Scientists & engineers discuss at COP24 how air quality can protect climate

Joint side event in the EU pavilion at COP24 in Katowice on Dec. 3

Katowice. Scientists from Germany will present current research results on air pollution at the UN Climate Change Conference and discuss with the World Association of Engineers (WFEO) sustainable solutions. The researchers of the German Climate Association (DKK) want to draw attention to the global dimension of air pollution and promote joint solutions. Measures to reduce air pollution would not only protect the health of millions of people affected in many parts of the world, they would also help to combat climate change and set the course for a sustainable future. The event is one of over 100 side events on key issues in the Pavilion of the European Union at the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland, from 2 to 14 December.

Air pollution and climate change are closely related. The main sources of CO2 emissions – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – are not only key drivers of climate change, but also major sources of air pollutants. Furthermore, many air pollutants that are harmful to human health and ecosystems also contribute to climate change. Atmospheric-chemical processes generate secondary pollutants such as ozone and fine dust and thus influence the climate. Therefore it is important to understand chemical processes and to monitor long-term trends in the atmosphere. In situ measurements have been performed in the framework of the European research infrastructure IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System) for greenhouse gases (GHG) and short-lived climate forcer (SLCF) for over 15 years. “The seasonal cycles at the crucial border between troposphere and stratosphere (UTLS) generally show a summertime maximum in O3 and a springtime maximum in CO with a broad spring/summer maximum of CO over northeast Asia. This is clear evidence that air pollution affects the climate from the ground to the higher layers of the atmosphere,” says Prof Andreas Wahner from Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Black carbon is emitted from combustion sources such as vehicles and wood burning, and is a component of particulate matter. By addressing black carbon, we can mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution at the same time. However, policymakers have not yet to fully understand its role. A number of policy processes at national and European level now provide a window of opportunity to target black carbon in an effective and coordinated way. “Vehicles and domestic combustion plants are the main sources of soot in Europe. In the transport sector, the reduction of emissions from diesel vehicles is crucial,” says Dr Kathleen A. Mar from IASS Potsdam.

The European Projects ACTRIS and EUROCHAMP are shortly presented by TROPOS. Among other things, these infrastructures help to research the effects of biomass combustion, which can occur as wood combustion from households as well in the form of forest fires. Household heating with wood has been becoming very popular in Europe through the recent past and constitutes an important factor in air pollution triggering immense adverse health effects. Atmospheric chemists of the TROPOS have been active in the study of wood burning since more than decade. “Wood burning has not only an important part of winter time air pollution but also contributes to climate effects through the release of black carbon which is a short-lived climate forcer (SLCF). Reducing SLCFs in Europe and world-wide must include contributions from wood burning,” says Prof Hartmut Herrmann from TROPOS Leipzig.


COP24 Side Event:

“Sustainable solutions to combat climate change: contribution of engineers and reducing air pollution”
Monday, 3 December 2018, 10:30 – 12:00, Room Vienna in the EU Pavilion

among others with contributions from

Prof Dr Andreas Wahner, Forschungszentrum Jülich:

“Short-lived Climate Forcers: Important for Air Quality and Climate”

Dr Kathleen A. Mar, IASS Potsdam:

„Black Carbon in Europe: Mitigation Priorities for Health and Climate”

Prof Dr Hartmut Herrmann, TROPOS Leipzig:

„ACTRIS and EUROCHAMP-2020: Long-term Monitoring and Process Studies for a changing Atmosphere”

Further information:


Prof Dr Andreas Wahner

Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8)

Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Phone: +49 2461 61-5932

E-Mail: [email protected]


Dr Kathleen A. Mar

Project leader “Climate Action in National and International Processes (ClimAct)

IASS Potsdam, Germany

Phone: +49 331 28822-366


Prof Dr Hartmut Herrmann

Head of the Atmospheric Chemistry Department

Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Leipzig, Germany

Phone: +49 341 2717-7024


Tilo Arnhold

Public Relations

Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Leipzig, Germany

Phone: +49-341-2717-7189

Media Contact
Tilo Arnhold
[email protected]