A Prototype Integrated Decision-Support Tool for the Evaluation of Measures Related to Air Quality and Climate Change

 

The development of a prototype decision-support tool for local to regionally applicable measures from a variety of sectors (e.g., transport, urban planning) was built based on our experience collaborating with local governments, NGOs, and research organizations on the topic of air quality and climate change linkages. In addition, conversations and input from a workshop we organized in collaboration with the European Environment Agency on ‘Integrating air quality and climate change mitigation – Is there a need for new metrics to support decision making?’ have also strongly influenced the development of such a prototype tool.

Key messages from the workshop were:

  • There is no single “meta-metric” which will deliver all information needed for a meaningful integrated approach for air and climate policies.
  • The proposed way forward is the development of a framework or information portal combining a suite of existing metrics, where possible based on available studies, supporting simultaneous consideration of and highlighting the various environmental (and potentially economic) impacts of air quality and climate change policies at regional and local scales. This, with enough simplicity, should facilitate decision-making and integrated thinking, especially from city to regional level.

More information on the workshop can be found here.

This input has guided our development of the prototype decision-support tool, which you can explore here.

The development of the prototype made it clear that such information is time consuming and to gather, compare, and present in a useable and user-friendly way. In addition, there are a variety of different policy- and/or decision-support tools available on the internet. Some are country or region specific, some require significant inputs, others provide only general guidelines but have limited utility. But who uses these tools? And were they created for a specific task that has come and gone, or were/are they meant to be adopted, used, and updated? While a thorough review of these different tools is beyond our current capacity, one can and should reasonably ask, what might make this tool different? These questions led us to create a survey, in which we ask some of these questions, to be able to assess if there is a need for a tool along the lines of the prototype we developed. Also included in the survey, to provide background and context, were questions about awareness of the linkages between air quality and climate change, as well as the institutional context where a tool like this might be used.

The survey was closed in February 2015 and a publication on the results of the survey is in preparation. Once it is published we will provide a link to the paper here. Furthermore, if you are interested in more information or possible collaborations - at the level or research or application - on the topic of or related to air quality and climate change, please do not hesitate to explore the website or get in touch.