News

UNEP, WMO Release Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone Assessment

14 June 2011: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have released a publication titled “Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone.” The report suggests that fast action on pollutants including black carbon, ground level ozone and methane may help limit near term global temperature rise.

The report, which was released on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference June 2011, convening in Bonn, Germany, predicts that fast action might also reduce losses of mountain glaciers linked in part with black carbon deposits, as well as projected warming in the Arctic over the coming decades. According to the report, cutting these so-called 'short-lived climate forcers' can have immediate benefits, because unlike carbon dioxide which can remain in the atmosphere for centuries, black carbon only persists for days or weeks.

In addition to climate change benefits, the report also explores public health and food security opportunities. It highlights that significant cuts in emissions of black carbon will improve respiratory health and reduce hospital admissions and days lost at work due to sickness. It further emphasizes that significant reductions in ground level ozone could contribute to reduced crop damage, specifically, global maize, rice, soybean and wheat production.

UNEP has also reported that the Government of Sweden has announced its support for a comprehensive policy assessment to assist governments on the next steps towards fast action on short lived climate forcers. The work will be coordinated by UNEP and is expected to be completed by December 2012. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone]