LONDON (Reuters) - The world needs to fight more polluting gases, and not just focus on carbon emissions, in the fight against climate change, according to a report published by the UK’s Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) on Monday.
While European Union climate change policies focus on reducing carbon emissions, the UK government commissioned report says the effects of a whole range of other gases and other emissions must be taken more seriously.
“Air quality pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone, influence climate change. Control of the gases that lead to the formation of particulate matter and ozone can therefore affect both air quality and climate change,” the report says.
“Current international climate change policies do not recognize these impacts... Local, National and European policies must recognize the interactions between air quality and climate change pollutants in developing measures to reduce them.”
Failure to slash air pollutants will also mean many cities being shrouded in summer smog as global warming intensifies and particulate matter grows.
“Hot summers like the 2003 heatwave are likely to become the norm by 2040, leading to increased summer smogs unless emissions affecting ozone concentrations are substantially reduced,” the report says. “Episodes of winter smog, by contrast, are likely to be less prevalent.”
European efforts to combat climate change are focused on cutting emissions of just one gas and even that does not look like having much impact.
Preliminary data showed on Monday that the European Union was too generous in its hand outs of free carbon emissions permits to heavy industry in 2006, undermining the first phase of the bloc’s flagship weapon against climate change.
Europe’s carbon market is supposed to curb emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by handing heavy industry too few emissions permits, forcing them either to clean up or buy extra allowances.