Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

World Leaders Tackle Climate Change, and Nearly Everyone Missed It

No, this is not a headline out of <em>The Onion</em>. Apparently, leaders at last weekend's G8 Summit agreed to “the biggest step in years in tackling climate change,” as reported by Geoffrey Lean.
May 23, 2012, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Sarah Laskow has brought to our attention a seemingly significant agreement signed last weekend that has flown largely under the radar. "The catch is that it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Instead, it focuses on 'short-lived climate pollutants' - all those other pesky carbon-based greenhouse gases, like methane, soot, and ozone."

According to Lean, who did the original reporting in The Telegraph, "The summit's final communiqué, the Camp David Declaration, supports 'comprehensive actions' to reduce 'short-lived climate pollutants'. These substances – including black carbon (soot), methane, ground-level ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons – are responsible for about half of global warming. Straightforward measures to address them, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme concluded last year, would delay dangerous climate change by more than three decades, buying crucial time for the much more difficult process of slashing carbon dioxide emissions."

"More important still," notes Lean, "the measures would save some 2.4 million lives a year, mainly by cutting the inhalation of soot, chiefly emitted by vehicle diesel engines and by the inefficient wood and dung burning cookstoves used by most of the world's poorest people – and increase grain harvests, at present hit by pollution, by 52 million tons a year."

So while the world continues to wait for the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, the G8 leaders seem to have snuck one by most of us.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Grist
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email