People are developing dementia a decade before they were 20 years ago, perhaps because of environmental factors such as pollution and the stepped-up use of insecticides, a wide-ranging international study has found.
The study, which compared 21 Western countries between the years 1989 and 2010, found that the disease is now being regularly diagnosed in people in their late 40s and that death rates are soaring.
The study was published in the Surgical Neurology International journal, and its findings publicized in the London Times newspaper Thursday.
The problem was particularly acute in the United States, where neurological deaths in men aged over 75 have nearly tripled and in women risen more than fivefold, the leader of the study, Colin Pritchard from Bournemouth University, told the London Times.
Scientists quoted in the study said a combination of environmental factors such as pollution from aircraft and cars as well as widespread use of pesticides could be the culprit, the newspaper reported.
9 February 2016
Governments proposed for the first time on Monday to reduce climate pollution from airplanes, plugging one of the biggest loopholes in last December’s landmark Paris agreement.
The global initiative was a first attempt to halt carbon emissions from air travel – one of the fastest growing sources of climate pollution.
In a call with reporters, White House officials described the standards as “a huge deal”, noting that the aviation authority has also proposed an aspirational goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.
But campaign groups, specifically the International Council on Clean Transportation, said the proposed standards were a missed opportunity and would have little real effect in curbing emissions.
The standards proposed at an expert meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) in Montreal would apply to all new commercial and business aircraft delivered after 1 January 2028.
But they exclude aircraft that are already in use, and as most airlines have lifetimes of 20-30 years, it will take decades to cover the current fleet.
In addition, the standards would on average require only a 4% reduction in the cruise fuel consumption of new aircraft, compared to 2015.
The proposals will be put to countries for formal adoption next year.
Icao said the standard was aimed at larger aircraft, which were responsible for the vast majority of global aviation emissions.
“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the Icao council said.
“We also recognize that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.”
The exclusion of high-polluting industries such as international aviation and shipping was seen as a major weakness of the historic agreement reached last December.
Currently, air travel and shipping together account for about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but are projected to account for about 30% by 2050. But emerging economies had balked at the idea of including shipping and aviation in the Paris agreement, and so negotiators left them out of the deal.
White House officials said they were satisfied with the proposed standard – given the range of countries’ positions. The European Union and some emerging economics had been reluctant to take stronger action. “This is a really a strong result,” the officials said. “It’s the first ever CO2 standards for aircraft covering existing aircraft.”