Air pollution from wildfires expected to surge as world warms

The number of wildfires is expected to increase by about 15 percent by 2030 and 30 percent by 2050, found a UNEP-backed report released earlier this year. Even places that are rarely considered flammable, such as wetlands and the Arctic, are at risk of burning..

The report shows that wildfires and climate change will worsen – a topic on the agenda this week at the UN Climate Conference in Egypt (COP27).

Wildfires are being exacerbated by climate change with increased drought and stronger winds leading to hotter and longer fire seasons. At the same time, climate change is exacerbated by wildfires, which damage fragile and carbon-rich ecosystems.

Grassland fires in densely populated areas can be more of a problem. Many of these are started by draining and burning grasslands for industrial agriculture and livestock use.

While peatlands cover less than 3 percent of the Earth’s surface, they are the world’s largest reservoirs of organic carbon and their burning releases greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

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“The most permanent and sustainable way to prevent peat fires is to increase water quality and find ways to use the land while it remains wet,” said Johan Kieft, UNEP peatland expert.

There are recent examples of countries that have made progress in fighting wildfires.

In Indonesia, where a series of wildfires affected the health of thousands of people and caused 16 billion dollars in losses in 2015, the government is working with 150 communities to train local communities on how to clean the land without resorting to fire. The work, which includes restoring degraded landscapes, is supported by the United Nations Cooperation Program on Reducing Deforestation and Deforestation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD).

Peatland monitoring systems were also used to prevent fires from happening again.

As the climate changes, countries will need to divert more money to planning and preventing wildfires, the UNEP report found. Spreading Like Wildfire. Currently, half of wildfire spending goes to fire response; only one percent is used for planning.

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“We need to devote more resources to stopping fires before they happen,” Alvarez said. If we don’t, emerging science suggests it will be harmful to human health worldwide.

About The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration: The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help end poverty, fight climate change and prevent mass extinction. It will only succeed if everyone plays a role. Find out more about what you can do to be a part of #GenerationRestoration

About The UN-REDD process: The United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Deforestation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) is the UN’s information and advisory platform on forest solutions to the climate crisis. The aim is to help realize forest solutions in the context of climate emergency by avoiding carbon emissions and promoting carbon sequestration.

About i UN Climate Conference (COP27): UNEP is at the forefront of supporting the The Paris Agreement the goal of keeping global temperature increases well below 2°C and aiming – to be safe – at 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. To do this, UNEP developed a A six-part solution A direction to reduce emissions in all sectors in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement and to pursue climate sustainability. The six categories are Energy; Business; Agriculture and Food; Forestry and Land Use; Transportation, and Buildings and Cities. COP27 in November 2022 is focused on adaptation, finance and sustainable change – and you can do your part by work now for your use or he spoke loudly to express your concerns.

Visit UNEP’s COP27 presenting update for more information.

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