Today, U.S. Congressmen Scott Peters (CA-52) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) introduced the bipartisan Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction, or SUPER Act, to combat the emission of short-lived climate pollutants, benefit public health, and repair American climate leadership. Super pollutants include black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and methane. They cause about 25 to 2,000 times more warming per ton over a 25 to 100 year period than carbon dioxide, making them among the most significant drivers of climate change. The SUPER Act would establish a federal task force to coordinate and optimize existing efforts at various levels of government to reduce super pollutant emissions.
According to the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, cutting short lived climate pollutants can avoid up to 0.6°C of warming at mid-century, compared to 0.1°C of avoided warming from aggressive cuts to CO2.
“One week after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, this demonstrates the growing bipartisan will in Congress to act on climate,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “Super pollutants are the low-hanging fruit in the fight to slow climate change. Existing technologies have been proven effective at reducing these potent gases. By coordinating efforts across multiple levels of government, the SUPER Act would help make the U.S. federal government a leader in reducing these pollutants and keeping our air and water clean. Thank you to Rep. Curbelo for being a partner on this, and I look forward to continue working together on pro-growth climate solutions.”
Reps. Peters and Curbelo are both members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The SUPER Act’s original co-sponsors also include Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Rep. John Delaney (MD-06), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).
"While the focus is always on carbon, we need a full picture of all emissions that diminish our ozone, impact our climate, and accelerate sea level rise,” Rep. Curbelo said. “This Task Force would be a significant first step to ensuring that our nation has all the information needed to accurately protect our environment from these pollutants.”
In San Diego, methane capture technologies at Miramar Landfill generate electricity and partially meet the energy demands of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plan captures methane to produce energy that makes them energy self-sufficient.
According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, reducing global emissions of short-lived climate pollutants can quickly cut the rate of global temperature rise in half by 2050, when combined with reductions of global emissions of carbon dioxide.
“Climate change is an urgent problem requiring urgent solutions. The SUPER Act, targeting super pollutants with short life times, is exactly the sort of urgent action we need to limit climate change within decades; and thus protect the poor and the vulnerable from storms, droughts and heat waves,” said Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. “It also will reduce harmful exposure to air pollution for all Americans. If enacted globally, it can cut the rate of warming by half before 2050, save over 2 millions of lives lost to air pollution and save as much as 50 millions tons of crops destroyed by ozone exposure. The SUPER Act, along with the Paris agreement will pave the way for stabilizing climate change in our life time.”
“Cutting these super pollutants is a critical step in making the planet great again,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “The SUPER Act introduced today by Congressman Peters shows how to slam on the breaks to slow near-term warming and will inspire action on campuses, in corporations, in cities and states, and around the world.”