UNEP Introduces Study on Inter-Linkages of Climate Change and POPs

7 December 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), released a preview of the findings of a study titled "Climate Change and POPs Inter-Linkages," during the Cancun Climate Change Conference, convening in Mexico.

The study represents the first systematic review of the impact of climate change on the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) into the environment, their long range transport, environmental fate, and human and environment exposure. It finds that climate change increases the planet's vulnerability to POPs. More specifically, climate change is found to increase the bioavailability of POPs, thereby increasing biomagnification of POPs in the food chain. In addition, climate change leads to more frequent extreme weather events, which can cause severe flooding, triggering the secondary emissions of POPs through the inundation of agricultural lands and POPs storage sites.

The study also identifies key knowledge gaps, including the lack of long-term monitoring data to evaluate the impact of climate change on changing POP emissions and concentrations. It also underlines the need for improved coordination between policy makers who address climate change and those who address the management of POPs both domestically and internationally. The full study will be presented to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) to the Stockholm Convention, scheduled to convene in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2011. [UNEP Press Release] [Stockholm Convention Press Release]