Air Pollution and Climate Change

November 13, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 41
Are tougher regulations necessary?
By Jill U. Adams


Citizens wear face masks to guard against heavy smog (Getty Images/ChinaFotoPress)
Citizens wear face masks to guard against heavy smog in Harbin, a city of 10 million people in northeastern China, on Nov. 3, 2015. Air pollution is the world's biggest environmental health risk, with some of the worst problems in developing nations such as China and India. (Getty Images/ChinaFotoPress)

Air pollution kills 3.3 million people a year worldwide, including 55,000 Americans, according to a new study by an international group of scientists. Moreover, airborne pollutants, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), are contributing to global climate change. In response, President Obama, frustrated by congressional inaction, has used his executive authority to institute a sweeping plan aimed at limiting CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants, curbing smog-causing ozone and encouraging the growth of renewable energy. Industry officials are challenging Obama's Clean Power Plan in court, arguing the regulations are too costly and that market forces are enough to bring about reductions in pollution. Environmental advocates dismiss those claims and say the administration should have gone further in tightening emission standards. Meanwhile, the United States and almost all the other nations on Earth are set to begin climate talks later this month in Paris to seek consensus on ways to curb emissions to stave off further warming of the planet.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Air Pollution
Nov. 13, 2015  Air Pollution and Climate Change
Nov. 14, 2003  Air Pollution Conflict
Jan. 26, 2001  Global Warming Treaty
Mar. 07, 1997  New Air Quality Standards
Nov. 01, 1996  Global Warming
Oct. 27, 1995  Indoor Air Pollution
Apr. 03, 1992  Ozone Depletion
Mar. 08, 1991  Acid Rain: New Approach to Old Problem
Nov. 27, 1987  Air Pollution Countdown
Apr. 10, 1987  Ozone Mystery
Mar. 07, 1986  Acid Rain
Oct. 16, 1981  Wood Fuel's Developing Market
Nov. 21, 1980  Air Pollution Control: Progress and Prospects
Jun. 20, 1980  Acid Rain
Mar. 19, 1976  Ozone Controversy
Apr. 26, 1967  Air Pollution: Rising Threat
Jan. 08, 1964  Air Contamination
Jan. 14, 1959  Cleaner Air
Apr. 06, 1955  Poisoned Air
Aug. 26, 1949  Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Atmospheric Sciences
Climate Change
Electric Power
Energy Policy
General International Relations
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Oil and Natural Gas
Regional Political Affairs: Canada
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regulation and Deregulation
Renewable Energy Resources and Alternative Fuels
Science and Politics