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”.
- Black carbon (BC) deposits produced by human activity accelerate the pace of snowmelt in the Himalayan region.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The rate of retreat can be sharply reduced through new, currently feasible policies by an additional 50% from current levels.
- 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.