In the autumn of 1967 – 50 years ago – the acid rain problem was first made aware for the general public. It all started with an article published in the Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter written by the Swedish agricultural scientist Svante Odén. In the article he alarmed about a large scale ongoing acidification of precipitation and surface waters caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide. The article received immediate political interest and acid rain became from that an international issue of high priority.
The acid rain was during the following decades one of the most discussed environmental problems in Europe and North America. It formed top stories in newspapers and magazines and was breaking news in television and broadcasting. It also became the basis for intense scientific research on causes and effects, not only on acid deposition but also on related transboundary air pollution problems. It also formed the basis for determined actions from the political side including the UN ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution in 1979. Thanks to these actions, emissions of acidifying pollutants have been drastically reduced and the negative development of effects has halted.
In order to manifest the fifty years of scientific and policy development, a Symposium was organised in Stockholm 6-7 November. The symposium was held at the Swedish Academy of Forestry and Agriculture and attended by 70 scientists and policymakers, representing the 50 years’ history. The Symposium paid both attention to the early discoveries and the scientific and policy development. It involved a number of speakers, that have been central for the scientific and policy development. It also included a session on present policies future challenges, at which the Swedish Minister of Environment Karolina Skog attended. The Symposium was supported by a number of Norwegian and Swedish organisations together with the Nordic Council of Ministers.
For the organisers