How is Europe Dealing with Air Pollution from Agriculture?

Clean Air from our Farms (4 page pdf, European Environmental Bureau Position Paper, Apr. 28, 2015)

Also discussed here : Infographic: How agricultural emissions affect our health (European Environmental Bureau, Apr. 28, 2015)

Today we review a note from the European Environmental Bureau which focuses on emissions and pollutants from agriculture which makes up 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of the methane from the EU, and impacts both the air(acid rain), soil and human health. A National Emissions Ceilings Directive, issued in 2013, set new targets for ammonia, PM2.5 and methane among other pollutants, with a focus on livestock and manure management as well as croplands and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

eeb_ag_infographic_hr-01

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How has Climate Change Affected the Frequency of Extreme Weather Events?

Anthropogenic contribution to global occurrence of heavy-precipitation and high-temperature extremes (Abstract, E. M. Fischer &R. Knutti, Nature Climate Change, Apr. 27, 2015)
Also discussed here: Human activity responsible for three out of four heat extremes, study finds (Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, Apr. 27, 2015)
Today we review climate modeling research that examines the how the frequency of extreme weather events over the long term has and is being changed by the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Results indicate that in addition to an average global warming of 0.85 C over the last 100 years that the probability of the temperature at a location exceeding a given threshold has tripled so that a daily maximum above 35C, say, that once occurred once in 3 years now occurs every year. When the global temperature has increased by 2C which is the present aim for international policy makers under existing climate change protocols, the probability of a hot day will increase 5 times compared to present day frequencies. Likewise the additional moisture that warmer air can carry has increased and this leads to heavier and more frequent rain storms and floods, especially in the tropics. While the link between climate warming and more frequent extreme events has been known in general terms for a long time, this is the first time that a quantitative number has been put on that- which has major impacts on insurance as well as on policy dealing with climate change.

chances of climate chnage

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Finding Post 2020 Targets for GHG Emission Reductions

Comparing Countries’ Emissions Targets – A Practical Guide (20 page pdf, Australian Government Climate Change Authority, March 2015)

Also discussed here: Comparing countries’ emissions targets (Australian Government Climate Change Authority, March 2015)
And here:  Australia’s future emissions reduction targets (43 page pdf, Australian Government Climate Change Authority, April 2015)
Today we review a guide from the Australian government that compares GHG reduction targets from other countries or regions with similar economies (such as the USA and the EU), using four criteria: Capacity, Adequacy, Responsibility and Effort and differences in base year. Australia, (like Canada) has one of the highest per capita emission rates in the world (at 25-27 tonsCO2e/year) as well as a strong economy, governance institutions and advanced technology. It’s unconditional emissions target implies a 32% reduction/capita from 2005 levels by 2025 which is higher relatively than the US or EU. Another significant factor is the cost to make reductions and the capacity of a country’s economy to bear that wither in absolute or relative terms. However, costs are difficult to estimate and may be influenced by actions of other countries as well as the technology used. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for participating countries will be announced in advance of the Paris conference in December 2015.

australia post 2020 ghg targets

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What are the Provinces Doing to Decarbonize Canada’s Energy Systems?

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Canadian Energy Strategy -How Energy East and the oil sands affect climate and energy objectives (15 page pdf, Erin Flanagan, The Pembina Institute, Apr. 14, 2015)

Today we review a report from the Pembina Institute which examined the roles provinces play and could play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet national goals, a Canadian Energy Strategy – the main item discussed at a meeting Canadian premiers in Quebec City. While three provinces (Ontario, Quebec and BC) have made modest reductions of 19, 9 and 3% from 2005, Alberta now produces more than Quebec and Ontario combined with a failed cap and trade system that applies to less than 50% of its emissions at a price ($1.80 per tonne) that has little impact on decisions made by industry to reduce carbon fuel use. The plans for the Alberta oil sands and proposals to expand pipeline capacity to the east coast (by 1.1 mbpd) contribute to concerns to keep 2/3’s of the earth’s carbon reserves in the ground if the objective of limiting climate warming to less than 2 degrees C- which means that the oil  sands production bust be limited by 3.3 mbpd. Restoration of a committee to advise the federal government on a Canada Energy Strategy is recommended, similar to the long standing one that was eliminated by the present government (the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy or NTREE)

 

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How Does Public Policy Encourage Sprawl?

Analysis of Public Policies That Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Urban Sprawl (89 page pdf, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Mar. 2015)
Also discussed here: Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year (Robert Steuteville, Better Cities & Towns, Mar. 20, 2015)
Today we review a report on the costs produced by sprawl which is usually associated with low gas prices which leads to an addiction to cars and long commutes and all of the negative environmental impacts that follow. The report while acknowledging this also points to urban planning policies that encourage sprawl including underpricing of public infrastructure in the suburbs, underpricing of motor vehicle travel which leads to demands for more roadway supply (as shown below) and policy that favours mobility over accessibility and automobile travel over other less environmentally harmful modes. The other side of the coin is toward more compact urban areas which in turn favours walking and cycling and less road building and maintenance costs among others.

sprawl and demand for space

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Where are Europe’s Air Pollution Hotspots and How are they being Cleaned Up?

Modelling street level PM10 concentrations across Europe: source apportionment and possible futures (15 page pdf, Kiesewetter, G., Borken-Kleefeld, J., Schöpp, W., Heyes, C., Thunis, P., Bessagnet, B., Terrenoire, E., Fagerli, H., Nyiri, A., and Amann, M., Atmos. Chem. Phys., Feb. 13, 2015)

Also discussed here: Clearing up Europe’s air pollution hotspots (News, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Feb 19, 2015)
Today we review modeling sources of ambient air pollution across Europe down to the street canyon scale (using the GAINS, model developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) as measured by 1850 monitoring stations (including 300 traffic stations) and then applying various policy scenarios. Results indicate the while most areas show improvement over the next two decades, some continue to remain below EU air quality limits, specifically, southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, northern Italy, and Bulgaria. Adherence to these limits require more than vehicle emission controls such as introduction of low emission zones, improved road materials and road dust removal and eliminating studded tires and controlling emissions from home heating fuels such as wood burning.

europe hot spots

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A Check List for Managing Urban Air Quality

Growing Public Health Concerns from Poor Urban Air Quality: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living (9 page pdf, Bhaskar Kura, Suruchi Verma, Elena Ajdari, Amrita Iyer, Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, Apr. 2013)

Today we review a paper that zeroes in on the issue of urban air pollution and its health impacts, identifying which pollutants cause the greatest harm and what to do about that in terms of identifying and controlling pollution sources. Given that a million premature deaths and another million pre-native deaths are linked to urban air pollution, along with 2-5% GDP costs for developed and developing countries respectively, much more attention is needed at the municipal level now.

urban aq manageemnt

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