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Short-lived climate forcers workshop

Rome, Italy 08 October, 08:30 - 09 October 2013, 12:30

Efforts to mitigate the risks of climate change have primarily focused on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. Recent work has broadened this focus to reconsider the role of other forcing agents beyond carbon dioxide in changing climate and forming part of a broader mitigation strategy. Specifically, so called short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) which include methane, black carbon, and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) have drawn the attention of researchers, governments, and industry in mitigation proposals. Overall, these climate forcers have a comparable effect on climate to carbon dioxide, even though their emissions rates are smaller and atmospheric lifetimes shorter.

While real opportunities exist with the inclusion of SLCFs in climate change mitigation, there also remains uncertainties surrounding their sources, climate effects, and strategies to manage their emissions. Understanding the sources of both anthropogenic and natural emissions of SLCFs on a global scale is a difficult task to accurately quantify. In particular, assessments of the contribution from oil and gas industry activities and products to the emissions of SLCFs remain divergent with large uncertainties in certain regions. Developing future initiatives that contribute material reductions in SLCF emissions will require efforts to constrain the varied sources of emissions as well as facilitate collaborative action between stakeholders.

This workshop aimed to:

  • Identify and understand the effects on warming, precipitation, and air quality from methane and black carbon as well as the associated uncertainty
  • Assess the sources of methane and black carbon from both a global perspective as well as the oil and gas industry in particular
  • Understand the role of current initiatives to mitigate and manage the emissions of SLCFs
  • Discuss remaining gaps in our understanding of SLCF emissions, future pathways to reduce uncertainty, and high impact pathways for reducing these emissions

This workshop continues IPIECA’s longstanding role to promote understanding of climate change and engagement in developing solutions to mitigate risks to society and the oil and gas industry.

Footnote: HFCs remain a growing concern due to their large warming potential, but this workshop did not focus on this topic due to its lack of association with the oil and gas industry.