Air Quality and Climate Change
Coal-fueled power generation emits sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, mercury and other pollutants that contribute to acid rain, ground level ozone (smog), poor water quality and climate change, all of which impose adverse health effects on humans, animals, vegetations and the environment at large. Cars and trucks similarly emit smog-forming nitrogen oxides and other harmful pollutants, including dioxin and other air toxins. These pollutants have health and environmental impacts locally, regionally and globally.
Protecting air quality requires technological changes in manufacturing processes and products to capture pollutants and prevent their release to the environment. Changes in behavior and lifestyle, such as driving less, can also play an important role. Inducing these changes typically requires a combination of new government regulations, incentives and public education. The right solution or combination of solutions depends on such factors as the types of sources and behaviors that emit the pollution, the availability of cost-effective mitigation options, and the nature and degree of the impacts.
What CCAP is Doing with Air Quality
CCAP works with governments worldwide at all levels to reduce harmful air pollution from a range of sources using a variety of policy tools, especially market-based instruments:
- CCAP was instrumental in the development and adoption of the U.S. Acid Rain Trading Program — a landmark cap-and-trade program pursuant to the Clean Air Amendments of 1990 that has produced a significant reduction in sulfur dioxide pollution at a relatively low cost of control versus command-and-control approaches;
- CCAP has played similarly important roles in the development of policy solutions to reduce nitrogen oxides and mercury, both in the U.S. and abroad; and
- CCAP’s current efforts focus on policy solutions to reduce GHG emissions and on helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change.
- In California, the University of California Berkeley Center for Environmental Public Policy (CEPP), with support from the Center for Clean Air Policy, has formed a new dialogue and outreach process geared towards finding workable solutions that allow emissions trading to proceed while also addressing the core concerns of the EJ community.