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.
Electric cars are generally seen as the way to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce the disastrous effects of personal transportation on the environment. They still constitute only a tiny fraction of the cars on the road, but their popularity and availability is growing.
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 the past 17 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from official air quality monitors to compile the State of the Air report. The State of the Air 2016, which was released late last month, revealed some troubling statistics about the health of the air here in the United States.
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.