Better Air Quality Conference 2018
14-16 November 2018
Clean Air Asia, together with the Clean Air Forum Society of Malaysia (MyCAS), the State Government of Sarawak and the Natural Resources and Environment Board of Sarawak, organized the 10th Better Air Quality Conference (BAQ) which was held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from November 14-16, 2018, with pre-events on November 12-13. A statement released by Clean Air Asia at the closing session highlighted the theme ‘Regional Action, Global Impact’ and the need for innovation and progressive air quality solutions that will help shape more sustainable future development in Asia and beyond.
The main messages from the conference were:
- The link between air pollution and climate change is clear. The main sources of CO2 emissions - the burning of fossil fuels - are not just key drivers of climate change, but are also leading sources of air pollutants. Our continued dependence on fossil fuels is generating more greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to global warming as well as to a continued decline in air quality.
- We must address the substantial contributions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), particularly black carbon and ozone, to climate change. With SLCPs’ short atmospheric lifetime, their mitigation plays a key role in stabilizing our climate, as pointed out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Global Warming of 1.5°C” special report released last month.
- It is still possible for us to avoid worst-case climate scenarios. But in order to do this, we must change the way we meet our future fuel and energy needs, transform our industrial practices, and sustainably reorient our modes of transport. A large-scale economic realignment is required: One that supports zero-carbon development and that is based on forward-thinking policies. This will sow the seeds of prosperity for future generations, bringing with it better health outcomes, more jobs, and more equitable access to energy and transportation.
- There can be no more delays in our efforts, no more complacency, and no more inertia. What we now need is consensus in Asia, and the political will and commitment to make those changes. Inaction places even more lives at risk and threatens to reverse any gains that have been made.
- The key challenge we now face in realistically meeting the Paris climate goals is how far and how fast we can act. This requires an honest and transparent assessment of the progress that has been made in air pollution mitigation efforts in Asia’s cities to determine if we are truly on a sustainable path to clean air.
- We need to bolster our data gathering, harmonize our data systems and standards across Asia, and improve citizen access to reliable data. There is also a need for open and transparent data on real emissions from vehicles to enable policymakers and consumers to make informed sustainable choices.
- We must keep pace with the global momentum towards renewable energy and clean transport, making sure that we will not be burdened with unsustainable and unsupportable technology. At the same time, we need to address the environmental impacts of air pollution to avoid severe long-term problems.
- We must address the needs of those most vulnerable to the health impacts of ambient and household air pollution: Children, older adults and the elderly, pregnant women, and people with existing health issues such as heart and lung diseases.
- Air pollution neither knows nor respects borders. Collaboration is vital if we are to avoid impending calamity. As we address the challenges ahead, let us recognize that our strength lies in our shared vision, and our future in our shared responsibility.
- The energy transition that is required is achievable. But we must be open to learning from one another, from best practices and from initiatives that have not met with success. We must strive for improved governance for clean air and strengthened cross-sectoral institutions, with enforcement as a priority.
You can find the main messages, presentations, and insights from the conference from the following links:
You may also visit the conference website at https://baq-2018.org/