The aim of this blog is to present the interim research from a policy research project , a signature year-long course in the Master’s in Global Policy Studies program from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Contributors will include the 18 graduate students in the class, along with the Professor Joshua Busby, research assistant Nisha Krishnan, research associate and Sarang Shidore.

Below, the project’s objectives are summarized. The aim of the project would be to identify several promising initiatives for emissions reductions like the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)[1] for short-lived gases that was launched in 2012 as a collaborative effort of major emitters to complement the on-going diplomatic efforts of the United Nations and enhance the sustainability of the planet.[2] The project would identify the emissions reduction potential in each area for the major economies and then troubleshoot the domestic implementation challenges for the major responsible parties in each area and the implications for international discussion of these problems. This would be akin to the “wedge” analysis from Pacala and Socolow that in 2004 identified fifteen areas like carbon capture and storage and replacement of coal with nuclear power, any seven of which would contribute sufficient emissions reductions of a certain size or “wedge” could cumulate to stave off dangerous climate change.[3]

[2] Unlike carbon dioxide that persists in the atmosphere for one hundred years, a number of greenhouse gases like black carbon (soot), methane, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) only stay in the atmosphere for a limited number of years. These short-lived gases tend to be more potent in their ability to trap heat in the atmosphere and accentuate the greenhouse effect. Reducing these pollutants may yield more immediate benefits to the climate at reduced costs than reducing the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. On this point, see Drew Shindell et al., “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security,” Science 335, no. 6065 (January 13, 2012): 183–189, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6065/183; Michael A. Levi, “Hurricane Sandy: Is There Anything We Can Do About Climate Change Soon?,” Council on Foreign Relations – Energy, Security, and Climate, October 31, 2012, http://blogs.cfr.org/levi/2012/10/31/hurricane-sandy-is-there-anything-we-can-do-about-climate-change-soon/.

[3] S. Pacala and R. Socolow, “Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies,” Science 305 (2004): 968–972, http://carbonsequestration.us/Papers-presentations/htm/Pacala-Socolow-ScienceMag-Aug2004.pdf.

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