Short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs), which include methane and black carbon , are increasingly drawing the attention of researchers, governments, and industry in mitigation proposals. Their relatively short time horizon in the atmosphere (and stronger forcing than CO2) means that they offer a greater mitigation potential than CO2 in the near term. IPIECA’s recent workshop (8-9 October 2013 in Rome, Italy) focused on recent work on the role of these other forcing agents in changing the climate and forming part of a broader mitigation strategy. Overall, these climate forcers may have a significant effect, even though their emissions rates are smaller and atmospheric lifetimes shorter than carbon dioxide.
While real opportunities exist for the inclusion of SLCFs in climate change mitigation, there also remains uncertainty 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.
The findings from the workshop will be condensed into a report which will be available in January 2014, covering the main themes 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.
- 18 October 2013