Climate Change

California to cut down emissions of methane, HFCs and black carbon

Reduction in the emissions of short lived climate pollutants can facilitate the post-2015 development agenda

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 28 September 2015

Aggressive cuts in emissions of SLCPs could avoid up to 0.6°C of warming by 2050. (Photo: Creative Commons)

 

California will announce an aggressive plan next week to cut down on methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 40 per cent and black carbon by 50 per cent over the next 15 years, Governor Jerry Brown said on Thursday.

“This is the path forward. Come hell or high water, California is going to get there,” Brown said during the Contribution of Short-lived Climate Pollutants to the Post-2015 Development Agenda event.

The event was hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) at the UN headquarters in New York. 

Reducing emissions

Brown added that the California Air Resources Board will cut down emissions of methane from 38 to 19 MtCO2e (million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030, black carbon from 118 to 71 MtCO2e by the same year and HFCs from 40 to 24 MtCO2e also by 2030.

“California set the pace for the US and the world in cleaning up its smog and other air pollution starting in the 1960s. We have decades of experience that has given us a unique capability to cut air pollution,” Brown said.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), which contribute as much as 40 per cent to the current global warming rate, include black carbon, HFCs, methane, and tropospheric ozone. Aggressive cuts in emissions of SLCPs could avoid up to 0.6°C of warming by 2050.

According to the CCAC, “Targeting methane and black carbon-rich sources could prevent approximately 2.4 million deaths annually and avoid about 50 million tonnes of lost crop yields by reducing concentrations of ground-level ozone.”

Mitigating temperature

Ramanathan, a panel speaker at the event, 86 per cent of temperature mitigation will come from reduction in SLCPs over the next 40 years. He said that cutting down on SLCPs will also impede rise in sea level by nearly a third by 2050.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said “An HFC phase-down under the Montreal Protocol this year could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century and an equivalent of 100 (87-146) billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the mid-century.”

Protecting the ozone layer

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer. Proposals to phase down HFCs have now been submitted by 95 countries, led by the Federated States of Micronesia. Many other countries, including China, Brazil, and India have agreed to support the HFC amendment. Negotiations to begin the amendment process will reconvene in the United Arab Emirates in late October.

“We must also make sure that the appliances that use HFC replacements become super-efficient. This would provide a critical down payment of emission, as well as an enormous confidence boost, as the world moves forward to Paris at the end of the year,” Zaelke added.

California will announce an aggressive plan next week to cut down on methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 40 per cent and black carbon by 50 per cent over the next 15 years, Governor Jerry Brown said on Thursday.

“This is the path forward. Come hell or high water, California is going to get there,” Brown said during the Contribution of Short-lived Climate Pollutants to the Post-2015 Development Agenda event.

The event was hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) at the UN headquarters in New York. 

Reducing emissions

Brown added that the California Air Resources Board will cut down emissions of methane from 38 to 19 MtCO2e (million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030, black carbon from 118 to 71 MtCO2e by the same year and HFCs from 40 to 24 MtCO2e also by 2030.

“California set the pace for the US and the world in cleaning up its smog and other air pollution starting in the 1960s. We have decades of experience that has given us a unique capability to cut air pollution,” Brown said.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), which contribute as much as 40 per cent to the current global warming rate, include black carbon, HFCs, methane, and tropospheric ozone. Aggressive cuts in emissions of SLCPs could avoid up to 0.6°C of warming by 2050.

According to the CCAC, “Targeting methane and black carbon-rich sources could prevent approximately 2.4 million deaths annually and avoid about 50 million tonnes of lost crop yields by reducing concentrations of ground-level ozone.”

 Mitigating temperature

Ramanathan, a panel speaker at the event, 86 per cent of temperature mitigation will come from reduction in SLCPs over the next 40 years. He said that cutting down on SLCPs will also impede rise in sea level by nearly a third by 2050.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said “An HFC phase-down under the Montreal Protocol this year could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century and an equivalent of 100 (87-146) billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the mid-century.”

Protecting the ozone layer

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer. Proposals to phase down HFCs have now been submitted by 95 countries, led by the Federated States of Micronesia. Many other countries, including China, Brazil, and India have agreed to support the HFC amendment. Negotiations to begin the amendment process will reconvene in the United Arab Emirates in late October.

“We must also make sure that the appliances that use HFC replacements become super-efficient. This would provide a critical down payment of emission, as well as an enormous confidence boost, as the world moves forward to Paris at the end of the year,” Zaelke added.

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