The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived
Climate Pollutants (CCAC) celebrates its first anniversary today.
Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with an initial group of
six country partners and the United Nations Environment Programme, the
Coalition has quickly grown to 55 partners, including 27 countries, the
European Commission, as well as the World Bank, the United Nations
Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization, and eighteen NGOs.
“In its first year the Coalition has been brilliant in developing a
spirit of urgent optimism, a spirit that is critical for solving the
daunting problem of climate change,” stated Durwood Zaelke, President of
the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, one of the
NGO members. “And it’s already working on plans for taking its
strategies to the scale it needs to meet the bold challenge of cutting
the rate of warming in half for the next 40 years, with the World Bank
pledging billions of new dollars for their efforts. The Coalition is a
rare climate success story.”
The CCAC is the first-ever global effort specifically dedicated to
reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). SLCPs
include black carbon (soot), recently recognized as the second most
powerful climate pollutant after carbon dioxide, methane and
ground-level ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as
refrigerants and to make insulating foams.
To address these pollutants, the Coalition has undertaken a set of
fast-action initiatives: reducing methane from urban landfills and from
the oil and gas industry; reducing black carbon emissions from brick
kilns and from heavy duty diesel vehicles and engines; promoting
alternatives to HFCs; scaling up finance to reduce all SLCPs; and
developing SLCP National Action Plans. The Coalition is also developing
additional proposals to address open burning of biomass and pollution
Fast action to reduce SLCPs has the potential to cut the rate of climate
change in half, slowing global temperature rise by up to ~0.6°C by
2050, while preventing 2.4 million air pollution-related deaths per
year, and avoiding around 30 million tonnes of crop losses annually.
Reductions of SLCPs are complementary to reductions of carbon dioxide
emissions and can often be achieved simultaneously. If large-scale
reductions of both SLCPs and carbon dioxide are undertaken immediately,
there is still a high probability of keeping the increase in global
temperature to less than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial temperature for
the next 30 years and below the 2°C guardrail for the next 60 to 90
“The success of the CCAC shows that more and more countries are now
recognizing the multiple, cost-effective benefits that swift,
coordinated action on SLCPs can deliver,” said UN Under
Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, who put the
CCAC at the top of his list of UNEP’s accomplishments in 2012. “UNEP
has partnered with researchers for over ten years to bring the science
of short-lived climate pollutants to the fore. This research clearly
shows that action on SLCPs can deliver important near-term climate
gains, and contribute to the achievement of health- and food
security-related goals,” added Mr. Steiner, speaking from the UNEP
Governing Council meeting in Nairobi.
In addition to cutting the rate of global warming in half, reducing
emissions of SLCPs is particularly beneficial for some of the most
vulnerable and threatened regions on the planet, including the Arctic,
which is warming at more than twice the global average rate, and setting
off self-amplifying warming feedbacks, according to UNEP’s Year Book 2013
released this week. Addressing pollutants such as black carbon, which
has especially powerful warming effects in regions of ice and snow, may
be the most effective means of slowing and delaying imminent climate
impacts in those regions in the near term.
IGSD has long been a champion of efforts to reduce HFCs, black carbon,
methane, and tropospheric ozone, and serves as the NGO representative on
the Coalition’s Steering Committee.
The CCAC website is here.
IGSD’s Primer on SLCPs is here.
Achim Steiner’s Policy Statement at the Opening of the First Universal Session of UNEP’s Governing Council is here.
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