CLRTAP: Air Quality and Climate in Eurasia and North America

The Convention on Long-Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution, known as CLRTAP, has special potential to address regional climate issues alongside air quality in North America and Europe.  In particular, the April 2012 revised Gothenburg Protocol, negotiated through a three-year process, is the first international agreement specifically to address black carbon for climate benefits.

ICCI is an official observer organization to the UNECE, within which CLRTAP and Gothenburg reside; and participated in the Black Carbon Expert Group and other working groups of the LRTAP Convention leading to the successful inclusion of black carbon. The work is not done, however, with the latest revision: annexes or guidelines on how to implement these recommendations effectively remain to be negotiated and concluded.  These include guidance on how UNECE nations should address residential wood burning and agricultural (field and forest) or open burning, in particular.  Additionally, one four-year study by a CLRTAP expert group, the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP), identified methane controls as a needed component of controlling ground-level ozone, in addition to its status as a greenhouse gas under the Kyoto Protocol.  Ozone and methane’s contribution to a combined climate and air quality strategy under CLRTAP therefore remains to be realized.

ICCI drafted a Guidelines document on agricultural burning that was presented to the appropriate CLRTAP working groups in June 2012. We are developing similar guidance for wood stoves, and will continue working with Convention bodies on these and other regional climate issues of significance to climate change in the Arctic and Alpine regions. We see CLRTAP as a leader and model for other, similar air quality agreements in other regions, and are seeking additional support to intensify this work.