• 04 Mar 2020

    Evaluating the consequences of the European Covenant of Mayors actions on air quality


    In order to achieve the ambitious zero-pollution target of the European Commission, environmental policies should be harmonized and streamlined to the maximum possible extent.

    The European Covenant of Mayors initiative, thanks to the wide involvement of local policy makers and its recognized success, provides the unmissable opportunity of being beneficial to citizens not only by means of climate mitigation and adaptation, but also on air quality (as most of the sources of greenhouse gases and air pollution emissions are the same).

    Since 2018, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has analysed synergies and trade-offs between climate and air quality on the basis of data submitted by signatories. A first study (Monforti et al., 2018), involving a selected set of major European signatories, has shown that energy efficiency measures planned in the SECAPs are expected to provide important benefits to the air pollution levels.

    Currently, the JRC is extending the aforementioned analysis to a wider set of European Covenant of Mayors  signatories (for which Monitoring Emission Inventories have become available) and is estimating air pollutants emission changes corresponding to the reported CO2 emission changes. This is done for over 1600 signatories, covering a population of 80 millions.

     The ongoing study is expected to confirm the overall positive synergies between climate mitigation policies, but also to highlight possible cases of trade-offs, as for instance in the case of biomass burning for residential heating, considered neutral for climate whereas detrimental for air quality.

    In parallel with the study, the JRC is developing a tool that will allow signatories to track and evaluate in a simple way their progress not only towards climate mitigation but also towards better air quality, without increasing reporting requests.

     

    For more information:

    Fabio Monforti-Ferrario, Albana Kona, Emanuela Peduzzi, Denise Pernigotti, Enrico Pisoni, The impact on air quality of energy saving measures in the major cities signatories of the Covenant of Mayors initiative. Environmental International, 118 (2018), 222-234