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Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs)

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) are a group of potent climate forcers that remain in the atmosphere for a relatively short period—from a few days to a few decades—but have a much greater warming impact per unit of mass than longer-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO₂). SLCPs include methane (CH₄), black carbon, tropospheric ozone (O₃), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Despite their short atmospheric lifetime, these pollutants are major contributors to the acceleration of climate change and pose significant risks to human health, agricultural yields, and ecosystems.

Addressing SLCPs is crucial for near-term climate mitigation and public health benefits. Efforts to reduce these pollutants can deliver immediate results, slowing down the rate of global warming and improving air quality. For instance, controlling methane emissions, a byproduct of agricultural activities and fossil fuel extraction, can drastically reduce its concentration in the atmosphere within a decade. Similarly, reducing black carbon emissions from diesel engines and industrial processes can provide rapid climatic and health dividends.

Mitigation of SLCPs is complementary to long-term strategies targeting CO₂ reductions. By integrating measures to cut SLCP emissions into existing climate policies, we can ensure a more comprehensive and effective approach to combating climate change. This combined strategy not only aids in keeping global temperature rise within manageable limits but also secures a healthier and more sustainable environment for future generations.