Coalition of the Working - A blog from the CCAC

Author: Keith S. Collins, Communications Consultant, CCAC Secretariat Created: Monday, December 16, 2013 RssIcon
The CCAC's official blog
By CCAC Admin on Friday, May 9, 2014
The Abu Dhabi Ascent, held May 4 and 5, was the first attempt by the UN Secretary-General to promote real and meaningful action by sector, not only to tackle climate change but to create political momentum for heads of state to come to an agreement on a path to avoid a catastrophic increase in earth’s temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. The world today has a better understanding of the urgency of the situation and the consequences of inaction.

Abu Dhabi reminded us that we also have the solutions at hand. Major action on SLCPs is one of those solutions, and if done right it can help avoid 0.5 C of temperature increase by 2050. We can do it, but we need strong leaders who can think globally and have long-term vision. The SG Climate Summit in September is the time to grab this opportunity, to tell the world that we have begun a new era, an era that can allow the atmosphere to heal, an era where living on this planet will be a pleasant adventure and not a scary one, where our children...
By CCAC Admin on Monday, February 17, 2014
No doubt we haven’t got it right over the years of climate talks. It is not too late, though, to begin. This laudable Coalition that so many of us are part of ­– I want to declare Nigeria's absolute and unconditional support. A Coalition of the Working! I am happy this Coalition is being driven by partners’ willingness to effect change for a cleaner world. We must consider ourselves fortunate to be part of a movement that is creating awareness that reducing short-lived climate pollutants is important not only to climate but also to development – to the environment, health and economic empowerment.

Nigeria is working on mainstreaming the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, on curbing gas flaring and venting to tackle energy poverty, providing clean cooking to over 70 million Nigerians without clean cookstoves, and making our agriculture sector viable again. We in the government are replicating all the Coalition's initiatives as part of our National Action Plan, as well as...
By CCAC Admin on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Over six million people die prematurely from smoking every year. New studies show that as many people die from air pollution. Whether to smoke or not is a choice we make, but we do not have the same opportunity to choose whether or not to breathe fresh air.

Preventing tobacco-related health impacts and other non-communicable diseases are on the top of the world’s health agenda.  Many countries have adopted strategies for limiting tobacco-related diseases. However, very few countries have concrete plans for reducing health impacts from air pollution, including black carbon. 

Last year many big cities experienced enormous problems, with pollution levels way beyond the danger zone. For example, some cities in Asia had pollution levels 40 times higher than what WHO defines as safe, which is higher than in smoking areas of larger airports.

The heaviest burden falls on the poor and vulnerable. Children under five and women in developing countries are the main groups dying...
By CCAC Admin on Thursday, December 19, 2013
2013 will likely be remembered in China as the year of the “airpocalypse.” In January, Beijing faced its worst air quality crisis in a decade. In October, buses in the northern city of Harbin literally got lost in the smog. In December, it was Shanghai’s turn to be engulfed in haze. It seems nearly impossible to see anything positive about these acute pollution crises, but there may actually be a silver lining in the smog.

Over the past year, the extreme air pollution has galvanized China’s top leaders, media, and general public, and catalyzed a host of major regulatory actions and plans targeting short and long-term particle pollution mitigation. For example, the State Council’s September...
By CCAC Admin on Monday, December 2, 2013
With the conclusion of COP19 and renewed attention to the problem of climate change, an important point seems to need making again. So if you will permit me, I would like to do so here:

Reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) does not decrease the urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).

This is something the CCAC says repeatedly. Reducing emissions of SLCPs, or non-CO2 forcers, can have a large benefit through reduced near-term warming and improved human and ecosystem health. But SLCP mitigation does not have much impact on long-term peak warming and so does not “buy time” for reducing CO2.

As we say in our basic brochure and all our literature, “Fast action to reduce [SLCPs], especially methane and black carbon, has the potential to slow down the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5°C, as well as prevent more than two million premature deaths each year and avoid annual crop losses of over 30 million tonnes. These actions need to be complemented...
By CCAC Admin on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Polish university student Agnieszka Madejewska has taken two weeks off from studies to help out at the Global Landscapes Forum, part of the events of the 19th Conference of Parties last week and this in Warsaw, Poland.

Let me talk for a minute about Warsaw, where I am attending the COP19 conference. It’s my first time here, and I’m really taken with the beauty of what has become a very modern city with old-world charm, and with the warmth of the people. But more than that, I have to say I love what the government and other organizers have done with this conference. They have made a potential logistical nightmare as smooth and impressive as their ability to handle all the z’s and w’s in their language.

I’m aware of the demonstrations and controversies. There are always controversies on these occasions, when everyone has an interest and everyone has an opponent. The CCAC has its share of opponents, too. That’s part of the democratic process. But a meeting like this can result in a lot more pain than is necessary if people are frustrated because they can’t figure out where to go.

But Poland has taken care of that part very well. Walk anywhere in the labyrinth of offices and meeting rooms at the National Stadium, where most events are being held, and you will find someone to help you. Sometimes every few feet. That’s no small thing when there are a dozen essential tasks that you needed to get done an hour ago, and you don’t have time to figure out the color-coded map. There is virtue in overstaffing at a time like this. Not to mention training. There is a minimum of shrugs and a maximum of “Yes, I know where that is” or “I know where you can find that out.” A little help makes a big difference. 

By CCAC Admin on Sunday, November 17, 2013

This is a new blog. And, perhaps surprisingly, given the nature of the problem this partnership of governments and organizations is tackling, a positive one. 

You can trace that positive approach back to the origins of the partnership. The CCAC is not only voluntary, and it’s not only committed to its cause. It’s about doing something to reduce emissions while addressing issues of climate change, air quality, public health and food production. That’s saying a lot for a group like this, let’s face it.

First, it’s driven by governments and a United Nations program. In a lot of people’s minds, this is not a recipe for efficient action.

Second, it’s addressing one of the thorniest problems facing humanity, how to reduce emissions of pollutants that are widespread and historical, with the activities that produce them in many cases deeply entrenched. It’s understandable that people might want to throw up their hands and declare the problem insoluble. 

Third, the CCAC has a tiny staff that is constantly overworked and scattered among several cities in Europe and Africa.  

But the CCAC has defied the preconceptions so far. As one of its founding partners—Lena Ek, Sweden’s Environment Minister—said some time ago, “We’re not just a coalition of the willing. We’re also a coalition of the working.” Anyone who wants to talk gets a respectful hearing. Talk is important, because you have to have agreement. But action has to follow, or the talker risks getting left behind. 

I’m writing this while attending a number of interesting events and meetings at COP19 in Warsaw. There’s a lot of talking here, including by CCAC and its partners. Still, it’s refreshing to be part of a global group where speechifying is kept to a minimum.