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Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ICARUS (Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2018-10-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
Despite the clear interconnections between carbon footprint and air quality, policies to control Greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions and to improve air quality are still considered separately leading often to contradictory results. ICARUS aims to develop an integrated approach to address simultaneously the need to improve air quality and to reduce the carbon footprint of European cities coupling technical and non-technical measures and contributing to urban resilience while engaging actively the citizens.
Why is it important for the society?
ICARUS aims to identify interventions, potential investments and innovations in the urban environment towards a green economy to improve human health and wellbeing as well as the quality of environment with enhanced societal participation and citizen engagement. Integrating socio-economic dynamics and population vulnerability in its analytical framework ICARUS promotes social cohesion, inclusiveness and cost-effectiveness in environmental management, leading to more resilient, healthy, and equitable cities.
What are the overall objectives?
The main objective of ICARUS is to develop integrated tools and strategies for urban innovation in support of air quality and climate change governance in the EU with enhanced citizen and stakeholder engagement. This will lead to the design and implementation of strategies coupling technical and non-technical measure to improve air quality and reduce the carbon footprint, resulting in smart, healthy and resilient cities.
Activity-emission factor tables based on business-as-usual scenarios have been generated for all EU Member States and for the 9 ICARUS cities for 2015, 2020 and 2030, spatially disaggregated into 1x1 km² grid elements, to be used as input to air quality models (Fig.1). A satellite system taking into account emissions at various stages of the life cycle of goods and services has been linked to the activity-emission factor databases. The integrated life cycle database thus is a first-of-a-kind tool for the calculation of emission changes.
Air quality simulations using advanced atmospheric chemistry models have been performed to derive high space and time resolution ground concentrations reflecting climatic trends for the period 2001-2050 of major air pollutants (PM10, PM2.5 NO2, O3, BaP) and major greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) in Europe. Air pollution monitoring campaigns and particulate matter chemical speciation using ground monitors and aerial monitoring were completed in 6 European cities to link the chemical composition of atmospheric pollution with the respective major sources through source apportionment models. A methodological framework for integrative data fusion, aiming at delivering high resolution and accurate atmospheric pollution maps has been defined.
The ICARUS personal exposure campaign protocol and documentation were completed. Around 1,000 individuals were recruited in the 9 cities. Sensor campaigns have been completed in Basel and in Thessaloniki (Fig.2). Other cities will follow during the next reporting period. An Agent Based Modeling platform has been constructed and tested in Thessaloniki (Fig.3). City based models for the other cities are currently under validation to feed into a refined assessment of population exposure. A tiered modelling framework to quantitatively estimate health effects for all pollutants addressed by ICARUS has been developed.
An extended database of 720 potential policies and measures in the 9 ICARUS cities has been compiled in close collaboration with city stakeholders. Out of these, ca. 50 policies/measures were selected based on agreed criteria. These will undergo a full quantitative impact assessment in the phase of the project. Narrative visions for 2050 were developed; these will be further assessed to define the respective transition pathways together with the stakeholders.
The alpha version of the ICARUS Decision Support System has been developed and the functional and non-functional requirements of the ICARUS user centric tools have been defined based on feedback received via interviews with citizens from all the 9 ICARUS participating cities.
Project methodology, tools and results were presented in over 40 international scientific meetings and conferences. Twelve scientific articles were published and another seven submitted. A session entitled “Climate change mitigation and air pollution abatement – towards win-win solutions” was organized by ICARUS in the frame of the 19th MESAEP Symposium held in Rome in October 2017 (Fig.4). Four project newsletters have been published on the project web portal and a policy brief was released in time to support the Community consultation on the revision of the air quality directive.
Active engagement of stakeholders and city authorities is a key feature of the ICARUS method. Fifty local meetings have been organised on the sensor campaigns, the collection of emission data, the air quality and climate change mitigation policies/measures, and the long-term visions for green, smart and healthy cities. Moreover, ICARUS networked proactively with its two sister projects (i.e. CLAiR-City and iSCAPE) and the ICARUS coordinator serves on the advisory board of both projects
ICARUS develops a first-of-a-kind transdisciplinary methodology and toolkit for integrated impact assessment so that air quality improvement, climate change mitigation and health promotion can be pursued in European cities. Key innovative achievements are:
1. High spatial resolution activity-emission factor tables for EU Member States for a baseline year (2015) and selected future years (2020 and 2030), towards the development of an emission model capable of estimating the changes of emissions that occur when urban policies are implemented.
2. Development of the data fusion approach across the impact pathway to integrate data from different information sources while reducing the residual uncertainty.
3. Development of agent-based modelling platform informed from wearable technology sensors to capture individual spatio-temporal behaviours in order to model individual exposure taking into account societal dynamics.
4. Use of biology-based methodology to estimate intake and internal dose and assess health impacts, rather than using only well-established concentration-response functions.
5. Citizen participation making them an active part of the research team through their engagement.
The ICARUS integrated system is expected to have a positive impact on local society and the economy contributing to more cost-effective environmental management by prioritizing the interventions with the maximum benefit:investment ratio, enhanced urban resilience and reduced costs associated to the health burden from air pollution and climate change encompassing citizen behavioural change. In the long term the vision for truly green, smart and healthy cities proposed by ICARUS will contribute to the goals of the Smart Cities and Communities focus area
The international nature of the project ensures EU-wide applicability. Decision-making related to air quality and carbon footprint invariably requires cross-sectoral interaction; many sectors are represented in the stakeholder groups engaged in ICARUS. This fosters immediate and lasting uptake of project outputs and allows dissemination of results to those effecting and impacted by change in Europe’s urban environment.
Framework for exposure assessment at personal/community level using ABM.
The wearable ICARUS PM sensor
ICARUS special session during the MESAEP 2017 Symposium
Gridded NOx emissions from residential combustion (incl. mobile) for 2015 and 2030