Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Black Carbon Is a Major Source of Climate Change According to EPA Report

Climate
Black Carbon Is a Major Source of Climate Change According to EPA Report

Ohio Environmental Council

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported to Congress last week on the role and impact black carbon emissions has on climate change. The transportation sector is the largest sector of black carbon emissions in the U.S., followed by open biomass burning (including wildfires).

According to the Clean Air Task Force, black carbon from diesel engines, as a climate warming agent, is 2,000 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time frame.

"Reducing black carbon emissions get us immediate climate and health benefits," said David R. Celebrezze, director of Air & Water Special Projects at the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). "Small steps have been taken in Ohio to address black carbon emissions, but much more is needed to protect public health and our environment."

Impacts of black carbon emissions include:

Health Impacts

  • triggers asthma attacks
  • causes lung damage
  • causes heart and lung disease
  • causes cancer
  • causes early death

Environment Impacts

  • climate change
  • acid rain
  • ozone smog
  • haze
  • waterways pollution
  • plant damage
  • changes to hydrologic periods ("atmospheric brown cloud")

Economic Impacts

  • Drives up costs to business via lost work days
  • Monetized health impacts estimated at $3.6 billion

"This isn't only about saving polar bears, it's about preventing a child from having an asthma attack," said Celebrezze. "Getting immediate short-term health and climate benefits should be on the top of the list for our elected officials."

Existing regulations are having an impact. According to the EPA, the average public health benefit ranged from $290,000 to $1.2 million per ton of particle matter (PM2.5) in 2030.

On the global scale, the PM2.5 reductions resulting from less black carbon emissions could result in hundreds of thousands of avoidable premature deaths each year.

Emission controls such as the diesel particulate filter (DPF) is highly effective for virtually eliminating black carbon emissions from diesel engines. DPFs can reduce emissions by 95 percent or more.

All 2007 and newer on-road heavy duty diesel vehicles have DPFs installed from the factory. Most 2014 and newer non-road diesel vehicles (construction equipment) will have filters installed from the factory. However, there are 11 million pre-2007 diesel engines that are not required to have filters installed. These engines are expected to last 20, 30 or 40 years.

Many solutions exist for cleaning up diesel pollution. Two of these solutions are clean construction requirements and no-idling laws. The OEC calls for local, state and federal officials to adopt internal no-idling vehicle policies and no-idling laws to prohibit unnecessary idling.

The OEC calls on all levels of government to require emission controls on any heavy duty diesel vehicle being used on a publicly-funded project.

"The public dollar should not go to harm the public health," said Celebrezze. "Clean construction provisions would eliminate the toxic stew that is diesel emissions."

"However, if our elected officials fail us, there are steps institutions such as hospitals, colleges and universities can take to protect patients, students and surrounding community," he said.

The OEC calls on universities and colleges to require construction projects they fund to have emission controls on the diesel equipment used.

"We know the problem, we know the impacts, we know the solutions. We need our public officials and community leaders to act," said Celebrezze.

The EPA's full report can be viewed by clicking here.

For more information, click here.

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less

Trending

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less
A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch