Co-impacts of climate policies on air polluting emissions in the Netherlands
Several indicative climate policy packages for 2020 have been found to result in mainly favourable co-impacts on Dutch air quality. The extent of their contribution to air quality does depend on the specific measures in the climate package. This report from the Dutch Policy Research Programme on Air and Climate provides insight into the co-impacts of climate measures on air quality.
Co-impacts of climate policy on air quality mainly favourable
Co-impacts (co-benefits or disbenefits) on air polluting emissions have been analysed for three climate policy packages for the Netherlands, for 2020. These comprise an indicative climate package that meets the European climate and energy targets for 2020, and a relatively less and relatively more ambitious package.
The analysis shows that climate policy in the Netherlands, by 2020, could reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from 48 to about 32 kilotons, and emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from 199 to about 184 kilotons. The co-benefits of the packages are smaller for particulate matter emissions (PM10). However, limited disbenefits may occur from the packages for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and ammonia (NH3) emissions.
Co-impacts yet uncertain
The greatest uncertainty in the estimates of co-impacts is caused by the fact that climate policy measures that are needed to achieve climate and energy targets have not yet been approved by the Dutch Cabinet and Parliament. Information on co-impacts of specific climate measures and climate policy packages, as generated by the Dutch Research Programme on Air and Climate, can be useful in the preparation of further climate and air quality policies in the Netherlands, and in other countries that consider similar measures.
Specific climate measures with only co-benefits or those without any co-benefits for Dutch air quality
Measures that stimulate energy saving, energy efficiency, nuclear power, and the use of wind, solar and geothermal energy always benefit national air quality. These measures reduce the need to generate energy within the Netherlands from the combustion of fossil fuels. The purchase of foreign CO2 credits, as allowed under the European Climate and Energy package, reduces national co-impacts on air quality. Possible co-impacts than occur outside the Netherlands.
Specific climate measures with different co-impacts on air quality
Some climate measures have different co-impacts for different pollutants or hardly affect air quality at all. Co-firing of biomass in large-scale coal-fired power plants, for instance, reduces only SO2 emissions. New research results show that replacing fossil-fuel-based, large-scale energy generation with bio-energy in small to medium-sized stationary installations, reduces SO2 emissions but may also increase NOx, NH3 and NMVOC emissions. The application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) also reduces SO2 emissions, but may increase NOx and NH3 emissions. An increase in energy efficient, small to medium-sized combined heat and power (CHP) installations, may increase NMVOC emissions. The use of biofuels in road transport is expected to have negligible effects on air polluting exhaust emissions.
To reduce the potential risks of certain climate measures for air quality, such as CCS or CHP, the Dutch Government could decide to tighten the emission limit values for the relevant installations or to introduce new technology standards.
|Author(s)||Hammingh P; Smekens KEL; Plomp AJ; Koelemeijer RBA|