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CAMP DAVID DECLARATION

At last weekends G8 meeting at Camp David much attention was given to energy and Climate Change.  Most promising is that the summit endorsed action to keep temperature rise from exceeding 2 degrees C.  And by strongly recommending the reduction of the short-lived climate pollutants they endorse the means to that end.

13. We agree to continue our efforts to address climate change and recognize the need for increased mitigation ambition in the period to 2020, with a view to doing our part to limit effectively the increase in global temperature below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, consistent with science.  We strongly support the outcome of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban to implement the Cancun agreements and the launch of the Durban Platform, which we welcome as a significant breakthrough toward the adoption by 2015 of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all Parties, developed and developing countries alike. We agree to continue to work together in the UNFCCC and other fora, including through the Major Economies Forum, toward a positive outcome at Doha.  

14. Recognizing the impact of short-lived climate pollutants on near-term climate change, agricultural productivity, and human health, we support, as a means of promoting increased ambition and complementary to other CO2 and GHG emission reduction efforts, comprehensive actions to reduce these pollutants, which, according to UNEP and others, account for over thirty percent of near-term global warming as well as 2 million premature deaths a year.  Therefore, we agree to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants.

This is very significant as recognition that we can not reach our goal to prevent global temperate from exceeding 2 degrees C  by focusing on the reduction of C02  has reached consensus.   The global community is recognizing that the closest we have to a climate change silver bullet is a rapid reduction of the short-lived climate pollutants of Black Carbon, Methane and Tropospheric Ozone.  

I've been writing that a shift of focus is needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change.   Primarily that focus has been on the reduction of C02 and we do need to reduce C02 in the long term.  But as C02 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years we do not have time to spare to reduce it to safe levels.  What we do have is an opportunity to rapidly reduce the short-lived climate forcers to buy us enough time to deal with reducing C02.

Good news here is that the G8 group has agreed to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants..  This is extremely important and gives an avenue to working with the other industrial nations in a way that side-steps the political obstructions.   They only briefly mentioned reforming agriculture as a means to reducing the short-lived climate pollutants.  But that is coming and here we can all participate.   Because the fastest and most cost effective way of reducing the short-lived climate forcers is right on our plates.

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