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Air quality, climate and environmental change

Air pollution and climate change are two of the biggest environmental threats impacting human health, food security, ecosystems, and livelihoods.

SEI York’s air pollution, climate and environmental change group works to quantify the impacts of these threats, and to identify solutions that have multiple benefits.

There is a particular focus on national planning and decision making, emission mitigation assessments, health and other impact assessments and the impacts of management and climate change on forest, agriculture and peatland soils.

Blanket bog peatland in Yorkshire under threat from climate change. Photo: Andreas Heinemeyer/SEI

Exposure to air pollution outdoors and indoors is the largest environmental risk factors for human health, contributing over 5 million deaths per year.

Climate change affects food security, human health and ecosystems, disproportionately impacting the most disadvantaged in society. Air quality and climate change are closely linked, because of common sources of air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, there is a large opportunity to design strategies which simultaneously mitigate climate change and contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement, while at the same time result in local benefits for air pollution and human health.

SEI York supports national planners, city officials and private sector companies to assess these impacts at local, regional and national level in over 30 countries.

Researchers focus on capacity building of national institutions in partner countries, development and application of appropriate emission mitigation assessment tools to support decision making and increased action to reduce both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Our researchers also focus on using direct measurements with modelling tools to unravel the underpinning mechanisms and ecosystem responses of management and climate change to peatland soils.