I1 Widnes

The city of Widnes (near Liverpool, UK), late 19th century
(source: Hardie, D.W.F., A History of the Chemical Industry in Widnes, ICI Ltd, 1950)

I2 Einhorn

Source: Einhorn Unicorn Presse (USA)

I3 Tract Evelyn

Tract by John Evelyn (1661) (source: www.archive.org)

I4 Femmes Londres I5 Bus Londres
London during the December 1952 smog (source: BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2546563.stm)

I6 Manhattan

aerial view of Manhattan in smog, New York, 1988 (source: Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr, wikipédia)

I7 Policier Londres

London during the December 1952 smog (source: BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2546563.stm)


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1661 geo UK

John Evelyn, an English writer and chronicler, described the state of the air in London in his famous tract "Fumifugium or The Inconvenience of the Aer and Smoak of London Dissipated": "While the air is pure and clear in all other places, here it is eclipsed by such clouds of sulphur that the Sun itself, whose light shines on everywhere else, can barely penetrate and disperse them..."

1667 geo UK Having noticed the poor condition of the Arundel Marbles, John Evelyn pointed to the corrosive effect of acid pollution in London on limestone and marble.
1763 geo france Description of air pollution in Paris by Le Begne de Presles, physician to Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "Paris has a particular atmosphere in all weathers, except during high winds. This atmosphere forms as the air is weighed down by the quantity of corpuscles or exhalations it bears, and whose weight prevents them from rising to any great height: this is what forms the cloud that appears to blanket Paris even in the most serene weather when the city is observed from a certain distance. The fog with its unpleasant odour so frequently experienced in Paris during the autumn and winter, hurts the eyes and the throat and causes coughing and fluxions..."
1810 geo france Imperial Decree (of 15th October 1810) on factories and workshops that release noxious or unpleasant odours.
1827 geo france First description of the climate warming due to the greenhouse effect: the French mathematician and physicist Jean-Baptiste Fourier identifies the capacity of certain gases in the atmosphere to hold back infrared radiation, thus establishing that the atmosphere behaves like the glass of a greenhouse.
1839 geo monde Discovery of ozone by the Swiss-German chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein.
1852 geo UK Robert Angus Smith, a Scottish chemist, makes the first demonstration of the link between acid rain and air pollution in the city of Manchester, for which he was later nicknamed the "father of acid rain".
1860 geo monde Start of surface ozone concentration measurements in several hundred sites.
1872 geo UK Robert Angus Smith publishes his book entitled "Air and Rain: the beginnings of a Chemical Climatology", which includes his analyses of the chemistry of atmospheric rain where the term "acid rain" was used for the first time.
1883 geo france Description of severe air pollution in Lille by A. Ladureau, director of the Laboratoire de l'Etat et de la Station agronomique du Nord, in Annales de la Chimie – Physique:
"The air we breathe in Lille leaves a particular after-taste in the mouth, which is characteristic of the presence of sulphuric acid [...]". It causes "hoarseness, ailments of the throat, local irritation and bronchitis" [...] and corrodes "metallic instruments, curtains, wall coverings and zinc roofing".
1896 geo monde The Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius makes calculations of the greenhouse effect for the first time, analysing the radiative effects of CO2 and the impacts of higher and lower quantities of atmospheric CO2 on temperatures at the Earth's surface. He presents an article to the Stockholm Society of Physics entitled "On the influence of carbonic acid [CO2] in the air on temperatures at the Earth's surface".
1913 geo monde Measurements of ultraviolet radiation formally prove that the largest proportion of ozone is in the stratosphere.
1917 geo france Act of 19 December 1917 on "dangerous, insalubrious and noisome establishments" (which provided the basis for subsequent legislation on listed facilities).
1920 geo monde First quantitative measurements of the atmospheric ozone column.

1930 geo monde An American team from the Frigidaire Corporation, directed by Thomas Midgley, develops a method to produce the first synthetic fluorinated coolants.
  geo france Accident in the Meuse Valley.
Following bad weather conditions, a yellowish fog with a high content of noxious sulphur compounds built up over the Meuse Valley from 1 to 5 December. The fog caused respiratory disorders in over 1000 people that led to some fifty deaths.
1931 geo monde Development of the first CFC, called R12 (CF2Cl2).
1932 geo france Act of 20 April 1932 (Morizet Act) on elimination of industrial smoke emissions, which introduced the atmospheric pollution concept into French legislation for the first time.
1934 geo monde Development of the first HCFC, called R22 (CHF2Cl).
1948  geo usa "Killer smog" episode (smog = smoke + fog, or photochemical pollution) in October in Donora, a small industrial town south of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), in which 18 people died of asphyxiation. Altogether, 6 000 of the town's 14 000 inhabitants were affected by respiratory problems during the five days of smog.
1952 geo UK The "London smog" of 5 to 9 December, when more than 4000 people died in the weeks that followed from toxic effects on the respiratory system.
This was considered to be the worst episode of air pollution in the United Kingdom's history. The intense smog was caused by the very cold weather before the episode coupled with windless anticyclonic conditions, high concentrations of SO2 (seven times higher than in the previous year in the same period), particulate matter and soot from increased coal burning for heating during the severe cold.
1954 geo france Creation of an Interministerial Committee to study atmospheric pollution.
1956 geo monde The Canadian physicist Gilbert Plass predicts that doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would increase surface temperatures by 3.8°C and that halving these concentrations would reduce temperatures by 3.6°C.
  geo UK First Clean Air Act

1957 geo monde Launch of the 1957/58 International Geophysical Year.

  geo monde Global Ozone Observation System (GOOS) set up by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
1958 geo monde Start of systematic measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, in Hawaii (Mauna Loa).
  geo france Creation of the APPA, an association for the prevention of air pollution.
1961 geo france Act n° 61-842 (of 2 August) on the prevention of air pollution and odours
  citepa bd

Creation of CITEPA

1962 geo UK Second severe smog episode in London (6 December): 750 deaths from respiratory problems.
1963 geo usa  First Clean Air Act authorising a national programme for the prevention of air pollution and research on reduction techniques.
1966 geo monde First ozone measurements by satellite.
1967 geo monde Meteorologists Syukuro Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald, Japanese and American respectively, predict that if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were to double by the early 21st century, average temperatures on the Earth's surface would increase by 2.3°C.
  geo usa Air Quality Act providing for strengthened research on emission inventories, monitoring techniques and prevention of air pollution.
1968 drapeau-suede The Swedish scientist Svante Odén concludes that precipitation is becoming more acid in Sweden due to increasing emissions of SO2 from other countries, thus pointing for the first time to the acid rain phenomenon. Odén showed the link between acid rainfall and the acidification of river waters observed in Norway.
  geo monde Creation by the WMO of the Background Air Pollution Monitoring Network (BAPMoN)
1970 geo usa Clean Air Act strengthened to authorise the adoption of Federal and State laws aiming to limit atmospheric emissions from fixed and mobile sources.
1971 geo monde Sector Group on Air Quality Management set up within the OECD Environment Commission.
  geo france Creation of a Ministry of the Environment, with Robert Poujade as its first Minister.
1972 geo monde During the 1st United Nations Conference on the Environment (Stockholm), new evidence of acidification of lake waters in Sweden presented in a case study entitled "Air pollution across national boundaries: the environmental impact of sulphur in the air and in precipitation".
  geo monde Launch by the OECD of a programme on long-range transport of air pollutants, involving 11 member countries (including France).
  drapeau-norvege Launch in Norway of an ambitious research programme (SNFS) on acid rain and its effects on forests and fish.
1974 geo usa Two University of California researchers, Frank Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, prove that CFCs produced by human activities are transported into the stratosphere by convection movements in the air and release free chlorine, which can destroy stratospheric ozone. Article presenting their research results published in the American journal Nature.
  geo france Decree n° 74-415 (of 13 May) on controlling pollutant releases into the air and on certain uses of thermal energy.
1975 geo monde The WMO publishes a scientific statement on "Modification of the ozone layer due to human activities and some possible geophysical consequences". This was the first international alert on the risk of severe depletion of the ozone layer.
1976 geo monde The WMO launches its Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project to provide the first assessment of the state of the ozone layer.
  geo monde Launch of a joint programme for continuous monitoring and assessment of long-distance transport of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP).
  geo france Act n° 76-663 (of 19 July) on facilities listed for environmental protection.

1977 geo monde Meeting of an intergovernmental panel of experts in Washington (USA) organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the WMO, and resulting in the first World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer.
1979 geo monde 1st World Climate Conference organised by the WMO in Geneva and resulting in the WMO's World Climate Programme. The international community, for the first time, addresses the possible effects of human-induced emissions of CO2 on climate and the consequences for human activities.
  geo monde Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (or Geneva Convention) adopted under the aegis of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  geo monde Publication by the OECD of the final report on its long-range transport of air pollutants programme, setting out the relationship between emissions and deposits of sulphur compounds.
1980 geo europe Directive 80/779/EEC on air quality threshold values and guideline values for SO2 and particles in suspension.
  drapeau-norvege Completion of Norway's SNFS research programme, which demonstrates the widespread acidification of Norway's rivers and lakes and the sharp decline of fish stocks in these aquatic environments.
1981 geo france Air Quality Agency (AQA) established.

1982 geo europe Directive 82/884/EEC on setting a threshold value for lead in the air.

1984 geo monde Protocol on financing for the EMEP programme (adopted under the Geneva Convention).
  geo europe Directive 84/360/EEC on controlling air pollution released by industries.
1985 geo monde Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Vienna Convention).

  geo monde 1st Protocol on sulphur (Helsinki Protocol, adopted under the Geneva Convention).
  geo monde Publication of data from a British Antarctic Survey station at Halley Bay, indicating that severe depletion of stratospheric ozone is causing an "ozone hole" to form.
  geo europe Implementation of the European Community CORINAIR programme (CORe INventory of AIR Emissions in Europe) by the European Commission, to help Member states develop coherent, comparable and transparent national emissions inventories.
  geo europe Directive 85/203/EEC on air quality standards for NO2.

1987 geo monde Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances.

  geo monde First edition of air quality guidelines for Europe published by the WMO. The report assesses the health risks of 28 air pollutants.
1988 geo monde Creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  geo monde UN General Assembly Resolution (of 6 December 1988) on protection of the world's climate for humanity's current and future generations, recognising that "climate change is a common concern for mankind" and underlining that "necessary and timely action should be taken to deal with climate change within a global framework".
  geo monde Protocol on NOx (Sofia Protocol, adopted under the Geneva Convention).
  drapeau-suede  Development by Swedish scientists (J. Nilsson and P. Grennfelt) of the "critical load" concept for sulphur and nitrogen to determine and map the scale of acid deposits.
  geo europe Directive 88/609/EEC on Large Combustion Plants.

1989 geo monde International conference on protection of the global atmosphere in the Hague (Netherlands), attended by 24 countries (including France).
  geo monde First ministerial conference on air pollution and climate change. The declaration adopted by the 67 countries represented recognises the need to stabilise, and subsequently reduce, CO2 emissions by implementing a Framework Convention.
  geo monde Merging of the WMO, GO3OS and BAPMoN observation networks to form the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), which monitors the composition of the Earth's atmosphere.
  geo monde Discovery of the first signs of ozone layer depletion above the Arctic.
1990 geo monde 2nd World Conference on climate and the greenhouse effect (Geneva) laying the foundations of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
  geo monde UN General Assembly Resolution (of 21 December 1990) on the creation of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop a framework convention on climate change.
  geo monde 1st IPCC assessment report.

  geo france Creation of the ADEME (Act n° 90-1130).

1991 geo monde Protocol on NMVOC (Geneva Protocol, adopted under the Geneva Convention).
1992 geo monde United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

  geo monde Implementation of the Global Climate Observing System.

  geo monde Creation by UNECE of a Task Force on Emission Inventories.
  geo europe Directive 92/72/EC on ozone pollution of the air.

  geo france Creation of an interministerial task force on the greenhouse effect (MIES).

1994 geo monde 2nd Protocol on sulphur (Oslo Protocol, adopted under the Geneva Convention).
1995 geo monde 2nd IPCC assessment report.

  geo europe Publication of the 1985 CORINAIR inventory (of SO2, NOx and VOC emissions in the European Community in 1985), opening the way to single, regular and consistent inventories across all European countries, a task entrusted to the European Environment Agency (EEA)
  geo france Climate change prevention programme.

1996 geo monde Publication of the 1st EMEP/CORINAIR Guidebook for air emissions inventories.
  geo europe Directive 96/61/EC on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC).

  geo europe Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessments and management.

  geo france Act n° 96-1236 (of 30 December) on air quality and rational energy use.

1997 geo monde Kyoto Protocol

  geo monde Protocol (Annex VI) to the 73/78 MARPOL Convention setting out rules for the prevention of air pollution from shipping.
  geo france Creation of a National Council on Air Quality (CNA)

1998 geo monde Aarhus Protocols on heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POP).
  geo europe EU-15 agreement on the internal distribution of GHG emission reduction efforts to achieve the overall reduction target assigned to the EU as a whole.
  geo france Government Order (of 2 February) on water abstraction and consumption and on emissions of all types from listed facilities subject to emissions authorisations ("integrated" Order).
1999 geo monde Protocol on abating acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone (Gothenburg Protocol, adopted under the Geneva Convention).
  geo europe Directive 1999/13/EC on reducing VOC emissions from the use of organic solvents in certain activities and facilities.
  geo europe Directive 1999/30/EC on establishing ceiling values for SO2, NO2 and NOx, particulate matter and lead.
2000 geo monde Second edition of air quality guidelines for Europe, published by the WMO. The report assesses the health risks of 35 air pollutants.
  geo europe Directive 2000/69/EC on ceiling values for benzene and CO.

  geo france National Climate Change Programme (PNLCC in French).

  geo france Creation of the ATMO Federation as an umbrella organisation for all approved air quality monitoring agencies in France (AASQA).
2001 geo monde Marrakech Accords setting out rules of application of the Kyoto Protocol.

  geo monde 3rd IPCC assessment report.

  geo usa United States withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

  geo europe Directive 2001/80/EC on Large Combustion Plants (or LCP directive).

  geo europe Directive 2001/81/EC on national emission caps (or NEC directive).

  geo europe CAFE programme on "Clean Air For Europe".
  geo france Communication on air pollution policies.
  geo france Observatory on Indoor Air Quality (OQAI) established.

2002 geo europe Directive 2002/3/EC on ozone in ambient air.

  geo europe Strategy for reducing air pollution emissions from shipping.
  geo france Creation of AERES, an association of companies working to reduce the greenhouse effect.
  geo france Government Order (of 24 December) on annual emissions reporting by listed facilities subject to emissions authorisations.
2003 geo monde Protocol on pollutant release and transfer registers (or PRTR protocol), adopted under the Aarhus Convention.
  geo europe Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a system for trade in GHG emission quotas in the EU (now known as the EU ETS directive).
  geo france National programme for reducing air pollutant emissions (SO2, NOx, COV, NH3).
  geo france National air quality plan ("Plan Air").

  geo france Launch of the PREV'AIR system for daily online air quality forecasts and maps produced from digital simulations.
2004 geo europe Launch of the European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER).
  geo europe Directive 2004/107/EC on arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and PAHs.

  geo france National climate plan (Plan Climat) for 2004-2012.

2005 geo monde Kyoto protocol enters into force.

  geo europe Thematic strategy for air pollution.

  geo france Launch of the Ministry of Ecology website for annual emissions reporting (GEREP).
2006 geo monde Record levels of stratospheric ozone destruction above the Antarctic.
  geo france Government Order (of 29 December 2006) on the national inventory system for air pollution emissions (SNIEPA).
2007 geo monde 4th IPCC assessment report.

  geo monde Adoption at COP-13 (Bali, Indonesia) of the "Bali roadmap" for further negotiations to be completed by 2009 and resulting in an international agreement on post-2012 commitments.
  geo europe The European Council meeting of 8-9 March approves the energy/climate targets for 2020 proposed by the Commission, dubbed 3 x 20: a 20% reduction in GHG emissions (baseline 1990), a 20% share of renewables in final gross energy consumption and 20% less primary energy consumption compared to the "business as usual" scenario.
  geo france Appointment of an ambassador for climate change negotiations (Brice Lalonde).
2008 geo europe Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and the CAFE Directive (on "Clean air for Europe").
2009 geo monde Copenhagen Accord.

  geo europe Publication of the European Community texts setting out the climate-energy package.

  geo europe Launch of the European pollutant release and transfer register (E-PRTR).

  geo france First "Grenelle Act" on the environment.

2010 geo monde Cancún Accords.

  geo europe Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions (reworking of the IPPC).

  geo france Second "Grenelle Act".

  geo france Plan for particulate emissions.

2011 geo europe Roadmap for a low-carbon Europe by 2050.

  geo france First national convention on air quality (in Paris)

  geo france Decree n° 2011-678 (of 16 June 2011) on regional climate, air quality and energy plans.
  geo france Decree n° 2011-788 (of 11 July 2011) on GHG emission assessments and regional climate and energy plans.
  geo france Government Order (of 24 August 2011) on the national system for air emissions inventories and assessments (SNIEBA)
  geo france citepa bd 50th anniversary of the CITEPA

  geo monde The "Durban package" (UNFCCC)

2012 geo monde Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) established. Mission: speed up action to reduce emissions of short-lived climate forcers (SLCF).
  geo monde Gothenburg Protocol amended.

  geo france Environment conference resulting in a roadmap for ecological transition.
  geo france Committee on ecological taxation set up.

  geo monde Aarhus Protocol on heavy metals amended.

  geo monde Doha climate gateway.

2013 geo europe European Air Quality Year.
  geo monde Adoption of the International Minamata Convention on mercury.

  geo france Emergency air quality plan adopted by the Interministerial Committee on Air Quality (CIQA).
  geo france 2nd Environment Conference (with several quantified climate and energy targets set or proposed by the French President).
  geo france Second national convention on air quality (in Paris).
  geo monde Outdoor air pollutants classified as carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  geo europe EU Air Quality Package for 2030 presented by the European Commission.
geo monde 5th IPCC assessment report.
2014 geo europe EU Climate and Energy Package for the 2020-30 period presented by the European Commission.
  geo monde The World Health Organisation published new estimates on premature mortality linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution : in total, 3.7 million deaths worldwide in 2012
  geo monde Climate Leaders' Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in New York with a view to catalysing and galvanising political will at the highest level in advance of COP-21
  geo monde The first World Summit of Regions for Climate was held in Paris. The aim of the Summit was to generate momentum via a bottom-up approach mobilising regions ahead of the COP-21
  geo europe The European Council (Heads of State and Government of the 28 Member States) approved the targets, principles and outlines of the 2030 climate-energy policy framework
  geo france 3rd National Environment Conference focusing on three issues : national mobilisation for COP-21 on climate issues ; sustainable transport and mobility ; and environment and health
  geo monde Joint statement issued by Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Xi Jinping of China on their post-2020 targets and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  geo monde 20th Conference of the Parties (COP-20) to the Climate Convention in Lima, Peru. In total, 32 decisions were adopted, of which the Lima Call for Climate Action
 2015 geo monde A formal draft negotiating text was adopted under the UNFCCC climate negotiations with a view to reaching a global universal binding climate agreement at COP-21
  geo monde The World Meteorological Organisation announced that global average monthly CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere exceeded the threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in March 2015
  geo monde Business and Climate Week held in Paris, including the Business and Climate Summit (20-21 May) to prepare for COP-21
  geo france The National Air Council was revived and the French Environment Minister presented an Air Quality Action Plan
  geo monde "World Summit on Climate and Territories – Non-State actors' Dialogue and Proposals", held in Lyon (France)
  geo monde International scientific conference "Our common future under climate change" held in Paris, organised by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as part of the preparations for COP-21
  geo france Act n°2015-992 of 17 August 2015 on Energy Transition for Green Growth was published in the French Official Journal
  geo france National Day for Air Quality (25 September)
  geo monde 2nd bilateral statement on climate issued by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping
  geo france Action Plan to improve Air Quality presented by the French Environment Minister
  geo france The French National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC) and the first three carbon budgets for the periods 2015-2018, 2019-2023 and 2024-2028) were adopted (under the new Energy Transition Act)
  geo monde 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the Climate Convention (UNFCCC) held in Le Bourget (near Paris), at the close of which the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted
 2016 geo monde 3rd bilateral statement on climate issued by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping 
  geo monde The official period for signing the Paris Agreement was opened (22 April to 21 April 2017)
  geo france 4th National Environment Conference focusing inter alia on green investments and greenhouse gas emission balances
  geo monde The official period for signing the Paris Agreement was opened (22 April to 21 April 2017)
  geo monde 1st meeting of the new ad hoc Working Group under the Paris Agreement (known as APA), tasked with preparing its entry into force (established by Decision 1/CP.21)
  geo monde 2nd Business and Climate Summit, held in London
  geo europe The European Commission presented a legislative and policy package aimed at accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2021 and 2030 in sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) : transports, residential/commercial, agriculture, waste treatment, land-use/land-use change/forestry (LULUCF). The key element of this package is a proposal for a regulation to share the reduction effort amongst the 28 Member States in these non ETS sectors
  geo monde The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) published the report "Towards Clean Air: A scientific assessment report 2016" which summarises current scientific knowledge on long-distance transboundary air pollution issues in the UNECE region and describes how effective measures to reduce pollutant emissions are
  geo monde Act n°2016-786 of 15 June 2016 authorising France to ratify the Paris Agreement was published in the French Official Journal


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