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View Diary: President Obama can and must take serious action on climate change with and without Congress (160 comments)

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  •  most important is the reduction of the short lived (12+ / 0-)

    climate accelerants.   It's the only way to buy time to reduce C02.   Hillary Clinton initiated the Clean Air & Climate Initiative to reduce the short lived climate accelerants.  I hope they continue & strengthen it when she leaves.

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 04:00:30 PM PST

    •  Do you really believe that in light of the (0+ / 0-)

      way CO2 is skyrocketing?

      A focus on methane might make sense if CO2 growth were to abate at all, but I wonder if it's worth the trouble otherwise.

      Methane is a powerful agent, but it's also one that dissipates more than an order of magnitude faster than CO2.

      In a way, focusing on methane is like invading Iraq:

      it's a very bad actor, but also much more convenient to attack than the guy(s) we'd really like to get.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:47:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Methane emissions will grow as shale gas... (4+ / 0-)

        ...and shale oil operations expand. It has been predicted by Robert Howarth, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, and Anthony Ingraffea, a civil and environmental engineer, both from Cornell, that within 20 years methane will contribute 44 percent of the greenhouse gas load produced by the U.S. Of that portion, with 17 percent will come from all natural gas operations.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:53:08 PM PST

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      •  reducing methane along with other short lived (0+ / 0-)

        climate pollutants such as black carbon(soot) and ground level ozone buys us the time to reduce C02 which remains in atmosphere for hundreds of years. Even if we went C02 neutral today there would still be the same dangerous C02 legacy emissions causing the worst effects of climate change.   We don't have a fast risk free way of removing C02 from atmosphere so at this time we MUST try to remove the short lived climate accelerates to stop the worst effects and buy us the time to build C02 carbon sinks.

        Macca's Meatless Monday

        by VL Baker on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:32:05 AM PST

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        •  fastest way to reduce the short lived accelerants (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          is by reforming agriculture.  

          Macca's Meatless Monday

          by VL Baker on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:42:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Problem is that CO2 is shooting up, and (0+ / 0-)

          we're not the ones doing it.

          Methane is a diversion -- not worthless, but a "feel-good" activity to let us believe we're getting something done.   Results are fast, so when we tackle methane isn't critical, but without real movement on CO2 levels, it won't matter.

          Soot, btw, is probably the last thing we want to tackle.  Atmospheric aerosols may be nasty stuff, but they also reflect sunlight, preventing some of it from reaching the ground and inhibiting warming.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 03:14:10 AM PST

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          •  your comment doesn't make sense. (0+ / 0-)

            didn't read my links true?

            Macca's Meatless Monday

            by VL Baker on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 03:38:11 AM PST

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            •  Makes no sense how? (0+ / 0-)

              Certainly no less sense than including soot cleanup as a step to fight global warming.  Getting particulates out of the air is definitely better for our health, but will make the problem of warming a little bit worse.

              As to methane, results are relatively fast, so I don't put much stock in 5 year alarmism.

              What I do put stock in is concern with CO2 levels because they take a damned long time to mitigate.  And they will keep rising rapidly over the next 5 years.  China alone will increase it's CO2 output by an amount roughly equal to the entire US output.

              While I think it's a great idea to make agriculture more rational and certainly there is nothing wrong with mitigating methane, it won't matter if we can't but the brakes on CO2.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:00:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Huh ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            beach babe in fl

            1.  Methane is judged to be 70 times the impact of Co2 in first 20 years. And, it is skyrocketing. And, we don't know how bad the fugitive emissions problem is w/natural gas

            2. Don't take as 'either/or', it is a both.  There is a benefit of having some serious near-term focus on the items that beach babe is highlighting.

            3.  Soot is a quite serious problem -- especially for Himalayan glaciers and the Arctic (if I recall correctly) because the black/gray particles get blown into the ice and the gray/black reduces the albedo factor and contributes to warming / melting.  And, there are lots of health issues (air pollution) that payoff from focusing on reducing this in homes.

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:23:50 AM PST

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            •  Fun with numbers. (0+ / 0-)

              So what, exactly does that magic 72 mean?

              As things stand, if all of the methane in the atmosphere were to disappear overnight -- we'd reduce radiative forcing by about 20%.

              That's nice, definitely  not something to dismiss, but methane's not going to disappear overnight. For one thing, human activity accounts for only about half. So...
              if we eliminate all human-caused methane from the atmosphere overnight, we reduce radiative forcing by about 10%.

              Still nothing to sneeze at, but due to be overwhelmed by CO2 very quickly, especially since we're not going to eliminate all human-caused methane from the atmosphere overnight.

              The effect of carbon soot on glacial albedo is something to think about.  I wonder if anybody's studied that in comparison to dimming effect in the atmosphere.  One thing that occurs to me is that aerosols cover the entire planet, whereas snow and glaciers are not.  Additionally, those albedo-reduced glaciers would lie beneath an atmosphere that was permitting less sunlight to shine down, so there would be at least a small trade-off there. Finally, i would expect that reduced albedo comes and goes with each snowfall...but might not.  I could also imagine snow carrying particles out of the atmosphere and onto the ground.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:39:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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