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Benefits of European Climate Policies for Mercury Air Pollution
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Climate, Air and Sustainability, TNO, Utrecht 3584 CB, The Netherlands
AGH University of Science and Technology, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 November 2013; in revised form: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 26 December 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
Abstract: This paper presents the methodology and results of impact assessment of renewable energy policies on atmospheric emissions of mercury in Europe. The modeling exercise described here involves an interaction of several models. First, a set of energy scenarios has been developed with the REMix (Renewable Energy Mix) model that simulates different levels of penetration of renewable energies in the European power sector. The energy scenarios were input to the GAINS (Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies) model, which prepared projections of mercury releases to the atmosphere through 2050, based on the current air pollution control policies in each country. Data on mercury emissions from individual sectors were subsequently disaggregated to a fine spatial resolution using various proxy parameters. Finally, the dispersion of mercury in the atmosphere was computed by the chemistry transport model, implemented to the air quality system, Polyphemus. The simulations provided information on changes in concentrations and depositions of various forms of mercury over Europe. Scenarios that simulate a substantial expansion of renewable energies within the power sector indicate extensive co-benefits for mercury abatement, due to the restructuring of the energy system and changes in the fuel mix. The potential for mercury reductions in Europe depends on the rate of fuel switches and renewable technology deployment, but is also influenced by the stringency and timing of the air quality measures. The overall scope for co-benefits is therefore higher in regions relying on coal combustion as a major energy source.
Keywords: mercury emissions; policy scenarios; renewable energies; atmospheric dispersion; co-benefits
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MDPI and ACS Style
Rafaj, P.; Cofala, J.; Kuenen, J.; Wyrwa, A.; Zyśk, J. Benefits of European Climate Policies for Mercury Air Pollution. Atmosphere 2014, 5, 45-59.
Rafaj P, Cofala J, Kuenen J, Wyrwa A, Zyśk J. Benefits of European Climate Policies for Mercury Air Pollution. Atmosphere. 2014; 5(1):45-59.
Rafaj, Peter; Cofala, Janusz; Kuenen, Jeroen; Wyrwa, Artur; Zyśk, Janusz. 2014. "Benefits of European Climate Policies for Mercury Air Pollution." Atmosphere 5, no. 1: 45-59.