About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.
On December 3 at the U.S. Center, researchers from NASA and NOAA demonstrated scenarios for improving air quality and helping to reduce climate change. In particular, NOAA's A.R. Ravishankara described how air pollutants and climate change forcing agents are connected.
Dr. Ravishankara said that the United States and the international community will have to deal with air quality regulations for health purposes. He stressed that we can do this in a way that is beneficial to the climate as well. Because air pollutants contribute to anthropogenic climate change, we need to find out where greenhouse gases are coming from, what sectors and regions.
Dr. Ravishankara said that carbon dioxide and methane are the primary climate forcing agents in the atmosphere. By reducing methane, we lower ozone levels, and by reducing fuel usage, we reduce our overall emissions. Dr. Ravishankara stressed the need to optimize policy decisions for the benefits of both climate and air quality change. In closing, he said that reducing emissions for air quality can and will help climate change mitigation. This provides a "win-win" opportunity for everyone.
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