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One Atmosphere film launched
Film about the most important lessons learned from 10 years of campaigning on air pollution
Ban diesel and wood burning in cities as we banned coal burning so successfully 60 years ago
One Atmosphere urges immediate action to reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gases to protect public health and mitigate climate change
Clean Air in London (CAL) is launching its 35 minute film, One Atmosphere, about the most important lessons learned from 10 years of campaigning on air pollution. The film urges immediate action to reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gases to protect public health and mitigate climate change.
The film is based on a presentation by Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, at the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (CASANZ) bi-annual conference in Melbourne on 21 September 2015. It has been updated for subsequent events.
One Atmosphere can be viewed in full on Vimeo or You Tube. It can also be viewed there in 10 separate chapters starting with an ‘Overview’, then covering the eight sections in the presentation, before highlighting the ‘Opportunity’ to act holistically on air pollution to save lives and achieve wider climate and sustainability objectives. The presentation seen in the film is available below.
Key themes from One Atmosphere
One Atmosphere tells the story of ‘Clean Air in London’. Many other topics are covered in the film which aims to give anyone an introduction to air pollution and the actions needed to address it with climate change through ‘win-win’ policies.
Challenges and opportunities in Australia
One Atmosphere is being released first in Australia at Environmental Justice Australia’s (EJA) 2015 National Air Pollution Summit in Melbourne on Saturday 14 November. CAL is keen to support EJA and thank CASANZ for hosting the original presentation in Melbourne in September 2015.
Perhaps most importantly, the launch of One Atmosphere in Melbourne highlights the need and opportunity for:
• Malcolm Turnbull MP, Australia’s new Prime Minister, at the COP21 negotiations in Paris next month to go well beyond the range of ambition on climate politics already pre-agreed, but not disclosed, by the previous Abbott cabinet; and
• Greg Hunt MP, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, to include binding legal limits for NO2 and other air pollutants where people live and work in his forthcoming National Clean Air Agreement. Access to environmental justice is another critical requirement.
These steps are vital after Clean Air in London revealed that Australia’s record for having the most liveable cities is based on it having no monitoring of air pollution where people live or work in cities.
Simon Birkett was born in Melbourne and completed his first degree there.
Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London (CAL), said:
“One Atmosphere urges David Cameron, Malcolm Turnbull and other world leaders to take a lead at the forthcoming COP21 climate negotiations in Paris by pledging to reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gases to protect public health and mitigate climate change.
“This film is also my record of the most important lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of campaigning on air pollution. Clean Air in London has focused every day on its mission to achieve urgently and sustainably full compliance with World Health Organisation guidelines for air quality. We’ve done it by focusing ruthlessly on air pollution in London and those who can reduce it i.e. addressing successive Mayors and UK governments, the European Parliament and European Commission, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations. At one stage, a previous government asked us to campaign on nuisance noise but we refused because it would distract us from our core mission.
“I hope people will enjoy watching One Atmosphere. Highlights include:
• getting started in 2006 and milestones and successes since then;
• finding every government since September 1990 or earlier has incentivised the use of diesel vehicles despite knowing it would kill people sooner when One Atmosphere thinking would have stopped it;
• accusing the previous Labour government of one of the biggest public health ‘cover-ups’ or failings in modern history for not disclosing the number of deaths attributable to long-term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5);
• hunting and filming the Mayor of London’s Pollution Suppressor which he used in early 2012 to reduce air pollution by up to 49% – just in front of the monitor on the Olympic Route Network most likely to report a legal breach (and CAL finding him guilty of public health fraud on an industrial scale);
• the deadly dangers posed by standby diesel generators that are used in cities to power the national grid (e.g. ‘Short-Term Operating Reserve’ (STOR) and ‘TRAD Avoidance’) and combined heat and power plants and biomass burning in cities;
• finding that indoor air quality in NHS hospitals may be no better than warehouses and most local authorities do not know whether their schools comply with the British and European standard BS:EN 13779 for air filters in building (which is different to air conditioning and ventilation);
• the need to ban diesel from the most polluted places by 2020, with an intermediate step by 2018, as the first Clean Air Act banned coal so successfully almost exactly 60 years ago (5 July 2016); and
• the need and wonderful opportunity to implement One Atmosphere thinking to reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gases to protect public health and mitigate climate change.
“CAL is grateful to Andy Davey for letting us include many of his amazing cartoons about air pollution in One Atmosphere, all of which feature Mayor Johnson.
“To encourage the widespread sharing of One Atmosphere, we have chosen a Creative Commons license which lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit us and license their new creations under the identical terms. The cartoons by Andy Davey included in the film are subject to separate copyright protection with all rights reserved.
“I am keen to record special thanks to the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand and VicRoads for sponsoring my presentation in Australia, Jay Hunt Founder and Chief Executive of Violet Productions, cameraman Ryan Blair and Ace Post Production. Special thanks of course to Environmental Justice Australia hosting a landmark National Clean Air Summit.
“I am also grateful to Clean Air in London’s Honorary Founder Supporters and Clean Air in Cities Award winners and key sponsors and supporters including Camfil (world leader in air filters for buildings), the New West End Company and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (which campaigns, amongst many other things, for taxi drivers to be allowed by the Mayor to buy non-diesel vehicles).
“There is a wonderful opportunity for a new clean air revolution almost exactly 60 years after the first national Clean Air Act. We should start by: banning diesel, combined heat and power plants, incinerators and wood burning from the most polluted places; and agreeing ambitious greenhouse gas reduction commitments at COP21 in Paris.
“I hope One Atmosphere inspires others to campaign for clean air and enjoy the journey to getting it.”
1. Watch One Atmosphere
In full or in 10 chapters on Vimeo Pro or You Tube:
1. Getting started
2. Background and context
3. Situation now
4. Social media
5. Getting liveable cities
6. UNEP’s GEO-6
7. Next steps
Questions and answers
2. Environmental Justice Australia’s 2015 National Air Pollution Summit on 14 November
3. Key themes from One Atmosphere
One Atmosphere tells the story of ‘Clean Air in London’ including:
i. Simon Birkett starting Clean Air in London in 2006 and its milestones and successes since then;
ii. every government since September 1990 or earlier incentivising the use of diesel vehicles despite knowing that it would kill many people sooner. One Atmosphere thinking would have banned diesel from cities long before the #dieselgate and other revelations have made it urgent and essential;
iii. accusing the Labour government in 2009 of one of the biggest public health ‘cover-ups’ or failings in modern history for not disclosing the number of deaths attributable to long-term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5). The ‘official’ estimate is now 29,000 such deaths in the UK in 2010 for anthropogenic PM2.5 alone;
iv. hunting and filming the Mayor of London’s Pollution Suppressor which he used in early 2012 to reduce air pollution by up to 49% – just in front of the monitor on the Olympic Route Network;
v. finding it easier to build understanding of air pollution among the public than Members of Parliament. Few people realise that local air pollution comprises particles and gases with the former regulated together for health and legal purposes whereas only the NO2 gas is regulated in practice. China, India and eastern Europe experience high particle levels but western Europe is plagued by NO2 from diesel vehicles and local combustion sources;
vi. the deaths of three soldiers on SAS selection in July 2013 during a serious air pollution episode;
vii. the deadly dangers posed by standby diesel generators that are used in cities to power the national grid (e.g. through ‘Short-Term Operating Reserve’ (STOR) and ‘TRAD Avoidance’) and combined heat and power plants and biomass burning in cities;
viii. ClientEarth’s spectacular victory in the Supreme Court to enforce NO2 laws. Urgent action is needed after scientists found that many roads in central London will tend to have the highest concentrations of NO2 in the world due to diesel fumes from buses, taxis and other vehicles regulated by the Mayor or subject to his control (at up to three or four times World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and legal limits);
ix. amazing cartoons by Andy Davey about air pollution, all of which feature Boris Johnson;
x. the power of social media to reach anyone, anywhere and everyone, everywhere;
xi. Simon Birkett’s work with the United Nations Environment Programme on its sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6); and
xii. the need and wonderful opportunity to implement One Atmosphere thinking to reduce air pollution to save lives and address climate change and sustainability objectives.
Many other topics are covered in the film which aims to give anyone an introduction to local air pollution and the actions needed to address it with climate change through ‘win-win’ policies.
4. Forthcoming milestones for clean air
The film is being released shortly before:
i. the COP21 climate negotiations begin in Paris;
ii. the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP) publishes its first estimate of the number of deaths attributable to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (and probably updates its estimates for fine particles (PM2.5));
iii. Greg Hunt MP, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, launches Australia’s New Clean Air Agreement in December;
iv. Europe’s Council of Ministers, representing Governments, considers on 16 December the need in a new National Emissions Ceilings Directive with binding emission limits from all sectors across Europe in 2020, 2025 and 2030. That meeting will be followed by negotiations with the European Parliament and European Commission;
v. the UK government seeks to comply with the Supreme Court’s Mandatory Order to submit a plan to the European Commission by 31 December 2015 demonstrating how it will comply with NO2 limit values ‘as soon as possible’ (not 2030 or later as currently). ClientEarth may launch a new legal challenge against the ‘plan for plans for others’ for being inadequate;
vi. Brixton Road, Oxford Street, Putney High Street and Walbrook Wharf breach the hourly limit for NO2 for the whole of 2016 in January. These legal breaches are certain to be followed by particle air pollution episodes in the first few months of 2016 and ozone episodes in summer 2016;
vii. the European Commission is expected to escalate infraction action in early 2016 over the UK’s ongoing failure to comply with NO2 limit values which have been required to be met by 1 January 2010 since legislation in 1999. This escalation is likely to involve a ‘Reasoned Opinion’ also known as a ‘Final written warning’;
viii. the Mayoral and London Assembly elections where clean air is already a Top 3 issue;
ix. the World Health Assembly considers a plan from the World Health Organisation in May 2016 to reduce the health impact of air pollution; and
x. the 60th anniversary of the first national Clean Air Act on 5 July 2016.
Of course, there will many other legal, policy and scientific milestones and events for air pollution in the year ahead.
5. Useful resources and references
Mayor’s Clean Air Fund report (page 44) re impact of the Pollution Suppressor
LINK HERE ON WEBSITE
6. Creative Commons license (excludes the cartoons) and credits
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
One Atmosphere by Simon Birkett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at cleanair.london/one-atmosphere.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at cleanair.london/contact.
With special thanks to:
Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand casanz.org.au
Jay Hunt, Founder and Chief Executive of Violet Productions violetproductions.com
Ryan Blair, Cameraman ryanblair.com.au
Richard Potts of Ace Post Production acepostproduction.co.uk
Cartoons – All rights reserved © 2015 Andy Davey of Davey Cartoons and Simon Birkett
Presentation (4.2 MB file size)