Hajime Akimoto Director General, Asia Center for Air Pollution Research(ACAP) Japan Environmental Sanitation Center
In recent years, emissions of ozone and aerosol precursors, NOx, VOC, etc., as well as of greenhouse gases, CO2 , etc., have been increasing rapidly in East Asia accompanying the increase in energy consumption due to rapid economic development. These are thought to have resulted in increased transboundary transport of air pollutants to our country, increased background air pollution on a hemispherical scale, and also increased concentrations of greenhouse gases on a global scale. In order to deal with these problems in East Asia, individual control measures for air pollutants and greenhouse gases are not sufficient, and a broader strategic approach is necessary, including comprehensive and quantitative evaluation of atmospheric environmental loads, and implementing reduction measures for air pollutants and greenhouse gases simultaneously.
Meanwhile, in developing countries, social incentives for direct emission reduction of CO2 may be weak, while incentives for controlling air pollution may be stronger since mitigation of public health impacts is often more highly prioritized. At the G8 Environment Ministerial Meeting held in 2008, the importance of the promotion of a co-benefits approach in developing countries was recognized. For example, improvement of combustion efficiency as well as air pollution reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) such as ozone and black carbon is important as a scientific basis for promoting a co-benefits approach.
In order to address Asian regional air pollution and subsidiary global warming it is necessary to improve atmospheric environment management measures through international collaboration by analyzing the long-range transboundary transport of ozone and aerosols and by considering the existing and potential future frameworks for international cooperation. To accomplish these aims, research will be conducted in the following three areas:
(1) Quantification of Ozone and Aerosol Pollution in East Asia and the Hemisphere Synthesizing Numerical Modeling and Observation (Theme 1) This aims at quantifying the contributions of ozone and aerosols from various source regions to Japan using chemical transport models and observational data to analyze intercontinental transport on the hemispheric scale, intra-continental transboundary transport within East Asia, and domestic production within Japan.
(2) Improvement of Emission Inventories and Development of Emission Scenarios for Air Pollutants in East Asia (Theme 2) The state of emissions of air pollutants in Asia will be elaborated by improving the inventory by means of inverse modeling and validation using satellite and ground-based observational data. Engineering models will be developed and technological information will be collected in order to evaluate potential reduction amounts.
(3) Research on an International Framework and Co-benefits Approach to Promote Air Pollution Control in East Asia (Theme 3) Concerning the international framework for improving atmospheric environment management in East Asia in a comprehensive and effective manner, problems toward agreement-forming process design based on environment control policy and management system of each country are elucidated.