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Wildfire smoke will worsen, new study shows, and protections are few

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A report by the First Street Foundation projects over 125 million Americans will face unhealthy levels of air pollution by mid-century due to increased wildfire smoke, reversing decades of improving air quality in the U.S.

🔭 The context: The worsening air quality is attributed to more extreme heat and drought conditions, fueled by climate change, leading to more frequent and severe wildfires 
• Efforts to adapt to other climate challenges have shown progress, but wildfire smoke presents unique difficulties in prediction, public awareness, and mitigation

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The increase in air pollution, particularly from wildfire smoke, poses severe health risks, including respiratory diseases, heart conditions, and early death
• This situation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive climate action to mitigate the root causes of increased wildfires and air pollution

⏭️ What's next: Projections indicate a significant rise in the number of days with "unhealthy" to "hazardous" air quality across the U.S., highlighting the need for improved warning systems, public education, and access to clean air shelters, especially for vulnerable populations and outdoor workers

💬 One quote: "With wildfire smoke in particular, we are not going to adapt our way out of the problem," said Brian G. Henning, director of the Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment at Gonzaga University

📈 One stat: By 2054, more than 125 million Americans are expected to be exposed to at least one day of "red" air quality, marking a 50% increase from current levels.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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