Sustainable development study reinforces air pollution-climate crisis link

A new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Climate & Clean Air Coalition, and African Union contains key messages for decision makers on how to grow while improving impact.

The Integrated Assessment of Air Pollution and Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa has published a new summary document which offers many lessons for leaders at national, regional and local levels across the globe. 

man in gray hoodie and black pants holding brown cardboard box

The main takeaways emphasise the need to invest in solutions that fight air pollution and climate change in one, securing benefits in health, equality, and biodiversity. Reiterating the point that climate change and air quality are ‘inextricably linked’, the document explains: ‘Often, air pollution shares the same drivers and sources as greenhouse gases, and their impacts can exacerbate each other’, adding many ‘vulnerable groups in Africa and around the world are most at risk from the health impacts of air pollution compounded by climate change.’ 

A package of 37 measures to reduce emissions causing air pollution and climate change has been proposed. These include: shifting transport to cleaner vehicles, and modes like walking, cycling and affordable public transport; moving to safe and clean residential energy sources; developing clean energy for industry; targeting methane emissions from livestock production and manure management; and implementing standard waste management procedures in terms of collection and recycling. 

While the focus here is on Africa, despite clear differences in terms of wealth and infrastructure, a number of these recommendations mirror those made to decision makers in other regions, such as the European Union, UK, and US. Most recently, a new agricultural grant system was established by Westminster aimed specifically at improving slurry storage in a bid to bring down air and water pollution from the industry’s activities. 

Image: Tim Mossholder



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