Our Theory of Change

Reaching net zero in line with 1.5- or 2-degree Celsius temperature pathways is a monumental task. We stay laser-focused on a crucial, overlooked piece of the net zero puzzle: reducing emissions of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (so-called because of their high Global Warming Potentials and short atmospheric lifetimes). The technology to abate SLCPs measurably, cost effectively, and at scale already exists, but solutions suffer from an investment gap. Our Anthropogenic Program aims to mobilize the carbon market, procurement power, and government policy to unlock financing for these solutions.

Why Focus on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants?

Due to their behavior in the atmosphere, SLCPs such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have an outsized effect on temperature rise in the near term – which makes reducing their rate of emission one of the most effective climate solutions available today. Rapid reductions in SLCP emissions can buy time for the global transition to renewable energy and the scale-up of carbon removal. For example, according to the UN's Global Methane Assessment, curbing methane emissions by 45% would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045.

How we're scaling Anthropogenic solutions:

Driving investment towards neglected opportunities

We find solutions in need of greater financing, then use our platform and network to advocate for the accelerated deployment of capital. We also use our independent, non-profit position to identify and address the market-wide prerequisites for scaling (for example, a rigorous carbon market methodology for HFC recovery and disposal, or guidance to large purchasers of cooling equipment).

Addressing technological gaps with targeted R&D

Though many SLCP emissions sources can be addressed with existing technology, the solution set still has several gaps (for example, ultra-low-concentration methane destruction). We partner with leading researchers to conduct scientific and engineering research to address these problems.

Advocating for ambitious policy

Federal and international policies such as the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act and the Montreal Protocol have already been tremendously effective in reducing emissions of fluorocarbons. We work with policymakers, industry, and NGOs to accelerate and expand the implementation of these market-shaping laws.

Our Projects at a Glance

Lifecycle Refrigerant Management

As climate change intensifies, the world will increasingly lean on air conditioning to cope with extreme heat. Today, over two billion air conditioners supply global cooling needs. We expect this number to triple by 2030.

Most air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigerators use hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants to operate. These synthetic chemicals are highly potent greenhouse gases, thousands of times worse for the atmosphere than CO­2 on a ton-for-ton basis. We are supporting efforts to contain and destroy HFCs, with a particular focus in developing countries, through the development of carbon financing standards for HFC recovery and destruction. We also work through the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s Climate Collaborative to accelerate procurement of climate-friendly cooling technologies, and are active in domestic and international policy advocacy.

Methane from Coal, Oil, and Gas Infrastructure

In addition to the CO2 emitted during combustion, fossil fuels generate significant methane emissions during upstream production. Coal mines, oil wells, and gas wells leak significant amounts of methane both during and after operation. The Lab has helped advocate for significant investments in U.S. coal mine methane abatement, which are projected to drive emissions reductions equivalent to millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide. Our team has also supported research efforts to better quantify and measure methane emissions from the millions of abandoned oil and gas wells across the U.S. and to better target plugging efforts for high-emitting wells.