Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, welcomed release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report to Congress on the impact of black carbon pollution in the U.S. and abroad. In 2009, Sen. Carper requested the EPA study as part of an amendment -- based on a similar bipartisan bill led by Sens. Carper and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), S.849 -- to H.R. 2996, the Department of Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010.
"I welcome this long overdue study from the Environmental Protection Agency -- something that I, in addition to Senator Inhofe and several of my other colleagues, requested back in 2009," said Sen. Carper. "This study proves what we've long suspected -- that black carbon is not only a major health concern here at home, but also internationally. It also confirms what many of us have believed for a long time -- that black carbon is a major contributor to regional climate impacts and also contributing to global climate change. Based on the EPA findings, we could see over $1.2 million in public health benefits by reducing just one ton of black carbon."
The study revealed that although black carbon emissions do not last long in the atmosphere, they are very harmful to public health.
"The good news from this study is that it confirms the importance of efforts to reduce black carbon emissions, which deliver win-win results by reducing the threat of climate change and improving global public health," continued Sen. Carper. "Curbing these short-lived black carbon pollutants will mean healthier air and a healthier economy. It is my hope that this report will help us build on the progress we have already made in using our limited resources wisely to reduce black carbon emissions at home and abroad."
The EPA's report found that black carbon is emitted through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass -- and is directly emitted into the air as a particle. The report also identified old diesel engines as the main sources of black carbon pollution in the United States, comprising 52 percent of black carbon emissions. The study states the United States will have dramatically reduced its black carbon emissions by 2030 through clean diesel standards -- requiring any new diesel engine to be over 90 percent cleaner than the ones produced a few years ago.
Internationally, the combined emissions of dirty diesel engines and inefficient cookstoves used for heating and cooking are the major sources of black carbon emissions, according to the EPA study.
"Fortunately, we have the science and technology necessary to make major reductions in this dangerous pollutant, like clean diesel technology that reduces diesel emissions by up to 90 percent," said Sen. Carper. "We do not need to wait 18 years to clean up our dirty diesel engines. We can retrofit or replace these old, diesel engines with new, American-made technology and reduce emissions today. Our diesel retrofit programs -- like the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act - are already some of the most cost-effective clean air programs we have, providing more than $13 in health and economic benefits for every federal dollar spent. On top of those significant public health and economic benefits, reducing black carbon also helps address the significant threats posed by climate change."
To view the report, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/blackcarbon