Informal Meeting of EU Environment Ministers22 – 23 April, 2013Air Science Policy Forum: Outcomes Paper15th April, 2013, Dublin IrelandSession II09:00 – 12:00, 22 April 2013Dublin Castle, Dublin
1Air Science Policy Forum: Outcomes Paper15thApril, 2013, Dublin IrelandExecutive SummaryThere has been very impressive progress in reducing a range of emissions to air in Europe. This story- and what it implies in terms of longer life expectancy, better health, reduced pain and suffering,increased productivity, and reduced pressure on nature and build heritage – needs to be recognised.It is one of the better environment success stories. But we have a lot more to do, both in improvingcompliance with existing obligations, but also taking up opportunities to address new and emerginghealth and other threats that were not previously identified. Also, sectors not previously addressedby emission reduction strategies have become proportionately more significant and offer prospectsof improvement at relatively low cost - for example, residential emissions, non-road mobilemachinery, maritime and agriculture. There are opportunities to get air quality and climate benefitswith policies working in tandem, to deliver reductions in short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)including ozone, methane and black carbon. The benefits of cost effective actions exceed costs by alarge margin, but the wider benefits of improving air quality need more attention, especially theimpacts on productivity and competitiveness. The IT revolution can empower the citizen to becomemore knowledgeable of the drivers, impacts and state of air pollution and thus owners of theproblem and drivers for solutions to be found. Capacity in Member States and cities is essential ifthey are to ‘own’ and understand the problem, and find solutions that are simultaneously politicallyviable and environmentally effective.IntroductionA group of distinguished scientists who are specialists in understanding the causes of air pollution,its impacts, the choices of abatement and their implications, was convened in Dublin on April 15th,2013 at the Air Science Policy Forum. They each made short presentations as to what, in their view,the best peer -reviewed science has to offer the policy process. The session finished with an audienceand panel discussion from which other ideas and conclusions emerged. Conscious of the fact thatEurope faces daunting economic and fiscal challenges, and that air policy must compete forattention in a very difficult and constrained policy context, the scientists indicated their priorityareas for policy intervention. There was a high degree of consensus as to the key challenges andopportunities. We have taken the liberty of integrating some of the ideas, but we have done ourbest to stay true to the spirit and the essential outcomes of the Forum deliberations.The key conclusions of this Forum are outlined in the Annex. The material is organised as follows:each of ten propositions is followed by the evidence, and concludes with the implications for policy.Where the text is associated with a particular presentation, the name of the presenter is included inbrackets.
2Outline for Ministerial DebateThe debate will take place following introductory remarks by Minister Hogan and a shortpresentation c.10 mins from Commissioner Potočnik on the main themes being considered by thereview of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution. This will be followed by a short presentation c.10mins from the Facilitator, Prof. Frank J Convery, Director of the Earth Sciences Institute, UniversityCollege Dublin, who will outline the main outcomes of the Air Science Policy Forum, and theirrelevance to the review of the Thematic Strategy. The Executive Director of the EEA, JacquelineMcGlade, who also presented at the Forum, will then be invited to offer a view on the state of theenvironment regarding air pollution and its main drivers and impacts in the EU today.For the interactive debate which will then follow, and to assist the Facilitator and to ensure that allof the key areas as identified during the Air Science Policy Forum are addressed, this PresidencyOutcomes Paper sets out 10 main questions which are elaborated upon in the Annex and which thefacilitator will address in his introduction.Focal Questions1. Progress has been made on air quality in Europe, yet certain compliance challenges remain.How can we best address and progress from these legacy challenges e.g. NOX ceiling, NO2limit values?2. The scientific evidence is broad and compelling with regards to further action on air qualityin Europe but how best can we use and present this information to Europe’s citizens in amanner which will secure public engagement and support for action?3. There is broad scientific evidence for stricter emission ceilings, ambient air quality limits anda broader pollutant base. In which of these areas is there support for progression?4. The relevance of air pollutants at hemispheric and global scales and across thematic areas(e.g. climate) merits broad international cooperation to achieve shared goals. To whatextent, and how, can Europe support action and coordination at these broader levels?5. Major cities present a challenge and an opportunity given the level of activity that isconcentrated therein. How can the review of the Thematic Strategy best complement andfacilitate initiatives (technical and non-technical) that Ministers are considering in regards toreducing air pollution exposure in their cities?6. There are abatement options across all sectors, though historically progress and emissionreduction contributions from sectors have varied considerably and by pollutant. Nitrogen isa highly important issue for future agreements, and agriculture is the key player in thisregard. How should the review address measures to realise nitrogen abatement potentialfrom this sector?
37. Air quality/pollution policy can carry high benefits at reasonably low cost. Conveying themessage of these benefits appropriately is important. How are ministers supporting furtherresearch in regards to developing and communicating effective policy instruments?8. Technical innovation and new data sources will revolutionise our capacity to monitor andrespond to air pollution challenges. How can we best accelerate the exploitation of emergingtechnical developments?9. National capacity to engage with the relevant modelling and monitoring is vital to informedprogression and management of EU air quality ambitions. How are Ministers committing tothe necessary levels of sustained capacity in their country?10. Exposure reduction targets are perhaps the most effective way of delivering air qualitybenefits, particularly in area below the existing limit values. However, is the challenge ofdata and enforcement currently too great to move the main focus from the existing ‘limitvalue’ approach to an exposure reduction target approach ?
4ANNEX Summary of Proceedings from the Air Science-Policy ForumProfessor Frank J Convery University College, Dublin (Frank.Convery@ucd.ie)Dr. Andrew Kelly, EnvEcon Ltd. (Andrew.Kelly@EnvEcon.eu)1. Progress has been made in reducing a range of emissions to air.EvidenceBroken link between emissions and GDPSource: Presentation of EC050100150200250300Air Pollution (NOx,SOx,NMVOCs, PM10, NH3)EU GDPIndex (1990 = 100)
5Further reductions are feasible under a variety of analysed scenariosSource: Presentation of IIASAAnd progress continues [EEA]Year Number of Member states above ceiling limits2010 122011 8Points for consideration1. This is a European success story - hundreds of thousands of lives saved, pain and sufferingreduced for millions, large increases in productivity as a result of dramatically reducing thestresses of poor health associated with days lost from work, plant and animal life protectedor restored, deterioration of crops and buildings arrested, and beauty of landscape and cityscape recovered.Possible model: The US has documented the huge net benefits that the Clean Air Act hasproduced - The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020, USEPA, March2011. [Arden Pope]2. Possible Case Study: the EU limit values for smoke helped to drive the banning of themarketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal in Dublin in 1990, with consequentdramatic improvement in ambient air quality, and associated improvements in health(reduced deaths and sickness) and enhanced attractiveness of the city for business, foreigndirect investment and tourism [ Luke Clancy]
62. But major gaps, challenges and opportunities remainEvidenceTwo major sources – Arden Pope (Brigham Young University) and Marie-Eve Héroux (World HealthOrganisation – WHO) - (both focussed only on health impacts)[Arden Pope] No serious peer reviewed journal challenges the link between poor health and air pollution ‘By early 1990s several studies suggested that even moderate levels of air pollution couldcontribute to significant health effects’. Getting rid of ‘killer smogs’ is not enough Short term changes in air pollution exposure are associated with deaths, hospitalisation,school and work absences, heart disease etc. Longer term air pollution exposure linked to even substantially larger effects ‘On average, the greater the reduction in air pollution, the greater the increase in lifeexpectancy.’ Adjusted relative risk of dying almost linearly [directly?] associated with air pollution.[Marie-Eve Héroux, WHO] ‘Provides scientific arguments for the decisive actions to improve air quality and reduce theburden of disease associated with air pollution in Europe’ Particulate Matter (PM): PM2.5 damage is linear – no clear threshold – several new negativehealth outcomes (atherosclerosis, adverse birth outcomes, childhood respiratory,neurodevelopment and cognitive function). Action on short and longer term limit values wellsupported Ozone: Mortality (those predisposed). Asthma, lung function NO2: ‘reasonable to infer that NO2 has some direct effects’ (hospital admissions, mortality,respiratory symptoms at or below EU Limit Values)Furthermore, A lot of the European population continues to be exposed to concentrations abovethe already legislated standards [Markus Amann]Pollutant % of EU population exposed toexceeding EU quality standard% of EU population exposed toexceeding WHO qualityguidelinesPM10 21 81NO2 7 7O3 17 97
7Points for consideration1. The quality of life and health outcomes of Europeans will be improved if we continue toimprove air quality. And this improvement continues even as quality reaches relatively highstandards.2. European productivity and competitiveness depends in part on having a mentally healthyand physically robust population, and this performance can be significantly improved if wecontinue to improve the quality of the air we all breathe.3. Our nature and its life support systems will be diminished unless we continue to improve ourair. Zones of cities and countries that are recognised as relatively pristine will (other thingsbeing equal) have a competitive advantage in attracting investment, visitors and students.4. We need to paint this picture of what Europe’s citizens will gain if EU policy makers andpoliticians introduce policies to keep improving the air they breathe.3. There are important mutual benefits of improving air quality, and this applies in particular toclimate change. [It is recognised that there are also some trade-offs]Evidence Emission reductions of methane (CH4) which promotes production of O3 (ozone) is veryimportant in the context of addressing the ozone challenge, whilst also being a greenhousegas adding to global warming. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition was launched Feb 2012. Focus on reducing short livedclimate pollutants (black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, short lived HFCs) –protecting health and crops , slowing global warming.Long Term Policy under the CLRTAP, [Martin Williams] Parties to prioritise black carbon reductions to achieve PM2.5 reductionPoints for considerationThere was no agreement on the extent to which air quality policy should be formally linked withclimate policy. The proponent proposition is that defining a budgets pathway to 2050 for airpollutants would mesh well with the 2030 and 2050 timeline now being addressed for climate policy.The argument against is that there is need for immediate action on elements of air quality policy; theevidence is clear, and we should act accordingly, in parallel with climate policy, but not beholden toit.There was unambiguous support for:1. Recognising the reality that health and air quality are clearly linked, and that as two sides ofthe same coin, they should be key features of the revised National Emission Ceilings (NEC)2. Stricter ceilings/limits for SO2, NO2, ammonia and VOCs3. New ceilings for PM 2.5, and perhaps black carbon and methane4. Case for hemisphere strategies (including governance) – to control methane and ozone
84. Ozone ‘imports’ make the case for addressing this challenge across the northern hemisphere.EvidenceContribution of hemispheric (tropospheric) ozone to local concentrations [Frank Dentener, JRC]Points for consideration1. Maintain and intensify the work of the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution– Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution2. Build links to main emission regions and work towards a hemispheric solution5. Cities should be given special attention as nodes for actionEvidence[Rob Maas]City Action EffectsBerlin Low emission zones Reduction in number of affected residents experiencingexceedance of limit value for PM10London Congestion charge Population exposed to PM10 levels exceeding limit falls by20.4% by 2012.Rotterdam Speed limits Big emission reductions and air quality improvements.Points for consideration1. Be realistic - Cities can only control ‘local’ emissions – regional and hemispheric imports aregivens2. But they can make a difference - Focus on technical and (especially) non-technical measures3. Managing proximity to roads is a particular city challenge in Europe - zoning6. There are untapped opportunities in agricultureEvidence[Mark Sutton] ‘More efficient N use saves farmers money reducing nitrogen air pollution, while also beingneeded to meet commitments for climate and water pollution.’ Biggest payoff to effort from ammonia mitigation – e.g. slurry spreading from splash plate totrailing shoe
9[Markus Amann] Identification of future opportunities for cost effective emissions reductions - agricultureshare would increase from 2% (current) to 20% (future)Sector % share (current legislation) % share - cost effective scenarioDomestic 32Industry 9 21Agriculture 2 20solvents 14Power sector 12 12Road transport 55Non road transport 1088 99Points for consideration1. Focus on the most cost effective opportunities – ammonia2. Focus on large ‘industrial’ type farms in the first instance3. Promote innovation that will reduce costs and enhance environmental performance7. Keep addressing the economics – benefits, costs, incentives, innovation, policy instruments – ofair quality policy.Evidence[Ton Manders] ‘Air quality/pollution policies can carry high benefits and reasonably low costs’ OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 – costs and benefits The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020, USEPA, March 2011 (see alsoearlier) In addition to agriculture, shipping, and PM2.5 reduction seem to have particularopportunities for low cost abatement.Points for consideration1. The benefits of improved air quality are large, but there continue to be large ranges[uncertainties?], especially as regards the benefits.2. Work should continue to narrow these error margins3. The role of better air in improving productivity needs more attention.4. There has been much progress, but more work is needed on what policy instruments willwork, especially as new sources and sectors are addressed
108. Innovation, especially IT related, will revolutionise access to data, and potentially result in adramatic increase in ‘ownership’ of evidence and policy driving from the bottom up.Evidence[Daan Swart and ISPEX]Simultaneously advancing monitoring, technology and citizen Science –– measure fine dust withyour smart phone at very low costSocial media integration [Jacqueline McGlade)Points for consideration1. An informed citizenry is an empowered and supportive citizenry2. Draw lessons – costs, citizen engagement environmental credibility and effectiveness etc., ofthe ISPEX project3. Foster and enable the ‘big data’ revolution.9. The right capacity at the right time and in the right place is a crucial ingredient of successEvidenceRaised in panel discussion.Points for considerationEach member state should have the modelling and other capacities necessary to engage with the EUand wider regional and transnational efforts, so as to understand what’s happening, what are theimplications, and the choices. This will also improve buy-in at member state level, where they arenot depending exclusively on top down information and associated policy direction.The case was made also for cities to have information and associated capacities that allow them to‘own’ understand the issues and choices.10. Exposure reduction as a key performance measureEvidenceThis was raised in discussion. The idea is that because the benefits of reduced air pollution areenjoyed at all levels, not just in ‘hot spots’ with relatively high levels, it is important that EUstandards drive action at all levels and not just when levels are above legally enforceable limitvalues. Exposure reduction targets are contained in the CAFÉ directive, but further strengtheningtheir role in the review could deliver further health benefits across the EU, particularly in areasbelow the current limit values.
11Points for considerationThere was great interest and support for this idea from some quarters, but worry and concern inothers about moving away from the relatively straightforward limit value approach which is morereadily quantified and rooted in the existing policy framework