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    Quit Burning Tropical Forests and Set Up Carbon Markets

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    Nothing will do more to slow the rate of near-term global warming than cutting an odorless, colorless greenhouse gas—not carbon dioxide but methane. In many cases, reductions are virtually cost-free, and will make it cheaper to deal with the expensive impacts of an unstable climate.

    Even though 99 times as much CO2 as methane is released each day, methane causes more near-term climate change than all the CO2 from burning fossil fuels. CO2 is still the biggest long-term climate problem, because it lingers in the atmosphere for centuries, while methane degrades in about a decade. But that also means if we stop replenishing the methane, we reap a substantial and continuing benefit. Less methane means less “radiative forcing,” which drives bigger rainfall events, droughts and stronger hurricanes.

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