Shorter lived climate forcers have been recognised as a means of moderating dangerous global warming over the next 20 years, allowing time for necessary longer term carbon dioxide abatement measures to take effect. Annual emissions of three short lived agents: methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone combined have a greater warming impact than carbon dioxide emissions each year. Reducing these three forcers offers a powerful means of slowing potentially dangerous climate change. This paper examines how changing just one human activity–livestock production–can substantially cut shorter lived climate forcers as well as legacy carbon dioxide now in our atmosphere. Livestock production is shown to be the single largest source of methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone (by methane’s effect on the production process). Livestock production also offers a substantial low cost means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, since it is determined to be the largest driver of deforestation and the greatest cause of ‘open fires’ (burning of savannah lands and forests). Reducing livestock production is shown to draw down legacy carbon dioxide in natural, low cost processes of reforestation and building soil carbon. The climate impacts of this one industry offer a unique opportunity to stem global warming, giving the scientific and political communities time to work on longer term solutions.
|Keywords:||Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers, Black Carbon, Methane, Tropospheric Ozone, Deforestation, Reforestation, Fast-Acting Solution, Rapid Cooling|
Senior Scientist, World Preservation Foundation, Pottsville, NSW, Australia
Research Scientist, World Preservation Foundation, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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