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Truth Behind the Headlines: Air pollution is returning to European cities post lockdown

A new report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) shows that air pollution levels in London, Paris, Rome and other major European cities are increasing.


The research showed levels of nitrogen dioxide are rebounding strongly in cities including Paris, Oslo and Budapest, as economies reopen and concerns over the virus prompt people to use cars rather than public transport.

Using our recommended five tips, Global Action Plan reviewed the study:


Questions to ask to get to the truth Our response
1. Does the article refer to a report to back up its claims? The report is available to read, but has not been peer reviewed.
2. Who is behind the study it refers to? The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an independent research organisation focused on revealing the trends, causes, and health impacts, as well as the solutions to air pollution. The team is comprised of researchers and analysts who focus on modelling, reviewing and assessing trends in air pollution globally. Given the centre is new, their work will need to be reviewed in order to determine how robust their research is.
3. How fantastical and radical is the claim that is being made? The study is plausible, however, for over half of the European cities, data was collected from only one-three air quality monitoring stations which cannot be representative of an entire city.
4. What geographical region does the claim refer to? Europe
5. What is the sample size of the study?

28 European cities with more than one million population for which the European Environment Agency publishes air quality measurements, including: Athens, Milan, Barcelona, Munich, Berlin, Oslo, Bern, Paris, Brussels, Prague, Bucharest, Riga, Budapest, Copenhagen, Rome, Hamburg, Sofia, Helsinki, Stockholm, Vienna, Lisbon, Vilniaus, Ljubljana, Vilnius, London, Warsaw, Madrid, and Zagreb.

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