- Joint Program Report
Abstract: Air pollution is a major sustainability challenge – and future anthropogenic precursor and greenhouse gas emissions will greatly affect human well-being. While mitigating climate change can reduce air pollution both directly and indirectly, distinct policy levers can affect these two interconnected sustainability issues across a wide range of scenarios. We help to assess such issues by presenting a public Tool for Air Pollution Scenarios (TAPS) that can flexibly construct and assess a variety of climate and air quality emissions pathways through its coupling with socioeconomic modeling of climate change mitigation. In this study, we develop and implement TAPS with three components: recent global and fuel-specific anthropogenic emissions inventories, scenarios of emitting activities to 2100 from the MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis model (EPPA), and emissions intensity trends based on the latest Greenhouse Gas – Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) scenario data. An initial application shows that in scenarios with less climate and pollution policy ambition, near-term air quality improvements from existing policies are eclipsed by long-term emissions increases – particularly from industrial processes that combine sharp production growth with fewer pollution control levers in developing regions. Additional climate actions would substantially reduce energy-related air pollutant emissions (such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides), while further pollution controls are especially impactful for ammonia and organic carbon. Future TAPS applications could efficiently explore diverse regional and global policies that affect these emissions, using pollutant emissions results to drive global atmospheric chemical transport models to study the scenarios’ health impacts.