Scientific achievements in 2013

The Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program develops a systems perspective of the interactions between anthropogenic activities, emission control measures, economic impacts, their effects on health, vegetation, ecosystems, and climate, and how they interact across different spatial and temporal scales.

Air pollution over India © NASA

Air pollution over India

All aspects of this systems perspective - their interactions across different spatial and temporal scales - are fed into a common framework, the "Greenhouse gas – Air pollution Interactions and Synergies" (GAINS) model.

A variety of systems methods are used to identify concrete measures that yield multiple benefits for local and global policy objectives. 

Potential benefits from an integrated systems perspective on air quality management and greenhouse gas mitigation in recent years were identified and highlighted for focus in 2013, and MAG’s work proceeded along five lines:

  • new dimensions of interactions emerging from upcoming scientific findings,
  • documentation and publication of new aspects of co-benefits in scientific journals,
  • scientific peer review of MAG’s work over the last five years,
  • extension of the GAINS co-benefits assessment tool to global coverage, in close collaboration with a wide network of scientists from National Member Organization (NMO) countries, and
  • practical input to policy processes. 

MAG's scientists are drawn from numerous IIASA member countries and a large network of external collaborators.

Advancing scientific understanding

To strengthen the scientific understanding of the physical basis for win-win options for development, air quality and climate change, the Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program contributed to a number of scientific assessments that were finalized in 2013, including a major assessment on black carbon. More

A global perspective on air pollution

In 2013, the Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program achieved global coverage of its GAINS (Greenhouse gas – Air pollution Interactions and Synergies) tool for the systematic assessment of co-benefits strategies, in close collaboration with a large number of national teams. More

A wider perspective on potential co-benefits

In a review paper, developed in cooperation with colleagues from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies of Japan, scientists of the Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program argued that a multidisciplinary approach, involving the interplay with other policy objectives beyond air quality and climate, is needed to bring policies into line with current research on co-benefits. More

The importance of governance

New global emission scenarios enable a fresh perspective on air pollution trends in different world regions, and in particular on the importance of proper governance for future air quality. More

Integrating physical and socio-economic modeling

In collaboration with IIASA’s Population Program, the Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program produced an innovative model of the interactions between population dynamics, economic growth and investments into environmental protection and the consequences on human well-being. More

Lower mercury emissions from low carbon strategies

The Mitigation of Air Pollution & Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program has extended its GAINS model to the assessment of mercury (Hg), which is associated with negative impacts on human health. More

Nitrogen management offers potential for win-win solutions

The Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program contributed to papers that highlight how the global nitrogen cycle could change in the 21st century and the extent to which this is reflected in the current set of global emission scenarios. More

Population exposure: From hemispheric pollution to air quality in street canyons

By combining monitoring data with results from atmospheric chemistry and dispersion models at different scales, the Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) Program has developed a new methodology that apportions PM10 and NO2 monitored at street canyon stations to emission sources at the different scales of origin. More


The satellite photograph shows air pollution to be a severe and persistent problem at the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. The haze and pollution back up against the mountains and remain for weeks at a time, posing a severe health hazard. The pollution comes from inefficient wood and dung-fueled heating and cooking devices, as well as forest fires and industrial and urban pollution (abridged from original NASA text).

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Last edited: 30 June 2015

EC4MACS: Reducing air pollution, minimizing climate change

Options Summer 2013

Further information



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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