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Title: New Directions: GEIA’s 2020 Vision for Better Air Emissions Information

We are witnessing a crucial change in how we quantify and understand emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, with an increasing demand for science-based transparent emissions information produced by robust community efforts. Today’s scientific capabilities, with near-real-time in-situ and remote sensing observations combined with forward and inverse models and a better understanding of the controlling processes, are contributing to this transformation and providing new approaches to derive, verify, and forecast emissions (Tong et al., 2011; Frost et al., 2012) and to quantify their impacts on the environment (e.g., Bond et al., 2013). At the same time, the needs for emissions information and the demands for their accuracy and consistency have grown. Changing economies, demographics, agricultural practices, and energy sources, along with mandates to evaluate emissions mitigation efforts, demonstrate compliance with legislation, and verify treaties, are leading to new challenges in emissions understanding. To quote NOAA Senior Technical Scientist David Fahey, "We are in the Century of Accountability. Emissions information is critical not only for environmental science and decision-making, but also as an instrument of foreign policy and international diplomacy." Emissions quantification represents a key step in explaining observed variability and trends in atmospheric composition and in attributing these observedmore » changes to their causes. Accurate emissions data are necessary to identify feasible controls that reduce adverse impacts associated with air quality and climate and to track the success of implemented policies. To progress further, the international community must improve the understanding of drivers and contributing factors to emissions, and it must strengthen connections among and within different scientific disciplines that characterize our environment and entities that protect the environment and influence further emissions. The Global Emissions InitiAtive, GEIA (, is a center for emissions information exchange and competence building created in 1990 in response to the need for high quality global emissions data (Graedel et al., 1993). While the past two decades have seen considerable progress in developing, improving and assessing emission estimates, emissions continue to be a major contributor to overall uncertainty in atmospheric model simulations. Moving forward, GEIA aims to help build emissions knowledge in a rapidly evolving society by: 1) enhancing understanding, quantification, and analysis of emissions processes; 2) improving access to emissions information; and 3) strengthening the community of emissions groups involved in research, assessment, operations, regulation and policy.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Environment, 81(78):710-712
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States