International Workshop

Towards Robust European Air Pollution Policies:

Constraints and Prospects for a wider dialogue between scientists, experts, decision-makers and citizens

5-7 October 2005, Göteborg, Sweden

Organised by the Swedish ASTA programme (International and National Abatement Strategies for Transboundary Air Pollution) and the EU ACCENT Network of Excellence


The workshop report - Download (pdf)


Science - Policy interactions within CLRTAP

Keith Bull, UNECE

How to use science in policy development for CAFE

André Zuber, European Commission

Risk communication in post trust societies

Ragnar E. Lofstedt, Centre for Risk Management, King's College London

Assessment and Policy Making: Lessons across Cases

Stacy VanDeveer, University of New Hampshire

How to communicate complicated scientific problems

Rob Maas, The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

The role of science and public awareness for air pollution policies in Europe

Christer Ĺgren, The Swedish NGO Secretariat on Acid Rain

The science and politics in the East Asian transboundary air pollution

Atsushi Ishii, Tohoku University

The roles for public participation in the generation of robust knowledge about urban air quality in Europe

Steven Yearley. Stockholm Environmental Institute at York and Department of Sociology, York University

Experiences from the ASTA project

Göran Sundqvist, Section for Science and Technology Studies, Göteborg University

Experiences from the ASTA project

Peringe Grennfelt, Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Research-policy communication in ACCENT the European network for atmospheric composition change research

Frank Raes, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, ACCENT Network of Excellence

Climate Change research

Merle Jacobs, Linköping University


Abstracts and papers

Reflections on EU politics and ’postmodern’ science: Making energy policy by emission regulation? Updated! 

Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

How to communicate complex problems

Rob Maas

Roles for public participation in the generation of robust knowledge about urban air quality in Europe: making models more robust through public engagement

Steven Yearley

Download The agenda (pdf)


The international regulation of transboundary air pollution in Europe is often considered a success story. The success is usually explained by a close relationship between scientists and policy makers. Since the end of the 1970s, knowledge production and policy development have been jointly organized primarily within the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). A culture has evolved through which science has supported policy development. Its development – abatement strategies based on ecosystem sensitivity and cost efficiency – had implied a growing scientific dependency and the recent agreements (The Gothenburg Protocol and the National Emissions Ceilings Directive) are characterised as the most sophisticated international environmental agreements ever signed.

When looking into other international environmental areas (e.g. climate change, marine pollution), there have generally been larger obstacles in the science-policy relationships. Why the relation is more successful in some areas and less in others is not yet well understood.

The European arena on air pollution is also changing. Parallel to the development of CLRTAP, the European Commission is now developing its own air pollution policy. The launch of the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Programme of the European Commission in 2001 marks a significant shift in European responsibilities. This new situation may give new possibilities but also new risks in the science-policy interaction.

The air quality situation in parts of Europe has improved substantially and, even if significant effects still are at hand, it may be hard to motivate politicians to decide on substantial further emission reductions. The media attention has also decreased, and the European Commission as well as CLRTAP try to counteract this trend. Within both these institutional settings there is a growing awareness about the need to strengthen the relations between different actors and to improve the scientific support to the policy process.

In order to further evaluate the situation and discuss possible ways for science to support policy development and public awareness, a workshop will be organised in Göteborg 5-7 October 2005.

Aims of the workshop

The main objective of the workshop is to

  • Review to what extent it is possible to identify those factors that have made the science-policy interaction and the policy process successful in the field of air pollution.
  • Explore to what extent these factors are general and can be applied in the future and to other environmental areas.
  • Give recommendations on how to reach a socially robust involvement of science and stakeholders in the development of environmental (air pollution) policies.
  • Identify areas where social science can contribute to the further support of environmental policy formation.

Working group themes

Each working group will be lead by a chairman and a rapporteur, and participants are welcomed to present shorter papers. Workshop discussions will be summarised in short statements that will be included in the workshop proceedings.

  • Theme 1 Science-policy interactions: Are robust relations between experts, politicians and stakeholders reachable? What is characterizing such interactions? To what degree is today’s interaction in European air policy work robust and in what way should it be improved?
  • Theme 2 Lessons from other policy areas: How are science-policy interactions organised in other environmental policy areas, and to what extent have they been successful? What can be learned from these areas and how could the air policy field contribute in order to inspire other fields? What are the differences and similarities between air policy and climate change?
  • Theme 3 Stakeholder communication: How to increase interest in air quality issues? How to make air pollution policies meaningful and relevant for stakeholders? What communication strategies are used in European air policy work? New prospects?
  • Theme 4 Contributions from social science: Which roles could social science have in European air policy work? What are the possible benefits and what are the costs of including social science in air policy work? Should the role of social science be strengthened, and in that case, in what ways?

Organisation of the workshop

The workshop will be held in the city of Göteborg, at Novotel. It starts 5 October 2005 at 13:00 and finish 7 October at 13:00. The meeting will consist of about 50 invited participants, representing social science, relevant expertise from natural science, political bodies and NGOs. Plenary sessions with keynote presentations are combined with group discussions on thematic issues. Accommodation and meals (breakfasts and lunches) amounts to approx. 110 Euro per day. All additional costs will be covered by the organisers.

Please contact the hotel, Novotel, at +46 (0)31 720 22 20, to book hotel rooms! Please just refer to the reservation number: 10271 !


Conference proceedings will be published, including keynote presentations and summaries from group discussions. Some of the contributions from social scientists are planned to be published in an edited volume at an international publishing house.

Organizing Committee

Rolf Lidskog, Man-Technology-Environment Research Centre, Örebro University

Frank Raes, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, ACCENT Network of Excellence

Göran Sundqvist, Section for Science and Technology Studies, Göteborg University

Lars Lindau, Swedish Environmental Agency, Stockholm

Peringe Grennfelt, Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Göteborg


To ASTA web page                   

If you have any questions please contact Jenny Arnell