Understanding short lived climate pollutants

26 November 2012

© --

A year after the UN climate change meeting in Durban agreed in principle on a universal proposal to slash greenhouse gas emissions, experts will be meeting in Doha next week for a new round of talks.

Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship, Myles Allen, will be leading a group of climate change experts who are travelling to Doha to host an event at the 2012 UN climate change conference, COP 18.

Their event will focus on the role of methane, black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants in meeting temperature goals.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), such as methane, ozone and soot particles, are potent atmospheric warming agents that have substantial impact on global and regional climate. Ozone and soot also do considerable harm to human health and agricultural productivity. But unlike carbon dioxide, they only stay in the atmosphere for a “short” time (from days to a decade). Reducing emissions of these SLCPs could thus have a more immediate effect on limiting climate warming than reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Recent studies indicate that mitigation of SLCP emissions could be achieved at very low cost, with rapid benefits for climate, air quality and agricultural yields. However Myles Allen commented; “the relationship between the mitigation of SLCPs and carbon dioxide is technically complex and politically sensitive. Creating a policy framework that ensures the complementarity between both mitigation strategies will require a realistic appraisal of their different effects on climate, and the navigation of important political challenges.”

This Oxford Martin School event aims to provide an authoritative briefing on the latest science of SLCP mitigation, and outline the policy issues surrounding the relationship with carbon dioxide mitigation.

The session will provide a valuable opportunity for delegates and observers to become familiar with the science and policy issues surrounding SLCP mitigation prior to the Ministerial-level side event introducing the new SLCP focused Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) on Thursday December 6th.

The 2012 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18 takes place in Qatar from 26 November to 7 December 2012. This side event is on November 30 at 20:15 is co-organised by Jason Blackstock, Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and jointly convened by Oxford's Environmental Change Institute and the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute of Victoria University, Wellington.