A United Nations committee honored California for working to reduce short-term climate pollutants, like methane and black carbon, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, on Sunday.
Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the state Legislature have spent much of the conference touting California's progressive climate laws, the state's cap-and-trade system and its commitment to international pacts to cut carbon emissions. But its award on Sunday was for a much more specific achievement.
The United Nations Environment Programme's Climate and Clean Air Coalition presented California with its Climate and Clean Air Award for having the "most comprehensive and strongest set of targets for reducing short-lived climate pollutant emissions into state law." California was one of two governments presented with an award for "Outstanding Policy."
Environmentalists have put great emphasis on cutting down these short-lived pollutants because of their ability to trap heat at a rate far greater than carbon dioxide.
Unlike carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon do not stay in the atmosphere for long periods of time. But methane that leaks from oil and gas fields can often skirt the state's emissions limits.