Most air pollution is impossible to see, but the impact we feel is great. Pollution drives climate change. Climate change intensifies poor air quality. Dirty air harms our health. In North Carolina, research shows increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, evidence of heat-related illness, injuries, premature deaths, and more are due to climate change and air pollution. To end this cycle, we advocate for strong clean air policies at the local, state, and federal levels to reduce harmful emissions and hold polluters accountable through advocacy and legal challenges.
Particle and ozone pollution can both cause serious health problems, and are linked to 3 of the 5 leading causes of death in North Carolina — chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and heart disease.
Nearly 1 in 5 of NC children have developed asthma, which is the leading medical cause of a school absence.
Research suggests that, with no change, increased air pollution from climate change could result in 1,000 – 4,300 more premature deaths in the U.S. per year by 2050.
Wildfires in North Carolina are expected to increase by 400% in the coming years due to extreme heat and severe drought. Wildfires can cause a spike in air pollution from smoke and other unhealthy air particles.
Approximately 300,000 people living in North Carolina are especially vulnerable to extreme heat. Meanwhile, the number of extreme heat days is expected to increase by 2050, approximately 20% of the year we are expected to have temperatures above 105 degrees.
North Carolina expects to see an increase in drought severity of about 50% by 2050.