Senator Carper Welcomes Obama Administration’s Global Initiative to Address Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, released the following statement welcoming the announcement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding the launch of an international climate and clean air initiative to reduce so-called short-lived climate pollutants. Short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), account for approximately one-third of climate change pollutants, and have significant detrimental impacts on public health, the environment, and world food productivity. The United States will join Canada, Sweden, Bangladesh, Mexico, Ghana and the United Nations Environment Program in this new initiative.

“This is great news for those of us who are deeply concerned about the adverse health and climate affects of so-called short-lived pollutants, not just in Delaware but around the world. These pollutants may not stay in the air for a long time, but they do great damage to our health and to our climate. I welcome the Obama Administration’s leadership in finding ways to work together with the international community to curb these pollutants. Reducing these harmful pollutants like methane, black carbon, and HFCs is a win-win because we lessen the threats posed by climate change and we improve global public health.

“In many instances, curbing these short-lived climate pollutants mean healthier air and a healthier economy. For example, the number one source of black carbon in the United States is old, dirty diesel engines. We can retrofit or replace these old, diesel engines with new, American-made technology and reduce black carbon emissions by more than 90%. Without assessing the climate benefits, our diesel retrofit programs are already some of the most cost-effective clean air programs we have, providing more than $13 in health and economic benefits for every federal dollar spent.

“Today’s announcement comes as the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes the Black Carbon Report to Congress, requested by myself and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in the 2009 Interior, EPA Appropriations bill. It is my hope that this timely report will be able to assist this new international effort as it looks for ways to reduce black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants.”

Senator Carper has been a leader in the Senate in addressing many of these short-lived climate pollutants. In 2005 and 2010, he joined former Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) in leading the authorization and reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). The reauthorization of DERA in 2010 passed the House and the Senate unanimously before being signed into law in December 2010. Senator Carper and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) lead the effort to request a Black Carbon Report to Congress, which was included in the 2009, Interior, EPA Appropriations bill. This comprehensive study –expected at the end of March – should provide an inventory of the major sources of black carbon, an analysis of the climate and other environmental and public health effects of black carbon, and will identify the most cost-effective approaches to reduce black carbon. Senator Carper was also the lead author of the HFC title in S.2191 Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007 – which was used as the basis for the Kerry-Boxer HFC title in last Congress’s S.1733 Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.