IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

11.8.1 Interaction between GHG mitigation and air pollution control

Many of the traditional air pollutants and GHGs have common sources. Their emissions interact in the atmosphere and, separately or jointly, they cause a variety of environmental effects at the local, regional and global scales. Since the TAR, a wealth of new literature has pointed out that capturing synergies and avoiding trade-offs when addressing the two problems simultaneously through a single set of technologies or policy measures offers potentially large cost reductions and additional benefits.

However, there are important differences at the temporal and spatial scales between air pollution control and climate change effects. Benefits from reduced air pollution are more certain; they occur earlier, and closer to the places where measures are taken, while climate impact is long-term and global. These mismatches of scales are mirrored by a separation of the current scientific and policy frameworks that address these problems (Swart et al., 2004; Rypdal et al., 2005).

Since the TAR, numerous studies have identified a variety of co-benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation on air pollution for industrialized and developing countries. In many cases, when measured using standard economic techniques, the health and environmental benefits add up to substantial fractions of the direct mitigation costs. More recent studies have found that decarbonization strategies generate significant direct cost savings because of reduced air pollution costs, highlighting the urgency of an integrated approach for greenhouse gas mitigation and air pollution control strategies.