Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

New US-led coalition to tackle short-lived pollutants

New US-led coalition to tackle short-lived pollutants

An alliance of six countries, spearheaded by the US, will look at ways to alleviate increasing levels of ‘short-lived climate forcers’, such as soot, methane and ozone, that harm the Earth’s atmosphere.

The initiative is unusual in that the focus is shifted away from carbon dioxide reduction.

We know that in the principal effort necessary to reduce the effects of carbon dioxide, the world has not yet done enough“, US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, said.

So when we discover effective and affordable ways to reduce global warming—not just a little, but by a lot—it is a call to action for all of us.

This coalition, the first international effort of its kind, will conduct a targeted, practical and highly energetic global campaign to spread solutions to the short-lived pollutants worldwide”.

The US will invest some $12m in solutions to decrease the effects of such polluters, whilst Canada will donate $3m. Bangladesh, Mexico, Sweden and Ghana are also involved, though their contributions to the cause are unclear.

Black carbon, or soot, is emitted from cooking stoves and diesel vehicles. Meanwhile, methane originates primarily from the oil and gas industries, landfills, coal mines and agriculture. The initiative will support low-cost environmentally-friendly technologies that counter these emissions.

The Clean Air Task Force says that the two gases are rapidly warming the climate, so clearly something needs to be done.

Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said this is just the first step in a long line of action needed to preserve the environment.

The science behind this new initiative is sound”, he said, “but it does not in any way support postponing immediate and aggressive global action on anthropogenic greenhouse gases”.

The fact is, the big emitters like the US and Canada that are advancing this initiative have done very little to reduce emissions.

Now they’ve developed an initiative that shifts the focus to others, developing countries in particular.

Support for action in poorer countries is important, but their primary responsibility should be to reduce their own emissions, and address the global challenges posed by climate change”.

Despite such criticism, it’s important to recognise positive global initiatives, especially those that directly tackle climate change. The coalition launched by the US might not be fighting the most important battle, but it is at least on the right side of the war.

We can all do our part in reducing short-lived pollutants; Good Energy is the UK’s only 100% renewable energy provider and can help you convert your home to clean power.

Picture source: Keith Kissel

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