WWF issues warning on US plan to target non-CO2 emissions

By RTCC Staff


WWF says that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's plans must not displace global efforts to cut CO2. (Source: flickr/US State Dept)

The WWF has issued a warning that the US-led initiative to reduce soot, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) must not distract it from the urgent need to cut its own CO2 emissions.

“The fact is, the big emitters like the US and Canada that are advancing this initiative have done very little to reduce emissions,” said Keith Allot, head of climate change, WWF-UK. “Now they’ve developed an initiative that shifts the focus to others, developing countries in particular.”

The statement comes a day after US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The scheme will see Canada, US and Sweden help reduce soot, methane and HFCs in developing countries.

The three pollutants have a larger warming effect than CO2 but exist in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time. Simple measures such as more efficient cook stoves and filters on diesel engines can reduce emissions and improve air quality.

“Support for action in poorer countries is important, but their primary responsibility should be to reduce their own emissions, and address the global challenges posed by climate change,” said Allot.

“Deep and immediate carbon dioxide reductions are required to protect the climate over the long term. This cannot be achieved by addressing short-lived climate forcers alone.

“The science behind this new initiative is sound, but it does not in any way support postponing immediate and aggressive global action on anthropogenic greenhouse gases,” he claimed.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Secretary Clinton said: “In the principal effort necessary to reduce the effects of carbon dioxide, the world has not done enough. This scheme will support, not supplant the efforts made by the UNFCCC.”

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