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Dynamic Cost-Effective Reduction Strategies for Acidification in Europe: An Application to Ireland and the United Kingdom

Ministry of Economic Affairs; Alterra; Wageningen University; National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
Environmental Modeling and Assessment (Impact Factor: 0.98). 08/2002; 7(3):163-178. DOI: 10.1023/A:1016376705496

ABSTRACT This paper describes the application of an optimisation model for calculating cost-effective abatement strategies for the reduction of acidification in Europe while taking into account the dynamic character of soil acidification in a number of countries. Environmental constraints are defined in terms of soil quality indicators, e.g., pH, base saturation or the aluminium ion concentration in the soil solution within an optimisation model for transboundary air pollution.We present a case study for Ireland and the United Kingdom. Our results indicate that reduction of sulphur dioxide emission is more cost-effective than that of nitrogen oxides or ammonia. The reduction percentages for sulphur dioxide are highest, for two reasons: (i) marginal sulphur dioxide reduction costs are relatively low compared to marginal reduction costs of nitrogen oxides and ammonia and (ii) sulphur dioxide reduction is more effective in reducing acidification in physical terms than nitrogen oxides or ammonia abatement. Our dynamic analysis shows that a (fast) improvement of soil quality requires high emission reduction levels. These reduction levels are often higher than reduction levels that are typically deduced from the static critical loads approach. Once soil quality targets are reached, in our model, less stringent emission reductions are required to maintain the soil quality at a constant and good target level. Static critical load approaches that ignore dynamic aspects therefore may underestimate the emission reductions needed to achieve predefined soil quality targets.

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