Combatting HFCs with the Most-Effective MEA

ozone

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases commonly used in a variety of applications, including refrigeration, air conditioning, building insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. HFCs are a synthetic gas and have a high global warming potential, with some estimates putting their global warming impact at up to 10,000 times that of carbon dioxide. This global warming potential…
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Cleaning up India’s energy mix

dehli pollution

2015 marked the first time that the average Indian was exposed to more air pollution from fine particulate matter than the average Chinese, reports Greenpeace. In response, India has introduced new taxes aimed at cutting pollution and reducing emissions.  The country’s finance minister announced this week a tax of up to 4% on new passenger vehicles.  It’s estimated…
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California Leads Subnationals in Setting a High Bar for COP21 Negotiators

Governor Brown speaks for subnationals (From: the Office of Governor Brown)

The VLS delegation had the privilege yesterday to attend an intimate presentation given by Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, and Ken Alex, the Director of the Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research. Mary and Ken candidly addressed a group of professional students and professors from UCLA and Vermont Law…
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Fracking: COP21 as “the scoreboard, not the game”

Panel for Side Event on Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: the International Movement to Ban Fracking

“If you’re looking for good way to heat up the earth fast, poke holes in the earth and let methane pour out.” This is how Bill McKibben of 350.org described hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at today’s side event on the international movement to ban fracking. Sandra Steingraber of EcoWatch pointed out how both methane and CO2…
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Quick boost from short-lived climate pollutants

SLCPs

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) says that “due to their short lifetimes, compared to CO2 which remains in the atmosphere for approximately a century, actions to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants will quickly lower their atmospheric concentrations, yielding a relatively rapid climate response. Fast action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, especially methane and…
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China’s cities surpass 2030 carbon peak promise

CHina air quality

In the run up to COP21’s opening plenary on Monday, November 30, 2015, countries have been pledging their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These public announcements submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat describe how each Party will mitigate its GHG emissions, as well as implement adaptation strategies, help developing country Parties finance these kinds of actions, and…
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Flat lining of GHG emissions in 2014: trend or one off?

smokestacks

The International Energy IEA recently released data showing that the global CO2 emissions associated with the energy sector remained stable in 2014, not increasing from the 2013 output even though the world economy grew.  E&E reported that “researchers said the early numbers showing that CO2 emissions remained steady at 32.3 billion metric tons in 2014 mark[s]…
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Spotlight on India at COP20

india modi

“We have forgotten to live with nature,”  India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told a group of school kids in September.  Urging them to conserve electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use and turning off tap water when brushing teeth, he connected energy use with climate change impacts.  Modi wrote a 2011…
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Africa on track to contribute to majority of global particulate matter

german coal fired

A study co-authored by researchers from France and Cote d’Ivoire concludes that Africa will contribute as much as 55% of the world’s particle pollutants by 2030.  In 2005, the continent accounted for 5% of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and 20% of organic carbon emissions.  These particles come from petrol and diesel fuel combustion…
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Chinese citizen suit on air pollution

china air pollution

When looking at the local factors that can shape a UNFCCC state party’s “nationally determined” contribution or commitment, litigation looms large in the U.S.  Exhibit A: President Obama’s decision to use his executive branch authority to implement his Climate Action Plan.  Although he intends to deliver on the U.S. promise to reduce its GHG emissions 17% below the 2005 baseline, the President still…
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Local Partnerships for City Adaptation

  On December 3rd, NOAA sponsored a side event to discuss lessons learned from air quality monitoring in Mexico City and LA over the last 20 years.  The event began with a technical explanation by NOAA of how climate forcing agents and air quality producing pollutants are often the same. The spokesperson from NOAA suggested…
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Air Pollution and Climate Change: In Search of Co-Benefits

Since I’m getting ready to teach Air Pollution Law & Policy again this spring, I was keenly interested in hearing about the linkages between conventional air pollution and climate change.  So, I joined another packed session and heard representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and Clean Air Task Force give fascinating presentations…
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