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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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IPCC’s fifth assessment (AR5) included attention to black carbon in Working Group (WG) III’s discussion of mitigation options, e.g. with attention to the co-benefits in relation to improving air quality and as a potential short-term mitigation strategy in combination with long-lived greenhouse gases. The role of black carbon in climate forcing is discussed by WG I in its 2014 report, including its impact on surface albedo when deposited on snow and its climate forcing role as an aerosol.

In 2019, the IPCC approved that its Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories produce an IPCC Methodology Report on Short-lived Climate Forcers, including black carbon. The overall objective is “to fill gaps in existing methodologies and to develop and disseminate an internationally-agreed, globally applicable methodological guidance based on existing methodologies.” The process creates a platform for paying more attention to black carbon in future IPCC assessments and in climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. Future meetings of the IPCC’s Expert Group SLCFs will take place in 2021.