European experience in the development of the monitoring, review, and verification (MRV) systems for clean air plans

Purohit, P. ORCID:, Amann, M. ORCID:, Borken-Kleefeld, J. ORCID:, & Klimont, Z. ORCID: (2020). European experience in the development of the monitoring, review, and verification (MRV) systems for clean air plans. IIASA Report. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA

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Over the last decades the European Union has established strict air quality objectives, together with a comprehensive legal framework that should facilitate the achievements of these objectives. As a consequence, air quality has drastically improved in Europe, although the long-term objectives are still not met.

The EU clean air legislation played an important role in these air quality improvements. Most importantly, the legal framework provided an effective response mechanism strategy to manage the complex interlinkages between the multitude of pollution sources and the regionally dispersed impacts on air quality which span across different legislation. These connections, which are a direct consequence of the physical nature of the key air pollutants (i.e., their long residence time in the atmosphere), make response strategies that extend beyond individual cities and countries indispensable.

In order to implement effective policy responses, the area of the European Union is now considered as one airshed containing 27 Member States, and action needs to be coordinated between countries, regions, and city administrations. The clean air legislation of the EU acknowledges that the European Union as a supra-national institution has to play an important coordinating role in the policy response. It has been found practical to combine three legal pillars into a comprehensive EU clean air legislation framework:
• The Ambient Air Quality Directives,
• The National Emission Ceilings Directive, and
• Source-specific performance standards.
One important feature of EU policy that contributed to the success is that, in addition to the key obligations for reaching air quality standards and reducing emissions, all directives contain specific requirements and mechanisms for monitoring, reporting, validation and enforcement.

Although the recent nature of some of the directives does not always allow for practical experience, systematic stock-taking on the strengths and weaknesses of older legislation has been recently conducted. This report summarizes the findings emerging from these assessments and indicates options for improvements that could be of interest for the design of effective clean air policies in other parts of the world.

While the EU legal framework has obviously been developed for the EU situation, there might be important lessons, particularly on monitoring, review and verification, that could provide relevant insights for other countries which face similar complexities in air quality management, e.g., the need to involve multiple governance levels across State borders.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Report)
Research Programs: Air Quality & Greenhouse Gases (AIR)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2020 11:07
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:33

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