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Black Carbon Report by World Bank

  • IASbaba
  • June 7, 2021
  • 0
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Black Carbon Report by World Bank

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Conservation; Climate change

In news

  • The report titled “Glaciers of the Himalayas: Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience” has reported that the glaciers are melting faster than the global average ice mass. 
  • A strong policy on black carbon can sharply cut glacier melt.
  • Report released by: World Bank 
  • The Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges were covered in the report.

Key takeaways from the report

  • Black Carbon (BC) is a short-lived pollutant 
    • It is the second-largest contributor to cause Global warming after carbon dioxide (CO2).
    • Unlike other greenhouse gas emissions, BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
    • Industry (primarily brick kilns) and residential burning of solid fuel together account for 45-66% of regional man-made BC deposition, followed by on-road diesel fuels and open burning in the region.
    • It acts in two ways hastening the pace of glacier melt:
      • By decreasing surface reflectance of sunlight.
      • By raising the air temperature
    • Full implementation of current policies to mitigate BC can achieve a 23% reduction but enacting new policies and regional cooperation among countries can achieve enhanced benefits.
      • National Mission on Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) is one such policy adopted in India. 
      • It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • Steps that can be taken in the Himalayas
    • Reduce black carbon emissions from – (1) cookstoves; (2) Diesel engines; (3) Open burning. It could significantly reduce radiative forcing
  • Steps to be Taken by Regional Governments:
    • Review the policies on water management
    • Careful planning and use of hydropower to reflect changes in water flows and availability.
    • Increasing the efficiency of brick kilns through proven technologies.
    • Greater knowledge sharing in the region.

Important value additions 

  • There are almost 55,000 glaciers in the HKHK mountains which store more freshwater than any other region outside the North and South Poles. 
  • Glacier melt produces 
    • Flash floods
    • Landslips
    • Soil erosion 
  • Radiative forcing is a measure of the change in energy balance as a result of a change in a forcing agent (e.g., greenhouse gases, aerosol, cloud, and surface albedo) to affect the global energy balance and contribute to climate change.

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