transport and develop more effective mechanisms for coordinating multistate regional air pollution control strategies. In addition, the nation should continue to pursue collaborative projects and enter into agreements and treaties with other nations to help minimize pollution transport to and from the United States.

  • AQM and Climate Change. The earth’s climate is warming. Although uncertainties remain, the general consensus within the scientific community is that this warming trend will continue or even accelerate in the coming decades. The AQM system will need to ensure that pollution reduction strategies remain effective as the climate changes, because some forms of air pollution, such as ground-level ozone, might be exacerbated. In addition, emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change are fostered by similar anthropogenic activities, that is, fossil fuel burning. Multipollutant approaches that include reducing emissions contributing to climate warming as well as air pollution may prove to be desirable.


To meet the challenges of the coming decades and remedy current limitations, the committee identified a set of long-term, overarching objectives to guide future improvement of the AQM system. In the committee’s view, AQM should

  • Strive to identify and assess more clearly the most significant exposures, risks, and uncertainties.

  • Strive to take an integrated multipollutant approach to controlling emissions of pollutants posing the most significant risks.

  • Strive to take an airshed6-based approach by assessing and controlling emissions of important pollutants arising from local, multistate, national, and international sources.

  • Strive to emphasize results over process, create accountability for the results, and dynamically adjust and correct the system as data on progress are assessed.

Immediate attainment of these objectives is unrealistic. It would require a level of scientific understanding that has yet to be developed, a commitment of new resources that would be difficult to obtain in the short term, and a rapid transformation of the AQM system that is uncalled for in light of the system’s past successes. The committee proposes, therefore, that the AQM system be enhanced so that it steadily evolves towards meeting these


Airshed is used here to denote the broader geographic extent of the emissions that contribute to the deleterious effects of a pollutant in a given location.

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