Air Pollution as a Climate Forcing: A Workshop

Day 1 Presentations

Emission Trends of Anthropogenic Air Pollutants in the Northern Hemisphere

Markus Amann
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Analysis (IIASA), Laxenberg, Austria

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The European and Asian versions of the RAINS model (Schüpp et al., 1999) were used to estimate the likely development of emissions of air pollutants in the next 20 years, taking into account recent projections of economic development and detailed information on national legislations on emission controls (as of end of 2001). The analysis was carried out on a country basis, covering Europe and Asia including Siberia. For North America, emission projections were taken from governmental information sources (EPA, Environment Canada).

For Europe, the analysis includes the effects of the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, and the Directive of the European Union on National Emission Ceilings.

For the former Soviet Union, the implications of the Gothenburg Protocol were considered for the European part of Russia, while no emission controls were assumed for the other regions and countries.

The analysis includes for North America the likely effects of the United States Clear Skies Initiative and the provisions of the Ozone Annex of the Canada-US Air Quality Agreement.

For China, the projection is based on a recent forecast of energy development produced by the Chinese Energy Research Institute (Boudri et al., 2000) and includes provisions of the "two zone control policy" and emission controls listed in the 10th Environmental Five-Year Plan 2000-2005 of the Chinese government.

Emission controls for other countries in East Asia (Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) are based on a detailed review of national legislation. Reflecting the legal status of 2001, no nation-wide controls of air pollutants were considered for the Indian subcontinent. Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa are not included in this preliminary analysis.

Figure 1 presents the resulting development of NOx, VOC, CO and SO2 emissions from 1980 to 2020 and compares these medium-term projections for the countries in the Northern Hemisphere with the global long-term SRES emission scenarios of IPCC as provided in IPCC (2001).

-- FIGURE 1 -- Figure 1. Trends and projections of emissions of NOx (top left), CO (top right), non-methane volatile organic compounds (VOC, bottom-left) and SO2 (bottom right) for the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. For comparison, the global long-term projections of the IPCC-SRES scenario (covering the entire world) are provided.

The analysis suggests that emissions of "classical" anthropogenic air pollutants (NOx, CO, VOC and SO2) are unlikely to grow in the Northern Hemisphere in the next 20 years. While fast economic development is assumed for developing countries, emissions in these countries are likely to grow at a much slower pace due to the recently introduced national legislation requesting control of mobile and stationary sources. Overall, these moderate increases are expected to be compensated by effects of the stringent emission control strategies adopted in the industrialized countries.

The expected development of emissions in the Northern Hemisphere over the next 20 years clearly diverges from the long-term trends assumed in the IPCC-SRES scenarios for the global scale. This might have important implications on calculations of the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere made by global circulation models for various climate scenarios.

Analysis with the RAINS model also suggests that, despite the adopted emission control measures, the projected emission levels will not achieve "safe" levels of air quality and thus will not fully protect human health and ecosystems in many regions of the world. Consequently there might be further pressure for additional emission reductions, rendering our current projections as upper bounds for the actual development.


  • 1. Boudri, J.C., Hordijk, L., Kroeze, C., Amann, M., Cofala, J., Bertok, I., Junfeng, L., Lin, D., Shuang, Z., Runquing, H., Panwar, T. S., Gupta, S., Singh, D., Kumar, A., Vipradas, M. C., Dadhich, P., Prasad, N. S. and Srivastava, L., The potential contribution of renewable energy in air pollution abatement in China and India, Energy Policy 30, 409-424, 2002.
  • 2. IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, USA
  • 3. Schüpp, W., Amann, M. Cofala, J., Heyes, C. and Klimont, Z., Integrated Assessment of European Air Pollution Emission Control Strategies, Environmental Modeling and Software 14(1), 1999

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Summaries: Overview, Gases, Aerosols, Tech., Health, Agri./Eco.
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