September 19, 2011

International effort launched to curb shorter-lived climate forcers (SLCF)

Ministers and representatives from 22 countries met this past week in Mexico to discuss the importance of reducing non-CO2 causes of limate change as a way to halt the process more quickly. Addressing the meeting, UN Environment Program (UNEP) chief Achim Steiner stated that while experts have warned that temperature increases by 2050 could reach a dangerous level of 4 degrees Celsius, his agency's esearch indicates clearly that even with more diligent efforts, reductions in CO2 would not be sufficient to avoid such a temperature increase.

This is due in part to the fact that CO2 can persist in the atmosphere for centuries, with its heat-trapping effect also persisting. Scientists are thus recommending reductions in the potent SLCF pollutants ozone, black carbon and methane, all of which dissipate from the atmosphere very quickly.

He stated, "(This) fast action might help keep a temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and perhaps 1.5 degrees." UNEP chief Steiner went on to also point that decreasing methane emissions would also result in a corresponding reduction of ozone.

Our appreciation, UNEP chief Steiner and other representatives, for your efforts to promote faster actions in halting climate change. May we act quickly and in greater harmony with nature to sustain all life on our shared planetary home.

During a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai highlighted the common source of the major short-lived climate forcers and thus the simplest way to apply the scientists' recommended solution.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The best way to bring about cooling, rather than focusing on carbon dioxide, would be to reduce the shorter-lived global warming agents. These include methane, black carbon, and ground-level ozone.

This is our best chance for quickly reversing the climate change – cut it off, the danger. For example, whereas CO2 can take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to dissipate from the atmosphere, most methane is gone in about 12 years. And methane’s number one source from human activity is? Livestock raising.

A significant cause of black carbon release is also livestock raising – everything points to livestock raising – because the burning of forest or fields to create grazing pasture or crops to feed the livestock causes black soot to be carried by wind currents all the way to glaciers and ice caps, where it speeds their melting, thus warming up the planet even more.

Ozone is a component of smog, and we usually think that it is caused from car exhausts, but a major building block is also methane.

And ozone dissipates from the atmosphere in the period of a few hours or weeks. So the fastest way to reverse climate change is quickly reduce methane, ozone and black carbon. And how? Again, the fastest, cheapest way to do this is to stop raising animals for human consumption.

Regeringin, Salade Prensa, Flickr, UNEP

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