Dangerous Sea Level Rise Imminent Without Large Reductions of Black Carbon and Implementation of Other Fast-Action Mitigation Strategies
Poznan Panel of Experts Discuss Importance of Black Carbon, the Montreal Protocol, Biochar, and Methane as Part of Global Climate Strategy
“As we continue to reduce sulfur emissions around the world for health reasons, we are unmasking additional warming that is bringing us closer and closer to tipping points like the meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet,” said Dr. Held. “In order to avoid a large jump in temperature and in turn avoid the devastating effects of sea level rise, we need to act quickly to reduce black carbon emissions in coordination with sulfur.”
“Black carbon is extremely bad news because it contributes to climate change in two ways: it absorbs heat from above and contributes to warming, but then as it falls on snow and ice it darkens the ground and reduces the albedo, or reflective ability,” said
Zaelke emphasized that although the current situation is dire, using these fast-action measures can still save the world from passing the tipping points. As the world’s best environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol was brought into the discussion because of its track record of mitigating climate emissions by 135 billion tonnes of CO2-eq (many times more than the Kyoto Protocol) and effectively delaying climate change by up to 12 years. With its continued success in regulating ozone-depleting substances for both ozone and climate benefits, the Montreal Protocol can serve as an important model for climate.
“Since the creation of the Montreal Protocol, the Parties have been conscious of the potential effects of these ozone-depleting substances on climate, but now they have openly accepted their responsibility to protect climate, with the historic agreement to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs in
This sentiment was echoed by
Andrew Yatilman, Head of Delegation for the Federated States of
“One clear way to move the climate negotiations forward is to focus some attention on trust and confidence building through concrete actions and decisions during this COP and this year,” said
Another key piece of the fast-action strategy is an emerging technology called biochar, which refers to a charcoal-like substance sustainably produced from biomass, that has the ability to permanently sequester significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere in soil.
“Biochar is one of the most promising carbon-negative technologies available,” said
Although methane’s contribution to climate change is not a new issue, recent increases in temperature could drive up methane emissions significantly. Importantly, like black carbon, methane is a short-lived climate forcer, making its reductions an ideal way to benefit climate in the near-term, while at the same time improving air quality and reducing mortality rates.
“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and currently accounts for 18 percent of radiative forcing,” said
The key message from the panel was summed up by
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SOURCE Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development