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Black Carbon
Your grandma would have called it soot

This Legislative session, like 2019 and 2020, has seen multiple bills relating to environmental impacts and climate change. HB 2479 introduced by Representative Karin Power (HD41 – Milwaukie) in one in a series this session that proposes a solution to climate change mitigation.

At a hearing on March 1st Representative Power introduced the bill to the committee stating “In order to help integrate the scientific importance of black carbon into our state planning HB 2479 (is needed) to modify the definition of greenhouse gasses to include black carbon”. With the definition modified, the Department of Environmental Quality will then have the ability study black carbon specifically and look for mitigation strategies to reduce it.

Dr. Erika Maria Moseson, MD, MA,a Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine Physician, testified in support of the bill. She said, as a physician, she knows that it is “Vitally important to get the diagnosis right before you treat. Actually, measuring black carbon will help us diagnose where we need to focus to save lives.”

Representative Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) recalled to the committee that throughout all the conversations on cap and trade, carbon sequestration and global warming, “we have talked about diesel emissions being one factor, but black carbon has never been a topic of conversation”.

So, what exactly is black carbon?

Drew Shindell, Nicholas Professor of Earth Sciences at Duke university shared with the committee that black carbon is commonly referred to as soot. With that terminology clarification, Representative Brock Smith then shared that it is his understanding that the major global sources of soot are from developing countries and this trend is expected to increase. The largest contributors are Asia, Latin America, and Africa. China and India together account for 25%-35% of the global soot. Drew Shindell agreed, but also noted that the US is still a contributor and although the US has done a good job of continuing to mitigate soot since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970, the US has fallen short in addressing specific contributors. He then stated that “those specific contributors are non-highway diesel motors used in construction and farm equipment, ATV’s, and diesel generators”.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

With the specific target of soot emitters defined by Drew Schindell, the question then becomes, has the conclusion already been drawn that these emitters are already the problem? After all, Representative Power is also one of the chief sponsors of HB 2674 which proposes to implement an immediate privilege tax on nonroad diesel equipment (construction and farm equipment, ATV’s, and diesel generators) to mitigate their soot contribution to climate change?


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-03-18 06:53:53Last Update: 2021-03-18 07:47:03



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