Air Quality and Global Climate Change
Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD), COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) hosted Dr. Mark Hildebrandt, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Southern Illinois Edwardsville, USA, for a talk titled, “Air Quality and Global Climate Change”, followed by a discussion on joint collaboration potential on air quality management in Pakistan. The event was held on Friday, 11 January 2019 at the Meteorology Department, CUI. Participation from the CCRD and Met Department faculty and students provided insights into the challenges and opportunities with regard to worsening air quality across Pakistan. Mr. Hassaan Sipra, Scientific Officer at CCRD, provided a brief presentation of CCRD’s accomplishments.
Dr. Hildebrandt, currently in Pakistan as a Fulbright Specialist, described the sophistication of the climate models as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, particularly noting the increasing accuracy between 1990 and now. He further related these changes to the current environment of climate denialism that has gripped the US, stating that the American involvement in climate action would only reduce global warming by 0.1oC. He linked climate change to air pollution, adding that greenhouse gases are also general pollutants; focusing on how improvements in one can yield improvements in the other.
Next, Dr. Hildebrandt described his experiences with air quality monitoring as a Fulbright representative in Nepal, highlighting his contributions to source apportionment and vehicular emissions standards. The CCRD and Met Department teams further described their work on air pollution and sought Dr. Hildebrandt’s expertise in jointly developing projects for air quality monitoring in Pakistan, sorely needed to establish a baseline of national air pollution. He articulate the need for a central organization for generating and maintaining such data, and honed in its accessibility as a measure for raising awareness and developing scientific consensus on air quality targets.
The CUI network of seven campuses across Pakistan was described as an exceptional platform for launching such an initiative, and Dr. Hildebrandt expressed interest in moving forward with a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly establish research, as well as engage faculty and students to generate scientific outputs to inform policy makers and the general public of this public health emergency.
Prof. Dr. Athar Hussain, Head, CCRD, presented a souvenir to the guest speaker after a vote of thanks.
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