Publication: Black Carbon and Climate Change : Considerations for International Development Agencies

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Levitsky, Michael
This report is intended to inform the international development community about the links between black (BC) carbon and climate change. With growing scientific clarity on the contribution of black carbon to climate change, the benefits of limiting its emissions are becoming more evident. This report reviews the existing knowledge on the subject and identifies relevant considerations for development organizations. Climate modeling shows that a large reduction in the global amounts of BC emissions, without changes in emissions of organic carbon, will lead to a sharp onetime decrease in the warming influence of human activities. A rapid reduction in BC emissions has thus been proposed as a way to partially offset the projected increase in temperatures in coming decades. This will not solve the long-term problem of climate change, which is caused by the greenhouse gas (GHGs), but it could extend the limited time that is available to reduce emissions of GHGs aggressively, before global temperatures reach dangerous levels. Proposals to reduce BC emissions also often address the need to reduce emissions of several other short-lived gases (such as ozone) that are mostly not covered by the Kyoto Protocol. This paper is designed to inform development agencies, in a brief, simplified, and non-technical manner, about the links between BC and climate change, and how these could relate to development policy. The paper describes: (a) what is known about the impact of BC and related aerosols on climate, (b) the sources and importance of BC emissions, (c) possible actions and policies to mitigate emissions, and (d) considerations for agencies in light of these issues.
Levitsky, Michael. 2011. Black Carbon and Climate Change : Considerations for International Development Agencies. Environment department papers;no. 112. Climate change series. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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