An important milestone for international climate cooperation was the Convention on Transboundary Air Pollution, which was established in the 1970s.
It was the result of extensive international efforts to create an understanding that air pollution could spread across borders and have negative effects in other countries. The work was led by NILU, which still plays an active role in international cooperation on regional and global air quality:
Since the beginning of the 1970s, NILU has acted as Chemical Coordinating Centre for the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP). Data collection over such a long period of time gives a unique opportunity to observe long-term changes in type and amount of pollution, and how the pollution is transported across borders through the atmosphere.
NILU coordinates the chemical measurements in the EMEP-programme, in addition to developing monitoring strategies, recommending methodologies, and offering training and support to the member countries.
NILU also provides quality assurance and stores all data received from the over 40 countries that participate in the programme (www.emep.int).
NILU supports the World Meteorological Organization’s programme Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). Scientists from NILU are represented in several of the programme’s scientific advisory groups, and the institute also hosts the World Data Centre for Aerosols and the World Data Centre for Reactive Gases (www.gaw-wdcrg.org). The Zeppelin Observatory is one of the world’s most crucial GAW sites.
NILU plays an active role in activities undertaken in support of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) – one of six working groups under the Arctic Council.
Transport of pollution to the Arctic has been addressed since the early 1980s. The Arctic was long considered too far away from the sources of pollution to suffer any significant negative consequences. Today we know that arctic ecosystems are among the most sensitive, and that atmospheric transport brings environmental pollutants, particles and greenhouse gases to the High North.