Air Pollution

What are ‘Super Pollutants’?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Super Pollutants types

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

  • Recently, the annual meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) which took place from 21 to 23 February 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya on the margins of the Sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) highlighted the critical importance of international collaboration in combating short-lived climate pollutants, commonly known as “Super Pollutants.”

What are Super Pollutants?

  • Super pollutants, or short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), have a shorter atmospheric lifespan compared to CO2 but significantly impact climate change and air quality. Methane (CH4), black carbon (soot), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone (O3) are some of the major superpollutants.

Impacts of Super Pollutants

  • Methane (CH 4):
    • Characteristics: Potent greenhouse gas emitted from various sources such as livestock and fossil fuel production.
    • Its Impact: Traps heat in the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change.
  • Black Carbon (Soot):
    • Characteristics: Fine particulate matter from incomplete combustion of fuels.
    • Its Impact: Absorbs sunlight, heats the atmosphere, and accelerates the melting of snow and ice.
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):
    • Characteristics: Synthetic greenhouse gases used in refrigeration.
    • Its Impact: High global warming potential despite short atmospheric lifespan.
  • Tropospheric Ozone (O3):
    • Characteristics: Secondary pollutants formed from VOCs and NOx.
    • Its Impact: Contributes to smog, has adverse health effects, and acts as a greenhouse gas.

About Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024:

  • What is the aim and objective?
    • The CCAC 2024 moved the dialogue forward, focusing on the cost of inaction, highlighting ways to further scale up implementation of the Global Methane Pledge, Clean Air Flagship and Kigali Amendment, and collectively charting the course to 2025 and beyond.
  • What did the CCAC 2024 Feature for?
    • National policy and planning: High-level plenary sessions on global, regional and national efforts to reduce methane, black carbon, and HFCs, including the benefits of fast action, and financing for implementation.
    • Science and Technology: Science Policy Dialogue sessions on latest emerging science and how new information can inform policy development. Technical sessions among CCAC Sector Hub members to showcase best practices in key emitting sectors: agriculture, cooling, fossil fuels, heavy-duty vehicles and engines, household energy, and waste.
    • Focus on Implementation: Practical sessions to further refine work plans among CCAC National Consultants; Non-State Partners and Scientific Advisory Panel Members.
  • What are the Functions?
    • The CCAC works at the nexus of climate and air quality, to deliver multiple benefits from the fast mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants.
    • Driven by policy-relevant science and pragmatism, CCAC works from the ground up, equitably and inclusively, empowering our partners to achieve their respective National Goals and catalyzing action — as well as from the top down, bringing together ministers and leaders to drive high-level ambition.
  • About the previous Conference:
    • The CCAC 2023 was held in Bangkok.
    • As an outcome of this conference, CCAC 2023 integrated planning on climate and clean air is essential to identify priority actions in key emitting sectors to scale up mitigation, and action at the national and regional level is motivating collaboration at the global scale.

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