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A startling report from The Lancet says that over 9 million people die annually from pollution. It further suggests that with more study this initial number may, in fact, be much higher. The Lancet researchers also say it costs the global economy over $5 trillion annually.
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To read the report, download it as a PDF file, or to find other relevant information about the report, please click here.
“Air Pollution Kills 9 Million, Costs $5 Trillion Per Year” — EcoWatch
“The world’s ‘Number One killer’ a new study says, causing more premature deaths than war, terrorism, natural disasters, cigarettes and disease.” — Voice of America
“In 2015, nearly one in six deaths, an estimated nine million worldwide, was related to pollution in some form — air, water, soil, chemical or occupational pollution, according to a new report published Thursday in The Lancet.” — CNN
“Landmark study finds toxic air, water, soils and workplaces kill at least 9m people and cost trillions of dollars every year. The deaths attributed to pollution are triple those from Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined.” — The Guardian
“Genon K. Jensen, the executive director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), welcomed the report and said it “shows we have the necessary data to address this problem and more importantly, that we can win”. — Euractive
“My colleagues and I knew that pollution killed a lot of people. But we certainly did not have any idea of the total magnitude.” Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-chair of the commission — National Post
“Pollution is linked to about 9 million deaths each year — three times as many deaths as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined — according to a new large report published in The Lancet. It says pollution played a role in one in six of all deaths across the globe in 2015.” — CBS News
Mr President of the European Parliament,
Mr Vice-President of the European Commission,
Members of Parliament,
I would like to thank President Schulz for inviting me, as COP21 President, to set out the main themes of the Agreement adopted in Paris on 12 December last, as well as the steps to come.
2015 was a difficult year for the world and Europe in particular. The Paris Climate Conference, however, was a genuine source of hope. It brought all nations together, which is a rare achievement. It showed that diplomacy, and in certain cases multilateralism, could produce impressive results.
Last October, I had the opportunity to set out before your Environment and Foreign Affairs Committees the criteria for a “good agreement” in Paris. These criteria have been met in the Agreement’s 29 articles and the 140 accompanying decision points. We have secured a universal Agreement, based on the national contributions of 187 countries, which is a considerable achievement.
The COP21 Agreement has been recognized as ambitious: it includes long-term plans to limit global warming to 2°C, a commitment to maintain efforts to reach 1.5°C and carbon neutrality in the second half of the century.
It is a dynamic Agreement: the first global stocktake is planned for 2023 and every five years thereafter, but a review of the pre-2020 efforts will take place in 2018, which will enable discussions on raising our commitments. With regard to monitoring the commitments, a common transparency framework has been defined, with certain flexibility based on each State’s abilities. The Agreement is as legally binding as it could be given the political constraints of several States.
Finally, the Agreement is generally deemed to be fair: the notion of differentiation is present in all issues, and there is solidarity from rich countries towards the most vulnerable ones, within particular the commitment to meet and then exceed the target of US$100 billion per year for these countries, and to set a new specific target by 2025.
These results, which in all honesty few people expected prior to the COP, are in large part down to the Europeans, particularly the Agreement’s level of ambition. I would like to specifically commend your commitment, which was seen in Gilles Pargneaux’s report “Towards a new international climate agreement in Paris” which you adopted in October 2015 shortly before the COP21 Conference, as well as the strong commitment from Commissioner Cañete and Minister Carole Dieschbourg on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency, but also that of each one of your countries, for which I would like to thank you wholeheartedly.
Aside from the Agreement proper, for the first time at this level the COP21 helped to associate the climate cause with a large number of non-State actors. Over 5,000 cities, regions, businesses, investors and NGOs from 180 countries made commitments. Several ambitious projects, whose 2 impacts will be felt even before 2020, were launched during the Conference. In short, a shift towards low-carbon development was set in motion. I believe it is irreversible. For once, it is no exaggeration to use the word “historic”. In the fight against climate change, there will thus be a “before Paris” and an “after Paris”.
And yet, ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that much remains to be done to clarify and implement this historic Agreement. 2015 was the year for negotiations and decisions, so 2016 must be what I call the year of the “4 P’s”.
- P for the Process of signing and ratification. On 22 April, the COP21 Agreement will be opened for signature at the United Nations in New York. It must be signed by at least 55 countries, accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. It would be desirable for as many European and world leaders as possible to be present. The European Union was one of the first to publish its national contribution, in March 2015; it must continue to lead the way, by signing the Paris Agreement on 22 April, and then by ratifying it as soon as possible.
- The second P is for the Precise details regarding this Paris Agreement and the joint decision. Last December, principles were laid down and targets defined: the goal is to agree on how to translate this into action. This will be the goal next May in Bonn, in the first group meeting for preparing implementing decisions. We must in particular reach a common and precise definition of climate financing, agree on the terms of the five-year stocktake of national commitments and set out rules for transparency in monitoring the commitments.
- The third P stands for the Pre-2020 period. Aside from the implementation of the Agreement, which is due to enter into force in 2020, it will be necessary to provide monitoring as regards pre-2020 action and what is known as the “Lima-Paris Action Agenda” which brings together the initiatives from States and non-State actors. I am in particular thinking of the “International Solar Alliance” launched by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Modi, and the public-private “Mission Innovation” launched by President Obama and private investors for developing clean technologies. I am thinking of the widespread implementation of early warning systems for disaster and a climate insurance system in vulnerable countries, as well as the protection of tropical forests. I would also like to stress our financial commitments to renewable energies in Africa, which must be quickly and fully honoured. Starting in 2016, significant progress must be made on these specific projects and many others.
- The final P is the Preparation for COP22 in Marrakesh at the end of 2016. The success of the Paris Conference was helped by close coordination between the Peruvian COP20 Presidency, the French COP21 Presidency and the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We intend to work with our Moroccan friends in the same spirit, in order to ensure success in Marrakesh in November. We will thus together prepare a series of formal and informal meetings using the same method which proved successful in Paris.
In addition to these areas of action, progress must also be made in important sectors which were not included in the Paris Agreement, but for which action is essential.
Air transport: the International Civil Aviation Organization must conclude an agreement on regulating emissions in its sector by September.
Maritime transport: the International Maritime Organization must begin similar work, for which I expect the European Union to provide great support.
In the same vein, an agreement in principle was reached by the parties to the Montreal Protocol in order to prepare in 2016 an amendment aimed at eliminating “HFC” refrigerant gases, which produce heavy greenhouse gas emissions: decisions must be made without delay.
None of these negotiations will be easy, but the success of Paris and the urgency of these essential actions must enable us to also obtain results in these areas.
Members of Parliament,
In light of the positive impetus created by the Paris Agreement, I hope and I am convinced that the European Union will maintain its commitment to preserving our planet. I believe that several initiatives are necessary to do so:
The first initiative is the ratification by the European Union of the Doha Amendment establishing the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. These conditions are now close to being fulfilled, with only a few countries remaining.
The second initiative must address the European Union’s implementation of the mitigation commitments made in Paris for 2030. Several negotiations lie ahead of us, including the reform of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) carbon market and working together in non-ETS sectors such as construction, transport and agriculture. The spirit of unity and responsibility which prevailed in Paris must also be present in our internal discussions. At the Council, France will commit to make progress on these essential issues, in order to be able to demonstrate significant progress as of COP22. It would be of great benefit if the Parliament could also make progress in its decision-making process, particularly for the first reading of the revised ETS directive. We must discuss increasing our future commitments in Europe in order to take account of the technological progress which I am convinced will be even faster than expected.
We must also use the European Energy Union project to achieve energy transition in Europe, focusing on new jobs which can be created, as ecological transition is not just a constraint, it is also a major opportunity. Many texts will be tabled by the Commission in 2016 in order to further this ambitious project. I am in particular thinking of stepping up our commitments in the area of developing renewable energies and energy efficiency. Here too, I am counting on the European Parliament to help us to move forward quickly and to play a full part in confirming the EU’s credibility in international negotiations.
Finally, we must strengthen our European action for sustainable development with our Southern partners. Many of them have committed to take action. Their action will be all the stronger if they have our support. The European Union, which is already the world’s largest donor for the climate, must maintain and if possible increase its support in terms of financing, technology and expertise.
To sum up, there is no doubt, therefore, that the Paris Conference has been a success in the fight against climate change, but the process does not end here. Action must continue and the European Union will take on a special responsibility. In the work ahead, your Parliament will play a major role in nurturing European ambition. I know that you are equal to the task.
My closing words will be to highlight this essential point: the Paris Agreement does not only deal with the climate in the narrow sense of the word; it will serve the environment as a whole, biodiversity, public health, food security and, more broadly, development.
But it is also – and this is rarely highlighted — an Agreement for security and peace. Because we must realize that with food and water shortages, risks of large-scale migration caused by the consequences of global warming and threats from conflicts linked to control over fossil resources, uncontrolled climate change would ultimately lead to widespread conflict.
By refusing to accept this outcome, by turning the world towards renewable and carbon-free energies, the 12 December Agreement is also a peace agreement for current and future generations. In our chaotic, dangerous and uncertain world, this contribution to international security is a major aspect of the COP21 Paris Agreement in which Europe has a major role to play.
Marrakech Climate Change Conference (COP22) – November 2016
The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) and the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) will be held in Bab Ighli, Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November, 2016.
Marrakech Climate Change Conference (COP22) – November 2016
Flights that originate and terminate in Pacific airspace result in the creation of far higher levels of ozone pollution than those that originate and terminate in other parts of the world, new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found.
Specifically, the region of Pacific airspace that encompasses Australia and New Zealand is some of the most sensitive to the creation of ozone as a result of aircraft pollution, and as a result, individual flights in this area create larger amounts of ozone than flights anywhere else in the world.
Ozone is a powerful greenhouse gas with short-term effects that are comparable to those of CO2. Aircraft pollution is a strong driver of ozone production.
The new work was done by utilizing a “global chemistry-transport model to investigate which parts of the world are specifically sensitive to the creation of ozone.”
What the work found, was that an area over the Pacific — about 1000 km to the east of the Solomon Islands — was a good deal more sensitive to aircraft emissions than anywhere else.
According to the researchers, one kg of aircraft emissions in this region — specifically oxides of nitrogen (NOx) such as nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide — results in roughly fifteen kg of extra ozone being produced in a one-year time-span. What that means is that the sensitivity in this region is about “five times higher than the sensitivity in Europe and 3.7 times higher than the sensitivity in North America.”
Steven Barrett, lead author of the new research paper, stated: “Our findings show that the cleanest parts of the atmosphere exhibit the most dramatic response to new emissions. New emissions in this part of the Pacific will result in a relatively larger response from the atmosphere.”
The press release provides more:
In an analysis of around 83,000 individual flights, the researchers found that the 10 highest ozone-producing flights either originated, or were destined for, either New Zealand or Australia. A flight from Sydney to Bombay was shown to produce the highest amount of ozone — 25,300 kg — as the majority of the flight passed through the area in the Pacific where the sensitivity was the highest.
Furthermore, the aircraft leaving and entering Australia and New Zealand are usually very large and the flight times are often very long, meaning more fuel would be burnt and more NOx emitted.
Ozone is a relatively short-lived greenhouse gas, and its production and destruction relies heavily on the local chemical state of the atmosphere, so its effects are felt in specific regions at specific times rather than on a global scale. The researchers found that flights in October cause 40 percent more NOx emissions than flights in April.
“There have been many studies of the total impact of civil aviation emissions on the atmosphere, but there is very little knowledge of how individual flights change the environment,” Barret said.
The places that the sensitivities are highest now are the fastest growing regions in terms of civil aviation growth, so there could potentially be ways to achieve significant reductions in the climate impact of aviation by focusing on re-routing aircraft around the particular regions of the world where ozone formation is highly sensitive to NOx emissions…
Of course, longer flights are going to burn more fuel and emit more CO2, so there will be a trade-off between increasing flight distance and other climate impacts, such as the effect of ozone.
The scientific underpinning of this trade-off needs further investigation so that we have a better understanding and can see whether such a trade-off can be justified,” Barrett explained.
This article, Pacific Flights Result In Higher Levels Of Ozone Pollution Than Flights In Other Parts Of The World, Research Finds, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.