Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 12, 2013 -- As evidence mounts that climate change is increasing the risks of extreme weather, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is outlining steps the federal government can take to reduce short-lived climate pollutants affecting our climate now.
In a policy brief being released today, Domestic Policies to Reduce the Near-Term Risks of Climate Change, C2ES identifies a range of administrative actions that can be taken under existing authorities to reduce black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
“While reducing carbon emissions is critical to long-term efforts to address climate change, curbing greenhouse gases with shorter lifetimes will do more to limit warming and related impacts in the near term,’’ said C2ES Senior Advisor Stephen Seidel, co-author of the paper.
For example, the president could issue an executive order directing federal agencies to buy products made without HFCs, retrofit or replace their dirtiest diesel engines to reduce black carbon emissions, and increase the capture of methane emissions from gas and oil wells and coal mines on federal lands.
'As the nation's largest fleet operator, landowner, purchaser, and property manager, the federal government has the ability and the responsibility to lead by example in limiting its emissions of short-lived climate pollutants,'' Seidel said.
Other steps outlined in the report include:
- Strengthening Environmental Protection Agency rules or programs, where cost-effective options exist, to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations, landfills, coal mines, and animal feeding operations;
- Phasing out HFC-134a, used in new car air conditioners and other applications, wherever more environmentally acceptable alternatives are available;
- Developing programs to accelerate the retrofitting or replacement of existing diesel-powered trucks emitting black carbon; and
- Demonstrating the feasibility of changing the timing of planned burning in northern states to reduce impacts of black carbon on Arctic regions.
“EPA has taken some initial steps to reduce these emissions,” Seidel said. “However, more can and should be done.”
A year ago, the United States, five other countries and the United Nations Environment Programme launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. Since then, 21 countries and more than 20 additional non-state partners have joined the coalition, whose objective is to develop new national and regional actions to address these pollutants.