August 7, 2014
Saving the Arctic
The Urgent Need to Cut Black Carbon Emissions and Slow Climate Change
Combating climate change requires immediate and long-term cuts in heat-trapping carbon pollution, or CO2, around the globe. But reducing carbon pollution alone will not be enough to avoid the worst effects of a rapidly warming Arctic— slashing black carbon emissions, which are hundreds to thousands of times more potent, near the Arctic and globally must also be part of the solution. For this reason, immediate reductions of black carbon pollution combined with reductions in CO2 can deliver measurable decreases in temperatures in the near term, slow the loss of sea ice and Arctic melting, protect public health, and save millions of lives.
The United States is well positioned to lead ambitious national, regional, and global efforts to address rapid warming in the Arctic and other glaciated regions. Many Arctic nations are already well on their way toward significant emissions reductions. Working together through the council with member and observer nations can mobilize greater ambition among countries to reduce black carbon even further and measurably slow warming in the Arctic.
This report explains the sources of black carbon pollution, the numerous benefits of reducing black carbon, and the feasibility of ambitious black carbon-reduction targets. Additionally, it calls for the United States to lead ambitious national, regional, and global efforts to address rapid warming in the Arctic and other glaciated regions when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry becomes chair of the Arctic Council in 2015.