Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, health is receiving unprecedented public and political attention. Yet the fact that climate change also presents us with a health crisis deserves further recognition. A new IASS Policy Brief gives recommendations for integrating health and climate and achieving better outcomes in both arenas.
Data on emission amounts and sources have an important role to play in shaping policy on climate protection and air quality. Now, a team of researchers under the guidance of IASS Scientific Director Mark Lawrence has presented the first high-resolution inventory to record emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in Nepal over an extended period of time. The researchers plan to use the data to develop further air quality strategies in Nepal.
From 23 – 25 September 2019, heads of government from around the world will convene at the United Nations’ General Assembly to discuss efforts to advance climate action and global sustainable development. The summit aims to boost national ambitions to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and will review the implementation of measures relating to the Sustainable Development Goals. The relationship between air pollution and climate change plays an important role in this context, and is the subject of a new IASS Policy Brief titled “A Practical Approach to Integrating Climate and Air Quality Policy”.
The cause of millions of premature deaths annually, air pollution is a global challenge. It affects both developing and developed countries, with cities, in particular, struggling to meet air quality standards. A new study by a team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) investigates air pollutant concentrations in urban areas and the factors that affect air quality. The study includes a number of recommendations that will interest urban planners and citizens alike.
The cost advantage of diesel has caused the number of newly registered diesel cars to sky-rocket over the last twenty years. Scientists have now calculated the exact effects of this “diesel boom”: In a new study published in the journal “Atmospheric Environment” they show that the diesel boom in Europe has failed to benefit the climate.
Due to excessive air pollution, in July 2017 the City of Potsdam reallocated space on the very busy Zeppelinstraße in an attempt to reduce car traffic and encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport. While they welcome the fact that this measure has made cycling safer, participants in an online survey conducted by the IASS are critical of other effects, claiming that life has become more difficult for commuters, and air and noise pollution have only been reduced in a small area – to the detriment of side streets.
Diesel cars are the main source of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in urban areas, an increasingly pressing problem that some German cities are seeking to solve by imposing diesel bans. But that won’t be enough. A new IASS Policy Brief makes recommendations to policymakers on how to deal with diesel emissions.
The CITY CYCLING campaign encourages local politicians and citizens to choose cycling as a climate-friendly means of transportation between 1 May and 30 September. Researchers from the IASS are conducting a survey to learn more about participants’ interactions with cycling infrastructure and what it would take to encourage them to cycle more frequently. These findings will be used subsequently in the development of policy recommendations.
In Berlin, one unique change that has continued to develop over the past few months is the installation of “Pop-up” bike lanes on busy streets around the city. Citing the pandemic, city officials have been fast-tracking plans for new, protected bike lanes in order to allow citizens to travel safely by bike and avoid overcrowding in public transport. A recent IASS Study shows that these new bike lanes are strongly supported by people who identify primarily as cyclists, pedestrians, or users of public transport, but are disliked by those who identify as car drivers. While these results are unsurprising, they capture Berlin’s quite recent citizen-led shift in transport policy, ultimately culminating in the recent Mobility Law of 2018. That does not mean, however, that these new bike lanes are without criticism.
New research links air pollution to severe Covid-19 progression. This should prompt a re-evaluation of German commitments to safeguarding and improving air quality. Clean air deserves a more prominent place in Germany’s Strategy for Sustainable Development.
Given the fact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its implications are dominating not only the news but the daily lives of nearly the whole globe, it is unsurprising that many have been thinking about the consequences of the coronavirus on climate action.
Last week in Germany, retired pulmonary physician Dieter Köhler made waves by publishing a statement, signed by over one hundred other fellow lung doctors, calling into question the science behind air quality standards and suggesting that current EU-wide limits for nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter are unnecessarily strict. Not coincidentally, this comes at a time when diesel driving bans are being imposed in many German cities because of their inability to meet the EU-wide limit value for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), for which diesel cars are the main source. This has sparked debate on many levels, from the journalistic to the political. In this blog post we specifically address the topic of air quality limit values based on our expertise in the fields of air quality and public health.