Black Carbon Report by World Bank
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Conservation; Climate change
- 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
- 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.