Claim: Controlling ‘short-lived climate pollutants’ (like soot) would save millions of lives

No… controlling soot (i.e., PM2.5) won’t “keep millions of people from dying.”

PM2.5 kills no one. Read ‘Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA’ for the proof.

The media release is below.


Policies to curb short-lived climate pollutants could yield major health benefits
Controlling soot, methane, hydrofluorocarbons would yield immediate effects


DURHAM, N.C. — A commitment to reducing global emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane and black carbon could slow global warming while boosting public health and agricultural yields, aligning the Paris Climate Agreement with global sustainable development goals, a new analysis by an international research panel shows.

Methane and black carbon – or soot – are the second and third most powerful climate-warming agents after carbon dioxide. They also contribute to air pollution that harms the health of billions of people worldwide and reduces agricultural yields.

“Unlike long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, SLCPs respond very quickly to mitigation. It’s highly likely that we could cut methane emissions by 25 percent and black carbon by 75 percent and eliminate high-warming hydrofluorocarbons altogether in the next 25 years using existing technologies, if we made a real commitment to doing this,” said Drew T. Shindell, professor of climate science at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Acting now to reduce these emissions would contribute to long-term goals set under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement while concurrently offering governments substantial benefits in the short term for investing in sustainable development – a set of goals through 2030 that countries also agreed to in 2015.

“The urgency in dealing with SLCPs now rather than later is that if we wait to address them, we continue to incur all these damages – increased public health burdens and reduced agricultural yields – along the way,” Shindell said. “If we want to avoid those costs, and keep millions of people from dying, we need to do this now.

“Adding a pathway goal would help reduce the risks faced by the current generation and our children, complementing the Paris Agreement’s long-term target that reduces risks for future generations,” he said.

Shindell and colleagues from 10 other international research institutions published their peer-reviewed policy forum article May 5 in Science.

The article builds upon previous work by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), an international consortium of more than 100 countries and non-state partners working to reduce SLCPs. Shindell chairs the CCAC’s Science Advisory Panel; his co-authors of the new policy forum are all members or affiliates of that panel.

In the new article, they point out that in addition to saving human lives and boosting global food security, curbing SLCPs will significantly slow the pace of climate change over the next 25 years. This could help reduce biodiversity losses and slow amplifying climate feedbacks such as snow-and-ice albedo that are highly sensitive to black carbon.

Under the Paris Agreement, many countries have already committed to reducing SLCPs, Shindell noted, yet they are combining those pledges into a single, so-called “CO2-equivalent” reporting method that lumps SLCPs into the same basket as carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases. Maintaining separate reporting methods for each pollutant would provide a clearer understanding of the benefits associated with SLCPs’ reduction.

“Targeting immediate reductions in SLCP emissions is the most beneficial path we can take toward achieving the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of reducing warming by 2oC,” Shindell said. “You could, conceivably, delay reducing these pollutants for decades and still achieve that goal. But why would you want to if there are all these advantages to be gained by following this path, instead?”


Researchers at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development in Washington, D.C.; the University of British Colombia; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; the University of York; the United Nations Environment Programme; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Colorado State University; the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria; and TERI University in India co-authored the new article with Shindell.

CITATION:”A Climate Policy Pathway for Near- and Long-Term Benefits,” D. Shindell, N. Borgford-Parnell, M. Brauer, A. Haines, J.C.I. Kuylenstierna, S.A. Leonard, V. Ramanathan, A. Ravishankara, M. Amann and L. Srivastava. Science, May 5, 2017: DOI: 10.1126/science.aak9521

4 thoughts on “Claim: Controlling ‘short-lived climate pollutants’ (like soot) would save millions of lives”

  1. Pure “wild guess” BS. Thoroughly de-bunked by Steve. It should never published in anything but an opinion blog.

  2. @John Minich — Alpha of 0.95 sounds suspiciously like a confidence interval.

    We have been trained to study the dead and are very good at ignoring the living. That is… We study disease and how it starts. We often seem to gloss over the many folks who have no disease but do have how it starts.

    It is even easier to study the dead instead of the living when we are talking about things other than life.

  3. My degree is in biology, with some geology and a course in “environmental impact of energy”. I have become so tired of questionable information (I prefer not to use the term “facts”), I have given up giving credence to the climate change “consensus”. I want hard proof that the evidence used is completely and verifiably true and accurate, and all results and conclusions meet an alpha of 0.95.

  4. LOL……
    “It’s highly likely that we could ………………… eliminate high-warming hydrofluorocarbons altogether in the next 25 years using existing technologies, if we made a real commitment to doing this,”
    They started with R12 which was an O3 depleter and had to be replaced by more elaborate refrigerants which were not O3 depleters but were soon found to be far worse GHGs………………
    With a few billion refrigeration [including A/C] systems in various stages of decrepitude, the potential for release into the atmosphere of these halocarbons is a huge, real problem……..[About as big as that of replacing all halocarbon refrigerants with e.g. R600]
    As for CH4 which is emitted from a vast number of natural processes, and PM100+ [‘Carbon black’] which settles very quickly out of the atmosphere, any attempt at human intervention would be utterly futile….IMHO…..

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