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The Impact of Black Carbon on World Heritage Sites and Relevant Countermeasures
  PublishDate:2013-02-26  Hits:1744

In the past few decades, climate change has drawn worldwide attention and led international, regional, and national organizations to develop dedicated programs to assess and manage the impacts of climate change.

 

As we know, the effects of climate change are amplified and accelerated at latitude now. But the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, both in their current forms and in the ongoing negotiations for a post-2012 climate agreement, focus on long-lived greenhouse gases (GHG). Achieved deep and rapid reductions in GHG emissions is the fundamental global priority, but without action to slow global warming in the near term, the outstanding universal values of many World Heritage sites would not survive until these long-term solutions take effect.

 

In this context, the Petition to the World Heritage Committee : The Role of Black Carbon in Endangering World Heritage Sites threatened by Glacial Melt and Sea Level Rise, written by Earthjustice and the Australian climate Justice Program, was submitted to the World Heritage Committee. It called on the Committee to take actions to protect the outstanding universal values of World Heritage Sites most vulnerable to global warming by advancing strategies to reduce emissions of the global warming pollutant black carbon on January 29, 2009.

 

Blackcarbon, a short-lived climate forcing pollutant, is considered to be the second most powerful contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. Recent studies verify that black carbon can be sharply reduced with existing technologies, for example by improving the efficiency of fuel combustion, switching to low sulfur fuel that enables the use of more efficient particle traps on diesel engines, installing pollution control technologies on smokestacks of power plants and industrial facilities controlling the burning of agricultural residue, and providing alternatives to biomass burning for cooking and residential heating.

 

The reduction of lack Carbon could help to protect World Heritage sites most vulnerable to global warming, including those with glaciers at high altitudes or latitudes, as well as low-elevation sites threatened by sea level rise. Protecting the environment integrity of climate-threatened World Heritage Sites will also help to mitigate the severe consequences of climate change.

 

For example, atmospheric brown clouds and black carbon are one of the most serious environment problems facing the site of the Three Parallel Rivers National Park in the mountainous north-west of Yunnan Province in China, which was inscribed into the World Heritage List 2003. The Mingyong Glacier has retreated approximately 190 meters since its first recorded position in 1998, and the rate of retreat appears to be increasing. Experts in World Heritage conservation recommend mitigation measures to reduce black carbon deposits on these glaciers, including switching fuels used in residential heating and cooking using raw coal, wood and dung to using charcoal briquettes in efficient stoves. Diesel particulate traps, scrubbers on industrial smokestacks, retirement of super-emitting vehicles, and other technology-related measures could have a dramatic effect on black carbon and atmospheric brown clouds in the region.
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