Climate change is the time deviation in weather patterns or conditions that occur in a given period ranging from one decade to centuries and is caused by air pollution, solar radiation and other processes. Air quality, on the other hand, refers to the state of our surrounding air. Climate change and air pollution are interrelated terms that are much outstanding in the environmental phenomenon. Moreover, when the two terms are not considered, they result to local, national, regional and global environmental impacts that affect each and every human being in the ecosystem. In the recent decades, numerous policies have been enacted in an effort of minimizing the adverse effects that have resulted from climatic changes and poor air quality (Gillespie, 2006). This paper pays high attention to the discussion of two recent policy responses for climate change and poor air quality, the merits and demerits for integrating and coordinating these policy responses and the recommendations for or against integrating these policy responses.
Climate change results to global warming which is the equivocal and constant increase of the earth`s temperature as a result of elevated emission of green house gases such as carbon dioxide, methane among others. In the contemporary society, most countries are members of unite nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto protocol which have developed recent policy responses to global warming (Metz, 2007). Among the recent responses includes green house mitigation practices, climatic engineering and adaption to green house effects. However, green house mitigation practices and climatic engineering are discussed hereafter.
Green house mitigation practices involve the adoption of measures that would minimize the rate of climate change in the future. Some of the mitigation measures include the use of renewable energy sources, enhanced energy efficiency, energy conservation and development and implementation of natural sinks. The use of renewable energy involves supplying the societies with forms of energy that are naturally replenished to humans such as geothermal heat, rain, waves, sunlight, tides and wind. These forms of energy substitute conventional fuels such as the use of coal for electricity generation, heating water, cooking and fueling motor vehicles that produce carbon gases in the atmosphere hence contributing to global warming. The use of natural sinks involves developing and implementing practices such as a forestation and reforestation that can absorb green house gases that have been produced in the atmosphere. Energy efficiency involves using non-renewable energy without wastage since more energy usage means high amounts of green house production (Metz, 2007).
On the other hand, climate engineering involves the deliberate climate modification, in a manner that removes green house gases in the atmosphere. For example, climate engineering may involve harnessing and neutralizing carbon dioxide gas through adding water to it, and in the presence of ultra violet rays from the sun and chlorophyll, in order to produce carbohydrates (Metz, 2007).
Environmental pollution results from both anthropogenic and natural sources. Anthropogenic sources arise from burning of multiple types of fuels such as smoke from stationery plants, motor vehicles, wastes accumulation in landfills and fumes from chemicals while natural sources arise from natural emissions such as dust, radioactive decay, volcanic eruptions among others. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have developed policies that aim at reducing the rate of air pollution that in the long run results to climate change (Metz, 2007). Two recent policies include the implementation of carbon taxes and the precautionary principle among all states.
Carbon taxing policy response requires countries to impose fines to the industries that emit air pollutants beyond a certain threshold. This policy response concurs with the polluter pays principle that requires industries that pollute the environment with its wastes (Metz, 2007).
The precautionary principle sensitizes all states to be concerned with air pollution and thus adopt measures that minimize the elevated rates of air pollution. Some of these measures include adopting new technologies, inspection and maintenance programs, encouraging the use of public means of transport instead of personal vehicles among others. The new technologies in relation to air pollution are those which aim at modifying engines for both motor vehicles and industrial plants in a way that they would produce fewer pollutants, means of absorbing the air pollutants and use of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and electricity. Inspection and maintenance programs involve annual or biennial inspection of industries and vehicles at local or central inspection and maintenance facilities (Metz, 2007).
The policy responses to climate change and air quality would curb the emergence and re-emergence of the disease such as tuberculosis, cholera, lung diseases and body dehydration. These diseases usually occur due flooding and dust as a result of global warming. Moreover, integrating these policy responses would reduce the rate of destruction of infrastructure and ecosystem, which endangers some species and retard development projects. In addition, the weather patterns would change to normal and hence increase agricultural production (Lafferty, 2004).
Apparently, some climate change and air quality policy responses are expensive for most developing countries to adopt. For example, adopting technologies that absorb air pollutants, and modifying motor vehicle engines are expensive to many countries. In addition, some countries are not concerned with climatic changes and air quality due to lack of regulatory measures. Environmental protection is a global challenge and requires all states to be committed (Lafferty, 2004).
Coordination and regulations in climate change adaptation and mitigation is required globally, regionally and locally. It is necessary to establish a high-level body or a multi-level stakeholder groups that ensure coordination and compliance of climatic change policies. Consecutively, awareness creation, communications and information management is needed in all states while integrating these policies. This measure would institute a knowledge base to the states that would then disseminate this information through suitable climate change information systems to their citizens. Moreover, indicators, mechanisms and criteria of assessing or evaluating the integrated policies should be developed in order to determine the effectiveness of those integrated climate change and air quality policies and plans (Bryner & Duffy, 2012).
It is, therefore, evident that numerous climate change and air quality policies responses such as mitigation and precautionary measures have been developed in the recent past, with the aim of restoring a health environment. Moreover, adopting the discussed recommendations for integrating these policy responses can enhance in reversing the adverse climatic changes for the benefit of the current and the future generations.
Bryner, G. C., & Duffy, R. J. (2012). Integrating climate, energy, and air pollution policies. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Gillespie, A. (2006). Climate change, ozone depletion and air pollution: Legal commentaries within the context of science and policy. Leiden [u.a.: Nijhoff.
Lafferty, W., (2004). Governance for Sustainable Development: the Challenge of Adapting Form to Function, Edward Elgar.
Metz, B., (2007). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Mitigation of climate change and contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.