Soot, Ozone, Methane: Underestimated climate forcers and their effects on climate, health and economy (September 2012)

Please note that talks and videos from this workshop are in German except for the background material and summary.

On 27 September the NGO campaign "Soot-free for the Climate" and the IASS held a joint workshop for policy-makers, civil society and the private business sector to inform stakeholders about the scientific and technical background knowledge available on SLCPs with focus on the EU and German contexts in Berlin. Background information and the workshop agenda can be downloaded here.

The program included:

  • Welcome speech by Jürgen Resch, executive director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (video)
  • Opening speech by Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, executive director of IASS (video)
  • "The role of SLCPs in climate change" by PD Dr. Mark Lawrence, scientific director of IASS (talk_01, video)
  • "Scenarios and mitigation measures" by Dr. Markus Amann, IIASA (talk_02, video)
  • "Technical solutions" by Dr. Axel Friedrich, international traffic consultant (talk_03_1, talk_03_2 ,video)
  • Panel discussion with Dr. Valerie Wilms, member of the German Parliament, PD Dr. Mark Lawrence, Dr. Markus Amann and Dr. Axel Friedrich (video)

In general, all speakers and panelists agreed that SLCP reduction measures cannot be a replacement for carbon dioxide emission reduction, instead both, the long-lived and the short-lived climate forcers, need to be reduced if the global community wants to meet the 2°C climate target. A more detailed summary of the workshop outcome is available here (workshop summary).

In brief, the effects of SLCPs on climate, health and ecosystems were discussed and that despite relatively strict EU legislation there is still a significant reduction in lifetime in the order of several months for European citizens. The main sources for SLCPs and their precursors within the EU are curently road traffic and wood burning from private households. By 2030 emissions from private households will be the most dominant source for soot since the respective legislation is not targeted at the reduction of SLCPs. Also ship traffic was recognized as a significant source of short-lived climate-forcing pollutants. However, there are several technological options to solve the problem as pointed out by Axel Friedrich.

With respect to Germany's role in the international context to reduce SLCPs, the general consensus was that Germany can still do better in implementing mitigation measures for SLCPs and their precursors. However, on a global scale actions will be of symbolic nature which nevertheless is of great importance if Germany wants to take on the role of transferring technical and implementation process relevant knowledge. In addition, it was recommended that Germany be very careful to only support actions that reduce SLCPs in addition to carbon dioxide reduction measures and that are not competing with ongoing climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.