A policy review of synergies and trade-offs in South African climate change mitigation and air pollution control strategies

01 Jun 2017

Climate change mitigation and air quality management are mostly addressed separately in South African legal acts and policies. This approach is not always coherent, especially in the context of other serious issues South Africa is facing, such as poverty alleviation. Policies implemented to mitigate climate change might increase negative health affects due to unanticipated outcomes (e.g. increased local air pollution), and these indirect consequences must therefore be taken into account when devising mitigation strategies. However, greenhouse gas mitigation policies can also have co-benefits and positive impacts on local air pollution. An evidence-based approach that takes into account greenhouse gas emissions, ambient air pollutants, economic factors (affordability, cost optimisation), social factors (poverty alleviations, public health benefits), and political acceptability is needed tackle these challenges. A proposal is made that use of an integrated climate/air pollution techno-economic optimising model, such as the Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Synergies (GAINS) model, may provide a rational decision support tool to guide policy makers into effective strategies for combined Climate Change and Air Quality mitigation measures.