Controlling Emissions from Wood Burning

Legislation and Regulations in Nordic Countries to Control Emissions from Residential Wood Burning An examination of Past Experience

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This report has been produced by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) under a grant from the Nordic Council of Ministers under its Arctic Cooperation Program, as part of a pilot project to reduce emissions of black carbon reaching the Arctic from residential heating from wood burning in Nordic countries. The report reviews legislation and other measures in the Nordic countries pertinent to the reduction of particulate matter (PM2.5) and Black Carbon (BC) –soot. It then assesses the effectiveness of the different policy instruments used in the Nordic countries as well as points to measures which may be most effective in reducing emissions of Black Carbon and PM2.5 from wood burning.




Black carbon (the blackening component of soot) has long been recognized as a source of ambient air pollution with negative health effects, but only in recent years have scientists become aware of its role in accelerating near-term climate change. Black carbon1 (BC) – a form of particulate matter (PM) produced through the incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels – warms the earth by absorbing heat in the atmosphere and by reducing the earth’s albedo (the ability to reflect sunlight) in snow and ice covered areas. Studies have shown that BC emissions have a particularly strong impact in the Arctic, where soot particles, deposited onto snow and ice, hasten the onset of the spring melt and enhance the melting during the melt season. As ocean and land surfaces become exposed, they absorb more solar radiation, reinforcing the heating effect.


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