Many of us assume the only real climate challenge is reducing CO2.
If only that were true! But it isn’t.
There is an even more important challenge—especially in the short term—that can help buy us the time required to reduce CO2 as much as we need:
We have to reduce short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs, otherwise known as super pollutants.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls SLCPs “near-term climate forcers”: greenhouse gases and other climate pollutants that have short atmospheric lifetimes compared to CO2 but per molecule have a much stronger warming effect than CO2.
This means that reducing them has a stronger impact on near-term warming. In fact, reducing SLCPs could slow the planet’s warming by about half a degree by 2050!
Super pollutants include methane, black carbon, HFCs and tropospheric ozone, and they are the most under-appreciated but dangerous contributors to climate change: While CO2 increases temperatures over 50-100 years, and 20% of emissions remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years, short-lived climate pollutants do their damage over much shorter periods and then disappear—the damage done.
In that short lifetime lies our opportunity: We must aggressively reduce new emissions of these super pollutants, which are atmospheric gases that decay and disappear quickly, taking their warming power with them.
A new report released by the Climate Center and written by Daniel Kammen, Manuel Pastor, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Tom Steyer and others concludes that climate change is occurring at a faster, more destructive rate than previously known, and we are expected to pass the 1.5 degrees C threshold of dangerous warming as early as 2027!
Drew Shindell, Professor of Climate Sciences at Duke University and a lead author of a 2018 IPCC report on SLCPs, says no scenario exists where the world can get to 1.5 degrees without reducing these super pollutants alongside CO2.
Join us to talk about this problem with SLCP, climate and clean air experts at Zoom #1—Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants—the first in a 5-part Climate and Clean Air series beginning on June 24, 10am-12pm. REGISTER HERE.