September 28, 2012 / 3:45 PM / 7 years ago

Australia joins U.N.-led climate coalition

BEIJING, Sept 28 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Australia on Friday announced it will join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a U.N.-led initiative to cut short-lived climate pollutants such as soot and methane.

The initiative, launched in February this year, targets emissions that contribute to climate change and cause local air pollution that can threaten human health.

“The science suggests that acting quickly to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, which are more potent than carbon dioxide, has the potential to slow down warming by 2050,” Mark Dreyfus, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for climate change, said in a statement.

Emissions targeted by the initiative only stay in the atmosphere for a few years, as opposed to carbon dioxide, which can remain there for a century.

The group’s backers say cutting emissions of gases like methane and black carbon can have an immediate impact on rising temperatures, and buy the world more time to deal with CO2 emissions in a new global climate agreement.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition aims to take action against diesel emissions from large trucks and engines, and cut black carbon emissions by upgrading brick kilns.

It also wants to cut methane emissions from landfills and in the oil and gas industry, and launch alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons in products like refrigerators.

Australia becomes the nineteenth national government to join the Coalition, joining major emitters such as Germany, Japan, the UK and the U.S, but the group also includes developing nations such as Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.

The European Commission, the UN Environment Program and the World Bank also participate.

Reporting by Stian Reklev

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