Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Senior Government Officials from across the world are meeting in Paris to hopefully broker a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow the rate of global warming.

Yesterday marked both the opening day of this Global Climate Summit in Paris, as well as Beijing’s worst air pollution of the year. Beijing schools were closed, and residents of the Chinese capital were advised to stay indoors after air quality authorities issued an alert that small-particulate matter readings topped 500 micrograms per cubic metre - a reading many times beyond safety standards across Europe and the USA.

China is responsible for the world’s largest greenhouse gases emissions.

India emits the third largest amount of greenhouse gases, and yesterday New Delhi air pollution monitors recorded toxin levels over 400 micrograms per cubic metre - a hazardous level for human health.

Take a look at some of the photos – the smog is so dense that it’s hard to know whether it’s day or night in Beijing and New Delhi.

Meanwhile back in Beijing, the artist known as ‘Nut Brother’ (Jianguo Xiongdi) has created a solid brick made out of his capital city’s lung-choking pollution particles. Yes, that’s right – a solid brick of pollution

Nut Brother wanted to visually convey the high levels of respiratory-damaging particles choking Beijing. So, with an industrial vacuum cleaner he went around the city soaking up pollutants and compacted them with clay into a dark brown ‘smog brick’.

Airmaggedon... airpocalypse... it does not matter what you want to call these respiratory hazards, what is clear (or should that be smoggy?) is that climate change is not some far-off hypothetical. Climate change pressures are already evident in Beijing, New Delhi, the Sahel, Bangladesh, Pacific Islands, the Poles, and elsewhere. Residents of these places are already plagued by planetary degradation, pollution, increased temperatures, more extreme weather events, or natural resource depletion.

As the world’s leading carbon emitters are choked by putrid smog, will the COP successfully impede fossil fuels subsidies? Both China and India are heavily reliant on coal power.