From Rebecca Lefton at Think Progress
While the US has been the main obstacle in securing international cooperation on Climate Change action the reasons have been obvious to the world. One of the leading parties in our two party political system is denying that there is even a problem to contend with. Not only are the Republicans denying that there is a problem but they are actively obstructing any progress that can be made as they march to the tune of their fossil fuel corporate masters.
Some US progress has been made but it is painfully slow and has had to been done in a circuitous way to bypass the total republican obstruction of the US congress. Fuel mileage has been raised, the EPA has stopped the building of new coal plants by its ruling on pollution emissions, the US Department of Defense has taken important major steps to turn our biggest employer green and President Obama has issued a rejection of rapid approval on the building of the TransCanada XL Pipeline.
This is not enough by a long shot. And with the situation becoming more dire and with the crisis being close to reaching catastrophic tipping points we are left with few alternatives.
We are correct to focus on reducing C02 in our atmosphere because Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. In 2010, CO2 accounted for about 84% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Trouble is, we now know that C02 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. And scientists are stating that we have about 5 years to change course on our carbon emissions in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. So new research (pdf) is leading the way by showing that the reduction of the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) of black carbon(soot), methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone can buy us the time we need to reduce C02. And this is where Hillary Clinton comes in.
In a visit to Sweden this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for greater international cooperation to address climate change.The solutions to reducing the SLCPs already exist but we have not implemented them. It seems that when our species is faced with it's greatest challenge we run around in circles and are unable to see the forest for the trees in our way.
“We do need more action in the fight against climate change. We need real-world solutions and we need results,” said Clinton in a meeting with environmental officials.
Secretary Clinton and Sweden’s Minister for the Environment, Lena Ek, announced the launch of a global awareness campaign as part of the Clean Air and Climate Coalition to spread information about the potential for cost-effective solutions to combat short-lived climate pollutants (slcp’s). Short-lived climate pollutants — such as black carbon, soot, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone — are shorter lived than carbon dioxide, but much more potent. They contribute to more than 30 percent of current global warming and limiting them can significantly reduce temperatures.
The Clean Air and Climate Coalition was launched in February, 2012. The Coalition got a boost last month when G8 members joined at Camp David, bringing the membership to 16 countries plus the European Commission, United Nations Environment Program, and the World BankThis is significant. What started with the US and a small group of countries now includes many major industrialized nations and is a strong beginning.
I've been writing about this solution to mitigate climate change for four years. As reducing C02 in atmosphere will take too long to prevent the worst effects of climate change it's become apparent that we need both a short term solution and a long term solution. The long term solution being the reduction of C02 and the short term solution being the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) to buy us the time to reduce C02.
We now know that the greatest cause (pdf) of the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants is livestock production. So that is where we come in. This gives us the opportunity to be a part of the solution to the worst effects of climate change by the simple act of reducing/eliminating our meat consumption.
Chinese writer Lu Hsun:
Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said to not exist
It is just like roads across the earth
For actually there were no roads to begin with
but when many people pass one way a road is made