We want to take a moment this morning to praise the new initiative being announced today at the State Department to reduce emissions of pollutants that hasten climate change.
As we have been reporting for some time, limiting black carbon soot emissions (for example, from diesel engines) and some other “climate forcers” such as methane can limit the damages from climate change while policy makers argue over longer term solutions involving carbon dioxide. http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2011/06/un-report-limit-soot-and-smog-emissions.html http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2008/10/bulletin-international-group-oks-new.html
So let’s give two cheers to this new initiative.
But we need to point out one irony. It is being announced literally the same week the Obama administration rolled out its proposed budget, which includes a plan to CUT spending to clean up existing dirty diesel engines in the United States. Note p 16 at http://www.epa.gov/planandbudget/annualplan/FY_2013_CJ.pdf
Has the dirty diesel problem in the US been solved? Not by a long shot, according to the EPA, which reports that
Because diesel engines can operate for 20 to 30 years, millions of older, dirtier diesel engines are still in use. http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/basicinfo.htm
As the old saying goes, what one hand gives, the other takes away.
However, the new announcement is a good pr moment. Isn’t that what it’s all about?