The European Parliament is calling for fast action to reduce
non-CO2 climate forcers including black carbon soot,
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane and ground-level ozone. The
Parliaments call for action came in a resolution passed
this week by an overwhelming majority (578 to 51 with 22
The resolution calls for a comprehensive climate policy and
stresses that in addition to considering CO2
emission reductions, it should place emphasis on strategies
that can produce the fastest climate response,
specifically strategies to cut black carbon soot, HFCs, methane
and ground-level ozone.
Because these climate forcers are short-lived, reducing them
produces a fast climate response, the Parliament said.
This is in contrast to long-lived CO2, where a
significant portion remains in the atmosphere for thousands of
years. Even cutting CO2 emissions to zero today will
not produce cooling for a thousand years, officials said.
Cutting just two of the short-lived climate forcers
(black carbon soot and ground-level ozone) can cut the rate of
global warming in half and by two-thirds in the Arctic for the
next 30 to 60 years, assuming we also make progress on
CO2, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the
Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
Emissions of black carbon and other short-lived climate
forcers can be reduced quickly using existing technologies and
existing laws, according to a recent assessment by the UN
Environment Program and World Meteorological Organization. The
EU resolution follows the first-ever ministerial meeting on
short-lived climate forcers held September 12 in Mexico City.