Integrated Approach to Air Quality and Climate Change Needed

Monday, 15 January 2007

15 January 2007: A new report published by the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway calls on European environmental researchers and policy makers to agree an integrated approach to tackling both air quality and climate change. Traditionally, air quality and climate change have been addressed separately. However, solutions to one problem - if carefully devised - can also be an efficient solution to the other, according to the authors of the report.

Dr. Colin O'Dowd, Department of Experimental Physics and Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway, who is editor of the report, says: "A critical motivation to have an integrated scientific and technical analysis of key air quality and climate change issues is to better support policy development. The aim is to optimise cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of abatement and mitigation strategies, which have win-win scenarios for air quality and climate change.

"Not all areas of air quality and climate change are closely linked, partly due to their different impacts over different time scales. However, there is significant opportunity to develop synergistic research work in key common areas.

"With increasing economic activity, pollutant emissions impact more and more on air quality and climate change. For example, methane - a global greenhouse gas, is also a source of ozone which is a local pollutant. Therefore, reductions in methane emissions can lead to a reduction in ozone levels. Similar common issues exist with the impact of atmospheric aerosols (or Particulate Matter) on air quality and climate."

The report is a strategic output document from the European (FP6) funded ACCENT (Atmospheric Composition Change – A European Network) Network of Excellence. It brings together the views of leading researchers and policy contributors in Europe and the US, and highlights the common research and policy issues relating to air quality and climate change for the future.

In addition, the position statement and recommendations report outlines strategies for harmonising research in support of policy development for the future in terms of common issues between air quality and climate change. The target audience is national and European Policy makers such as the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Environment and departments in other EU member states, DG Environment and the European Environmental Agency as well as research funding bodies.

The report is expected to have an important impact on and contribute to improved understanding of important environmental issues and support the development of solutions to such human induced environmental change. More information can be found on http://www.accent-network.org.

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