Jorge Osvaldo Heredia (Jorge Osvaldo Heredia) lives in the foothills of San Bernardino in the valley at the foot of San Bernardino, most of the time here is an amazing backdrop. But in the summer, the air pollution in San Bernardino became so serious that it was like a “hot fog”, which obscured the Heredia working class near the San Bernardino International Airport, mainly Latino. The mountain scenery of the community.

“It’s not habitable,” 30-year-old Heredia told Grist. “People hold [the smog] Survive here, but this is a place where you cannot go outside to enjoy the air; you cannot enjoy outdoor activities here, because pollution and air quality really make it an uninhabitable space. “

As a resident of San Bernardino for 15 years, Heredia has volunteered to use his time to create more green spaces in his community and has joined his community in the past few years fighting To solve the environmental impact of the region’s huge warehousing industry, heavy trucks, buildings, airport flights and freight trains have brought congestion and traffic.

The combination of hot summer weather and record air pollution days changed Heredia’s lifestyle. He planned his schedule based on traffic jams and avoided walking on the street because the traffic was too dangerous. There are no sidewalks in some blocks, and Heredia sees residents walking on the road next to large drilling platforms and heavy trucks, which makes Heredia worry.

The environmental impact of the warehousing and logistics industry in the Inland Empire has made it clear to Heredia and other residents that any solution to this pollution must involve zero emissions, including all electric trucks that can provide residents with pollution mitigation. Fleet. Shrouded their lives and solutions that acknowledge the growing impact of climate change in the region.

Diesel trucks can significantly increase air pollution, as shown in San Bernardino, California. Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In California, environmental justice advocates have long called on local government agencies to more actively address climate inequalities such as air pollution across the state. The report released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last week provided more evidence to support their argument that climate change is not only a planetary issue, but also a local issue.

In its findings, the IPCC-the United Nations entity responsible for evaluating science related to climate change-cited an increasing number of studies on the effects of man-made climate change and its role in exacerbating extreme weather (such as heat waves) . The report details how greenhouse gas emissions affect hotter and hotter temperatures, how this warming climate is expected to increase surface ozone in polluted areas, and certain aspects of cities (such as heat) may be amplified because Urban areas are generally warmer than surrounding areas.

Climate researcher describe Given the increasing amount of clear scientific evidence, the report calls on governments to take action. However, at the local level, this call for action has been ignored for many years, although advocates have called on state and local air quality committees to comprehensively and comprehensively study how climate change affects the public through pollution and heat impacts, assistant professor at the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine , Environmental planning and policy expert Michael Mendes said.

He said the problem is that in most cases, policy makers and legislators have divided the process of addressing global and local pollution into two parts, thus forming policy islands, treating smog and other types of local pollution as being related to climate change. Issues that are irrelevant to changes. He explained that climate change is seen as the basic role of national institutions, while local pollution is the power of local air districts.

One example Mendes pointed to is California’s 2016 reauthorization of its global warming solutions behavior, This requires a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The reauthorization takes away the ability of local air quality agencies (such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District) to directly address these emissions issues, which hopes to monitor the greenhouse gas emissions of local oil refineries.

Mendes, the author of the book, said that forcing local agencies to focus only on local pollution would prevent these agencies from dealing with pollution issues from a broader perspective and deprive them of the tools to tackle climate-affected pollution. Climate Change in the Streets: How Conflict and Cooperation Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement.

In California, although air quality has improved in some of the most polluted areas of the state, the state is still fail Meet state and federal air quality standards. According to Adrian Martinez, senior attorney for the Environmental Law Organization Earth Justice, one of the reasons is that local air quality committees, such as Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, fail to take into account climate change. Impacts, such as global warming, when creating pollution models and setting emission reduction targets.

Martinez likened this to setting the wrong direction from the beginning, because heat is one of the components that produce surface ozone, as well as nitrogen oxides (combustion byproducts) and volatile organic compounds. This is why ozone levels are higher in summer. Martinez said that due to climate change, the temperature has risen and changed weather patterns, which means that the number of dirty air days has increased earlier this year and will be extended later this year.

He said that if temperature rise and heat waves are not included in the pollution model, it means that SCAQMD’s pollution estimates will be inaccurate, making it difficult to determine the appropriate amount of pollution to be reduced.

“They failed to consider the impact of climate change in all plans, which means they did not really achieve their goals,” Martinez said. “The consequence is that people are breathing dirty air, and the law allows this.”

Children play tether ball during breaks in an elementary school in Los Angeles.
Children play during breaks at an elementary school near a busy truck route in Long Beach, California. Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Although some people may think that climate change is a distant threat, the frontline communities throughout Southern California, such as San Bernardino, Severely affected by extreme heat, Pollution Martinez said that due to health effects such as asthma and other hazards, he has been paying the price for policy inaction. last year, Angel The worst ozone season in nearly three decades has pushed the Los Angeles-Long Beach area to number 1 There are high ozone days across the country, followed by Bakersfield and Visalia, California.

American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” 2022 Report Reflects the impact of climate change on national air quality. The report shows that despite some progress in eliminating air pollution, more than 40% of Americans (about 135 million people) still live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone or particulate pollution, and people of color are three times more likely to be More than white people breathe the most polluted air.

Although climate change and local pollution are still an emerging policy area, Mendes said that some organizations have taken the lead in incorporating climate change factors into their analysis and modeling, which can be used as examples for organizations such as air quality zones. He said, for example, the California Regional Water Authority has begun to amend regulations and model the effects of climate change based on increasing temperatures. Méndez pointed out that the local air quality committee should carry out similar work through a climate change model around air pollution, but this requires political leadership, authorization and funding.

For residents like Heredia, the findings of the report provide an opportunity for local government agencies to consider the impact of rising temperatures on the local environment, and then move forward and approve those already affected by smog. Other industries that cause pollution in the region.

“I think it’s a good thing to be alerted to these extreme weather patterns, so at least there is a call for action on a global scale,” Heredia said. “But it’s definitely difficult, at least at the local level, when your elected officials – they don’t get it. They may feel that they don’t have any power to deal with climate change, but I don’t think it’s true. I think everyone Everyone has the right to do something, and it really starts at the local level.”

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