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IPCC to feature role of Black Carbon in next report

Speaking Tuesday at a briefing on Capitol Hill, EPA officials said that “black carbon” (BC), an important factor in global warming and major by-product of solid biomass fuel and dirty diesel emissions, would figure prominently in a International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report due out next year.

BC emissions can also seriously affect the health of residents in households that depend on burning wood, charcoal, animal dung, and agricultural residues for home cooking and heating.

Another scientific paper due out early next year is likely to cast much needed light on the role of BC on global warming. The Bounding BC study from International Global Atmospheric Chemistry/Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) projects is set to reduce scientific uncertainties around BC.

We wrote in an earlier blog post about the scientific debate around the role of BC as a global warming forcer and weather any heating role may be mitigated by the potential cooling effect of other aerosols released during the biomass combustion process. A report out earlier this year by USAID analyzed the roll of BC in altering weather patterns over Asia.

The reason this is important for individuals and organizations focused on delivering energy poverty alleviation technologies, such as clean cookstoves, is that BC emissions are a major contributor to global warming. BC was not included in the Kyoto Protocol largely because of a lack of scientific data.

In the same way that the carbon market trades in C02 emissions reductions, there’s a good chance that a market in BC emissions reductions could emerge. Like carbon credits, the eventual emergence of a market in BC emissions reductions could potentially become an valuable funding mechanism for the largescale and accelerated deployment of clean cookstoves. Any action on valuing BC emissions reduction would likely occur under the Voluntary Emissions Reduction (VER) platform, not the Kyoto-Protocol-born CDM (Clean Development Mechanism).

To view the PowerPoints presented and to listen to an MP3 version of the briefing, please visit the EESI’s coverage of the event.