We are well-aware of the negative effects of air pollution on human health and on the environment, but a recent study at Duke University has revealed that global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust.
Poor air quality is a major problem worldwide. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year. This makes air pollution the fourth largest threat to human health, trailing only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking.
Installations of solar power continue to increase rapidly around the world and in no place more than China. By the end of 2016, total solar generating capacity in China reached 77.4 gigawatts, making it the largest producer of solar energy in the world. Globally, there is a total of 228 gigawatts of solar power installed, although that number keeps changing rapidly.
China has worked to reduce its coal consumption in recent years but the air quality in cities like Beijing is still notoriously poor and a major health hazard.
China and the United States today produce nearly half of the world’s carbon emissions, so the fight against global climate change depends greatly upon what actions the two countries take. China has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past twenty years from a largely rural society to one that is far more urbanized and far more energy intensive. In 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol on climate was negotiated, China was only responsible for 14% of global CO2 emissions. It then surpassed the US on that front in less than 10 years and now accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s emissions.
Many of us like to have houseplants. They add a bit of nature to our homes and they look nice. It turns out that they have health advantages as well.
Poor air quality is a serious problem. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year. This makes air pollution the fourth largest threat to human health. Only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking are a bigger danger.
There are 35 megacities in the world – metropolitan areas with more than 10 million people. Fifteen of them have populations above 20 million. And many of these teeming metropolises have to contend with some of the worst air pollution on the planet.
For about a decade now, insect pollinator populations have been in decline. Their decline poses a significant threat to biodiversity, food production, and human health. In fact, at least 80% of the world’s crop species require pollination, and approximately one out of every three bites of food is a direct result of the work of these pollinators. In the United States alone, insect pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, certain wasps and flies (among many others), account for an estimated $15 billion in profits annually.
Much of the public discourse about pollution is focused on the long-term consequences of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are still some who doubt that such consequences are really in the offing or that our actions are responsible in any case.
An international poll of over 45,000 people in 40 countries looked at opinions about climate change and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The results are quite interesting.