Domestic Policies to Reduce the Near-Term Risks of Climate Change

Recent extreme weather events across the nation have sounded the alarm that climate change is happening here and now—it can no longer be dismissed as a long-term problem requiring only a long-term solution. Because of their relatively short atmospheric lifetimes (e.g., weeks to a few decades), cuts in methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will produce significant near-term climate benefits. This paper sets out a series of cost-effective steps that the Obama Administration can implement under existing authorities that would deliver substantial near-term reductions in the rate of climate change. These actions are a critical complement to ongoing efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions and represent the only realistic option for keeping global temperature increases close to the 2 degree target adopted by the international community.