In a New York Times op-ed today, Durwood J. Zaelke and Veerabhadran Ramanathan write about the closest thing we have to a Climate Change silver bullet and that is going beyond C02 for the short term solution of a reduction of the short-lived climate pollutants
The support for reducing the Short-lived climate forcers(SLCF) of Methane, Black Carbon(soot) and ground level ozone is coming fast and furious. Just yesterday I wrote about the only positive news coming out of Climate talks in Doha is that the Clean Air and Climate Coalition to reduce the SLCF is the only initiative that is getting enthusiatic and rapid response. I have been writing about the need to reduce the SLCF extensively so am particularly pleased with this response.
The New York Times:
WE all know (or should know) by now that the carbon dioxide we produce when we burn fossil fuels and cut down forests is the planet’s single largest contributor to global warming. It persists in the atmosphere for centuries. Reducing these emissions by as much as half by 2050 is essential to avoid disastrous consequences by the end of this century, and we must begin immediately.The Obama administration began an important effort to reduce these pollutants when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton began the global Clean Air and Climate Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants earlier this year. Twenty-five countries are now participating including the G 8, along with the World Bank, the European Commission, the United Nations’ environment and development programs and several environmental organizations.
But this is a herculean undertaking, both technically and politically, as the lack of progress at United Nations climate talks here this week attests. And even if we are able to do this over the next 40 years, we would not slow the rate of warming enough by midcentury to moderate consequences like rising sea levels, the release of methane and carbon dioxide from melting arctic permafrost, and a rise in extreme weather.
There is, however, a short-term strategy. We can slow this warming quickly by cutting emissions of four other climate pollutants: black carbon, a component of soot; methane, the main component of natural gas; lower-level ozone, a main ingredient of urban smog; and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are used as coolants. They account for as much as 40 percent of current warming.
As I mentioned in my piece yesterday this is progress. But they are still ignoring the greatest contributor(pdf) to the short-lived climate pollutants and that is livestock production. I'm sure as implementation of projects to reduce the SLCF is accelerated there will be emphasis placed on livestock production and agriculture as well as that gives us all a way to be part of the solution to mitigating the worst effects of climate change by simply eliminating/reducing our consumption of meat and animal products.