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Strong policies on black carbon

Strong policies on black carbon

  • A report has been submitted by the World Bank after conducting a research study on the impact of Black Carbon(BC) over the Himalaya, the Karakoram, and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges.
  • BC is a short-lived pollutant that is the second-largest contributor to warming the planet after carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
  • The report is titled “Glaciers of the Himalayas, Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience”.

Key findings:

  1. Black carbon (BC) deposits produced by human activity accelerate the pace of snowmelt in the Himalayan region.
  2. The rate of retreat of HKHK glaciers is estimated to be 0.3 meters per year in the west to 1.0 meters per year in the east.
  3. Deposits of BC act in two ways hastening the pace of glacier melt: by decreasing surface reflectance of sunlight and by raising the air temperature.


  1. Full implementation of current policies to mitigate BC can achieve a 23% reduction but enacting new policies and incorporating them through regional cooperation among countries can achieve enhanced benefits.
  2. The rate of retreat can be sharply reduced through new, currently feasible policies by an additional 50% from current levels.
  3. Specifically, in the Himalayas, reducing black carbon emissions from cookstoves, diesel engines, and open burning would have the greatest impact and could significantly reduce radiative forcing.