Short-lived climate pollutants – Carbon Limits


Short-lived climate pollutants

Gases that cause of the greenhouse effect differ by their lifetime in the atmosphere and by their radiative forcing, i.e. their ability to trap solar energy in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of 30 to 95 years and is usually used as a yardstick when measuring the combined effected of the gas’s lifetime and radiative forcing.

Some greenhouse gases have very high radiative forcing but relatively short atmospheric timelines, they are called short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The main SLCPs are black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydroflurocarbons. Because of their high radiative forcing and short lifetimes, reducing SLCPs could contribute to preventing as much as 90% of predicted warming within a decade. In addition to being climate forcers, black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone are also air pollutants that damage public health and ecosystems.

In the oil and gas sector, emissions of methane and black carbon also represent a loss of a valuable resource. Methane is released primarily due to venting and leaks in upstream oil and gas operations, while black carbon is formed during flaring of associated petroleum gas, a side product of oil production.

Our work

Carbon Limits works on two of the four SLCPs – black carbon and methane. Our work specifically focuses on limiting their releases as a result of oil and gas activities, which are responsible for 20 to 30 % of the global anthropogenic methane emissions and are considered the dominant source of black carbon at high latitude. Our team has developed a deep understanding of the specific challenges and technologies to reduce short-lived climate pollutants emissions and contributes to resolving this global issues in two directions:

  • Knowledge and capacity building, where we help governments, companies and non-state actors to improve their understanding of the scale of the problem, its causes, and possible solutions;
  • Technical advisory to oil&gas operators with regards to specific opportunities at specific facilities, including
    • Estimation of the emissions from a facility/region
    • Identification of emission reduction projects across a client´s operation or across a specific sector/region
    • Techno-economic assessment of emissions reduction projects
    • Implementation of procedures for accurate and auditable emissions´monitoring

Over the last few years, Carbon Limits has been involved in projects related to methane emissions in the oil and gas sector in a number of countries including, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, US and Canada.

Frozen sea.