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FOCI: non-CO₂ climate pollutants and their climate, weather, air quality and health impacts

SEI is working with a consortium of universities and research institutes to evaluate the impacts of non-CO₂ climate pollutants on climate, weather, air quality and human health. Specifically, the project assesses the role and impacts of pollutants, besides CO₂, that drive or ‘force’ climate change. The project will also develop climate change mitigation options for policymaking in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Active project


Aerial view of a region with a sustainable plant in the production of clean energy

Aerial view of a region with a sustainable plant in the production of clean energy

rparobe/Getty Images


The FOCI project aims to provide policy recommendations by bridging knowledge gaps on the impact of non-CO₂ climate forcing pollutants (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) such as black carbon (soot), methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. While the causes and processes connected to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO₂) are well known, including its ability to trap and heat the earth’s atmosphere, and its environmental and health impacts, there is less information on the effects of many of these non-CO₂ forcers. FOCI will assess the environmental and health impacts of these non-CO₂ forcers, including how and where they arise. 

To do this, researchers will use complex computer models to simulate interactions between various components of the earth’s systems. Such components, which includes the earth’s atmosphere, will be studied to understand and predict the impact of non-CO₂ forces on the earth’s climate system using the global Earth System Models (ESMs) and Regional Climate Models (RCMs). Findings from the research will inform the development  and adaptation of climate-related policies.

SEI Actions

The FOCI project has eight work packages. SEI will focus on work package five and seven.

SEI leads on:

  • work package five: multiscale emissions processing and development of scenarios for model projections, and
  • work package seven: integration of knowledge for innovative mitigation options to support climate policies.

Researchers at SEI are developing historical emission estimations and future projections in specific regions (Latin America and Africa) and sectors (agriculture, waste) to understand the influence of current climate change mitigation measures over the medium and long-term on all emitted non-CO₂ forcers.

Using SEI’s Low Emissions Analysis Platform (LEAP) tool, the project will develop new nationally appropriate emissions scenarios and mitigation assessments. The tool is also used to identify the economic costs of implementing non-CO₂ mitigation measures.

The study will provide an assessment framework with recommendations by which policymakers, planners and diverse stakeholders can develop integrated strategies for improved air quality and climate benefits. The methodologies, input data, and results used in developing the assessment will be made available to an existing community of 40,000 low-emission development practitioners. The assessment will be translated into suggested policy measures ensuring climate resilience is a central component of air quality and climate change planning processes.

For more information on the work packages visit the projects website.


  • To examine and evaluate relevant processes and feedbacks of man-made primary and secondary non-CO₂ climate forcing pollutants, based on observable new and available datasets (WP1).
  • To examine and evaluate the climate relevant processes and feedbacks of natural aerosols (e.g. desert dust) and biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) (emitted from plants under stress) as precursors for secondary organic aerosols (SOA) (e.g. new solid particles following oxidation) based on new and available observation datasets (WP2).
  • To integrate observational and modelling datasets and data products for improving and evaluating multiscale climate and atmospheric composition models (cross-cutting activity).
  • To improve and evaluate state-of-the-art global Earth System Models (ESMs) (WP3) and regional climate and atmospheric composition models (RCMs) (WP4), targeting specific critical processes with the largest uncertainties (WP6) for improving future next generation climate projections.
  • To improve tailored emission inventories for non-CO₂ radiative forcers and scenarios for detailed, high-resolution, multiscale climate and associated impact projections for specific regions (e.g. Europe, South Asia, Africa and Arctic), using innovative coupled modelling frameworks (WP5 and WP7).
  • To undertake innovative and regionally relevant integrated analysis of optimized mitigation strategies. It aims to support climate policy, deriving multiple benefits (e.g. climate mitigation and adaptation, human health, social, economic, and developmental), and quantifying the sensitivity of climate system tipping points to non-CO₂ forcers. Thereby, meeting the global challenge of stabilising global temperatures and minimising the associated impacts on climate, weather, air quality and health (WP6, WP7).
  • To implement a global outreach, dissemination and stakeholder engagement strategy targeted at providing updated scientific evidence on the impact from key non-CO2 radiative forcers. The strategy will support national and international policy and operational services, including formulating recommendations on the most efficient pathways for integrating climate, health, urban and energy services (WP8).
  • To guarantee the efficient implementation of the project and delivery of its outcomes through a robust coordination and management plan incorporating administrative, financial, operational and monitoring infrastructure and mechanisms with independent scientific oversight (WP9).

Further information

FOCI website

Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna

Project Leader

SEI York

Chris Malley

Senior Research Fellow

SEI York

Jenniffer Pedraza

Research Associate

SEI York

Victoria Beale

Communications Specialist

SEI York

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