India needs to cut down on its black carbon emissions: Experts

India needs to cut down on its black carbon emissions for “co-benefit” agenda of making a positive impact on global warming on one hand and improving health of people on the other, environment experts today said.

Participants and researchers at the Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2015 organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) here focused on the impacts of diesel, brick kilns and cook stoves and said they were major sources of black carbon and contributors to global warming. 

“India needs to cut down its black carbon emissions for a co-benefit agenda. The co-benefit agenda comprises making a positive impact on global warming on one hand and improving the health of the people on the other,” a CSE statement said.

Experts said that while primarily diesel-run vehicles were responsible for black carbon emission in Delhi, in rural areas, black carbon is clearly indicated for local air pollution as it adds to the health burden of poor women who have no option but to cook food using biomass on inefficient stoves.

Researchers said that cook stoves emit what are known as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) known as black carbon. This is a product of incomplete combustion - burning fuel in cook stoves, diesel cars, brick kilns and others. Black carbon is a fraction of the tiny PM2.5 particle and deadly when inhaled.

Underlining three failures, CSE Director General Sunita Narain said the first failure was that the world started cutting CO2 emissions in 1990s but was still struggling while the second was that Delhi’s air pollution had again risen to very high levels after declining due to the “first-generation reforms” in the 1990s which included putting CNG-run buses on road and using cleaner sulphur-free diesel.

“The third, she said, was the failure to provide clean energy access to people,” she said.

Pointing out that a typical ‘chulha’ releases smoke equal to 400 cigarettes, Professor Kirk Smith from University of California said it was among the factors responsible for disease burden in India.

Dietary risks were the first while indoor pollution was second and almost equal to the risk disease burden associated with smoking, Smith added.

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