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Air Pollution In 2020: Climate Literature To Make Sense Of It All

Updated: Jul 16

Climate change and air pollution can be hard to understand. There are so many stats and articles floating around on the internet. We've compiled the most useful resources in this article to make it easy to follow.




National Geographic Australia


Bringing plants indoors can provide a number of benefits, but cleaner air isn’t one of them, say experts. It’s a Myth you almost wish hadn’t been busted. Houseplants, though charming, do little to purify the air in a room say the scientists who study the air we breathe.


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Houseplants Do Not Purify Air – National Geographic Australia




United Nations On Climate Change


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty established in 1992 to cooperatively address climate change issues. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. Canada ratified the UNFCCC in December 1992, and the Convention came into force in March 1994.


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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



World Bank On Air Pollution


Strengthening the economic case for action, a joint study of the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) seeks to estimate the cost of premature deaths related to air pollution. Its findings accelerate the case for action and facilitate decision making in the context of scarce resources. An estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and indoor air pollution, causing human suffering and reducing economic development. Those deaths cost the global economy about US$225 billion in lost labor income in 2013 and more than US$5 trillion in welfare losses, pointing towards the economic burden of air pollution.


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World Bank – The Cost of Air Pollution



Kyoto Protocol


The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) wherein state parties committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties committed to the Protocol.


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Kyoto Protocol




The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries, through the Green Climate Fund, to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.


The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to advance the global response to the threat of climate change. Its signatories have committed to keeping any global temperature rise this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework, and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place to support action by developing countries. The Paris Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.


To meet these goals, Canada has committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, to a level of 513 megatons (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (Co2-e).


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The Paris Agreement



Sick Building Syndrome


In industrialized countries, people spend up to 90% of their life indoors. The Energy crisis in 1973 lead to less air changes in offices and homes. This lead to lower ventilation capacities, indoor accumulation of air pollutants, increased exposure to occupants, and consequently compromised health. Application of double glazing to save energy further minimized natural ventilation. Indoor air pollution sources also increased due to the use of new office equipment, furniture, decorations and facilities. 


Studies show exposure of occupants to indoor air pollutants is 100 times higher than their exposure to outdoor air pollutants. Concentration of indoor air pollutions is  2–4 times higher than that of outdoor air pollutants. In 1983, the World Health Organization (WHO) used the term “Sick Building Syndrome” for the first time to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects linked to the time spent in a building. Many, including the WHO, advise that SBS is the main cause of absence from work and decreased productivity of employees.


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Sick building Syndrome (SBS)




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