Global and local challenges - demand for co-benefit concern
Local air pollution is a global challenge
Local air pollution is a growing challenge in the rapid growth cities, especially in the developing countries. The economic development and urbanization has resulted in challenges concerning both energy supply and environmental stress. Urban air pollution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is responsible for 537,000 premature deaths per year in Asia alone. Air quality levels in many of the mega-cities of the world are by far falling short of air quality standards.
NILU is presently engaged in two international projects studying the impact of the mega-cities on the environment.
One-sided focus may cause side effects
To focus solely on GHG emissions may cause unwanted side effects. In some cases, e.g. related to the use of bio fuels, the benefits gained on reducing net greenhouse gas emissions may result in a substantial increase in local air pollution, with a subsequent damaging effect on human health.
In the race for reduced GHG emissions there may be methodologies to capture CO2 emissions that need further assessment of the impacts of local emissions into the environment. One example is the possible environmental impact of amine emissions, projected to be used in the CO2 capture process. The effects of these amines on the environment are presently unknown. In order to investigate and avoid any unexpected effects, NILU participates in a Norwegian multi discipline project to study the use of amines in the process.
NILU will focus on co-control and co-benefit
Focusing co-benefit actions is and will be an important part of NILU’s research, both in the local and regional air quality management planning as well as in the study of climate change mitigations and their effects.
NILU is involved in two research projects under the European Union’s 7th Framework Program on research; the MEGAPOLI and CITIZEN projects, where the main objective is to investigate how the mega cities, the air pollution and climates interact, as a basis for better health effects assessments and abatement policies.