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.

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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.

The final frontier for emissions control may be international shipping, which operated independent of controls on its engine exhaust emissions until just three years ago, when
Blog Post
Over the weekend, numerous global news sources reported on the record-breaking concentrations of fine particles—PM2.5—in Beijing, and the health issues that come along with them.
Blog Post
On average, the Arctic is warming twice as fast the rest of the globe.
Blog Post

Presentation to the International Maritime Organization on the definition and measurement of marine black carbon emissions, 30 January 2012.


Publication: Presentation

Policy-relevant guidance on black carbon, a solid particle emitted during incomplete combustion and a significant contributor to both climate change public health problems.

Publication: White paper

2009 workshop on sources/impacts of black carbon emissions, and control strategies.


Distinguished atmospheric scientists and policy makers shared the latest scientific understanding of black carbon climate forcing and policy strategies for mitigation in the transportation sector at this London workshop.