WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday announced the reintroduction of the Super Pollutants Act of 2019, a bipartisan climate bill that aims to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The legislation would reduce SLCPs in the atmosphere by enabling federal agencies to set up a taskforce with businesses and non-profits to speed the adoption of SLCP-reducing technologies and policies, while supporting American-led innovations and calling for emission reductions. U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA-52) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1) are introducing companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Congress has to find a way to break through the political gridlock on climate change, and this bill is a good way to start. Climate change is a major existential threat to our planet and national security, and we had better start taking steps now to mitigate its impact,” said Murphy. “Super pollutants like methane and black carbon are some of the most aggressive contributors to global warming. Our bill will address these dangerous pollutants head-on and generate economic growth by using American technologies and innovation to do it. I’m proud to once again introduce this legislation with Senator Collins to bring about meaningful, bipartisan solutions to combat climate change.”
“There is no doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to our economy and our natural resources, including Maine’s forestry, fishing, agricultural, tourism, and recreation industries,” said Collins. “This significant challenge requires global solutions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution worldwide. By encouraging interagency cooperation and the adoption of innovative technologies, the bipartisan legislation I am introducing with Senator Murphy today would help reduce ‘super pollutants,’ a major contributor to climate change.”
SLCPs, referred to as “super pollutants,” are non-carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions responsible for an increasing share of global warming. Though they do not remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, SLCPs warm the Earth at a much faster rate. SLCPs range from refrigerants leaking from refrigerators and air conditioners, to soot from diesel engines and cookstoves, to methane that is leaked by landfills and oil and gas exploration. Studies show that fast action to reduce SLCPs in the atmosphere could cut the rate of sea level rise by 25 percent, significantly contribute toward the overall global target of holding increased warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, prevent two million premature deaths each year, and avoid crop losses of over 30 million tons annually.
The Super Pollutants Act of 2019 would:
- Foster interagency cooperation on super pollutants and adopt national reduction goals;
- Direct the prioritization of black carbon mitigation activities as part of aid distribution;
- Support the phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and promote refrigerant recycling; and
- Mitigate methane leaks by codifying New Source Performance Standards.