The cost of living crisis and its impact on air quality

2022’s economic downturn has hit all aspects of our world, but the impact on air pollution is less widely reported. Stephen Cirell takes a closer look at an underreported issue with worrying implications for the atmosphere. 

The political turbulence of the past few weeks is likely to have implications for some time to come. In the space of only a month or so, the economic outlook has deteriorated considerably, and the UK is now set to enter yet another recessionary period.

brown and black house

The issues have not all been created by political incompetence, though. The side show of the revolving doors at No 10 Downing Street masks wider changes that are starting to negatively affect the economy. Obviously, the war in Ukraine is high on this list. Vladimir Putin’s aggression has had a fundamental impact on Western Europe.

The most obvious example of that is the gas supply crisis, with many European countries being particularly dependent on supplies of Russian gas and oil. Putin has recognised that energy can be used as a weapon and turned off supplies to pile pressure on Europe to turn a blind eye to his illegal occupation of a neighbouring and independent state.

But it is not just whether supplies from Russia are disrupted; it is also about the escalating wholesale prices of gas that have resulted from this. The gas price has an important link to the cost of electricity, as a significant amount of the UK’s electricity is generated via Combined Cycle Gas Turbines. Even though the UK does not receive Russian gas in any event, the world gas prices have increased alarmingly.

The full version of this feature appeared in November’s Air Quality News magazine. You can read the complete publication below. 


Image: Tommy Mason


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