Poto: istockphoto/scanpix/Bjarne Bekkeheien Aase

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Short-lived climate pollutants are defined as gases and particles that contribute to warming and that have a lifetime of a few days to approximately 10 years. 

These include black carbon (BC), tropospheric ozone (O3) and its precursors CO, nmVOC and NOx, methane (CH4), and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). A characteristic of the climate effects of the short-lived climate pollutants, with the exception of the HFCs and to a certain extent CH4, is that it matters where in the world the emissions are released. Methane and HFCs are regulated under the Kyoto Protocol. 

By implementing measures aimed at both short-lived climate pollutants and long-lived greenhouse gases, a more rapid climate benefit could be obtained, thereby increasing the chances of achieving the 2°C target that the world's leaders have set for preventing dangerous climate change. 

Organic carbon (OC) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), which contribute to cooling, are co-emitted with short-lived climate pollutants from some emission sources and must be included in the evaluation of the climate effect measures targeting short-lived climate pollutants. 

Short-lived climate pollutants also contribute to air pollution and have various detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems.

A film describing short-lived climate pollutants, their sources and effects, and how the Norwegian government has worked to reduce emissions. The film is made by Snöball Film AS on assignment for the Norwegian Environment Agency, and in co-operation with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. 
Link to the film with French subtitles.

Regulations and goals for Norwegian emissions of SLCPs

This document summarizes key regulations and goals on SLCPs in Norway.

Our work on short-lived climate pollutants

The Norwegian Environment Agency works extensively with SLCP. We

  • monitor, point out the need for and make use of new research in the field of SLCPs
  • publish annual emissions inventories together with Statistics Norway
  • analyze possible measures and instruments
  • provide advice to the Ministry of Climate and Environment
  • are responsible for monitoring atmospheric concentrations of SLCPs and pointing out the need for 

Emission inventories

In 2013, the Norwegian Environment Agency published the first Norwegian emission inventories for black carbon (BC) and organic carbon (OC) in cooperation with Statistics Norway. The developed methodology is documented in the report Emissions of black carbon and organic carbon in Norway 1990-2011.

The largest single source of BC and OC in Norway is residential wood burning. The Norwegian Environment Agency contracted SINTEF Energy Research AS to perform measurements of emissions from different wood stoves in order to establish high-quality emission factors for Norway.

Transportation is also an important source sector for BC emissions.

Norway now reports national emissions of BC and OC on a voluntarily basis to the UNECE/Convention on Long-range Transboundary air pollutants (LRTAP).

Emission inventories for all other SLCPs are well-established and published annually by Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Environment Agency. Methane and HFC emissions are reported in line with the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. NOx, nmVOC, CO, SO2 emissions are reported in line with the 2013 LRTAP Guidelines.

Other Relevant Reports

The Norwegian Environment Agency have published several reports related to the emissions of  short-lived climate pollutants in Norway.

In a recent report the Norwegian Environment Agency has assessed the co-benefits for short-term climate effects and health effects of greenhouse gas measures. This report answers three questions. 1. What are the short-term climate effects of the measures in the low-carbon transition report, and which of them have the largest short-term climate benefits in addition to the long-term climate benefits described in the report? 2. What are the health effects of the measures analysed in the low-carbon transition report, and which of them yield the largest health benefits? 3. Which of the measures analysed in the action plan are still important for achieving short-term climate effects, and which are less relevant because measures analysed in the low-carbon transition report are a better option? 

This report document the methodology applied to assess the short-term climate effect of SLCPs, OC and SO2 in Norway. It also contain an integrated assessment of climate, health and environmental effects of Norwegian emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, illustrate possible measures and instruments for reducing such effects by 2030 and evaluate the need for additional monitoring of these components.

This report documents the effect on emissions of TSP, EC and OC from air leakage in a modern woodstove, by a series of measurements as well as a literature review and detailed advises to households with respect to maintenance of woodstoves.

This report is an assessment of status and trends of gas flaring in Norway, techniques for reduction of flaring, emission factors and methods for determination of emissions to air from flaring.

This report presents the global climate impact for emissions in Norway of various gases and particles: CH4, HFCs, BC, OC, SO2 and the ozone precursors NOx, CO and nmVOC. The climate impact is given in terms of different emission metrics.

A review of the current knowledge about emission metrics with several illustrative examples using Norwegian emissions. The report focuses on emission metrics most relevant for comparing the climate effect of different short-lived climate pollutants, OC and SO2, but also comparing SLCPs with long-lived greenhouse gases


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