Reviewing Experiences from Managing Atmospheric Pollution to Help Facilitate Responses to Climate Change (pp. 47-64)
Authors: (Livia Bizikova, Ian Burton, Erica Crawfort-Boettcher and Thea Dickinson)
Abstract: Anthropogenic climate change was brought to the public‘s attention in the 1980s. It was seen as the next in a succession of atmospheric pollution issues—following from experiences with acid precipitation and stratospheric ozone depletion—and almost instantly became a part of the global policy agenda. Much attention has been paid to the forces behind the development of international agreements and domestic regulations, as well as to the role played by evolution of scientific understanding in designing policy responses to all three atmospheric issues (The Social Learning Group, 2001a and 2001b; Barret, 2003; Crutzen and Oppenheimer, 2008; Webster et al., 2008). Seeing the favorable outcomes of the Montreal protocol, some analyses have compared the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols and the political, technological, and economic circumstances surrounding their development and implementation (Barret, 2003; Crutzen and Oppenheimer, 2008). Undoubtedly, there are many lessons from how acid precipitation and ozone depletion were tackled in international negotiations and policy processes that can be applied to climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. But basing approaches to climate change on previous experiences with acid precipitation and ozone depletion management has also caused some problems, due to significant differences in the nature of these atmospheric issues. Notably, this orientation has led to a dichotomisation of responses into ―mitigation‖ and ―adaptation,‖ which in turn penetrated the research and policy processes (Burton et al., 2008). This paper aims to clarify how the dichotomy between adaptation and mitigation occurred in light of experiences with other atmospheric pollution issues, and to explore the major similarities and differences in managing the succession of the three atmospheric pollution issues. Specifically, in this paper we aim to address the following questions:
a. What are the key features of each atmospheric pollution issue and what types of actual mitigation and adaptation actions were applied to address the issues?
b. How does the interplay between local, national and international actors and institutions influence responses to atmospheric pollution challenges?
c. What are the major differences and similarities between measures to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, as compared to responses to preceding atmospheric issues?
First, this paper provides an overview of major features of the three atmospheric issues of acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change. This discussion centres on the characteristics of mitigation and adaptation actions and the role of local, national and global stakeholders in shaping the policy agenda. The second part of the paper is focused on comparing key features of the three issues so as to shed light on the form of current actions on climate change. Finally, we suggest policy implications for current mitigation and adaptation actions based on the evolution of policy and research within the three domains.