January 14th, 2012
Scientists say cut soot, methane to curb warming
A recent study published in the journal Science argues that scientists and policy-makers should refocus their attention on methane and soot in their efforts to curb global warming. In short, they argue that curbing methane and soot emissions are a more practical “quick-fix,” and focusing on them can free-up capital for more long-term solutions to carbon reduction.
Methane comes primarily from landfills, farms, drilling for natural gas, and coal mining. Soot, called black carbon by scientists, is a byproduct of burning and comes primarily from cook stoves using wood, dung and coal in developing countries and in some diesel fuels worldwide. Carbon dioxide is still considered the lead contributor to global warming, accounting for 48 percent of the phenomenon, while soot contributes 16 percent, and methane contributes 14 percent. Importantly, however, a molecule of methane or soot causes substantially more warming then a carbon dioxide molecule over a 20-year period. If certain measures were adopted, the scientists calculate that would reduce projected global warming by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) by the year 2050. Without the measures, global average temperature is projected to rise nearly 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) in the next four decades.
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December 1st, 2011
“Pope, Tutu urge climate-change deal”
Pope Benedict XVI and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, called on world leaders to meaningfully address climate change at the coming negotiations in Durban. Pope Benedict told Romans that he “hope[s] all members of the international community will agree on a responsible, credible and united response to this worrying and complex phenomenon.” Rowan Williams urged leaders to show “real moral leadership.” He also urged rich nations to clearly detail how pledges for the Green Climate Fund will be fulfilled. Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu called climate change a “huge, huge enemy” and noted how “no country can fight that enemy on his own.” (November 28, 2011)
“At Meeting on Climate Change, Urgent Issues but Low Expectations”
This New York Times article begins, “[w]ith intensifying climate disasters and global economic turmoil as the backdrop, delegates from 194 nations will gather in Durban, South Africa, starting Monday to try to advance, if only incrementally, the world’s response to dangerous climate change.” The article addresses the “monotonously familiar” negotiation process of international climate negotiations, but notes that the process is being internally criticized. Poorer nations risk being marginalized at the negotiations, and are keen to establish a meaningful presence at the meetings. The article also addresses the Kyoto Protocol issue, namely whether the international community will agree to extend the agreement. (November 27, 2011)
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