Environmental Research Centre - ERC Report 4 - J.A. Kelly
Summary: Examines the Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation model, a European-scale integrated assessment model dealing with air quality and associated effects. The model outputs are used in the negotiation, setting and assessment of emission ceiling targets for 2020 under the Gothenburg Protocol and the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive - Author: J.A. Kelly
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The Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation (RAINS) model is a European-scale integrated assessment model dealing with air quality and associated effects. The model outputs are used in the negotiation, setting and assessment of emission ceiling targets for 2020 under both the Gothenburg Protocol and the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). The 2010 national emission reductions targets for species linked to acidification and eutrophication have been established based on optimisation runs of the RAINS model.
The model has three principal modules, which are employed in the assessment of emissions from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) countries and EU Member States and their associated effects. The first module establishes the emissions of each nation based on a detailed analysis of sectoral activities and existing abatement technologies. This module also considers the costs of both existing and potential abatement technologies so as to establish possible abatement paths and abatement cost curves. The second module draws the emissions information from the first module and applies them to a European 50 km × 50 km grid map.
A weather pattern/chemical transfer module is engaged and through this the model can assess the health, acidification and eutrophication impacts of the pollution levels on the individual grid cells. The final module is the optimisation module.
This module works with available data on emissions, their incidence and the abatement options at each source in order to deliver a given set of European threshold targets. Thus, the model works back from a limit of, for example, acceptable health impacts, to determine how this target can be achieved at least cost.
The model uses forecasts up to 2030 and a range of potential scenarios in order to assess effects at this range and potential to abate. Understanding of, and engagement with, the RAINS model and other processes for analysis of issues and identification of solutions, in relation to the objectives of the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transport of Pollution and the Clean Air For Europe (CAFE) programme, is required to ensure that the analysis is correct for Ireland and that designated targets are optimisations that achieve the target-level environmental benefits at lowest cost.