1545: The Pisces Foundation Blog

Welcome to your source for Pisces Foundation updates and insights from our trustees & staff.

Here we will share news from the critical intersection of philanthropy and the environment, as well as highlight innovative initiatives and programs from our grantees & colleagues.

ReFED Launches Innovative Tools to Tackle Food Waste in the U.S.

Each year, the U.S. wastes a staggering 63 million tons of food. If all of this wasted food was grown in one place, this mega-farm would cover over three-quarters of the state of California. In addition to losing $218 billion spent on growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of this food that is never eaten, the 52.4 million tons of waste that is sent to landfill release copious amounts of methane – a climate super pollutant – as the organic matter decomposes. These emissions pose a serious threat to public health as methane is a contributor to smog – a dangerous air pollutant that harms the respiratory system and leads to increased rates of asthma and other lung diseases.

At Pisces, we know that reducing super pollutants is essential to preserving the health of our planet and our communities. That’s why we are always in search of new and exciting solutions like those developed by ReFED, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit committed to reducing food waste in the U.S. Today, ReFED released two new tools to provide stakeholders with the information they need to take action.

The Food Waste Innovator Database compiles over 400 innovators across the U.S., broken down by location, business structure, and solution focus area, who are working to develop and grow solutions across the food waste sector – from preventing food loss at the farm level, to recovering surplus food to feed the hungry, to increasing food recycling infrastructure to divert waste from going to landfill.

ReFED’s Roadmap to Reduce Food Waste found that an $18 billion investment can achieve a 20 percent reduction in food waste in the U.S. That investment will yield $100 billion in economic benefits over a decade and create 15,000 jobs. This database will allow the private sector, government, foundations, and investors to identify companies and initiatives they want to invest in or partner with to scale food waste solutions.

Innovator_Infographic-full (003)

The Food Waste Policy Finder provides a comprehensive overview of existing federal and state policies related to food waste, highlighting best-practice legislation. This tool will provide a central resource for food businesses and food recovery organizations to understand and navigate the laws on liability protection, date labeling, tax incentives, animal feed, and waste bans. Additionally, the tool will educate policymakers on measures that are already working to reduce food waste and can be replicated across the country.

For an inside look at the Innovator Database and Food Waste Policy Finder and to hear insights from the experts who developed the tools, join ReFED for a webinar on April 24th at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET.

We are proud to partner with ReFED to mainstream and scale innovative new solutions to reduce food waste that will provide immediate and long-term benefits to our climate, economy, and well-being.

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Environmental Education Interview with the Children & Nature Network

(This post first appeared on Children & Nature Network’s website on March 23, 2017: http://www.childrenandnature.org/2017/03/23/meet-pisces-foundation/)

PISCES FOUNDATION: People and Nature Thriving Together

About the Author

Jason is a Senior Program Officer at the Pisces Foundation, focusing on Environmental Education. In this role, Jason leads the Foundation’s grantmaking in environmental education and implements strategies to shape environmental education initiatives nationally. Jason was most recently Interim President, following his five-year tenure as Executive Vice President, at NatureBridge, which provides hands-on environmental education programs for children and teens. Jason lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughter; he enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, and camping by any wild river with native trout species.

Pisces Foundation, a California-based philanthropy led by a vision of people and nature thriving together, is a Presenting Sponsor of the Children & Nature Network 2017 International Conference.  Pisces’ collaborations with C&NN include projects such as increasing green schoolyards and support for the Children & Nature Network Research Library. Both organizations overlap in their goals to expand access to nature for all children and to prepare the next generation to be environmental stewards. C&NN is grateful for the support of Pisces Foundation.

In this interview, we asked Jason Morris, Pisces Foundation’s Environmental Education Senior Program Officer, about the organization’s values and role in the children and nature movement.

Let’s start with getting to know about your personal interest in this work. Where does your interest in nature and kids come from?

When I was a kid, I lived for summer. I fished in the canal, fed and cared for the animals on my farm, experienced the wonders and learned about science in the Rocky Mountains. The work left calluses on my hands and gave me experiences that charted the course of my life. From growing up on a farm, going to school, doing my work, I always hoped to experience nature. The benefits of nature should always be available to us — in all seasons. My life’s work is to ensure that more people experience this.

Can you describe the mission of the Pisces Foundation? How are Pisces’ mission/initiatives relevant to the children and nature movement?

At the Pisces Foundation, we know that the sooner we act to support children and nature, the sooner we’ll see benefits. Therefore, we believe in supporting creative innovators who understand what it takes to get this work done and who are willing to do what is necessary for clean and abundant water and a safe climate, and to help build a new generation with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world. Our grantmaking helps kids gain the environmental knowledge they need for a life-long connection to nature. For Pisces, that means supporting organizations like the Children & Nature Network, which focuses on finding and sharing new solutions to connecting kids and adults to the natural world.

Explain environmental literacy and why is it central to the work of Pisces Foundation?

At the Pisces Foundation, we use the term “environmental know-how” synonymously with environmental literacy. Environmental know-how is developed in the classroom, in a canoe on a river, on a nature walk, in a local park — and everywhere in between. Regardless where they get the know-how, the goal is the same: kids empowered to act as environmental stewards in a rapidly changing world. This is something gained over many years, through learning, playing, and growing in nature. It’s not a destination but a series of life experiences. Beyond the experiences, these children will embrace behaviors, or action strategies, to make smarter decisions. Those decisions will lead to stronger communities and a greener planet. The benefits are immediate as well as long-lasting.

Where/how do the missions of Pisces Foundation and the Children and Nature Network intersect?

At Pisces, helping people and nature thrive together is at the heart of our work. The Children & Nature Network’s innovative, collective impact strategies across the country connect children to nature at scale in schoolyards, in urban and rural parks, and in many other environmental learning spaces. That’s why we are so proud to support C&NN as an environmental education grantee.

Pisces Foundation is a Presenting Sponsor of the Children & Nature 2017 International Conference. How does Pisces’ support of C&NN deepen the impact of the Foundation?

Our specific grant to the Children & Nature Network will expand opportunities for children in low-income communities so those children can learn and benefit from green schoolyards in cities across the U.S., where leaders have identified the schoolyard as a priority in their citywide plans for increasing nature access. This grant and the larger work of C&NN supports the Pisces’ strategic plan by demonstrating best practices through the peer learning network, which we hope will lead to wider adoption of schoolyards focused on developing environmental know-how in children. We’ll know we’ve accomplished our goals with this grant when we start to see others inspired to build green schoolyards in their own communities. We support mainstreaming green schoolyards because we know they add tremendous value to the school learning environment.

What would you like the attendees of the Children & Nature 2017 International Conference to understand about environmental literacy and the role attendees can play in supporting it?

The attendees of the Children & Nature 2017 International Conference are doing great work, and yet, all of us still have a lot more work to do. The exciting thing is that there are new and innovative solutions within the field of environmental education. Many solutions already exist. Now our work is to send out the call to action. We must prioritize high-quality environmental education programs for both immediate gains and long-term benefits. We need to educate each other about why the time is now for environmental education to go mainstream — so that all children can experience the wonders of nature.

How can funders like Pisces Foundation help propel the children and nature movement forward?

Funders interested in these important issues can join us by spreading the word about the best ways to use environmental education to improve conservation, education, health and wellness, social equity, and youth development programs — and how to equip kids with the environmental know-how that will serve them well in life. Specifically, we invite other funders to share what they’re doing and help identify opportunities for collaboration. We invite them to join Pisces and many others in the Blue Sky Funders Forum. Blue Sky is a national hub that helps members learn and connect, and to grow philanthropy that supports the many benefits of environmental literacy and a stronger connection to nature.

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The Water Foundation, a Pisces Foundation Grantee, Launches to Protect Water in the American West

Water is a critical limiting resource in the Western United States. But it is more than that. Water is at the heart of what helps people and nature thrive. Water fuels the most practical aspects of our lives, and also stirs our imaginations.

Source: https://www.americanrivers.org/river/sacramento-and-san-joaquin-rivers/

The Western waters we raft, fish, or simply enjoy looking at from the car window on a summer road trip are facing an increasing number of challenges. And so is our water management approach, which a wide range of observers believe is outdated and not up to the water challenges of this century. Intense flooding and drought are being exacerbated by climate change; agriculture and rapid urbanization have stressed Western water reserves; and urban and rural communities alike are experiencing water pollution challenges.

Fortunately, there is a growing understanding of these threats and opportunities, which is spurring us to think differently and embrace new, integrated approaches that meet the West’s collective water needs. Now is the perfect moment for a new vision for water in the region—and for leadership that can drive transformation at the scale and pace required.

A leader that can make a difference is the Water Foundation, which has tackled water quantity and quality issues for the last several years in California. Today, it is taking a big new step to better meet the challenges of water in the West—launching as an independent grantmaking foundation.

As Chair of the Water Foundation board, I look forward to helping the organization grow. The Pisces Foundation has been proud to support the Water Foundation’s work since our Trustee, Robert Fisher, helped launch the initiative in 2011 that led to its founding. Our staff has been closely involved in its development and growth, and we are excited by its move to launch as a stand-alone foundation.

Under the new leadership of CEO Wade Crowfoot, who helped lead California’s response to its recent, epic drought as a member of the Brown Administration, the organization will provide partners with the resources, expertise, and connections they need to advance innovative water management solutions. Recognizing that waterways bridge political boundaries, and communities and natural places face shared challenges West-wide, the Water Foundation will apply lessons learned through its California experience across the region.

We’ve seen what the Water Foundation can do to advance innovative, thoughtful solutions. Since it began supporting organizations like Sustainable Conservation to champion on-farm groundwater recharge, the practice has expanded to 130 demonstration sites covering almost 14,000 acres in California.

This practice could transform how groundwater aquifers are replenished on our working farmlands in the state. The Water Foundation’s support of the Community Water Center also paved the way for a published study highlighting the lack of safe, reliable drinking water in some Central Valley schools. This locally driven effort has raised the profile of safe drinking water issues in California and the impacts of groundwater pollution on some of our most vulnerable populations.

As the only foundation exclusively focused on water management in the West, the Water Foundation will serve as a strategic grantmaker and capacity builder to nonprofits throughout in the region that can provide the solutions for our most pressing water challenges. There’s a lot of work to do. But our whole team at the Pisces Foundation looks forward to helping this early mover protect our most precious and essential resource.

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The Key is in your Pocket: Using smart phones to ensure clean and plentiful water for today and tomorrow

At the Pisces Foundation, we believe that new thinking, technologies, and ready-to-go solutions can provide us with safe water coming from every tap, farms that grow food without polluting waterways, cities strengthened by cleaner lakes and rivers, and enough water for both people and nature. One of those solutions is the smart phone already in the pockets of millions of Americans, who can make observations about water quality and share those with the touch of a button.

Chesapeake Commons, with support from the Pisces Foundation, and a growing network of watershed organizations have teamed up to publicly release Water Reporter, an online community that is unifying voluntary efforts to safeguard and improve our nation’s watersheds. Beginning as a simple means of crowdsourcing pollution reports from members of Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Water Reporter has evolved into a fast growing hub, connecting people with their experiences on the water and to a multi-sector network of local government agencies, river advocates, and restoration professionals who work to improve and protect water quality.

The Water Reporter mobile application has been described as the “Waze for Watersheds.” It is available for free on iPhone and Android . Users create an account and are instantly able to begin plotting the locations of their experiences on the river in roughly three steps, sometimes referred to as “point, click, and fix.” Water Reporter provides river enthusiasts with the ability to share reports with many other like-minded people as they float, hike, or adventure outside. Users can interact with a live feed of community activity and even connect with other volunteer watershed organizations. They are able to share the map of where they are in nature through other social media outlets, leveraging the power of larger networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Water Reporter can be used to easily identify and fix water quality threats. The real magic is that users don’t need to know where to send the report. They simply share the issue on Water Reporter. Imagine you are floating on the Potomac River and witness a massive amount of floating trash that you want to see cleaned up. Simply take a photo of it with Water Reporter and share it with the community. Water Reporter sends the report to a growing network of restoration professionals who are “watching” the watershed and can respond to the problem. Since beta release last year, the community has generated more than 900 new reports from across the nation. Reports have resulted in restoration actions that range from farmers enrolling in cost share to fence cattle out of streams, riparian forest buffer plantings, and volunteer trash cleanups, and sharing images of pollution discharges from an industrial pipe.

Groups like Friends of Frederick County and Potomac Riverkeeper Network have used Water Reporter to document and expedite restoration action for more than 30 pollution reports in Maryland and Virginia. There is currently a cohort of 27 organizations enrolled as beta testers working on watershed improvement across the nation. Based on its current trajectory, Chesapeake Commons has set ambitious goals to bring Water Reporter to more than 300 organizations across the nation, all working to improve water quality, by the end of 2018.

In time, this platform will be on track to capture how and where people access the watersheds they love while creating a unified movement working together to protect our most precious resource. At the Pisces Foundation, this is one example of how we are supporting technology providers that empower people to protect freshwater resources in the U.S., ensuring we have safe and sufficient water for now and into the future.


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Now Hiring: Grants Manager

The Pisces Foundation believes if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. Pisces mainstreams powerful new solutions to support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and an environmentally literate society.

We are seeking a collaborative, solutions-oriented self-starter to join our mission-driven team as our Grants Manager. The Grants Manager supports the Foundation’s mission by proactively managing grant making operations, systems, data and workflow. She or he will oversee the day-to-day grants management system with excellence and efficiency and also ensure the system generates information that enhances our overall impact. The Grants Manager collaborates with all departments on specific grant matters as well as the processes and systems which facilitate efficient and high quality operations. As a primary lead on grant compliance, the Grants Manager ensures the Foundation adheres to legal requirements, Foundation policies and procedures, and best practices in the field.

The position reports to the Chief Operating Officer and is located in the Foundation’s San Francisco headquarters. The Foundation has a second office in Washington, D.C.

Please follow the link below to see the full, printable job announcement.

Grants Manager Position Announcement

How to apply:
Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and relevant writing sample combined as a single document in PDF format to: Carol Ting at hiring@piscesfoundation.org. Please indicate in the subject line, “GRANTS MANAGER.”

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through January 31st, 2017.

Pisces Foundation welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of skills, experiences, and ideas. We are an equal opportunity employer. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color or any other protected class.

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Empowering the Public with a Suite of Water Quality Monitoring Technologies

We know that clean water is essential for the health of humans, plants, animals and our economy.  Helping to move towards the goal of having safe, sufficient, secure water resources for our nation, Pisces Foundation has embarked on a path to partner with others to “employ technology to empower the engaged public to better protect water resources, in both urban and agricultural areas.”

While there are many facets to this body of work, I am pleased to report the latest on two of these efforts.

As noted in my blogs in November 2015 and February 2016, the Pisces Foundation has joined forces with the Intel Corporation to conduct a national survey of watershed organizations, schools and citizen volunteers to determine how they use monitoring equipment and information technologies to collect and disseminate water quality information and their interest and awareness of emerging technologies that could bring down the cost or improve the quality of the information that they collect and use to monitor and protect water quality.

With deep appreciation to those who helped distribute and respond to the survey, and to the project’s Steering Committee and staff, we report that 84% of respondents believe “widespread availability of low-cost equipment could affect major improvements in water quality.”

Attached are links to the survey results (Summary and more detailed draft), but some of the take home points are:

  • The top 4 needs for low-cost monitoring equipment are to: target problem areas; use as a screening tool for advanced/expert level monitoring/investigation; report pollution incidents; use as part of monitoring and verification protocols for watershed protection and restoration projects, etc.
  • The top 5 desired parameters to monitor using low-cost equipment: nutrients (forms of nitrogen and phosphorus and associated chlorophyll A concentrations; bacteria (fecal coliform, E.coli, etc.); dissolved oxygen; electrical conductivity and turbidity. Quite a few survey respondents also monitor for macroinvertebrates to measure the health of the biological community in water bodies.
  • Survey respondents were particularly interested in monitoring equipment that costs less than $100 per monitoring device.
  • Most survey respondents currently use manual methods for gathering data (i.e., field kits or grab samples with lab analysis) but many would prefer to use automatic or semi-automatic means of data collection.
  • The top 4 desired features of low cost monitoring equipment are durability, in field data entry, remote sensing and data loggers, and metadata capture.

In addition to the needs of watershed organizations and others for low-cost equipment to collect water quality information, 78 % of survey respondents report that they currently lack knowledge of low-cost data access and sharing technologies that they could use to make better use of the monitoring data that they collect.

As stated in my May 2016 blog announcing the release of the survey, based on analysis of the survey results, a second phase of the project will focus on finding ways to stimulate improvements in technology development and deployment.  At this point, we are discussing next steps with our Steering Committee.  Among the items under consideration are actions to:

  • Identify available low-cost nutrient monitoring technologies identified as priorities from the survey, their capabilities, and cost
  • Identify ways to help non-governmental water quality monitoring efforts to obtain access to enhanced low-cost water quality monitoring equipment
  • Share best practices and promote the use of peer supported tools for collecting and sharing water quality information
  • Demonstrate how improved technology to collect and share information can empower citizen organizations to protect and restore their rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Promote improvements in technology and explore market incentives through collaborative efforts with nonprofits, academics, governmental entities, technology providers, and other philanthropies to ensure that the market is meeting the needs of engaged members of the public for monitoring and data sharing equipment.

We hosted a webinar in January 2017 to review the results of the survey and to provide information on next steps to address findings. You can view a recording of the webinar here.

This was also advertised on a suite of helpful citizen science list serves you may want to check out. (Citizen Science Central at Cornell, EPA’s National Volunteer Monitoring Listserv, and the National Extension for Volunteer Water Monitoring at UVM)

We are very excited about how we might link the findings of the low-cost monitoring survey with other work we are sponsoring focused on the use of remote sensing to address water pollution, which I described in my September 2016 blog.  On September 14-16, 2016 a group of experts from academia, federal and state agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private companies, and foundation representatives, convened at the Wingspread conference center in Racine, Wisconsin for, “Using Remote Sensing to Empower the Public to Address Water Pollution.” The workshop generated many ideas about how researchers, technology companies, government agencies, NGOs and funders can collaborate to rapidly advance the use of remote sensing to address pollution in U.S. inland surface waters. The group focused on water pollution problems that can be tracked using publicly available remote sensing data from satellites including chlorophyll-A to detect algal blooms, turbidity, temperature and associated land-based pollution sources and sinks.

Several participating organizations demonstrated how they are currently using remote sensing data for water resource protection purposes, which sparked wide-ranging discussions for the balance of the meeting about how such approaches could become more widely available to entities working to protect water resources. Discussions revolved around the challenges and opportunities associated with obtaining or collecting remote sensing data, how it can be used to complement in situ data collection, and how it can be processed and packaged to make it available to and useful for target users.

While there are a number of challenges, it is clear that remote sensing is emerging as a powerful tool that, when used in combination with other monitoring tools and data, holds the potential to transform how NGOs and the public “gather intelligence” about water quality. You can find a complete summary of the workshop findings here. We continue to work with Meridian Institute on workshop follow-up activities, looking for ripe opportunities to pursue.

Here at Pisces, we are very interested in how we can help catalyze and create mechanisms that use remote sensing and in situ monitoring technologies and data. We envision NGOs making use of a suite of tools that help them create a robust understanding of water quality in the watersheds where they work, and allow them to pursue conservation or restoration approaches in a science-based, data-driven manner. With these latest projects, we see the threads of that vision coming into view and we look forward to working with many of you to keep moving forward.

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At the Pisces Foundation, we believe that if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. We support innovators to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate and an environmentally literate society.

The Foundation seeks a part-time Office Assistant to work 19 hours per week. This position reports to the Water Program Director and will play an important role in a dynamic, growing philanthropy. The position will be located in the Foundation’s Washington D.C. office near Union Station.

Areas of responsibility:

• Administrative tasks such as scheduling, greeting guests, making travel arrangements, maintaining calendars, preparing letters, memos, and maintaining and organizing paper and electronic filing systems
• Answering phone calls and responding to requests for information
• Office management tasks such as ordering supplies, requesting IT service and support, preparation of expense reports, proofreading, editing, and similar tasks
• Troubleshoot minor computer, printer, smart phone, or other equipment issues; request IT service and support
• Execute research and special projects as requested

Skills and experience:

• Highly developed computer skills including full literacy in Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and especially Outlook for scheduling purposes
• Outstanding organizational, administrative and analytical skills, with excellent attention to detail
• The ability to anticipate needs within areas of responsibility and proactively accomplish tasks
• Strong writing and editing abilities
• The ability to be a self-starter who assumes hands-on responsibility, is able to balance competing priorities and deadlines, and who demonstrates sound judgment and good problem solving skills
• Comfort with and desire to work in a “start-up” environment, and possessing an enthusiastic and collaborative approach
• Minimum two years’ experience working in a professional office environment
• An interest in the Foundation’s mission and grants programs

We offer a competitive compensation commensurate with experience. See http://www.piscesfoundation.org/ for more information on the Foundation.

Rolling Deadline for Applications through: December 15, 2016

We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of skills, experiences and ideas. We are an equal opportunity employer. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color or any other protected class.

How to apply:
Applicants should send a cover letter, resume and two recent references to: admin@piscesfoundation.org. Please indicate in the subject line, “DC OFFICE ASSISTANT.”


We Are Committed.

Our Foundation believes that if we act now and boldly we can create a world where people and nature thrive together.  We support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable and equitable world.

We are more committed today to this vision than ever.

My thoughts this week, with thanks to Bruce Springsteen performing No Surrender:

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Will the shipping industry join the rest of the world in fighting climate change?

With recent agreements reached to reduce super-warming pollutants used in air conditioning and refrigeration and to limit aviation emissions, we at Pisces were watching what would happen at last week’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Would the momentum continue and the shipping industry decide to join the rest of the world in fighting climate change or would it remain exempted from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions?

In the lead up to the meeting, 51 shipping industry organizations, including Maersk, The Danish Shipowners’ Association, and the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association wrote all the IMO member organizations, saying

“We support the discussion at MEPC to establish the shipping industry’s fair share of the global responsibility to address climate change. We call on the IMO member countries and their Heads of State to ensure that a clear, ambitious long-term objective is established and soon followed by ambitious actions that help to drive investment in low-carbon solutions.”

In the end, the IMO did take two positive, if small, steps forward. It agreed to keep in place a 2020 switch to lower-sulfur fuel and it agreed to a roadmap for developing a strategy to reduce shipping emissions over the next 7 years. However, on energy efficiency, the IMO declined to take the easy action in front of it and tighten the existing standards, even though ships are already exceeding them years ahead of schedule. As articles in the Guardian and ClimateHome point out, this isn’t the level of ambition required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Next Steps: An Action Plan for Super Pollutants

The past 12 months have seen unprecedented progress in the international response to the climate crisis.  The historic agreement reached this weekend among almost 200 nations meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – factory made refrigeration chemicals with supercharged global warming impact – is another big step forward.

The agreement is grounds for celebration in its own right (scientists estimate phasing out HFCs can prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming in the next 100 years). But coming on the heels of news that the landmark climate accord in Paris last December has taken effect and that an international deal has been inked to cut climate pollution from aviation, the Kigali accord makes 2016 a banner year for climate action.

Of course, there’s always the danger that all this justified celebration could lead to complacency. We can’t let that happen.

As scientists have noted, to avert the worst-case scenarios of global disruption from a warming planet, we must not only maintain this momentum, but accelerate progress.

The first order of business should be to make sure the Kigali agreement is implemented quickly, and that developing countries get the assistance they need to do their part. But then what?

What many people may not realize is that while accelerated cuts to carbon dioxide emissions are irreplaceable, there are other powerful climate-warming pollutants like HFCs that are more potent than carbon dioxide and short-lived. So reducing them now can bring lasting benefits—a point the New York Times Editorial Board noted in its own analysis of the HFC breakthrough. Methane can leak from oil and gas drilling and pipelines, and is emitted by landfills, manure and other sources. Black carbon results from inefficient burning of fossil fuels – diesel engines on cars and trucks and oceangoing ships are key – among other sources. Cutting super-pollutants, like black carbon, has the added potential to improve health and save lives.

The good news is that there are important opportunities for progress on both methane and black carbon coming up soon. Here are three of the most promising:

  • Planes, automobiles—and ships: A committee of the International Maritime Organization is meeting in London later this month. On the agenda is whether the shipping industry joins the rest of the world’s economy in accepting a limit on their greenhouse gas emissions. Recent years have seen steady progress on pollution from planes and automobiles—it’s time for ships to get on board. Black carbon is just one of the many pollutants that ships can emit when they ply open waters. Ships can improve their efficiency, install scrubbers and switch to cleaner renewable and synthetic fuels – if the industry acts.
  • Put a filter on it: Most of the world’s top vehicle markets, like the U.S., Japan and Europe, require their trucks and buses to install diesel particulate filters. These filters trap the black carbon, so their exhaust is cleaner, and we can all breathe easier. China and India have committed to do this and other nations should follow their lead. The G20 is providing a forum for countries to collaborate with each other on how to make further progress.
  • Plug the (methane) leaks: The U.S. recently issued rules to reduce the methane pollution that leaks from new oil and gas infrastructure. Mexico and Canada have recently committed to join the U.S. in reducing this pollution 40 to 45 percent by 2025. All three countries are now in the process of determining how to limit this industrial pollution through stronger requirements for regular monitoring, leak detection and repair.

Pursuing these and other opportunities can allow us to harness the power of adding fast-acting reductions of super pollutants to existing efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Scientists agree that if we prioritize rapid cuts in super pollutants, we can improve the chance of keeping Earth’s temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

So let’s celebrate the great news from Kigali, the promise of Paris—and salute the years of hard work by so many that made these breakthroughs possible. Then tomorrow morning, let’s keep the momentum building in the days and months ahead to ensure the safe and stable climate people need to thrive.

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