Canada joins international partners to battle climate pollutants

Canada’s new Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will join top government officials to discuss how nations can cut emissions of soot, methane and other “short-lived climate pollutants” that contribute to global warming.

Aglukkaq is representing Canada at the second ministerial meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. The group — founded last year by Canada, the United States and four other countries — funds and organizes projects around the world to limit emissions from municipal solid waste, vehicle engines and natural gas production. It is now supported by 33 nations, the European Commission and a number of non-state organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank.

Canada is the “largest financial contributor” to the coalition, according to Environment Canada, and has contributed $20 million to the group over the last 18 months. The most recent contribution of $10 million was announced this spring.

Unlike carbon dioxide, which stays in the atmosphere for centuries, short-lived emissions have a relatively brief lifespan in the atmosphere, lasting only a few days or a few decades. Despite this, the pollutants are some of the most significant man-made contributors to global warming after carbon dioxide.

Experts have said that reducing emissions of methane and soot from inefficient engines will reduce the impacts of global warming in the short term while researchers and policy makers tackle the long-term climate effects of carbon dioxide.

Research by the United Nations Environment Programme suggests a reduction of these pollutants will slow temperature rise, reduce air-pollution related deaths and increase crop production. These benefits are expected to be most pronounced in the Arctic, where the effects of global warming are most pronounced.

Source | The Gazette