On May 9, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced the Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction (SUPER) Act of 2013 (HR 1943). The bill seeks to curb emissions of “super pollutants” in order to slow climate change, protect public health, and provide economic opportunities. Super pollutants, also known as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), include methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and tropospheric ozone.
Though not as abundant as carbon dioxide emissions, SLCPs are much more potent drivers of climate change and have collectively contributed up to 40 percent of observed global warming to date. SLCPs have average atmospheric lifetimes ranging between two weeks and 12 years, making it possible to drastically decrease atmospheric concentrations (and overall climate impact) of these pollutants within a generation. This would buy time for the climate, though carbon dioxide reductions remain the most important strategy to stave off long-term climate change impacts.