Policy Action

Policy Action

The road towards reduced emission of black carbon include applying the best available technologies and practices, developing new technologies, and ensuring that the policy context provides incentives for action.

The road towards reduced emission of black carbon include applying the best available technologies and practices, developing new technologies, and ensuring that the policy context provides incentives for action.

The role of black carbon for climate change is a relatively new policy issue while concern about emissions have a longer history in relation to regulation of air pollution. Policy processes include high-level political statements as well as commitments to reduce emission, and national and international efforts support new technologies and practices.

A major forum for international policy discussions related to black carbon in the Arctic is the Arctic Council. Forums that work with a broader international focus are the UN-ECE Convention of Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) with its Gothenburg Protocol, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

One task in the Black Carbon Action is to produce a roadmap for international cooperation on black carbon where the aim is to secure that new data and insights feed into in relevant policy initiatives in a timely manner.

Arctic Council

At the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks in May 2017, member states (Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) committed to a Framework on Action with a target to limit emission of black carbon between 25 and 33 percent below 2013 levels by 2025. The recommendation was based on the Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, which prepares a “Summary of Progress and Recommendations” once every two-year cycle of the Arctic Council chairmanship.

The AMAP Working Group under the Council has an Expert Group on short-lived climate pollutants, which prepares scientific assessments and summaries for policy makers of the latest scientific information. The most recent report is AMAP Assessment 2015: Black carbon and ozone as Arctic climate forcers.

The ACAP Working Group has developed a Black Carbon Case Studies Platform to facilitate sharing of insights and best practices across the region. ACAP has also published the report Reduction of Black Carbon Emissions from Residential Wood Combustion in the Arctic. Black Carbon Inventory, Abatement Instruments and Measures.

Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)

CLRTAP gathers parties from Europe and North America to develop policies and strategies to cut emissions of air pollutants. Among its different processes are negotiations related to its Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozon. The Gothenburg Protocol to CLRTAP, as amended in 2012, calls for Parties to voluntarily submit black carbon emissions inventories and projections using guidelines developed by the CLRTAP Task Force on Emission Inventories and Projections. The Gothenburg Protocol also includes attention to small particles, so-called PM2.5. Because black carbon occurs as small particles, efforts to reduce PM2.5 would also bring down emissions of black carbon. An important aim of the Black Carbon Action is to support CLRTAP by providing data for emission inventories and scenarios.

The Black Carbon Action will engage with the CLRTAP Working Group on Strategies and Review (WGSR), which evaluates scientific and technical activities relating to the CLRTAP protocols, negotiates amendments and drafts new protocols, promotes technology exchange, and drafts proposals for strategic development in the framework of the CLRAT. The Action also engages with the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), which is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the long-range transport of air pollutants with the aid of emission inventories, measurements and model calculations, and the CLRTAP Working Group on Effects (WGE).

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

UNFCCC is the major forum for international political cooperation to reduce climate change. Black carbon is not covered by current commitments under the UNFCCC but has more recently received attention.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The IMO works with regulations to reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from shipping. Within this context, it has initiated investigations of the role of black carbon from shipping and potential abatement technologies to reduce emissions.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. It was started in 2012 based on the premise that measures targeting of short-lived climate pollutants could achieve “win-win” results for the climate, air quality, and human wellbeing over a relatively short timeframe.