GRAND RAPIDS, MI - DECEMBER 9: President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump is continuing his victory tour across the country. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump tweeted a map of global air pollution, touting that the United States has the cleanest air in the world.

The map, which cites the World Health Organization, claims that nowhere in the United States has air pollution above the WHO suggested level.

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Pedestrians wear masks to protect themselves from the pollution on the street, Beijing, China, 20 April 2018. (Long Wei / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Every other day, there seems to be new bad news about climate change. Polar bears are struggling to survive. The Arctic is warming even faster than expected. Millions of people may soon be without usable land, leaving them subject to famine and drought. But mixed among these headlines in recent weeks, there was a glimmer of hope, from an unexpected source: China.

China has long been known for dangerous levels of air pollution. Images of the biggest cities often show buildings cloaked in dense smog and people wearing masks to protect themselves from the particulates. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people die from air pollution-related causes in China each year.  

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Traffic on highway at Avenida in S?o Paulo. (Getty Images)

Despite recent technological developments in electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles, many cities are opting to clear their roadways of automobiles to make way for alternative forms of transportation. While increasing pedestrian, cycling and public transportation routes does reduce pollution, it also creates a more convenient, pleasant way to travel through a city center than sitting in grid-locked traffic.

Conquering pollution by limiting emissions

According to World Health Organization statistics, approximately three million deaths each year are connected to air pollution, a large percentage of that stemming from car exhaust. As a result of this public health risk, many cities are focusing their efforts on reducing or eliminating gas or diesel cars from the streets. Leading the way in this effort is Oxford, whose plan will create a zero-emissions zone in the city’s center by 2020. Paris will follow with a gas and diesel ban in 2030. Tokyo has already banned all diesel cars, with London scheduled for 2020 and Copenhagen one year earlier, beginning in 2019.

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Dr. Robert Phalen’s life philosophy seems to be summed up in the old adage: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Phalen is one of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent additions to three scientific advisory panels, and he actually thinks that spewing pollutants into the atmosphere is a good idea because the air in America is "a little too clean for optimum health."

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[DIGEST: IFLS, New Atlas (1, 2, 3), The Guardian, Climate Change News]

As the United States withdraws from the Paris climate agreement, China is taking steps to position itself as the EU’s partner to combat climate change. Following in the footsteps of a few European cities, China is building a city covered in forests, designed to reduce pollution in the atmosphere.

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