Environment

Cities across Europe must step up their adaptation efforts if they are to handle the increasingly complex challenges caused by climate change such as more extreme flooding or prolonged heatwaves. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today stresses the benefits of investing in long-term preventive measures that cities should take to improve their resilience.

 

Loopholes in planned ‘real world’ tests allow cars to emit double the standard for NOx pollution and are ‘legally indefensible’ say MEPs, after new advice revealed

 

Planned new ‘real driving emissions’ (RDE) test limits that would let cars substantially breach nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards are illegal under EU law, according to new legal analysis seen by the Guardian.

Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi’s cars are shown to emit significantly more NOx pollution on the road than in regulatory tests

VW scandal: 3.6m European vehicles need major changes

 

Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi have joined the growing list of manufacturers whose diesel cars are known to emit significantly more pollution on the road than in regulatory tests, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

As air pollution is responsible for around 400,000 premature deaths in the EU yearly, Environment MEPs on Wednesday tightened up Commission plans and called for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six main pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in order to cut emissions by 70% across the EU and save €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030. MEPs also want to include emissions reduction ceilings on mercury, and a midpoint target for most caps of 2025.

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Sounds affect our state of mind differently depending on whether they are pleasant or annoying. In a theoretical study, researchers developed a model for exploring human responses to sound. Their work may help us to better understand the health impacts of long-term exposure to noise, as well as the potential benefits of spending time in quiet spaces.

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The article 'Preserving quiet areas improves health' provides evidence of the beneficial effects of access to tranquil places. The researchers took data from those living in rural and urban locations and found that those living in so-called 'noisy' urban areas were more likely than those in 'quiet' urban areas to be very annoyed by noise.

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What is the value of clean air? Answering such a question may be achieved by asking citizens how much they are willing to pay. However, some individuals give ‘protest vote’ responses to such questions. Recent research in EU countries found that the main reasons for this were because they felt that the polluters themselves or the government should be responsible for such costs.

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