Project ACCENT- Plus
The ACCENT-Plus project is the ideal continuation of the ACCENT Network of Excellence funded by FP6, operating from 2004 to 2009, which helped structure the European scientific community in the field of atmospheric sciences, atmospheric composition change and its effects on air quality, climate change and human health. ACCENT-Plus, which has maintained the same acronym and logo to emphasize the strong continuity between the two projects, has extended the scope and aim of the previous project, proposing to transfer the scientific results in this sector of significant social and economic interest to the policy-makers responsible for environmental management.
The project highlighted how closely related air quality and climate change are, while at the level of political decision makers the two aspects are still treated separately. In fact, different emission reduction options offer the possibility of improving air quality and at the same time mitigating climate change, the so-called win-win policy, while it is also possible that mitigation options that offer advantageous solutions for one of the two aspects are detrimental to the other. ACCENT-Plus has therefore produced several reports and organized dissemination activities for policy makers and the general public to highlight the importance of coordinated environmental policies that consider the connections between air quality and climate.
Fasi del Progetto
At the beginning of the project a call for tenders was opened for the entire European scientific community in the field of atmospheric composition change. 64 institutions, some of which also non-European, have joined the project. The associated institutions have participated in the project activities throughout its entire duration and have contributed to the results of ACCENT-Plus.
During the first phase of the project a multi-level project website was developed, structured in 3 main areas: "Science and Policy", "Data and Infrastructures" and "Outreach". The purpose of the website was to maintain the unity of the European scientific community in the field of atmospheric composition change and, at the same time, to provide a channel for dialogue with the European environmental policy makers and the general public.
The second project phase was dedicated to holding workshops and conferences, with the participation of both researchers and other stakeholders, on the main issues related to atmospheric composition change and its effects on air quality and climate: ozone tropospheric, atmospheric particulate, nitrogen and methane compounds. Key points of this activity were the two symposia held in Urbino in 2011 and 2013, focusing respectively on “Air Quality and Climate Change: Interactions and feedbacks” and “Bringing together the European research in atmospheric composition change: Challenges for the next decade”. The two symposia were an opportunity for comparison and integration of European research activities in the sector and, at the same time, for meeting and dialogue with the European policy makers and other stakeholders.
The most important phase of the project involved the coordination of European research activities in the field of atmospheric composition change, including the major international projects in the sector coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). For this purpose, ACCENT-Plus has established the European Secretariat of the IGBP sub-project "International Global Atmospheric Chemistry" (IGAC), which has facilitated the access of European researchers to major international projects in the sector.
The most important general results of the project are:
1) 3 position papers prepared by leading European experts in the field on the most relevant scientific and environmental issues published in the monographic edition of the international journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics entitled "Atmospheric composition change: science for policy":
- Tropospheric ozone and its precursors from the urban to the global scale from air quality to short-lived climate forcer.
- Particulate matter, air quality and climate: lessons learned and future needs.
- Effects of global change during the 21st century on the nitrogen cycle.
2) Another important result of the project was the preparation, on request of the European Commission, of a report, which involved a large part of European experts in the field of air quality and interactions with climate change, “Research findings in support of the EU Air Quality Review”. The report contributed to the preparation of the "Clean air for Europe" program (COM (2013) 918) for updating European air quality policies and directives.
3) It was very important also the organization in 2014 of the "Drivers, Feedbacks and Impacts in Air Quality and Climate Change" Summer School, dedicated to deepening the knowledge about air quality and climate change in an interdisciplinary way. Both teaching staff and participants were chosen to cover a wide range of skills in specific sectors: chemistry and atmospheric physics, environmental and climate modeling, measurement technologies, environmental medicine, environmental legislation, communication techniques science.
4) At the end of the project a Research-Policy Stakeholder Meeting was organized in collaboration with the European Commission. It involved, in addition to representatives of the main European projects on atmospheric composition change, also representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Climate Research Program (WCRP), International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) and European Environment Agency (EEA). This event has laid the foundations for a greater interaction between science and environmental policy at European and international level.
Reports produced within the various activities of the project include: