Energy Collective blog power policy climate - the conversation happens here

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Strange Climate Bedfellows Tackle Black Carbon [VIDEO]

I am excited to feature this guest post by Bill Walker, campaign director with Earthjustice, focusing on a critical and largely unsung component of the fight to overcome the climate challenge - Jesse Jenkins, founder and chief editor, WattHead - Energy News and Commentary

Senators who usually couldn't be farther apart on environmental issues agreed on Earth Day that the EPA should look at ways to control a dangerous pollutant that kills millions worldwide and accelerates global warming, particularly in the Arctic: soot, also known as the sinister-sounding "black carbon."

Two of the Senate's greenest members, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California, and Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the Senate’s chief global warming skeptic, introduced a bill requiring the EPA to study black carbon pollution and within a year come up with solutions for reducing emissions.

Earthjustice has just released a short animated film that explains the black carbon problem and urges EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to take action. The video also asks Americans to urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team to take international leadership on black carbon at next week’s Arctic Council meeting in Tromso, Norway. The video can be viewed below and at

Black carbon consists of microscopic airborne particles of soot from diesel engines and industrial smokestacks in the developed world and residential cooking and heating stoves in the developing world. Breathing black carbon causes serious respiratory illness responsible for 1.6 million deaths a year, and when it falls on ice or snow in the Arctic, it causes it to melt faster.

Since black carbon stays in the atmosphere only a short time, fast action to control it will buy time for addressing the larger issue of carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming.

"The science emphatically proves that black carbon has a larger impact on climate change than was previously understood and we can’t escape reality," Sen. Kerry said in a press release.

In Earthjustice's view, the bill is a welcome first step, but we must do more. It’s important that we continue reducing black carbon emissions at home, and help developing countries transition to cleaner fuels, engines, and cookstoves.

No comments: