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EU Parliament seeks stricter greenhouse gas rules

10.01.2011  |  Thinnes, Billy,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX


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 Parliament’s call for action came in a resolution passed this week by an overwhelming majority (578 to 51 with 22 abstentions).

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. HP

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