Around the world urban air pollution is expected to become one of the biggest environmental causes of premature death in the coming decades. According to an OECD report by 2050, there could be 3.6 million premature deaths a year from exposure to particulate matter.
Most of those deaths are expected to come from China and India. China already has massive problems with air pollution and this is expected to put the nation in the position of being the world leader in pollution-triggered deaths in coming decades. The ageing populations of wealthier nations will be most susceptible to ground level ozone.
The report said that water demand and global GHG emissions could increase by as much as half by 2050. Groundwater depletion and pollution will threaten agriculture and to urban water supplies.
However, the OECD study said governments can tackle some of the key problems like getting rid of tax breaks for diesel fuel. Governments could also remove fossil fuel and water subsidies. Governments may also want to consider shelving biofuels.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.