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Connecting planning on air pollution, health and climate

During the years 2015-2019, SEI invested in research, tool development and capacity enhancement as part of an initiative on Low Emissions Development Pathways (LED-P Initiative).

Read about the outcomes and achievements of the work creating an integrated framework for climate change and air pollution, along with easy-to-use planning and analytical tools.

Photo: Todd Jiang / Unsplash.

Date published
15 May 2020

About this initiative

SEI initiatives explore key issues on sustainable development and serve as hubs for our research. The aim of LED-P was to integrate air quality and climate planning and to increase the ability of national decision-makers to develop suitable strategies. Central to the development of the initiative has been the enhancement of the LEAP tool with the Integrated Benefits Calculator – making it more relevant to the planning and mitigation of air pollution from energy and non-energy sources.

Overall, the programme has i) increased understanding of the multifaceted ways in which air pollution causes an impact on health, ii) led to more capable planners able to evaluate the multiple air pollution and climate benefits of different strategies, and iii) resulted in the high-level political endorsement of plans and strategies that outline priorities for achieving these benefits, which are now beginning to be implemented.

Duration: 2015-2019
Main outputs: An integrated planning tool
Regions: global

The policy challenge

Many countries are unable to plan and assess which strategies are most effective at achieving national air quality, energy and climate priorities. Challenges include a lack of human and technical capacity in government departments, and the tools that can be directly used by planners to inform decision. In many cases, there can also be a lack of coordination between institutions and stakeholders responsible for different elements of planning concerning emissions causing air pollution and climate change.

With increased recognition of the links between climate change mitigation, energy planning, air pollution and other sustainable development goals, the extension of tools that can provide planners with additional information on the consequences of their decisions is essential.

How SEI engaged

SEI’s Harry Vallack leading a Climate and Clean Air Coalition LEAP-IBC training workshop. Photo credit: SEI/CCAC

SEI’s Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) tool is a widely-used software for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment (www. energycommunity.org). Developed over the last 30 years, it has contributed to overcoming some of the challenges facing national planners, providing them with a tool to inform their decision making and long-term planning in relation to energy and climate change mitigation.

LEAP-IBC

The LED-P initiative developed the Integrated Benefits Calculator (IBC) as an extension of LEAP in collaboration with US EPA and Daven Henze  (University of Colorado) and with the support of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). It was launched at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, 2017.

LEAP-IBC is an integrated planning tool to help governments jointly assess greenhouse gases; short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and other air pollutant emissions; build mitigation scenarios; and understand how emission reductions benefit climate, health and crops.

LEAP-IBC combines emissions scenarios from LEAP with output from a global atmospheric chemistry transport model and with various exposure-response functions. It then produces national-scale estimates of avoided premature deaths and crop losses. It also estimates the climate benefits of SLCPs, adopting air pollution reduction strategies and implementing greenhouse gas mitigation policies. Policy-makers can use LEAP-IBC to compare results across alternative scenarios to inform nationally appropriate action on climate, air quality and SLCPs.

A second version of the IBC tool is in development that can be applied at the city level, and which will provide greater information on the impacts of indoor air pollution, including gender-based disaggregation of impacts.

Supporting national planning

Under the CCAC’s Supporting National Action Planning (SNAP) initiative, SEI has led LEAP-IBC training courses at national and regional levels. As a result, the LEAP-IBC tool is now being used by thirteen countries ⁠— Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Liberia, Maldives, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru and Togo ⁠— to support their national short-lived climate pollutant planning. Other governments use the platform to help meet their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, and many use it to integrate health co-benefits into their strategies.

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The SEI Initiative on Low Emission Development Pathways (LED-P)