Prof. Martin Williams launches the UNEP/WMO Report on Black Carbon/Ozone at the UNFCCC
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On the 14th June 2011 Professor Martin Williams from the Environmental Research Group took part in a press conference to launch the UNEP/WMO Report on Black Carbon/Ozone.

This was hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme in Bonn, Germany.

Highlights of Professor Martin Williams at the briefing are available in the video below.

UNEP/WMO Report Summary

It has recently become clear that some air pollutants which are damaging to human health and the wider environment can also exert a strong influence on the earth’s climate. Pollutants such as Black Carbon(BC) and ozone (together with its main tropospheric precursor, methane) a part of a group of pollutants which have shorter lifetimes in the atmosphere compared with the ‘Kyoto’ pollutants but still have important climate effects.

UNEP, in conjunction with WMO, undertook an assessment of the impacts of these so-called Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs) on the earth’s climate and on health and vegetation/crop damage across the world. The UNEP/WMO assessment for the first time gave an objective review of the impact of black carbon on climate. The science in this area is not precise and the report quantified the uncertainties – both in the direct effect on climate (where BC directly absorbs incoming solar radiation) and the more uncertain indirect effects of BC particles on cloud formation and their subsequent effect on climate.

The UNEP report for the first time investigated a series of 16 measures to reduce levels of BC, Ozone and methane across the world. The measures were chosen from a database of around 2,000 held at IIASA, as those that had the biggest effect on global radiative forcing ( a measure of climate impact). All the measures use available technology-and all have been or are being used somewhere in the world already so no new measures are needed. The measures were analysed in two global climate models for their effect on global temperature from now until 2070 and compare them with ‘business as usual’ and an aggressive scenario on CO2 and the long-lived ‘Kyoto’ gases.

The temperature reductions from the latter are not felt until around 2040-2050 largely because of the long lifetime of the CO2 already in the atmosphere. The SLCF measures if implemented immediately, reduce global temperature increase by 0.5C (range 02.-0.7) almost immediately, and their effect begins to reduce when the CO2 and other measures kick in. So the SLCF measures can avoid near term warming and are complementary to the CO2 measures.

Reducing the SLCFs has a big impact on human health, particularly in Asia, globally avoiding around 2.4 million premature deaths (range 0.7-4.6 million)and also reduces crop losses, thereby improving food security.

For the full webcast please visit the more information link below.

More Information

Item date 22/06/2011

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