The California Air Resources Board has released a plan to drastically reduce some lesser known air pollutants implicated in climate change.
Carbon dioxide usually hogs the greenhouse gas spotlight, but methane, soot, and industrial emissions called HCFs play feature roles. Pound-for-pound, those gases trap far more heat than carbon dioxide. But they also leave the atmosphere more quickly. Stanford environmental professor Mark Jacobson says that creates an opportunity.
“Because they’re short-lived, if you control their emissions, you can slow global warming faster than carbon dioxide,” says Jackson. “Carbon dioxide, even if you stop all emissions today, it’s still going to cause warming for a while to come.”
The Air Resources Board says it will cut these gases 40 percent by 2030. The board says that will include eliminating organic waste from landfills by 2025, regulating methane emissions from oil and gas production, and requiring dairies to avoid or capture the methane released by cows.
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