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newsrel -- Scientists present findings on black carbon and climate change

Posted: 24 May 2012 10:49:03
Research suggests significant benefits from reducing short-lived

Release #:12-21

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Dimitri Stanich

Scientists present findings on black carbon and climate change

Research suggests significant benefits from reducing short-lived

SACRAMENTO - Today, the California Air Resources Board heard the
research findings from six world-leading experts describing the
potent and near-term contribution to climate change posed by
black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons.

The research findings on short-lived climate pollutants were
presented by:

    Dr. Mark Jacobson,  Professor Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Stanford
    Dr. V. Ramanathan, Professor Scripps Institute of
Oceanography, UC San Diego
    Dr. Marc L. Fischer, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory
    Dr. Erika Sasser, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency
    Dr. Alan Lloyd, President, International Council on Clean
    Mr. Durwood Zaelke,  President, Institute for Governance and
Sustainable Development

The scientists also explained that reducing emissions of these
short-lived global warming compounds would be a highly effective
strategy to mitigate the impacts of climate change, especially in
Arctic regions.

"We have known for years that black carbon hurts our lungs and
shortens people's lives. The new science tells us that by
controlling these compounds we can also make a significant
difference in averting some of the worst effects of global
climate change,” said Chairman of the California Air Resources
Board Mary D. Nichols.

Short-lived climate pollutants include black carbon (the black
soot portion of health-damaging fine particle pollution), methane
(the primary constituent of natural gas and also emitted by
livestock), and hydrofluorocarbons (industrial chemicals used in
refrigeration and air conditioning). 

Unlike carbon dioxide which stays in the atmosphere for about a
hundred years, these three have a relatively short atmospheric
lifetime ranging from a few days to a few decades. Even so, they
tend to have strong and immediate global warming influences. 
Actions to reduce emissions of these short-lived climate
pollutants will produce a relatively rapid reduction in their
contribution to climate change.
California has been addressing fine particle pollution from
diesel engines over the past ten years to reduce health risks.
Findings presented today indicated a fifty percent reduction of
these compounds in ambient air over the past twenty years. “It is
encouraging to see that ARB’s diesel regulations, while designed
to improve public health are also addressing climate change,”
added Nichols.

California also has measures in place under AB 32 to reduce
emissions from large commercial refrigeration units, an approach
that reduces emissions of hydrofluorocarbons into the atmosphere.
In addition, the findings presented today also support ongoing
efforts by ARB to address methane emissions in the agricultural
sector as part of a comprehensive energy strategy.

The studies presented today are among a body of growing
international research indicating the dangers posed by black
carbon. On Saturday, the G8 announced that it will formally join
the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate
Pollutants (launched in February) complementing efforts to
address carbon dioxide emissions.

For copies of the presentations go to the board agenda, see item
12-3-2, and beneath this heading select the presentation of your
choice: http://www.arb.ca.gov/board/ma/2012/ma052412.htm .

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare,
and ecological resources through effective reduction of air
pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the
economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in
California to attain and maintain health based air quality

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