Black carbon in Europe: targeting an air pollutant and climate forcer

This policy brief presents recommendations for action on black carbon, an air pollutant and climate forcer, in the European context. Given the current emissions profile in Europe, targeting the diesel transport and residential combustion sectors will be essential for prioritizing black carbon reductions when taking action on fine particulate matter, as required by the new European National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive. Development of national emission inventories for black carbon using a consistent methodology will also foster better, more cost-effective policy decisions. Finally, adopting a coordinated approach to manage air quality and climate change will help maximize win-wins and avoid trade-offs. The ongoing development of the European Renewable Energy Directive and the associated Governance Directive are identified as key pieces of legislation where air quality protections should be added to avoid unintentional backsliding on air quality via, e.g., the promotion of biomass as a renewable fuel in the residential heating sector.