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What’s the quickest way to slow global warming?

At last month’s UN climate conference in Paris, University of California scientists proposed that one of the quickest ways to significantly slow the pace of global warming is to cut down emissions of short-lived climate warming pollutants (SLCPs).

But why focus on something ‘short-lived’?

It turns out that even though SLCPs stay in the atmosphere for a much shorter time than CO2, they are significantly more potent in terms of how they heat the planet and are detrimental to humans and crops. Specifically, these pollutants are comprised of methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and tropospheric ozone.

The good news is that measures to reduce SLCPs are politically and financially easier compared to reducing carbon, according to Veerabhadran Ramanathan, professor of climate sciences  at UC San Diego and a council member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

But curbing SLCP emissions is only part of the battle – most importantly it would buy us time to adopt the necessary measures to phase out our usage of the main culprit of CO2 emissions: fossil fuels.

For more climate change facts, take a look at the video below:

Graphic by UNEP