Global life expectancy is shortened more by breathing than from smoking, booze, or conflict and terrorism, a new report shows. The annual Air Quality Life Index, from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, found particulate air pollution (including soot, fumes, and dust) shortens global lifespans by two years. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol reduce life expectancy — for those who choose to — by 1.9 years and eight months, respectively. The report also found the economic slowdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic barely affected air pollution levels. “It would be a global emergency if Martians came to Earth and sprayed a substance that caused the average person on the planet to lose more than 2 years of life expectancy,” Michael Greenstone, director of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, said in a statement. “Except we are spraying the substance, not some invaders from outer space.” (Washington Post $, Reuters, The Guardian, Environmental Health News, CBS, CNBC, BBC, E&E $, Times of India, The Hill, AFP)