Congress Introduces Bill to Combat Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

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U.S. Congress introduces bipartisan bill on HFCs and other short-lived pollutants

Hydocardons 21, Jun 09, 2017

Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (a Democrat from California) and Carlos Curbelo (a Republican from Florida) introduced the bipartisan Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction, or SUPER Act, into the U.S. Congress to combat short-lived climate pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The bill comes one week after President Donald J. Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

“One week after, [the SUPER Act] demonstrates the growing bipartisan will in Congress to act on climate,” said Rep. Scott Peters.

By cutting short-lived climate pollutants, the SUPER Act hopes to avoid up to 0.6°C of warming at mid-century.

“Super pollutants [like HFCs, methane, black carbon and ozone-depleting substances] are the low-hanging fruit in the fight to slow climate change,” Peters said. “Existing technologies have been proven effective at reducing these potent gases.”

The SUPER Act, if passed, would establish a federal task force to coordinate efforts at all levels of government to combat super pollutant emissions. It would involve the Federal Departments of Energy, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, State, Commerce and Health as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“While the focus is always on carbon, we need a full picture of all emissions that diminish our ozone, impact our climate, and accelerate sea level rise,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo said. “This Task Force would be a significant first step to ensuring that our nation has all the information needed to accurately protect our environment from these pollutants.”

Bill met with praise

NGOs, researchers and other congressmen have already endorsed the bill.

The SUPER Act has received support from five U.S. Representatives – Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Matt Cartwright, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Daniel Lipinski, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal – from across the political spectrum.

Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California in San Diego, added his endorsement to the bill. “The SUPER Act, along with the Paris agreement, will pave the way for stabilizing climate change in our lifetime.”

“The SUPER Act introduced today by Congressman Peters shows how to slam on the breaks to slow near-term warming and will inspire action on campuses, in corporations, in cities and states, and around the world,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

Christina Starr, the EIA’s climate policy analyst, believes this change cannot come fast enough.

“HFCs are the fastest growing source of emissions in the United States,” she said. “We must act now to phase down HFCs in new equipment, as well as look at every way possible to round up, capture, and safely destroy the gases that have already made their way into the world.”

“Adoption of the clean technologies that are more energy efficient will reward U.S. innovation and fuel job creation,” she added.

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