Senator Coons hails new international cooperation on climate change and clean air
This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new climate change and clean air initiative at the State Department. This initiative will bring together a coalition of countries including Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Bangladesh, and Ghana to fight some of the biggest contributions to global climate change.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition, in cooperation with the U.N. Environment Programme, will target so-called short-lived "climate forcers." Those substances like methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) remain in the atmosphere only days or weeks, unlike carbon dioxide, which lasts generations. Collectively, they account for 30-40% of current global warming. The initiative will look to find ways to reduce these pollutants that have the potential for reducing average global temperatures by ½ degree Celsius. This could be a significant reduction in light of the recent pledge reduce average global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius at last year’s international conference on climate change.
Senator Coons is a strong supporter of cooperative, international approaches to fighting climate change and improve clean air. Prior to last year’s international conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa, he joined 15 of his Senate colleagues in signing a letter urging coordinated international efforts as we transition to a clean energy economy.
Chris was also glad to hear that additional countries, including many in Europe and Latin America, are expected to join the coalition next year. All reductions are voluntary and the programs are low cost or even cost neutral.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson joined Secretary Clinton for this morning’s announcement, highlighting the health benefits of the initiative. Her agency estimates these programs could save over 2.5 million lives and prevent some of the 30-50 million tons of agricultural losses each year due to these pollutants.