US Air Quality Worsening

A report by the Washington Post says government data shows US air quality is worsening and its overall greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. The nation’s carbon dioxide emissions rose more than 3% last year, the biggest increase since 2010. A report in March by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law said the Trump administration had “set its sights on watering down or outright repealing a half-dozen health and environmental rules critical to the health and welfare of all Americans as well as the planet.”

The Health Effects Institute State of Global Air 2019 report shows the US ranks 123rd out of 195 nations when it comes to smog, or ozone pollution. Dan Greenbaum, the institute’s president, said in an interview that vehicle travel, electricity use, and industrial activity all contribute to America’s high ozone levels.

Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association, said in a recent interview that climate change is also harming air quality. That’s because higher atmospheric temperatures contribute to smog formation and the uptick in wildfires across the West are pouring more soot into the air.

“Climate change has an enormous impact on human health,” Nolen said. “It increases the risk of wildfires, ozone is going to be higher and worse, and ozone is appearing in places where it hadn’t before. In addition to that, the heat itself is a risk to human health.” She went on to say that Trump is scaling back the very policies aimed at curbing emissions linked to global warming.