Despite recent efforts to limit the growth of SO2 emissions in Asia, the negative environmental effects of sulphur emissions are likely to further increase in the future. This paper presents an extension of the RAINS-Asia integrated assessment model for acidification in Asia with an optimisation routine that can be used to identify cost-effective emission control strategies that achieve environmental targets for ambient SO2 concentrations and sulphur deposition at least costs. Example scenarios developed with this optimisation module demonstrate a potential for significant cost savings in Asia, if emission controls are allocated to those sources that have the largest environmental impact and are cheapest to control. It is shown that strategies that simultaneously address harmful population exposure and the risk of vegetation damage from acid deposition result in the most cost-effective use of resources spent for emission controls. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.