Thursday, October 11, 2018

Not Just CO2: These Climate Pollutants Also Must Be Cut to Keep Global Warming to 1.5 Degrees

By Phil McKenna
Oct. 7, 2018

Countries won't be able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, considered by some scientists and policymakers to be the "safe" limit of climate change, without immediate and rapid reductions in a wide range of greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide, according to a new United Nations report.

The report, released Oct. 8 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sums up the research into how 1.5°C of warming will affect the world and how global warming can most effectively be stopped.

The planet has already warmed about 1°C since the start of the industrial era, and that's likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if emissions continue at their current rate, the IPCC says. It describes how recent warming has been accompanied by a trend toward more intense and frequent climate, temperature and weather extremes, and how those risks will rise with the temperature.

The warming can be stopped, the IPCC writes in its summary for policymakers. Doing so will require countries to reduce global net emissions of carbon dioxide to zero by around 2050 and to also significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

That emphasis on reducing short-lived climate pollutants, which are many times more potent than CO2 but don't last as long in the atmosphere, is stronger than what has been written into past international agreements.

That's partly because, with the clock running out before the world busts through its carbon budget, curtailing short-lived pollutants can buy valuable time.


Groups that are encouraging reducing short-lived climate pollutants emphasize that doing so reduces health hazards at the same time. For example, black carbon, also known as soot, can damage the lungs and cause heart problems, particularly for people who live or work around sources of it, such as diesel engines or wood- or coal-burning cookstoves.

"If you reduce things like black carbon emissions from the tailpipes of vehicles, for example, you are providing these important air quality improvement benefits which is going to help local populations as well," said Katherine Ross, an associate with the World Resources Institute's Climate Program.


By Miranda Green - 10/09/18 02:14 PM EDT

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a lawsuit challenging a lower court ruling written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The decision to pass on the case, announced during Kavanaugh’s first day as an associate justice, means the Supreme Court will not consider the lower court's August 2017 ruling that struck down an Obama-era regulation pertaining to a greenhouse gas. Kavanaugh did not participate in the Supreme Court's decision on whether to take up the case.

Kavanaugh authored the ruling that overturned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), commonly found in air conditioners and refrigerators. He argued that the federal government did not have the jurisdiction to regulate the gas under the Clean Air Act.


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