World Bank Highlights Climate and Health Benefits of Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

World Bank3 November 2013: The World Bank has published a report highlighting the climate and health benefits of reducing emissions of common pollutants such as methane and black carbon, and examining 14 measures that contribute towards this objective.

The report, titled 'On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Lives,' discusses the effect on the climate of short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, produced from open fires and diesel engines, as well as methane, released from livestock, landfills and mining operations. It notes that such pollutants, inter alia, cause warming in the Earth's cryosphere and therefore melting in ice-covered regions such as the Himalayas, which result in rising sea levels and droughts in some areas. The report also notes that these pollutants also affect human health, causing over four million deaths annually. It concludes that curbing black carbon and methane emissions will not only protect the cryosphere, it will also protect the health and lives of millions.

The report examines 14 measures to reduce black carbon and methane emissions, underlining that implementing these measures by 2030 would bring multiple health, crop and ecosystem benefits. The measures examined in the report include: ensuring diesel vehicles comply with certain standards; replacing current biofuel cookstoves with forced draft (fan-assisted) stoves; reducing open burning; reducing black carbon emissions from gas flaring at oil fields to best practice levels; capturing methane, or degasification before the mining process; reducing leakage through improved monitoring and repair; and recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion and methane capture for re-use. It then describes the health and climate benefits of these measures for each cryosphere region, including the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Andes and Patagonia, as well as global benefits. [Publication: On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Lives] [World Bank Press Release] [World Bank Feature Story]