Researchers identify key controls to reduce air pollution

Researchers at the University of York have played a key role in a study that shows that implementing 14 key air pollution control measures could together reduce the rate of global warming, save millions of lives and boost agricultural production around the world

The investigation by an international team, including scientists from the university’s Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), King’s College London and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, identifies measures targeting methane and black carbon emissions that could slow global mean warming by approximately 0.5 degrees by 2050, preventing up to 4.7 million premature deaths each year and increasing global crop yields by between 30 million and 135 million tonnes per season.

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Dr Johan Kuylenstierna, director of SEI at York, said: “All 14 measures are based on existing technologies and can be implemented immediately, so do not require long development processes. The measures maximize climate benefits but would also have important win-win benefits for human health and agriculture.”

Dr Kevin Hicks, at SEI, added: “The motivation for taking action will vary from country to country and region to region. In some, climate change will be the main concern but in others, air quality may well take precedence.”

The research has been published this week in the journal Science.