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New York City's air hasn't been this clean in 50 years

Posting in Cities

Breathe easy, New York City.

Despite the news confirming "unprecedented" climate change (nice going, us), there's actually some good climate news of humans doing something right (or at least better).

New York City has cleaned up its air to levels not seen in more than 50 years. And it's all happened in a short time: a 69 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide since 2008 and a 23 percent reduction in soot levels since 2007.

Have a look:

First, sulfur concentration in 2008:

And now here's what it's looked like the past year:

But how did it happen? The city has been phasing out the most polluting heating oils used in buildings. Just three years ago, the mayor's office said, 10,000 buildings were using heating oils that emit a significant amount of sulfur dioxide and, as the New York Times points out, more soot than all the vehicles on the city's streets and highways. Now more than half of those buildings have either switched to cleaner fuels or are actively pursuing the switch.

Impressive.

Are you taking notes Beijing?

Via New York Times

Photo: Flickr/Eric

Maps: New York City Mayor's Office

— By on September 29, 2013, 8:00 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure