ClimateWorks is committed to objective economic, political, and market analysis. Bending the emissions curves requires knowing how many tons of greenhouse gases are coming from where, and what technologies and policies will be the most cost effective in reducing those emissions. Our focus on rigorous analysis helps inform our internal strategies while providing decision makers with a detailed fact base for the national policies and multilateral agreements that can reduce emissions while promoting economic prosperity.
From the record downpour in Pakistan and China to persistent droughts and fires in Russia, our planet is already experiencing the early effects of climate change. Climate models predicted that we would start to see such extreme weather conditions, and they predicted that these once-rare events will become much more frequent if we fail to reduce carbon emissions. In order to minimize these effects, we must enact smart policies that slash these emissions while allowing economic growth and development to continue.
Based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of energy policies worldwide, ClimateWorks Foundation is producing a series of sector-by-sector reports that draw out best practices as lessons for policy design. The Policies that Work series will address several questions: How much carbon could be captured by a given policy? At what net cost or benefit to society? How can a given policy be improved to increase its effectiveness?
The ClimateWorks Network Knowledge Series spotlights the latest thinking from the world’s leading experts on the policies, technologies, and best practices that can transform the planet’s energy systems, protect the earth’s tropical forests, and prevent dangerous climate change. The documents aim to educate and empower legislators and officials with hard data that can be used to inform future policy decisions promoting carbon emission reductions across a spectrum of sectors. Three editions have been published, focusing on energy efficient appliances in India, efficiency innovations in vehicle technology, and low-carbon growth planning.
Efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will not, on their own, be sufficient to stave off the worst effects of global warming: CO2 accounts for just 50 percent of the “climate-forcing” gases and particles that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
Most of the other climate-forcing gases are known as “short-lived forcers” (SLFs). Like CO2, SLFs contribute to climate change, but unlike CO2, they don’t stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Many SLFs last for just a few hours to a few days. Due in part to their short-lived nature, SLFs can be quickly and easily addressed using available technologies and best practices.
Short-lived forcers include black carbon, methane, and fluorinated gases, or “f-gases.” The product of incomplete combustion in engines and cooking fires, black carbon is essentially heat-absorbing soot; it is harmful to human health, heats the air around it, and, when deposited on snow and ice, accelerates the melting process. Black carbon is believed to contribute significantly to the rapid melting of the Arctic and Himalayan glaciers. Methane comes from landfills, water treatment, agricultural activities, and industrial processes such as coal mining and oil and gas production. Like black carbon, methane also has human health impacts because it contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone – a noxious gas. F-gases are principally found in many refrigerants, air conditioners, foam-blown insulation, and various industrial products. Not all f-gases are short lived; a few persist for hundreds of years. However, the most prevalent f-gases have lifetimes of just 1-14 years, providing ample opportunities for effective intervention.
ClimateWorks supports efforts to research the leading sources of SLFs worldwide, analyze the policies that can effectively reduce SLFs, estimate the costs of doing so, and provide this information to policymakers. A leading example is the recent report: “Abatement opportunities for non-CO2 climate forcers: Black carbon, methane, nitrous oxide and f-gas emissions reductions to complement CO2 reductions and enable national environmental and social objectives.”
News & Reports
In a new scientific paper, a team of 31 world-wide experts confirms the importance to combating global warming by reducing black carbon from targeted pollution sources. In the paper, the reserarchers have developed a best estimate of black carbon’s direct influence on atmospheric warming that is almost two times higher than most previous work.
An analysis of the emissions reduction proposals put forward by parties to the UNFCCC as part of the Copenhagen Accord process.
A review of recent low-carbon growth plans put forward by countries to drive domestic mitigation and adaptation action.
Setting a Benchmark: How Developed Countries Might Equitably Contribute Toward a 450 ppm Pathway (pdf) »
An assessment of the commitments that individual developed countries have made in order to keep global temperatures from rising above 2° Celsius.
A discussion about the ramp up of financial requirements for developing countries over the 2010-20 period, including an assessment of the role carbon markets and public finance can play in meeting those requirements.
An assessment of the potential for fast-start funding in climate change mitigation and adaptation, identifying high-impact, ready-to-go opportunities across the developing world capable of efficiently making use of financial flows over the period 2010-2012.