Fatal Fumes

A study by the Environmental Health Analytics, LLC has revealed that diesel exhaust gasses can be linked to 38,000 early deaths worldwide. If action isn't taken, this figure will climbing as high as an annual death rate of 183,600 in 23 years. A key problem in both measuring and regulating exhaust is the abuse of the testing system by manufacturers such as Volkswagen.

Researcher Daven Henze from the University of Colorado, said in an interview for a press release “It shows that in addition to tightening emissions standards, we need to be attaining the standards that already exist in real-world driving conditions.”

The new research is the latest in a long series of damning studies that have highlighted the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this year the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that a quarter of the deaths of children under the age of five are attributable to pollution — that's 1.7 million deaths a year. The WHO also found in 2014 that seven million deaths a year were caused by outdoor air pollution.

Humans are not the only ones paying a price for pollution. It was shown recently that climate change caused by car emissions disturbs the seasonal clock of nine species of North American song birds.

Turning the Tide

Recently, though, breakthroughs have been made in environmentally friendly technology. Elon Musk has encouraged a crusade against carbon emissions by stating at the World Energy Innovation Forum in 2016 that "We need a revolt against the fossil fuel industry." He has reinforced his convictions by ramping up production for solar panels and new Tesla models.

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In addition, the University of Antwerp has developed a piece of technology that could produce hydrogen fuel from polluted air. Wind energy has also been proceeding in leaps and bounds: the installation of a wind farm in Block Island, Rhode Island has nullified the need for a diesel plant that would have burnt about one million gallons of diesel annually, and energy derived from wind farms could be cheaper than fossil fuel energy in 10 years time.

These advances in renewable energy technology could not only save the environment, but hundreds of thousands of lives as well.

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