Air pollution to become the world’s top environmental cause of premature death by 2050

Posted by er134 at Nov 23, 2015 11:35 AM |
University of Leicester experts to discuss the climate crisis at event on Wednesday 25 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 23 November 2015

Leading experts from the University of Leicester will be discussing prominent environmental issues - including how air pollution will become the world’s top environmental cause of premature death in the coming decades - at an event on Wednesday 25 November.

During the event, titled ‘Framing the Climate Crisis’, the University of Leicester’s Professor Paul Monks, Dr Julian Matthews and Dr Caroline Upton will be presenting on their research into climate issues, including how global air quality is declining, the issues facing journalists reporting on climate change and how policy makers need to lead the charge for sustainability.

Professor Paul Monks, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Observation Science from the University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry, said: “Air pollution is projected to be the world’s top environmental cause of premature mortality by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation. Climate change is a key environmental issue with major concerns in respect of the increase in global temperature and concomitant direct and indirect impacts.

“Air quality and climate are often treated as separate science and policy areas. Air quality encompasses the here and now of pollutant emissions, atmospheric transformations and their direct effect on human and ecosystem health. Climate change deals with the drivers leading to a warmer world and the consequences of that. These two science and policy issues are inexorably linked.”

The workshop will bring together a range of diverse views to explore the possibilities of a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the climate crisis.

Each academic will deliver a presentation informed by their research which will be followed by a roundtable discussion to open up a dialogue between these perspectives.

The presentations will be on:

  • Professor Paul Monks, Department of Chemistry, ‘Air Quality, the Anthropocene and Climate’

Professor Monks will detail some of his recent work in the science and policy arenas, looking at air quality and climate in particular around topical issues such as diesels and wood-burning.

  • Dr Julian Matthews, Department of Media and Communication, ‘Certainty and the challenges journalists face when reporting the ongoing politics of climate change’

The talk will review Dr Matthews’s recent research on, and thinking about, elite journalism and its reporting of the climate change issue, including research findings that reveal the increasing legitimacy that this form of journalism affords the issue.

  • Dr Caroline Upton, Department of Geography, ‘Governing climate action: a political ecology analysis’

The presentation draws on Dr Upton’s recent and ongoing work with policy makers, local communities and activists in Mongolia and East Africa to examine contemporary responses and practices across scales, in relation to sustainability and the ‘climate crisis’. Through the lens of critical political ecology it highlights the role of discourse, power relations and resistance in framing the crisis and governing subsequent actions.

The event has been organised by the School of Management’s Sustainability Research Network and will be followed by a conference on Scale and Sustainably next spring.

‘Framing the Climate Crisis’ will take place on Wednesday 25 November at the University of Leicester in the Ken Edwards Building Room 322 between 12:30 - 3:30pm.


Notes to Editors:

For more information or to confirm attendance to the event please email Dr Christopher Land on

For further information about the research being discussed please contact Professor Paul Monks on

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