The effects of air pollutants on people and the environment are considerable. Damage to health, changes in global climate, acidification of fresh waters, corrosion of materials, erosion of cultural treasures, losses in biodiversity and in agricultural crop yields, are some of the more obvious effects.
The aim of this publication is on the one hand to single out the causes and extent of the problems of air pollution and climate change, and on the other to describe the available remedies. Since the polluted air moves freely across national frontiers, international cooperation is a prerequisite for success in countering these problems.
Especially important but often overlooked are the connections between phpects of this issue that tend to be treated separately. Looking at solutions in particular, it is found that concerted action is needed – amounting in brief to a cessation of the use of fossil fuels. Since a total changeover will take time, specific measures will have to be directed in the short term towards reducing atmospheric emissions. Deferring action may turn out to be very expensive indeed.
It is our hope that this publication will prove a useful source of information for anyone wishing to gain an overview of the problems of air pollution and climate change. Appropriate individual behaviour as well as wise political moves will be highly dependent on the public being well informed.
Göteborg, January 2004
Per Elvingson & Christer Ågren