An integrated approach to air and climate protection

20 September 2019

20 September

Heads of government from around the world will assemble from the 23 to 25 September at the United Nations General Assembly to re-evaluate current efforts and measures in place to advance global sustainable development.

Tiffany Hionas

The upcoming summit will prioritise policy decisions around climate action and air quality. Historically, policy decisions around these two issues have been uncoordinated, with ‘parallel policy making’ seen as a key reason behind poor integration.

In the latest Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Policy Brief, the benefits of an integrated approach to air quality and climate protection would make an important contribution to the strategies to advance the UN’s climate and sustainable development goals.

An integrated approach combines different expertise and insights to develop one common approach. The impact of the ‘whole’ or integrated response is intended to be greater than the sum of the non-integrated parts.  

One of the recommendations outlined in this latest brief, regarding integrated policymaking on climate and air quality, involves using modelling techniques that can integrate concerns to deliver a list of air pollutants and climate forcers.

Through an integrated approach, modelling tools can then measure scenarios that produce greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions in one dashboard, allowing policymakers to quantify the full suits of impacts on climate, health, crops etc.

It is hoped that this approach will allow policymakers to reduce trade-offs while maximising the benefits, and therefore the efficiency, of the solutions, to climate and air quality.

The brief aims to demonstrate how existing policy structures can be changed to integrate mitigation efforts in favour of improving air quality and overcoming the climate crisis.

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