A rare note of harmony was sounded at the fractious UN climate change talks in Doha on Thursday, when countries agreed to take strong action on some of the most potent causes of global warming.

The bad news was that those causes did not include carbon dioxide. Instead, ministers from 25 countries will co-operate to vastly reduce black carbon (better known outside these talks as soot), as well as methane and ozone in the atmosphere – substances known collectively as short-lived climate pollutants.

In so doing, the members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)could cut global warming by 0.5C by 2050, which could give the world breathing space from projections of 4C to 6C of warming later this century.

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