Report: Climate relief possible now

Feb. 22, 2011 at 9:24 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Reducing emissions of soot and methane can be done today with existing technologies and could significantly slow climate change, a U.N. report says.

Curbing emissions of black carbon, a component of soot, along with methane and tropospheric ozone, could cut projected climate warming by 0.5 degree Celsius, or about 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2070, the report says.

The report notes such cuts could be made with existing technology and would limit climate change, improve public health, increase agricultural productivity and "have immediate and multiple benefits for human well-being," online publication Climatewire reported.

Possible strategies for such emission reduction could include capturing methane produced by landfills and fossil fuel extraction, introducing cleaner-burning cook stoves, installing particulate filters on diesel engines and banning the practice of burning fields of agricultural waste, a Scientific American article on the U.N. report said.

The study, commission by the U.N. Environment Program, will be delivered Wednesday to the UNEP governing council at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

"Hopefully, there will be some impetus there to move forward," said Ashbindu Singh, chief of UNEP's Division of Early Warning and Assessment. "UNEP on its own cannot do much unless the governments tell us what to do."

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