A climate policy pathway for near- and long-term benefits

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Science  05 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6337, pp. 493-494
DOI: 10.1126/science.aak9521

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The Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) explicitly links the world's long-term climate and near-term sustainable development and poverty eradication agendas. Urgent action is needed, but there are many paths toward the agreement's long-term, end-of-century, 1.5° to 2°C climate target. We propose that reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) enough to slow projected global warming by 0.5°C over the next 25 years be adopted as a near-term goal, with many potential benefits toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As countries' climate commitments are formally adopted under the agreement and they prepare for its 2018 stocktaking, there is a need for them to pledge and report progress toward reductions not just in CO2 but in the full range of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and black carbon (BC) (plus co-emissions) in order to track progress toward long-term goals.