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Air pollution and climate change measures should be linked

National measures to cut air pollution would benefit from stronger links with climate action, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

In their latest briefing, the EEA presented an overview of the latest policies and measures reported by Member States to tackle air pollution, as required under the National Emission reduction Commitments (NEC) Directive. 

Policies to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOX), particulate matter (PM2.5) and ammonia (NH3) mainly focus on the agriculture, transport and energy sectors. 

However, the briefing shows that the Member States have identified about one-third of their air pollution policies should have links with national policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, which are reported under the Regulation on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to the Briefing, it is vital to seek coherence across climate change mitigation and air pollution. 

Promoting consistency in reporting policies and measures on air pollution, energy and climate change can reduce red tape, foster policy coherence and support the identification of synergies across efforts towards zero pollution and climate neutrality in Europe. 

In related news, earlier this year Air Quality News spoke to Helena Molin Valds, head of the United Nations Climate & Clean Air Coalition about why we need a global approach to air pollution.

The Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) was founded in 2012 when leaders in Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States came together with the UN Environment Programme to initiate efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

Photo Credit – Pixabay 

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Keith.baker
6 months ago

Climate change and health aspects of air pollution are two very different problems, one is a chronic problem that needs long term concensus, while air pollution is killing large number of the population today. Most of the problem of indoor AQ are weakly connected to climate or in the case of poorly design ventilation systems are in conflict. Concerning traffic, CO2 and car emissions have been closely coupled, but now we find that other PM sources dominate so due to lack of attention cause more pollution in both ICE and EV., than the exhaust pipe.

Dennis Heidner
Dennis Heidner
5 months ago
Reply to  Keith.baker

While they are two different problems – the intersection of the two is much tighter than what you’ve written. Ozone (O3) is a common byproduct of the conversion of NOx and VOC’s by either other atmospheric chemical interactions OR UV during the daylight hours. NOx is a strong greenhouse gas with a greenhouse warming potential (GWP)-30X of CO2. The NOx and VOC’s when they interact with the atmospheric chemistry also produces secondary organic aerosols…(SOA) . NOx along with other atmospheric chemistry can form Hydroxl Nitrogen compounds (HON(. Both can further react and coagulate into the particulate we see in the air. The SOA’s HON’s, O3 and resulting PM’s can easily pass the tissue barriers in our lungs to cause health problems – even with a fetus. All of the emissions above have GWP higher than CO2!

As for the residential buildings – there are now plenty of studies that show indoor and outdoor are pollutants cross over faster and more frequently than previously accepted. Bad pollutants outside will make it into the house in minutes or hours not days. Pollutants which originate in a house will make it outside in minutes or hours and not days. Indoor air quality is more likely related to VOC’s from personal care products (like perfumes, deodorants). Cooking even with electricity also produces pollutants! Cooking string beans in a pan will produce some pretty nasty VOC’s. NOx from cooking is far lower than the NOx from driving. All homes should be using a vent hood that moves the byproducts of cooking outdoors — recirculating the air after passing through an activated charcoal filter – will not remove most of the harmful cooking by products. Venting out doors adds to he outdoor emissions. The good news is that one hour of cooking emissions is still likely far lower than the emissions from driving any internal combustion engine for one hour.

The indoor air quality issues are normally addressed by reducing the bad stuff that we use in the house — and bringing air in from outside – but if you live in an area that already has high level of emissions outside (emissions with high GWP), bringing in the outside air doesn’t help with the indoor air.