From RAINS to GAINS and international legislation

The RAINS model was a "pioneer" international negotiations on air pollution, gave non-technical users like diplomats the confidence that they were negotiating on a level playing field. Its successor GAINS does the same, but on a much greater scale.

RAINS  – now GAINS –  played an important role in the passing of international legislation to curb air pollution. Many scientific and technical participants in international negotiations were not only confident in the expertise and non-partisanship behind the IIASA RAINS model, but believed that it provided a level playing field for negotiators, where information and knowledge were afforded to all negotiating parties on an open and transparent basis. 

RAINS was expanded and developed to become the GAINS model of today. Just for the record, however, here briefly are the main instruments negotiated on the basis of IIASA's groundbreaking RAINS model:

1983: Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)
Air pollution is not generated by all countries equally. Nor does it only affect those who generate it, with prevailing winds blowing soot and other harmful substances across "artificial" state boundaries to be deposited in places that might otherwise be pollution-free. Negotiations began in 1979 and CLRTAP entered into force in 1983; it has been extended by eight specific protocols.

1994: Second Sulfur Protocol
The RAINS model, used in "optimization mode," was used extensively during the negotiation process for CLTAP's Second Sulfur Protocol, signed in 1994, to elaborate effect-based emission control strategies.

1999: Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone
The Protocol, signed in Gothenburg (Sweden) on 30 November 1999, set emission ceilings for 2010 for four pollutants: sulfur, NOX, VOCs, and ammonia. It was negotiated on the basis of scientific assessments of pollution effects and abatement options carried out by IIASA using RAINS. 

2001: Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Program 

The RAINS model was used as the central model used in CAFE, a program launched by the European Commission in 2001 to review current air quality policies and assessing progress towards attainment of the European Union's long-term air quality objectives, as laid down in the Sixth Environment Action Programme.The CAFE program deals with fine particles and ground-level ozone, both because of their serious effects on health and the enormous efforts required to bring their concentrations down to acceptable levels.

Other outstanding air pollutant problems, such as acidification and eutrophication, were also given high attention under CAFE.

2010: Revisions to the Gothenburg Protocol using GAINS. 

In 2010 CLTAP  officially designated IIASA as its Centre for Integrated Assessment Modelling, negotiated the revision of the Gothenburg Protocol based on calculations using the GAINS model.

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Last edited: 19 July 2013

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