November 3– Common pollutants like soot are accelerating climate change and proving fatal for health, according to a new report issued by the World Bank today.

The carbon pollutants, along with methane gas, are short-lived climate pollutants that are playing a major role in accelerating melting of the earth’s regions of snow and ice—the “cryosphere,” says the new World Bank report, “On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Lives.”  It finds that the melting that is taking place at a pace unprecedented in the historic record has the potential to trigger disastrous feedback mechanisms from the cryosphere into the global climate system.

Current estimates place the total annual deaths from all household smoke exposure from cookstoves, both outdoor and indoor, at four million annually, greater than the current annual toll from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

The report recommends 14 specific measures we could take by 2030 to reduce short-lived climate pollutants and slow the melting of ice and snow that must stay frozen to keep oceans and global temperatures from rising rapidly.

The health of people around the world will improve greatly if we reduce emissions of black carbon and methane. Limiting these emissions also will be an important contributor to the fight against climate change,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.

Cookstove reduction measures offer a global, optimally beneficial plan for human health and delaying cryosphere warming. Climate benefits are visible in every cryosphere region of the world even in Antarctica after the introduction of advanced cookstoves. These cookstoves use less or cleaner fuel and can save one million lives annually.

 These report says that the reduction measures will provide important agriculture and development benefits as well. Reductions in emissions of methane and nitrogen oxide from diesel use could result in more than 16 million tons of additional yield in crops such as rice, soy and wheat, especially in Southeast Asia.

Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development adds that the aim now “is to work with countries to transform investments that have an impact on pollutants like black carbon into investments that reduce emissions where ever possible.”