From: Duke University
Published May 4, 2017 04:21 PM

Policies to Curb Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Could Yield Major Health Benefits

A commitment to reducing global emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane and black carbon could slow global warming while boosting public health and agricultural yields, aligning the Paris Climate Agreement with global sustainable development goals, a new analysis by an international research panel shows.

Methane and black carbon – or soot – are the second and third most powerful climate-warming agents after carbon dioxide. They also contribute to air pollution that harms the health of billions of people worldwide and reduces agricultural yields.

“Unlike long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, SLCPs respond very quickly to mitigation. It’s highly likely that we could cut methane emissions by 25 percent and black carbon by 75 percent and eliminate high-warming hydrofluorocarbons altogether in the next 25 years using existing technologies, if we made a real commitment to doing this,” said Drew T. Shindell, professor of climate science at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Acting now to reduce these emissions would contribute to long-term goals set under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement while concurrently offering governments substantial benefits in the short term for investing in sustainable development – a set of goals through 2030 that countries also agreed to in 2015.

Continue reading at the Duke University

Image: Human sources of black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants include flares from oil and gas wells, such as these in the Bakken Field of North Dakota. (Credit: Jeff Peischl / NOAA CIRES)

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