Sydney, 28 September (Argus) — Australia has joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition set up this year by the UN to reduce air pollutants.
The coalition, which started in February, is focused on five areas to reduce pollutants such as soot, smog hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and pollutants associated with methane emissions. It aims to reduce diesel emissions from heavy duty vehicles and engines, upgrade brick kilns that are a significant source of black carbon emissions, reduce methane emissions from landfills, cut methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry and promote alternatives to HFCs.
“Apart from trapping heat in the atmosphere, these pollutants can also be extremely damaging to human health, air quality, crop yields and ecosystems,” Australian climate change minister Greg Combet said today.
Australia joins other members of the coalition, which include the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and other members of the EU, as well as developing countries including Nigeria, Columbia, Ghana and Bangladesh.
Scientific evidence suggests that acting quickly to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, which are more potent than CO2, has the potential to slow down global warming by 2050, said Australia's parliamentary secretary for climate change, Mark Dreyfus. “It would also increase the chance of staying within a global temperature rise of below 2°C.” Climate scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have assessed that the increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to a rise in the average global temperature to 2°C.
Australia has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 5pc by 2020 from 2000 levels, introducing an A$23/t ($23.92/t) carbon tax on 1 July to reach this reduction target.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition state that HFCs currently constituent a small quantity in the atmosphere, but is projected to rise to as much as 19pc of global CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050. HFC is used in air conditioning and refrigeration, which account for more than half of HFC use, as well as fire hydrants, solvents and aerosols.
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