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Research, Analytical, and Production Support for EPA's Report to Congress on Black Carbon

Black carbon is a byproduct of incomplete fuel combustion that remains suspended in the air for up to a few weeks. Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant – it has a significant impact on climate, and is estimated to contribute more to global warming than any other pollutant except carbon dioxide. It is also a component of particulate matter, and contributes to all the same adverse health impacts as fine particulate matter, such as premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

In 2009, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a comprehensive study of black carbon, including its sources, impacts, and mitigation opportunities in the U.S. and internationally. Abt Associates’ staff assisted EPA in preparing its Report to Congress on Black Carbon, released in March 2012. This support involved several activities, including:

  • Conducting research: Abt completed a comprehensive literature search for journal articles and reports related to the science of black carbon and developed an annotated bibliographic database of collected materials;
  • Developing a technical summary document: This document synthesized recent research on black carbon emissions, impacts, and mitigation strategies. The information in this report was used to draft sections of the Report to Congress;
  • Assisting in addressing expert comments on draft material: Abt assembled, organized, and assisted in responding to comments by expert reviewers on several draft chapters of the report;
  • Developing visual aids: Abt’s graphic designers developed several custom tables and figures to communicate the impacts of black carbon emission on climate; and
  • Editing and proofing: Abt’s editors and document production specialists thoroughly edited draft report content and prepared report front matter, including a glossary, acronym list, and lists of tables and figures.

Read more about Abt’s assistance to the EPA on black carbon:

North America