Build Back Better: Three Transformations for Clean Air
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As factories and offices have shut down and people have stayed at home more in response to COVID-19 and lockdowns, air pollution has dropped around the world. People living in cities from Delhi to Los Angeles witnessed and even celebrated how long-obscured mountains appeared on the horizon as the particulate matter pollution decreased, and evidence from both ground monitors and satellites found significant drops in lung-damaging NOx.
But this crisis has also shown the long tail of air pollution-related health risks. Pollution didn’t go away in many places, even with the drop in economic activity. And pollution exposure over time has made thousands more vulnerable to complications from respiratory illnesses. Deteriorating air quality in the early days of opening up has also highlighted the fleeting, partial nature of this glimpse of clean air. Without setting ourselves on a new trajectory, we risk coming back to a world of even dirtier air and populations even more vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution.
WRI Ross Center will bring together a panel of experts to lay out this new trajectory, looking across three key transformations that we need for clean air: in energy, food systems, and sustainable consumption and waste management and how these transformations are needed from a city´s perspective. We will discuss the key leverage points for global shifts in trajectory, but track this back to an integrated agenda for cities, the places where pollution and people overlap most.
- Jessica Seddon, Global Lead, Air Quality, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
- Blas Perez Henriquez, Founding Director, The California Global Energy, Water & Infrastructure Innovation Initiative, Stanford University
- Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow, WRI; Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
- Mathy Stanislaus, Interim Director, Global Battery Alliance (World Economic Forum); Former Circular Economy Fellow, WRI
- Carolina Urrutia, Minister of the Environment, City of Bogotá
- Beatriz Cardenas, Director, Air Quality, WRI México (moderator)