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Idea of the Day: We Need to Reduce Super Pollutants

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Super pollutants are one of the most underappreciated but dangerous contributors to climate change. Also known as short-lived climate pollutants, or forcers, super pollutants are potent noncarbon-dioxide global warming contaminants. They are also dangerous for human health and diminish agricultural productivity.

Reducing carbon dioxide—the primary greenhouse gas emitted from the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation—is necessary for achieving the long-term greenhouse reductions we need. However, it is impossible to achieve the total greenhouse gas reductions scientists agree are necessary for avoiding dangerous temperature increases without also limiting super pollutants.  Not only are super pollutants shorter-lived, but they also remain in the atmosphere for a shorter time than carbon dioxide; therefore, reducing these pollutants now can help reduce temperatures in the near term. In addition, the reduction of super climate pollutants can be easier than the reduction of carbon dioxide since none of them, unlike CO2, are a byproduct of our primary sources of energy.

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Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
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Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
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Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
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Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
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Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
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Radio: Chelsea Kiene
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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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