Short-lived climate pollutants: Public Health, Climate Change & Waste
Organized at 5 PM GMT on 10th June, 2014
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Gary Crawford, Vice President, Emerging Markets at Veolia
Dr. Nimmi Damodaran, Vice President, Stratus Consulting
This panel was sponsored by Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University
For contributions in various ways, we thank N. C. Vasuki, Nicolas Escalante, Mario Russo, Ann J. Reier, Jonathan Rivin, Nelson Gouveia, Andrea Atzori, and Victor Nascimento. Full acknowledgement.
More than one-third of today’s human-caused global warming comes from highly potent, short-lived climate pollutants that include methane and black carbon. Landfills represent 23 percent of US methane emissions and the third largest source of this GHG in the country. In addition, open burning of waste is the largest contributor of black carbon in cities like Mumbai. Thus, it is important to identify large greenhouse gas emitters not only in US, but worldwide.
Advancing waste management through the elimination of open burning of waste, the promotion of methane recovery, or at the very least its combustion, the increment of recycling and the diversion of organic waste, the enhancement of landfill operations, and the optimization of waste collection systems are options to reduce these emissions. Open burning of waste is common practice in a number of countries. Therefore, the elimination of open burning would be the most attractive and significant action that should be taken towards the reduction of emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. In some cases, waste is being burned by the same municipal employees and landfill workers to reduce the amount of waste. Such emissions can be stopped by proper waste management planning.
- What kind of international support is available for low and middle income countries to mitigate short-lived climate pollutants from waste management?
- Where should resources and efforts be focused to mitigate methane and black carbon – financing, human resources, implementation of waste management technologies alternative to the landfill (composting, recycling, WTE), mitigation of all activities of uncontrolled waste burning?
- What is a reasonable short-lived climate pollutants emission reduction goal?
- How does the carbon market affect the emission mitigation initiatives?
- How does the local market of recyclables, compost, etc. affect the emission mitigation initiatives?
- What are the current trends in emission mitigation from waste management?
- Since climate change is a global problem, which international organizations are capable of playing strong roles in mitigating emissions from waste management? What are your thoughts on the roles played by existing organizations and the possibility for new ones?