Short Lived Climate Forcers and Contaminants (SLCFC). Project Steering Group. Terms of Reference. Circumpolar Project Proposal Focusing on Black Carbon. Emission Reduction Projects. September 2010.
Arctic Council Task Force for Short-Lived Climate Forcers
"Black carbon is composed of fine particles that are produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood, crop waste and other biomass, and refuse. Fine particles (known as PM2.5), of which black carbon is one constituent, have well known and significant adverse impacts on human health. Many governments have taken action to reduce emissions of particles on the grounds of health impact alone. In addition to the human health impacts, black carbon also has a significant impact on the environment, in particular in the Arctic. Black carbon is one of several Short Lived Climate Forcers (“SLCF”) that includes substances such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and methane. Strong evidence indicates that black carbon contributes to climate change by warming the atmosphere and by darkening the surface of snow and ice, speeding melting. Therefore, action to reduce emissions of black carbon that transport to areas such as the Arctic have the potential to result in near-term slowing of glacial ￼ melt. Recent studies suggest that black carbon is responsible for observed warming in the Arctic. Unlike long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, black carbon’s warming effects are short-lived, and therefore reductions in emissions will help mitigate Arctic warming in the near term. Action on black carbon would complement long-term CO2 mitigation, help reduce the localized albedo effect that is speeding melting of Arctic ice, and result in localized improvements in human health among indigenous peoples and Arctic populations. The topic of black carbon and other short-lived climate forcers was extensively discussed at the last Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, held April 20, 2009 in Tromsø, Norway. Ministers, in their Tromsø Declaration: “Urge implementation of early actions where possible on methane and other short-lived climate forcers” According to the Arctic Council Rules of Procedure and the agreed Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) guidance on project development, “most ACAP projects (inter alia programmes) are developed on the basis of pollution problems identified by the Arctic Council.” As the ministers in 2009 have identified short-lived climate forcers as a problem of such particular importance as to urge nations to take early action on these contaminants, ACAP proposes to convene a project steering group to facilitate cooperation on such actions, pending endorsement by the SAOs. At Tromsø, the Ministers also: “Decide[d] to establish a task force on short-lived climate forcers to identify existing and new measures to reduce emissions of these forcers and recommend further immediate actions that can be taken and to report on progress at the next Ministerial meeting” The Short Lived Climate Forcers Task Force (SLCF TF), co-chaired by the United States and Norway, was convened shortly after the Tromsø meeting and has organized its near term work around the science, sources, and mitigation strategies on black carbon. To help facilitate the work of the SLCF TF, ACAP proposes to provide its expertise in mitigation activities to the SLCF TF in a timely and relevant manner. The intermediate outcomes of ACAP emissions reduction project work on black carbon would be to help develop activities or initial mitigation best practices useful to the SLCF TF work. Since the next Ministerial meeting is in 2011, ACAP believes it would be useful to establish a PSG and undertake project activities as soon as possible taking into account the ongoing work and results of the SLCF Task Force. Although black carbon emissions inventories are relatively uncertain and pollution from sources outside the Arctic does have impacts within the Arctic, emissions from incomplete combustion represent the largest inventory component by far in the Arctic itself. Emissions of black carbon also involve the co-emission of other pollutants." /.../