Pollution On Par With Climate Change When It Comes To Killing People

by Tanya Thomas on Dec 8 2008 9:30 AM

In the near-term future, new scientific evidence has predicted that pollution will cause as many human deaths as climate change shall. The increased levels of pollution that we are exposed to today are negatively impacting our health.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the evidence has been gathered by Met Office experts in the UK, who say that pollution is just as important for the world to stop pollution, which is set to kill 800 more people every year by 2020 in the UK alone.

Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said that pollution can exacerbate the effects of climate change with deadly consequences.

This is because increased pollution not only heats the planet through the greenhouse effect, but stops plants from absorbing carbon, which in turn increases pollution again.

She pointed out that polluting gases are already killing 1,500 people in the UK every year and that is expected to increase to around 2,391 deaths a year by 2020.

By the 2090s, close to one-fifth of the world's population will be exposed to pollution well above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended safe-health level.

This is expected to cause deaths from respiratory problems on top of the destruction caused by climate change.

"It is not just a question of climate change and rainfall change and the impact of that. A lot more people suffer from air quality problems than suffer from heat. It is an additional problem that people have not really taken into consideration that now needs to be looked at as part of climate change negotiations," said Dr Pope.

The Met Office experts will present their research at a UN climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, next week.

The UN conference is expected to draw up the format of a new Kyoto Protocol to be decided at Copenhagen next year. It will conclude at the end of next week.