Air pollution continues to be a problem for Californians

Smog over San Jose. Photo: Dave via flickr Creative Commons

Despite significant improvements as a result of emissions regulations, air pollution continues to be a significant problem for Californians, according to data recently released by the American Lung Association. The organization’s 2016 State of the Air report concludes that seven of the ten worst cities in the United States for air pollution are located in California. Los Angeles leads the nation for ozone pollution, while Bakersfield is the worst in the nation for particulate pollution. The report adds that eight out of ten Californians live in an area with unhealthful air.

While the ramifications of this are clear for public health, air pollution of this type has clear ramifications for climate change. It’s no wonder that a number of the climate-related bills working their way through the State Legislature this year address the connection between climate change, pollution, and public health. The best example is Senate Bill 1383, authored by State Senator Ricardo Lara, which seeks to reduce 50 percent of black carbon emissions and 40 percent of both methane and fluorinated gas (F-gas) emissions in California by 2030.

The National Audubon Society recently found that 170 species of birds in California will be at risk in coming decades due to climate change. These birds are also threatened by air pollution.

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