Black carbon: an opportunity for near-term mitigation of global warming. - 18 Dec 2010  
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While world governments have been negotiating longer-term reductions of carbon dioxide, a number of scientists and experts have been urging for a short-term approach that would involve eliminating warming factors such as black carbon.

The impact of this substance on melting ice caps has been recently reevaluated by scientists as being more significant than previously thought, with studies showing black carbon to be the cause of half of the Arctic's melt.

During the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico, a meeting was convened by the US-based Climate Institute along with the United Nations Foundation to discuss the importance of fast-acting mitigation strategies that would reduce black carbon. Generated in huge quantities by activities such as deforestation for livestock grazing, black carbon has more than 4,470 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, yet leaves the atmosphere within weeks.
Such an opportunity for immediate emission reductions was noted by attending delegates such as former senator and current Climate Change Advisor to the Philippine President, Heherson Alvarez.

His Excellency Heherson Alvarez - Climate Change Advisor to Philippine President, Shining World Leadership Award laureate (M): This conference organized by Climate Institute is one of the high points of hope on a fast action - they call it short-term climate change response. We will talk about how to address black carbon, and that will buy us time.

VOICE: Invited as a presenter was Australian Mr. Gerard Bisshop, lead scientist for the World Preservation Foundation and former principal scientist of the Queensland Department of Environment and Resources Management, and our Association member, whose recent report on a 20-year study commissioned by the Queensland government revealed that 91% of all tree clearing has been done for livestock grazing.

Gerard Bisshop -Principal Scientist, World Preservation Foundation (Vegan) (M): The livestock agriculture contributes black carbon, largest source of methane, largest source of nitrous oxide, a lot of the deforestation, much of the open fire, and stored carbon. Potentially, if we reverse this, 70% of the world's agricultural land could be restored by reforestation and tree carbon sequestration.

We strongly urge that - and they've been called “perverse” by the UNEP - that “perverse” subsidies on livestock production are stopped.

VOICE: Former US Congresswoman Claudine Schneider, who also joined the meeting, commented on the effectiveness of reducing meat consumption.

Her Excellency Claudine Schneider - Former US Congresswoman, Board Member of Climate Institute (F): Fire burning is a major contributor to the problems. And more often than not, they're clearing forests so that they can do grazing of cattle. If we were to move more rapidly toward a vegetarian diet, we would be addressing not just deforestation, but the problems of erosion and loss of clean drinking water. We would also be enabling people to live a healthier and longer life, if they were relying on a vegetarian diet.

VOICE: We thank the Climate Institute, United Nations Foundation, Mr. Bisshop and Their Excellencies Alvarez and Schneider for raising the important issue of black carbon to the climate agenda. May swiftly sustainable actions soon follow such discussions to more swiftly bring about the necessary cooling of the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has often addressed the need to curb the many times more potent Earth-warming substances coming mainly from the animal industry, as during an interview published in the July 12, 2009 edition of the Irish Sunday Independent.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: As for black carbon, which is the particulate matter also known as soot, NASA scientists found that it has a serious impact on climate change. Black carbon is 4,000-plus times more heat trapping So CO2 is not our foremost and urgent problem.

The soot is accelerating the melting of Antarctic ice, which raises the world sea level. Scientists found that 60% of the black carbon particles in Antarctica were carried there by the wind from South American forests that are burned to clear land for livestock production.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So, this pollutant is yet another damaging byproduct of the meat industry again. We will destroy the world if we do not stop eating and producing meat and other animal products. So, the organic vegan diet is the fastest, easiest, and most effective solution for a life-sustaining planet.