launched at the Tenth World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, this partnership – currently reaching over 15 million users and covering more than 7,000 cities worldwide – aims to sustain and grow the world’s foremost air quality databank.

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COVID-19 does not mean climate action is on hold

If the world has seen a scary future with the emergence of COVID-19, the future of our planet in a 3-4° C scenario takes us to an entirely different level of uncertainty, including in terms of health.

Fundamental to a transformational and green recovery will be early action on a longer-term agenda to address climate change, avoid habitat loss and fragmentation, reverse the loss of biodiversity, reduce pollution and improve waste management and infrastructure.

Confronted with a health crisis that has caused a global social and economic shock, the European Union and countries around the world are adopting major economic support programmes.

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COVID-19 AIR QUALITY REPORT – 2019 coronavirus pandemic lockdowns result in unprecedented reductions in deadly particle pollution

As lockdowns were implemented in response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the dramatic changes brought about by these restrictions have been described as the ‘largest scale experiment ever’ into air quality.

In many places, the halt of movement and industry has shown a glimpse of a cleaner world, with many reports of exceptional blue skies. However, visual perception alone can be deceiving when observing air pollution. This report compares measurements of the world’s deadliest air pollutant, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), prior to and during the pandemic in 10 major global cities under lockdown: Delhi, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Mumbai, New York City, Rome, São Paulo, Seoul and Wuhan. Findings reveal a drastic drop in PM2.5 pollution for most global locations under lockdown conditions

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Environmental groups sue EPA over smog, air quality rules in Imperial County

Two nonprofit advocacy groups on Monday filed legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to secure stricter air quality standards in Imperial County.

In the filing with the federal appeals court that covers the West, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health asked the court to overturn the EPA’s decision to forgo further mandated emissions reductions in the county. The agency previously justified its decision by saying that the area’s poor air quality was caused by pollution crossing the border from Mexico, not by domestic sources.