Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced a new global initiative called the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.
The coalition will seize the opportunity of realizing concrete benefits on climate, health, food and energy resulting from reducing short-lived climate pollutants.
A Senior Administration Official today states that the coalition will focus efforts on reducing black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and methane.
The founding coalition partners are Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States, together with the UN Environment Programme.
Ms. Clinton was joined by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. UNEP’s going to be acting as the secretariat for this coalition.
The focus of the new initiative is to curb methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons.
“They’re short-lived pollutants and they, together, account for more than a third of current global warming, so they have a much larger impact than people generally recognize. UNEP has put out some very good reports in the past year or so most recent one was at the end of 2011.”- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL
The coalition has y listed and discussed a set of 16 major actions that could be taken either on black carbon or methane, which could have quite striking effects with respect to global warming.
Senior Administration Official stresses that those actions are implemented, it could slow global warming by something like a half degree Celsius by 2050.
Senior Administration Official says the UNEP also projects that taking these actions could prevent at least 2.5 million deaths annuall.
Senior Administration Official notes that those actions will yield a big climate impact, most strikingly in health, but also in agriculture.
“The coalition is going to be aimed at action, at attracting high-level political support, mobilizing resources, catalyzing and helping to drive the implementation. I guess the development first, and then the implementation of national action plans, and broadly raising public awareness about the impact of action in these areas.” -Senior Administration Official
The United States is already actively engaged in efforts to reduce these pollutants on the national and international levels. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency addresses these pollutants through robust programs that protect public health and the environment.
The pollutants targeted by this new initiative remain in the atmosphere for only a few days to a few years after they are emitted. This is very short when compared to CO2, which remains in the atmosphere for approximately a century. The targeted pollutants for this initiative are methane, black carbon and HFCs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $6.6 million in grants to eight universities in support of black carbon research.
Black carbon is the sooty black material emitted from diesel-powered engines and vehicles, industries like brick kilns and coke ovens, traditional cookstoves, and other sources that burn fossil fuels or biomass. Black carbon can affect the climate in the near term, and like other types of fine particles, can cause serious health effects such as cardiovascular and respiratory ailments. Therefore, reducing black carbon emissions could have a positive effect on our climate quickly.