Climate change and air pollution must be tackled together -WMO

BERLIN (Reuters) – Climate change is having a measurable impact on air quality and therefore human health, meaning the two must be tackled together and not in isolation, a report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Wednesday showed.

“Heatwaves worsen air quality, with knock-on effects on human health, ecosystems, agriculture and indeed our daily lives,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.

“Climate change and air quality cannot be treated separately. They go hand-in-hand and must be tackled together to break this vicious cycle,” he added.

According to the report, the effects of pollution resulting from high temperatures are often overlooked but just as pernicious.

Examples cited in the report include the north-western United States, where heatwaves triggered wildfires, as well as heatwaves accompanied by desert dust intrusions across Europe.

Both led to dangerous air quality in 2022.

Brazilian case studies cited in the report showed how parks and tree-covered areas within cities can improve air quality, absorb carbon dioxide and lower temperatures, thus benefiting inhabitants.

(Writing by Friederike Heine; Editing by Miranda Murray)