Black Carbon and Its Implications for Climate Change and Public Health 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 09 Nov 2010 15:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing on black carbon, a component of soot, a leading cause of mortality in the developing world, and a contributor to global climate change. The largest sources of black carbon emissions are diesel engines, residential heating and cooking, and open burning of agricultural lands and forests. Black carbon contributes to climate change in two basic ways: by absorbing sunlight in the atmosphere and, subsequently, by falling from the atmosphere onto snow and ice - causing these normally-reflective surfaces to absorb more heat and melt more quickly. Biomass burned in open fires and crude cooking stoves also leads to extremely high individual exposures to smoke - of which black carbon is a major component—and is a serious health threat for women and children in the developing world. This briefing will provide an overview of how black carbon impacts public health and the climate (and how the effects vary regionally) as well as technologies, current initiatives, and policy opportunities to reduce these emissions from cookstoves, the transportation sector, and forestry and agriculture. Speakers for this event include:

  • Ben DeAngelo, Senior Analyst for Climate Change Science and Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Co-chair, Task Force on Short-Lived Climate Forcers, Arctic Council
  • Conrad Schneider, Advocacy Director, Clean Air Task Force
  • Jacob Moss, Senior Advisor, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (and informal technical advisor to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves)

Black carbon is a significant contributor to climate change, and yet it remains in the atmosphere for only days at a time (compared to more than 100 years for carbon dioxide). According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution from burning solid fuel is responsible for 1.6 million deaths annually, and is one of the fourth worst overall health risk factors in poor countries. Many measures to reduce black carbon emissions have been called “no regrets” strategies due to their co-benefits for climate change mitigation and improved public health. In addition, some black carbon reduction strategies also reduce ozone precursors and methane, magnifying the health and climate benefits even further.

Black Carbon and Global Warming

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Oct 2007 14:00:00 GMT

On October 18, the Committee will hold a hearing to examine the role of black carbon as a factor in climate change and receive testimony from experts regarding its global and regional impacts, its sources, and the risks it raises for public health.

  • Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, Prof. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University
  • Dr. Tami C. Bond, Asst. Prof. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Dr. V. Ramanathan, Prof. of Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of San Diego
  • Dr. Charles Zender, Assoc. Prof. of Earth System Science, University of California at Irvine.
  • Dr. Joel Schwartz, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology, Harvard University