Short-lived climate pollutant solutions

Short-lived climate pollutants - including black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and tropospheric ozone – are air pollutants with global warming potentials many times that of carbon dioxide. They also significantly impact food, water and economic security for large populations throughout the world, both directly through their negative effects on public health, agriculture and ecosystems, and indirectly through their impact on the climate.

The relatively short atmospheric lifetime of short-lived climate pollutants, combined with their strong warming potential, means that strategies to reduce emissions can deliver climate and development benefits within a matter of decades.

Black carbon emissions can be reduced by 70% globally by 2030, methane emissions can be reduced by 40% globally by 2030, and HFCs can be reduced by 99.5% by 2050. 

The United Nations Environment Programme and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have identified a package of control measures to reduce short-lived climate pollutants that can achieve 90% of the above total potential emissions reductions for black carbon, methane, and HFCs. Many of these measures involve cost-effective technologies and practices that already exist.

If quickly implemented, these measures can cut the amount of warming that would occur over the next few decades by as much as 0.6°C, while avoiding 2.4 million premature deaths from outdoor air pollution annually by 2030, and preventing 52 million tonnes of crop losses per year.

The below list outlines a non-exhaustive and continuously evolving range of activities targeting individual pollutants and key emitting sectors. 

Agriculture  

Methane

  • Improve animal health and husbandry by combining herd and health management, nutrition and feeding management strategies.

  • Apply intermittent aeration of continuously flooded rice paddies.

  • Promote farm-scale anaerobic digestion to control methane emissions from livestock.

  • Introduce selective breeding to reduce emission intensity and increase production.

  • Adopt sustainable eating practices and food chain management.

Black Carbon

  • Eliminate open burning in agriculture through regulation and farmer education.

Fossil Fuels

Methane 

  • Carry out pre-mining de-gasification and recovery and oxidation of methane from ventilation air from coal mines 

  • Reduce leakage from long-distance gas transmission and distribution pipelines 

  • Extend recovery and utilisation from gas and oil production 

  • Recover and use gas and fugitive emissions during oil and natural gas production 

Black carbon 

  • Improve flaring efficiency in oil and gas production 

 

Waste

Methane

  • Separate and treat biodegradable municipal waste, and turn it into compost or bioenergy
  • Upgrade wastewater treatment with gas recovery and overflow control
  • Improve anaerobic digestion of solid and liquid waste by food industry
  • Upgrade primary waste water treatment
  • Divert organic waste
  • Collect, capture and use landfill gas

Black Carbon

  • Improve and extend municipal waste collection services
  • Ban open burning of municipal waste


transport 

Black Carbon
 

  • By 2030, all countries adopt ultra-low sulphur diesel and minimum Euro 6/VI emission standards 

  • Establish global soot-free vehicle standards for international trade (no dumping of dirty used vehicles) 

  • By 2030, countries adopt standards for soot-free non-road mobile machinery and stationary diesel engines.  All countries adopt ultra-low sulphur diesel and minimum EU Stage V emission standards

  • Zero tailpipe emissions and 100% elimination of fossil-based fuels for heavy-duty transport by 2050

  • By 2050, zero tailpipe emissions, 100% elimination of fossil-based fuels- engines for non-road mobile machinery and stationary diesel engines 

  • Advocate for the International Maritime Organization to adopt a black carbon emission standard for all new ships and a methane emission standard for new LNG-fuelled ships

  • Develop diesel emissions policies for inland water transport in relevant countries by 2030

  • Significantly reduce emissions of black carbon, PM and other pollutants and GHGs from freight by enhancing existing, and developing new, green freight programs 


Household Energy

Black carbon

  • Extend electricity infrastructure 

  • Replace traditional cooking with clean-burning modern fuel and cookstove technology, such as solar, biogas, electricity  

  • Eliminating kerosene lamps 

  • Replacing lump coal with coal briquettes for cooking and heating 

  • Replacing wood stove and burners with pellet stoves and boilers 

 

Cooling 

Hydrofluorocarbons 

  • Ratify and comply with the control measures of the Kigali Amendment. 

  • Replace high-global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons with low- or zero-global warming potential alternatives, combined with improvements in lifecycle energy efficiency. 

  • Improve insulation materials and building designs to avoid the use of or reduce the need for air-conditioners.