Topics / Black carbon

Black carbon refers to solid particles emitted during incomplete combustion. Diesel engines are an important source, though not the major one. Black carbon contributes to climate change in two ways: in the atmosphere it absorbs sunlight and re-emits the energy as heat; and when deposited on ice or snow, in addition to warming the surface and air directly, it reduces the surface albedo (reflectivity) causing the surface to absorb more sunlight. As a contributor to climate change it is possibly second only to CO2, and because it is short-lived (remaining in the atmosphere only a few weeks) reducing BC emissions could have a very rapid and significant effect on the rate of warming. Black carbon is also a serious public health concern. Exposure to particulate matter is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths globally each year.

Most Recent

Examines the cost of alternate marine fuels and presents a pathway for replacing heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.

An updated global inventory of black carbon emissions from the global shipping sector with several recommendations on how to reduce black carbon emissions from ships.

Provides information on market dynamics, opportunities and barriers for truck fuel-saving technologies and operational measures, and the potential benefits of building a more robust and extensive Transporte Limpio program, and harmonizing it with the SmartWay program in the U.S.

2017.10.17

Describes trends in global ship activity and emissions for the years 2013 to 2015 and finds that emissions generally increased over this period, with efficiency improvements more than offset by increases in activity.

Publication: Report
2017.08.31

Evaluates well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions from soot-free urban transit bus types in 20 megacities.

Publication: Working paper
2017.05.22

Join us for a global webinar with the study authors to gain a deeper understanding of the motivation for this work, the approach, and the major findings.

Event
2017.05.01

Estimates heavy fuel oil (HFO) use, HFO carriage, the use and carriage of other fuels, BC emissions, and emissions of other air and climate pollutants in the Arctic for the year 2015, with projections to 2020 and 2025.

Publication: Report
2017.04.18

Compares the economic and environmental tradeoffs of switching from HFO to two alternative fuels, distillate fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the IMO Arctic, as defined in the IMO Polar Code.

Publication: Working paper
2017.03.21
At a time when Arctic sea ice should be nearing its maximum extent, we’re seeing record-low ice cover for this time of year.
Blog Post
2017.03.20

Measures marine BC emissions in the lab and onboard two container ships, one with a modern Tier II main engine and another with an older Tier 0 engine outfitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS).

Publication: Consultant report
2016.11.28

Presents a global strategy to reduce fine particulate (PM2.5) and black carbon emissions from the global fleet of on-road diesel vehicles by identifying 36 countries for immediate action.

Publication: Consulting report
2016.10.21

MEPC’s 70th session will consider two topics that may greatly reduce the amount of HFO used in the Arctic: a global marine fuel sulfur cap of 0.5% (currently it is 3.5%), and whether or not HFO use in the Arctic should be formally placed on the MEPC agenda. This paper provides key information needed to evaluate the potential risks HFO has to the Arctic environment.

Publication: Working paper
2016.10.11
On September 16, 2016 the Government of India took an important step towards addressing the country’s severe air pollution problems with the final notification of Bharat Stage (BS) VI e
Blog Post

Pages