How does climate change relate to air quality?
Climate change is probably the most important problem of our time. It is a complicated issue that
is having far reaching effects on our society.
Increased flood risk due to climate change is of particular concern for London, as a large part of
the city is very low lying. There is also concern about the health impacts of
increased heat waves in the future; the 2003 heat wave resulted in around 2000 deaths in England
and Wales with the greatest impacts being amongst the elderly in London.
Some policies to reduce the impact of climate change have a negative impact on air quality. For
example, a switch to diesel engines may decrease carbon dioxide emissions but
will produce more air pollution. Another example is the renewable heat incentive plan to subsidise
low-carbon heating in the form of wood to heat our homes. This can
increase airbourne particle concentrations.
There are however ways forward that can both improve air quality and reduce the impacts of climate change.
These are primarily based around reducing emissions and conserving energy, for example the greater
use of public transport.