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Cover of report showing a man walking with black carbon smoke from a brick kiln
Policy brief

Benefits of Integrating Black Carbon into Enhanced NDCs

6 June 2024
Cutting black carbon emissions is critical for averting near-term warming, supporting adaptation and promoting climate-resilient development. This policy brief gives governments guidance to integrate black carbon into their enhanced climate plans or nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Why should climate plans address black carbon?

Black carbon is a super pollutant (short-lived climate pollutant) that contributes to global and regional warming, accelerates critical climate tipping points, and seriously harms human health. As a component of air pollution, black carbon significantly contributes to over 8 million premature deaths and trillions of dollars of economic cost each year – disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities.

Reducing black carbon emissions delivers an almost-immediate impact on climate mitigation. Alongside robust decarbonisation targets, reducing emissions can deliver increased ambition within enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Black carbon emissions reduction contributes to local adaptation and water and food security – by reducing glacier melt, the impacts of extreme heat and minimising disruption to monsoon and weather patterns.

Tackling black carbon and it sources within nationally determined contributions (NDCs) aligns with the principles of the Paris Agreement on sustainable development and poverty eradication, the call to reduce emissions of non-CO2 pollutants in the COP28 decision text, and will realise fast and localised benefits.

How should governments integrate black carbon reductions?

Black carbon should be integrated into enhanced NDCs with an emissions reduction target that is separate and in addition to carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. The target should be additional to existing work, span a range of economic sectors, and be accompanied by key details for implementation.

A range of government departments may already collect data on and mitigate black carbon emissions (e.g. for air quality management) – so cross-departmental collaboration can make it efficient to build emissions inventories and include black carbon mitigation in NDCs.

Guidance and tools to support the integration of black carbon into enhanced NDCs is available.

See more

The Case for Action on Black Carbon

Reducing black carbon emissions will help in avoiding climate tipping points, building resilience and delivering clean air. This policy brief outlines the latest science on black carbon, examples of cost effective solutions, and recommendations for policymakers, funders and governments.

New multi-million programme to tackle black carbon

Black carbon and other climate super pollutants contribute significantly to climate change and millions of premature deaths each year. Clean Air Fund’s new $12.9 million programme will generate scientific research, build coalitions and implement solutions to cut black carbon emissions.