White Snow, Clean Air – the campaign to reduce black carbon emissions

About the campaign
About black carbon
Participate

About the campaign

The Arctic is warming at twice the global average rate, and it is estimated that 20-25% of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon, which is fine soot dust. Black carbon particles warm the atmosphere and when they land on the surface of snow and ice, they absorb sunlight, which accelerates the melting of snow and ice. Approximately one third of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon emitted by the Arctic Council’s member states. Black carbon also causes significant health problems worldwide.

Black carbon in the atmosphere comes from residential burning of wood and other biomass and coal, road transport, machinery, industry, power plants as well as flaring, i.e. the burning of excess oil and gas at oil production sites. At the global scale, residential small-scale combustion accounts for approximately 60% of black carbon emissions.

The Climate Leadership Coalition, the Bioenergy Association of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Central Association of Chimney Sweeps are launching a campaign to reduce black carbon emissions. The campaign aims to increase understanding of how black carbon accelerates climate change, to speed up the reduction of emissions and to find new solutions to reduce emissions. It encourages organisations to report the measures they take to reduce emissions. The campaign will also involve chimney sweeps, who will educate households about measures to reduce black carbon emissions in domestic contexts. There will also be an innovation competition to find new solutions.

The campaign will be launched on 2 November 2018 and it will close on 30 June 2019. The final report, which will be delivered to the Arctic Council’s expert groups, will describe the measures that have successfully reduced black carbon emissions, the experiences gathered during the campaign as well as ideas and solutions that are applicable even outside Finland in efforts to limit black carbon emissions.

Schedule

31 March 2019               The report on the results

6-7 May 2019                 The presentation of the report at the Arctic Council meeting

We can plan for organisation-specific activities in detail during the autumn.

About black carbon

Black carbon in the atmosphere comes from residential burning of wood and other biomass and coal, road transport, agricultural and construction machinery, industry, power plants as well as flaring, i.e. the burning of excess oil and gas at oil production sites. Black carbon accelerates global warming and its emissions cause damage to health. The Arctic is warming at twice the global average rate, and it is estimated that 20-25% of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon.

The impact of black carbon is particularly significant in the Northern regions because black carbon lands on the surface of snow and ice. Black carbon does not reflect sunlight but absorbs it, warms up and melts snow and ice. The damage caused by black carbon is particularly significant in spring and summer, when there is plenty of sunlight in the north. Black carbon travels from the south to the north with air masses, but the emissions produced in the Northern regions are also significant. Approximately one third of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon emitted by the Arctic Council’s member states.

Emissions can be reduced by introducing the latest technical solutions and by tightening emission limits. The means to do this already exist. The World Bank has introduced an initiative to end routine gas flaring by 2030, and all of the Arctic oil producing countries have already committed themselves to it.

At the global scale, residential small-scale combustion accounts for approximately 60% of black carbon emissions, and new clean small-scale combustion technologies would have a worldwide demand.

Participate

The campaign is open for all to participate.

Contact persons

Registration to the campaign and administration:
Anna Taimisto, anna.taimisto(at)clc.fi +358 40 7341432

Issues and questions concerning black carbon and reduction of black carbon emissions:
Mikael Hildén, mikael.hilden(at)ymparisto.fi +358 40 740 1675

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