Soot and methane pollution in the developing world are being targeted by a new coalition of six countries, including Canada.
Environment Minister Peter Kent announced Thursday that Canada has pledged $3 million to programs aimed at reducing pollutants that contribute to climate change, but that don't stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide — the major greenhouse gas linked to global warming.
"This is a key complement to our action on greenhouse gases through ambitious national reductions," Kent said at a news conference following the announcement.
The U.S. committed $12 million and Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico and Sweden are also taking part in the Climate and Clean Energy Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollution, which will be run by the United Nations Environment Program.
The money will support programs to reduce methane released from landfills in countries such as Mexico and the amount of black carbon or soot being released from traditional cook stoves in places such as Africa and Latin America.
According to the U.S. State Department, if such measures were implemented worldwide, scientists say it could slow global warming by about half a degree Celsius by 2030.
When asked whether any money would be spent in Canada, Kent said some of the climate change adaptation and mitigation funding previously announced by the government "will surely go into complementary work for this initiative."
Canadian air monitoring system cut
Canada's commitment to reducing pollutants such as soot in the developing world comes at a time when it is shutting down a network of monitoring stations designed to measure the impact of soot and other particle-forming pollutants from Europe and Asia.
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Kent and Environment Canada have both confirmed that five out of the six stations in the Canadian Operational Aerosol Lidar Network (CORALNet) and the network's website have been shut down.
Kent said Thursday that the system had "no clients in government or elsewhere" and is therefore focusing on other scientific research and operations that "figure directly in addressing things like black carbon." However, he did not specify what those were.
A group of U.S. scientists published an editorial earlier this week in the American Geophysical Union newspaper Eos raising the alarm about the shut-down of CORALNet and other Environment Canada cuts. They expressed concern about whether Canada would continue to do the monitoring and studies to support its commitment to existing international agreements on ozone, climate change and water and air quality.