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Down to Earth

Smog-battling Paris aims to show way at climate summit

As host of this year’s major COP 21 climate conference, all eyes will be on Paris. But is the French capital fit for the job?

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Double the number of bike lanes, carbon emissions slashed by a quarter, and more green rooftops: Paris has recently committed itself to a raft of ecological initiatives in the areas of transport, energy and a generally healthier living environment.

However, it’s still home to some of the poorest air quality in Europe, thanks largely to the high proportion of diesel cars known for emitting large quantities of fine particles. Adrien Brunetti from the NGO France Nature Environnement tells Down to Earth that "just living in Paris causes a loss of life expectancy of between 8 and 22 months".

When world leaders arrive in Paris to plan how to keep a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, their backdrop will be a city that has turned to a greener future while acknowledging just how far there still is to go.

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