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2019-06-19. America’s Skies Have Gotten Clearer, but Millions Still Breathe Unhealthy Air.

posted Jun 19, 2019, 8:15 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Jun 19, 2019, 8:19 PM ]
By Nadja Popovich, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/19/climate/us-air-pollution-trump.html] For GSS Climate Change chapter 9. Excerpt: When asked about climate change, President Trump often shifts the focus to America’s “clean air.” “We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States and it’s gotten better since I’m president,” he said again this month while meeting with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland. ...Air pollution has improved dramatically over the past four decades because of federal rules.  ...By one crucial metric, fine particulate pollution, the United States ranks 10th in air quality. New Zealand, Canada, Australia and several European countries can boast clearer skies. ...Particulate matter and other pollution have dramatically decreased over the past 40 years, in large part because of regulations put in place under the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its later updates, experts say. ...But, despite these gains, more than 110 million Americans still live in counties with unhealthy levels of pollution, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 100,000 Americans die prematurely each year of illnesses caused or exacerbated by polluted air. ...Climate change could make air pollution worse. A report [https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/key-findings/] issued this year by the American Lung Association found that air pollution was ticking back up across much of the country and warned that climate change could make it “harder to protect human health” in the future. ...Wildfires contributed to higher levels of PM2.5 pollution in the West, while the rise in ozone was attributed to warmer temperatures. (2015, 2016 and 2017 were the three warmest years on record, globally.) ...the Trump administration has taken steps to weaken air quality and climate regulations. Two major actions include repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to slash greenhouse gas emissions and lower pollution from power plants, and rolling back national auto emissions standards....    See also E.P.A. Finalizes Its Plan to Replace Obama-Era Climate Rules [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/climate/epa-coal-emissions.html]