From rural America to major cities, air pollution has been an increasing problem, especially because of factors like more frequent wildfires and increased emissions. In recent months we’ve reported about some of these problems caused by air pollution, as recent studies have linked air pollution to development disabilities, illness and even death. However, new research claims that as many as 3.6 million people are dying ever year from pollution caused by fossil fuels.

These findings were published earlier this week by an international team of researchers. As CNN reports:

Worldwide, 3.61 million people are dying each year due to outdoor pollution caused by fossil fuels, an international team of researchers estimates. Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are responsible for about 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (and about 76% of US greenhouse gas emissions).

An additional 1.94 million premature deaths occur as a result of air pollution from other sources, including residential energy use and agricultural activities, according to the authors.

“The mutual goals of clean air and a stable climate under the World Health Organization guidelines and the Paris Agreement require a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels,” wrote the authors of the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Beyond the direct health benefits, rapidly decreasing fossil fuel emissions would increase rainfall in drought-prone regions and boost food security, they say.

Read the full story on CNN.

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Recommended Reading

  • Widespread losses of pollinating insects revealed across Britain (The Guardian)
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  • Trees release flammable methane—here’s what that means for climate (National Geographic)
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