Title: Ozone trends and impacts on health and crop yields (Chapter 4)
Publisher: UNECE
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC101791
URI: http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/welcome.html
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: 1 Abatement measures under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and its protocols have achieved significant success. There has been a sharp decline in emissions, especially for sulphur, and economic growth and trends in air pollution have been progressively decoupled. 2 Despite successes – abatement has resulted in an extra year of average life expectancy in Europe, soil acidification has been halted in most parts of Europe, and declining acidification in lakes has led to fish stocks recovering in areas where they had largely disappeared – problems still exist. 3 A significant proportion of the urban population in Europe and North America is exposed to concentrations of fine particles and ozone that are near or above the WHO guideline level and, despite soils and lakes recovering from acidification across large parts of Europe, nitrogen deposition in many parts still exceeds the level below which harmful effects do not occur. Because transboundary sources are often major contributors to urban pollution, many European cities will be unable to meet WHO guideline levels for air pollutants through local action alone. Even national and Europe- wide action may not be enough in some cases. 5 Long-term risks due to ozone, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants continue to exist in many UNECE countries. In addition to implementing CLRTAP Protocols, reducing background levels and exposure will require broader coordination beyond the European or North American scale, as well as coordination with other international fora such as the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. 6 Technical measures are available to reduce fine particles and ozone to levels below the WHO guidelines in most parts of Europe and North America and to avoid excess nitrogen in most nature areas. Successful examples of healthy lifestyles that contribute to cleaner air are also available. 7 Air pollution control costs are generally significantly lower than the costs of damage to health and the environment. In many countries the net impact of abatement measures on national income and employment will be neutral because production of the technologies required will also create employment. 8 An integrated approach to climate change and air pollution could lead to significant co-benefits, as well as to reducing the risk of applying climate change measures with significant negative impacts on air quality. 9 Ratification and implementation of the 2012 revision of the Gothenburg Protocol would reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter by 40–45% between 2005 and 2020, according to estimates made in 2011. For ammonia the reduction would be 17%. Ratification enables a regionally-level playing field for industries and so prevents countries from competing with each other at the expense of the environment and health. Exploring synergies between air pollution policy at the local, regional and hemispheric scale, as well as with energy, transport and agricultural policy, could help identify additional cost-effective measures. 10 International policy collaboration and coordination of air pollution science remains essential to harmonise methods for estimating emissions, monitoring air quality and impacts, and identifying cost-effective further steps.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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