This report investigates air quality, health and crop production impacts in the Danube region for two types of air pollutant emission scenarios:
1. A modal shift in freight transport scenarios for inland waterways and road modes only, which includes a reference scenario and a scenario in which we increase the inland waterways freight transport in the Danube region by 20%; this is complemented by a fictitious modal shift scenario in which 50% of the road freight transport is assumed to shift to inland waterways. The pollutant emissions for these scenarios are based on JRC’s global pollutant and greenhouse gas emission database EDGAR.
2. Climate mitigation scenarios, developed in a framework of identifying climate-efficient air quality controls with optimal climate benefits at a global scale focusing on the impact of shorter-lived pollutants which directly or indirectly influence the climate. The pollutant emissions for the latter scenarios are available as a public dataset from the FP5 ECLIPSE research project.
For both analyses, the pollutant emission scenarios are analysed with JRC’s global reduced-form air quality model TM5-FASST, which provides pollutant concentrations and their associated impacts on human health and agricultural crop production losses.
The modal shift scenario analysis indicates that a 20% increase of present day inland waterway transport (without a modification in road freight transport) has a negligible impact on air quality in the Danube countries. One extreme scenario case whereby road freight transport is assumed to use modern, low-emission trucks, 50% of which moves to waterway transport with current cargo ships, leads to a net deterioration of air quality with potentially an increase of annual premature mortalities in the Danube region with about 300. The opposite extreme case, assuming the 50% road freight shift to waterways is exclusively with old-type high-emission heavy duty vehicles, leads to a net effect of the same magnitude but opposite sign, i.e. a net improvement of air quality with a decrease in annual premature mortalities of about 300.
The analysis of the ECLIPSE climate mitigation scenarios (both greenhouse gases and short-lived pollutants) focusing on the Danube basin region suggests a maximum potential decrease in annual air pollution-induced mortalities, relative to a current air quality legislation scenario without climate mitigation of 40000 by 2050. The corresponding reduction in crop losses in the area is estimated to be a combined total of 3.7 MTonnes/year in 2050 for wheat, maize, rice and soy beans.