By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
STOCKHOLM, Dec. 3(Greenpost)– A new assessment by Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program has called for action on short-lived climate pollutants to reduce climate warming in the short-term.
This is because a complement to action on carbon dioxide Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are air pollutants that, like carbon dioxide, are causing the Earth’s climate to warm.
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) has examined the Arctic climate impacts of the SLCPs methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone, according to a statement from AMAP.
The new AMAP assessments outline key findings regarding: how global and regional reductions in SLCPs may influence projected Arctic warming and which emission sources and regions contribute most to Arctic climate change.
At the ongoing COP in Paris governments will discuss actions aimed at preventing global average temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees C by 2100.
Carbon dioxide emissions are the major driver of anthropogenic climate change and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are therefore necessary and urgent if the threats posed by climate change are to be addressed.
However, other air pollutants including black carbon and methane also contribute to global warming.
Unlike carbon dioxide, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) have a relatively short residence time in the atmosphere (of a few days to about a decade – hence the term short-lived). The shorter the lifetime, the more quickly atmospheric concentrations can be reduced by lowering emissions.
This means that action on SLCPs has the potential to slow the rate of climate warming on a comparatively shorter time scale.
Action to reduce SLCPS should be seen as a complement to, and not a replacement for action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Human activities have caused increased air concentrations of methane, black carbon, and ozone, affecting both global and Arctic climate.
However, technological measures to reduce emissions of SLCPs and coemitted pollutants already exist. Actions to reduce methane emissions could slow the global warming expected by 2050 by approximately 0.2 degrees C.
Arctic warming is part of global warming. Consequently, reducing overall global warming will also result in reduced Arctic warming and slow the rate of melting of snow and ice.
A reduction of about 0.25 degrees C in the Arctic could be achieved through global actions to reduce emissions of black carbon and co-emitted air pollutants.
Much of the avoided warming from black carbon is associated with reducing black carbon on snow and ice.
Thus, if these existing measures were introduced to their maximum extent globally, the AMAPs assessments indicate that Arctic warming could be reduced by roughly half a degree C by 2050.
The assessments did not consider the cost or likelihood of maximum feasible reduction.
These estimates of avoided warming can be compared with an expected Arctic warming due to all climate forcers over the period to 2050 of approximately 2 degrees C from current level.
Arctic temperatures are warming at about twice the global average and this is resulting in unprecedented changes in Arctic sea ice, land ice, permafrost, and snow cover.
While uncertainties associated with climate warming and effects of mitigation actions exist for these SLCPs, they should not be an impediment to taking action.
Action on black carbon and ozone has added benefits since these pollutants are also harmful to human health.
Arctic countries are responsible for substantial amounts of SLCPs and co-emitted air pollutants from sources associated with important anthropogenic emissions sectors.