Air pollution from wildfires expected to surge as world warms

The number of forest fires is expected to increase by almost 15 percent by 2030 and by 30 percent by 2050, found a UNEP-backed report published earlier this year. Even areas that are not generally thought of as fire-prone, such as wetlands and the Arctic, are at risk of burning..

The report shows that fires and climate change are mutually aggravating – a topic on the agenda this week at the UN Conference in Egypt (COP27).

Wildfires are exacerbated by climate change due to increased drought and high winds resulting in hotter and longer fire seasons. At the same time, climate change is exacerbated by wildfires, which devastate sensitive, carbon-rich ecosystems.

Fires in peatlands can be particularly problematic. Most of these are started by draining and burning peatlands for commercial agriculture and livestock use.

While peatlands cover less than 3 percent of the Earth’s surface, they are the largest terrestrial storehouse of organic carbon and their burning releases greenhouse gases that are driving the climate crisis.

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

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

In Indonesia, where a series of wildfires impacted the health of thousands of people and caused $16 billion in losses in 2015, the government is working with 150 communities to train local communities on how to clear land without resorting to the fire The work, which includes the restoration of degraded landscapes, was supported by the United Nations Collaborative Program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD).

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

As climate changes, countries need to divert more money towards fire planning and prevention, the UNEP report found. Spreading Like Wildfire. Now, half of the expenditure of the fire goes to respond to the fires; only 1 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 bad for the health of people around the world.”

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

About UN-REDD program: The United Nations Collaborative Program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) is the UN’s knowledge and advisory platform on forest solutions to the climate crisis. The goal is to help realize forest solutions to the climate emergency by avoiding carbon emissions and favoring carbon sequestration.

By the way him UN climate conference (COP27): The UNEP is in front of the support of the Paris Agreement It aims to keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C and aims – to be sure – at 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. To do this, UNEP developed a Six sector solution roadmap to reduce emissions in all sectors in accordance with the commitments of the Paris Agreement and in the pursuit of climate stability. The six sectors are Energy; industry; Agriculture and Food; Forestry and Land Use; Transport, and Buildings and Cities. COP27 in November 2022 focuses on adaptation, finance and a just transition – and you can do your part to act now on your own consumption or talk to voice your concerns.

Visit UNEP’s COP27 updates for more information.

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