The Institute’s involvement in talks on reviewing the Gothenburg Protocol of the United Nations Air Convention

This week, the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks (known as the INERIS) is working alongside the French Ministry of the Ecological Transition (known as the MTE), which is coordinating work on talks around reviewing the Gothenburg Protocol as part of France’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This is one of the eight protocols of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s convention on long-range transmissions of air pollutants (or the Air Convention).
It sets targets for countries to reduce their emissions of atmospheric pollutants (sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, ammonia and fine particles) which are responsible for levels of pollution that are harmful to health and ecosystems (acidification and eutrophication), and promotes using the best technologies available in different industries.
The Working Group on Strategies and Review (WGSR) is meeting in Geneva from 11th to 14th April. The countries of the European Union speak with a single coordinated voice, represented by the rotating presidency of the Union, which is France until June 2022.
Our experts Eva Léoz and Simone Schucht are part of the French delegation put together by the MTE Air Quality Bureau and are assisting the ministry using their extensive experience of issues relating to monitoring and managing atmospheric pollution.
Setting targets for reduced emissions of atmospheric pollutants beyond 2030, specifically in order to limit European citizens’ exposure to fine particles and ozone to levels in line with the World Health Organization’s new recommendations, is one of the main issues being explored during this week as part of the review of the Gothenburg Protocol, which requires consultation at a European Union level.
The significant role that ammonia and methane emissions play as precursors to the formation of particles and ozone will also be discussed, as will the assessment of particle emissions under real operating conditions (particularly particles from home heating systems) and vehicles for promoting strategies to reduce emissions and win buy-in for the ambitious objectives across the entire region covered by the Air Convention (all of Europe, Central Asia, Western Asia, and North America).