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WMO, IGAC Release Report on Impacts of Megacities on Air Pollution and Climate

16 October 2012: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) project have released a report, titled “Impacts of Megacities on Air Pollution and Climate.” The report provides an initial assessment of available information on air pollution and climate impacts in megacities globally.

The report concludes that, unless city planners and development actors increase efforts to reduce pollution, rapid urbanization trends will pose serious health risks to urban dwellers.

According to the report, there are 23 megacities around the world and over 50% of the population lives in cities, a percentage expected to increase to 70% by 2050. The report underscores that megacities result in negative impacts on air quality, climate and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems from concentrated emissions of air pollutants, greenhouse gases (GHGs) and waste heat as a result of human activities and energy consumption. Given these impacts, the report notes that megacities represent an opportunity to simultaneously control air pollution and reduce climate change.

The report focuses on the current situations of megacities in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, with individual chapters on each continent. Additional chapters include an introduction, an overview of ten international collaborative research activities and a key issues and outlook chapter that highlights the challenges and opportunities of megacities. IGAC plans to update the assessment every four to five years. [Publication: Impacts of Megacities on Air Pollution and Climate]