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Climate change is erasing previous gains in air quality — fires are mostly to blame

A biker at a street corner against an orange sky hazy with smoke.
New York City shrouded in wildfire smoke on Wednesday, June 7th, 2023. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Air quality in the US is projected to backslide in the coming decades, landing back where it was in the mid-2000s as a result of climate change, according to a new report. The report comes with an online tool for users to zoom in on individual properties to see what kind of air quality residents might experience there in the future. It paints a picture of a changing landscape for regulators, who are going to have to adapt to evolving threats.

A hotter planet sets the stage for more wildfire smoke and supercharges the chemical reactions that lead to smog. That means the game is changing when it comes to how to prevent pollution in the future. After…

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