Articles | Volume 22, issue 19
 | Highlight paper
14 Oct 2022
Opinion | Highlight paper |  | 14 Oct 2022

Opinion: Coordinated development of emission inventories for climate forcers and air pollutants

Steven J. Smith, Erin E. McDuffie, and Molly Charles


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Executive editor
Datasets defining emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants underpin all model assessments of air quality and climate change. Although often emitted from the same source, the inventories have developed along mostly separate lines. This Opinion presents the case for coordinated development of air pollutant and greenhouse gas emission inventories, which would be an important step towards reliably evaluating the potential co-benefit of air pollution control and climate mitigation. The article discusses the similarities and differences between the two inventories, their historical development and applications, as well as the future challenges of a coordinated development of both. It also makes important recommendations for organizations, compilers, and research groups.
Short summary
Emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants, quantified in emission inventories, impact human health, ecosystems, and the climate. We review how air pollutant and GHG inventory activities have historically been structured and their different uses and requirements. We discuss the benefits of increasing coordination between air pollutant and GHG inventory development efforts, but also caution that there are differences in appropriate methodologies and applications.
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