Academic Master

Environmental Science

Environment: Air Quality and Global Warming


The topic of air quality and global warming is sensitive in the 21st century due to the changes in weather patterns and the growing concern about environmental matters. This has forced the American government to discuss these issues and develop policies that would help the planet recover from any effects of global warming and protect American citizens. The fact that air quality and global warming is a growing concern prompts this discussion to understand the main factors that come into play to influence policy-making around air quality and global warming in America. In doing so, the mitigation factors for improved air quality and reduced global warming can be reached to create a habitable planet. This paper analyzes the outside influencers and the unexpected outcomes that result from air quality and global warming effects.

Air Quality and Global Warming

The issue of global warming and air pollution has played a big role in threatening animal health, political stability, and human health in America. The skyrocketing conventional energy prices have triggered cases of energy insecurity, threatening America’s political and economic stability of America thus creating a need to address these concerns. With this knowledge, policy-makers can choose whether to enforce certain solutions or oppose them more wisely. Consequently, factors are determined solely by forces of supply and demand, which may not be in the best interests of solving the issues of climate change, air pollution, or energy reliability. Approximately 3 million deaths are attributed to outdoor and indoor air pollution, making it the sixth greatest mortality cause globally (Harlan & Ruddell, 2011). Additionally, air quality raises the risk of developing asthma, breathing problems, cardiovascular disease, cancer, hospitalizations, emergency consultations, and interrupted workdays, which reduce productivity, cut funds, and degrade America’s economic security.

Air quality and global warming alter the areas where agriculture is feasible, damage ecosystems and biodiversity, and alters the sequence and volume of water supplies. The top five global warming contaminants are carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons, tropospheric ozone, and nitrogen oxide gas. Cooling particles in the atmosphere have been responsible for nearly half of the global warming that has occurred to date. As these particles are eliminated by improving air quality, the other cause of global warming will be revealed (Hart & Feldman, 2018). Therefore, it is important to act immediately to combat global warming. In reality, an 80% decrease in present greenhouse gas emissions and combustion byproducts is necessary to stabilize temperatures and consider predicted future increases.

Outside Influencers

The role of economic conditions in affecting public policy in America is often evident due to the economic fluctuations that often affect businesses (Burstein, 2003). In the past decades, the American government has been forced to enact and loosen some policies that would negatively or positively affect business success, consequently affecting the American economy. For instance, the Great Recession was a game changer as it created a need for support and interest in incentives and public investments, majorly in renewable energy and energy efficiency, which helped improve air quality, reduce pollutants that enhance global warming, and create employment opportunities for American and international citizens. It is commonly believed that the public and policy-makers often prioritize economic growth over environmental constraints when faced with tough economic conditions (Fang et al., 2019). However, this is only sometimes the case, as research shows that some policy-makers often stick to their political ideologies and protect environmental policies regardless of economic constraints.

Public opinion is another factor that potentially affects policy-making on air quality and global warming. America, a democratic country, often encourages public opinion in decision-making to help improve service delivery and the life quality of the American citizens (Harlan & Ruddell, 2011). Therefore, for public opinion to matter in policy-making, there needs to be a viable framework showing the salience of air quality and global warming discussions during political discussions and public participation stages. If these arguments on air quality and global warming are not salient, the chances of being enforced or revoked are reduced. However, salience is not a guarantee to policy-making since some factors, such as opinion differences, may come into play and affect decision-making (Burstein, 2003). Public opinion in policy-making is often displayed through electoral party affiliations, public rallies, and other activities that directly or indirectly affect policy-makers.

Scientific finding is an external influence of public policy often affected by business opportunities and market demand. Therefore, scientific findings can affect technology and lead to the discovery of new diseases, which would play a big role in policy-making around air quality and global warming (Fang et al., 2019). Scientific findings that are easier to use and lower cost would easily be backed by the public and incorporated into public policies, unlike the expensive and complicated scientific findings. Another factor that influences public policy is the interest groups which include labor unions, trade associations, advocacy organizations, and professional organizations. Businesses and individuals with common interests often unite to support relevant activities in these cases. Most of these activities aim to support the group members’ desires, which could affect policy-making. Political ideology is another factor that affects public policy regarding air quality and global warming, given that some policies can be enforced or rejected depending on the political belief of the legislators (Haas, 2004). For instance, if a legislator or any other person involved in policy-making is politically affiliated with a party against a certain motion, the person is likely to reject any motion tabled regardless of its importance once the political party votes against it.

Unexpected outcomes

The enforcement of public policies to curb the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere may sound like a sure way of dealing with air quality and global warming concerns. However, it may leave a way for glaring unexpected outcomes that affect the effectiveness of these policies. The atmospheric transportation of outsourced emissions is one of the factors that could reverse any efforts to improve air quality and curb global warming. This could cause a devastating setback in environmental policy-making, thus threatening human livelihoods (Fang et al., 2019). Therefore, when these policies are made in America, research should be done to identify how other regions would affect the efforts to create a quality, habitable environment.


In conclusion, challenges regarding air quality and global warming will only be solved by making significant changes to the energy industry since these issues are predominantly brought on by effluent from liquid, solid and gas emissions through energy production and usage. These adjustments are also necessary to ensure there are adequate energy quantities for a rising American population, as bio-fuels become expensive and challenging to source and utilize. Therefore, policy-making should be based on positive technological intervention in addressing air quality and global warming concerns rather than making decisions based on costs. This is attributed to the fact that technology costs vary from time to time depending on the demand, and most of these technologies are applied on a large-scale basis. However, it is hard to come up with accurate mortality rates attributed to air quality and global warming, especially in areas with unmonitored air quality levels due to variations in toxicity levels in different regions.


Bakaki, Z., & Bernauer, T. (2018). Do economic conditions affect public support for environmental policy? Journal of Cleaner Production, 195, 66–78.

Burstein, P. (2003). The Impact of Public Opinion on Public Policy: a Review and an Agenda. Political Research Quarterly, 56(1), 29.

Fang, D., Chen, B., Hubacek, K., Ni, R., Chen, L., Feng, K., & Lin, J. (2019). Clean air for some: Unintended spillover effects of regional air pollution policies. Science Advances, 5(4), eaav4707.

Haas, P. (2004). When does power listen to truth? A constructivist approach to the policy process. Journal of European Public Policy, 11(4), 569–592.

Harlan, S. L., & Ruddell, D. M. (2011). Climate change and health in cities: impacts of heat and air pollution and potential co-benefits from mitigation and adaptation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3(3), 126–134.

Hart, P. S., & Feldman, L. (2018). Would it be better to not talk about climate change? The impact of climate change and air pollution frames on support for regulating power plant emissions. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 60, 1–8.



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