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White Papers

Download White Paper: Dumping Dirty Diesels in Latin America

Evaluating opportunities to target black carbon – a rapid response strategy for climate change mitigation

Efforts to reduce black carbon emissions have become an increasingly important component of national and international efforts to fight global warming, particularly as recent studies have concluded that black carbon is the second most powerful climate warming pollutant after carbon dioxide (CO2). Black carbon is one of four major Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) that live in the atmosphere for a relatively short period of time compared to other greenhouse gases, such as CO2. The others are methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. Because these SLCPs stay in the atmosphere only briefly, reducing their emissions provides quick climate benefits.

Among the SLCPs, black carbon has the shortest lifetime—staying in the atmosphere for only days or weeks. Thus, reducing black carbon emissions provides benefits almost immediately.

More specifically, high-emitting diesel vehicles are the largest source of transportation-related black carbon emissions. This is a function of two factors: (1) the high concentration of black carbon within the carbon core of a typical diesel particle and (2) the increasing number of diesel vehicles. Open biomass burning is the leading source of black carbon emissions globally, but its combustion produces great quantities of organic matter, offsetting the warming potential of its black carbon emissions.

This report summarizes the latest research on black carbon and its role in global warming and consolidates research Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Gladstein, Neandross and Associates (GNA) conducted over the past year. The report and its appendices include country-specific research for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as case studies of successful programs in Chile, Mexico, China, and the United States.

Download the Dumping Dirty Diesels in 

Latin America White Paper

Publish Date: November 2014

Client: Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) 

This white paper was authored by GNA, which is now TRC’s clean transportation solutions team. 


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