Partners In Focus

Best Practices in Reducing Emissions through Vehicle Replacement Programs

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a new report on an important facet of vehicle emissions reduction – programs to replace old vehicles that contribute a disproportionate share of pollution.

The report, issued March 9, evaluates eight vehicle replacement programs from around the world and identifies five best practices in the areas of program design and implementation, as well as fiscal incentives and policies, to serve as guidelines for policymakers.

In many regions of the world, older, high-emitting vehicles account for a small percentage of the overall vehicle fleet but a disproportionately large share of total emissions. These vehicles may be responsible for more than 50% of particulate matter and black carbon emissions by 2020.


The Demise of Open Agricultural Burning: South America is Leading the Way

Carlos Crovetto has been one of the pioneers in Latin America and globally in the techniques of conservation agriculture:  using methods such as direct seeding and cover crops to improve soils.  Now, this powerful tool is being used also for climate and air quality protection by providing an alternative to open burning, the largest overall source of black carbon globally.

Many farmers set fires in their fields after harvest as a way to clear the land, but the practice damages soil fertility by destroying organic matter and soil structure. Smoke from the fires also endangers human health and can spread to neighboring fields, forests and buildings. And recent studies have shown that smoke produces particle pollution, particularly black carbon, which contributes to the atmospheric contamination that leads to climate change.


East African Clean Diesel Now a Reality

Following a regional promise to transition to low sulfur diesel fuel for cars, trucks and buses Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have formally adopted national standards for cleaner fuels as of 1 January 2015. Urban buses around the world will account for 25 percent of black carbon emissions from all passenger and commercial goods transport vehicles in 2015, and are on average responsible for up to 80 percent of harmful fine particle (PM2.5) emissions in cities. Over 6.8 million urbanites in East Africa will benefit from low sulfur diesel fuel and the life-saving filter and catalyst technologies cleaner fuel enables. 


EPA Approves New Climate-Friendly Refrigerants

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the options for refrigerants used in various kinds of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This final action addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan that calls on EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals. 

 “Today’s rule is an example of how we can turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to innovate our way to a better future,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By working together, businesses and EPA are bringing new, climate-friendly refrigerants to market that better protect our health and the environment.”


Join the Conversation: Solutions for Health and Climate by Reducing Air Pollution

At least seven million premature deaths annually are attributed to air pollution – one in eight premature deaths globally. By reducing urban air pollution levels, cities and countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.

Urban air pollution is also a critical climate issue. Short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane are main contributors to health-harmful air pollution. 

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Mexico launches new world-class heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards

Mexico, one of the founders and leaders of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, stands to become the first middle-income country in the world to adopt and implement world-class, filter-based standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The achievement is a great success of the CCAC’s Heavy-Duty Diesel (HDD) Initiative, which aims to catalyse major reductions in black carbon through the adoption of clean fuel and vehicle regulations and supporting policies worldwide.

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Cleaner Bricks Production Gets a Boost in Latin America

New public policy tools are being developed for public officials in Latin American to address the challenge of air pollution from brick production. 

From October 27-30, 2014 the non-profit organization Swiss Contact brought together over 150 brick kiln operators, academic and industry specialists, and public officials for a workshop in Cuzco, Peru addressing new technologies to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, mainly black carbon, from brick production. On day four of the workshop, the audience turned to public policy, with the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) hosting the inaugural meeting of the Latin American Brick Kilns Policy Advocacy Network (PAN LAC), an initiative bringing together states, multilateral agencies, civil society organizations and business under the auspices of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. 

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Benin Making Progress on Control of Black Carbon and Other Pollutants

For decades, atmospheric pollution in the Republic of Benin has increased, especially in the main towns and, above all, in the government seat of Cotonou. Many factors have been at the root of the problem, including a rapidly increasing population, commercial and industrial development, poor urban transportation infrastructure, an unchecked increase in motorbikes, and the use of low-quality oil products. The resulting pollution has had harmful effects on crops, human health and ecosystems, and it has added to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In response, the Ministry of Environment has been conducting actions for a number of years, including setting standards for air quality and adopting laws and regulations in areas ranging from air pollution levels, to emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, to the import of motor vehicles. The government has also conducted varied studies, including on air quality in Cotonou, the environmental impact of industry, greenhouse gas emissions of waste and the possibility of increased public transportation. And the government has implemented information, education and communications campaigns to strengthen the environmental awareness of citizens.

Research has confirmed that the transportation sector contributes the majority of the atmospheric pollution in Benin. In response, the government has developed a programme for technical control and maintenance of vehicles, which in many cases can be performed free of charge to motorists. The objective of the programme is to identify vehicles that are not properly maintained and encourage owners of vehicles and garages to keep engines in good shape.

The country also is improving the skill level of vehicle technicians, garage owners and mechanics through training in the latest pollution control technology, and workshops are being conducted on achieving fuel economy. The government has installed several fixed stations for monitoring air quality, including two in the capital of Porto-Novo and two in Cotonou. Additional stations are planned for Parakou.

As a result of all these measures, the country has had remarkable success, moving from a pollution rate of 80% of vehicles in 2000 to 17.5 percent today.

Phasing out HFCs in Nigeria

The Government of Nigeria supports an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs. It views such an amendment as a positive move to achieve the dual environmental benefit of protecting the ozone layer and preventing climate change. Nigeria also sees support for the amendment as a means to draw interest to nationally produced refrigerants that are available in Nigeria.  

Nigeria is also taking steps to reduce HFC use in the country. Through the assistance of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, Nigeria has established a hydrocarbon (HC) production facility for the production of high-grade HC refrigerants to be used as alternatives to HFC refrigerants.

Nigeria’s National Ozone Office, the focal office for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol’s Ozone Depleting Substances phase-out programme in the country, has appointed a National Consultant to conduct a survey of HFC imports and usage in Nigeria. The consultant has met with major HFC importers and the national Chemical Regulatory Enforcement Agencies to obtain data on HFC imports, usage, availability, market introduction plans and costs and will issue a report in 2014.

The government of Nigeria wishes to thank the CCAC and the UN Development Programme for providing funds for the HC consumption survey and also supports the UN Climate Summit joint statement on HFCs.

An Interview with Elena Vikulova and Alexey Bakhtov

Russia Sees Common Ground with CCAC in Green Freight, Other Initiatives

Why did the Russian Federation become a partner in the CCAC?

The CCAC is a unique international format that is at the same time voluntary and provides opportunities for countries to share best practices and innovative solutions.

Currently Russia is interested in developing international cooperation and sharing expertise, and also in deep scientific research on the impact of black carbon on the environment, climate and human health. Russia can offer positive examples of international cooperation on black carbon, such as a two-year project reducing the impact of SLCPs on human health and environment, and a project on the development of an inventory system in frames for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.


Global conference to explore opportunities and threats to human health from climate change

In the face of recent studies linking 7 million premature deaths in 2012 to air pollutants that also raise global temperatures and disrupt climate patterns, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a conference August 27 through 29 to explore the nexus between climate and health.

The issue is particularly important as the world prepares for climate negotiations in Lima this year and Paris in 2015.

The objectives of this Conference on Health and Climate are to promote links between health policy and climate policy, enhance climate resilient health systems, and support health-promoting climate change policies.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, in which the WHO is a Partner, has made health a key issue in its campaign to reduce these pollutants. The Coalition will shortly launch a new initiative on urban health that will address problems of air pollution emitted from diesel engines, municipal solid waste and many other sources. The recent UN Environment Assembly, recognizing the health problems caused by air pollution, called for strengthened action on air quality.


WHO Press Release

Interview with Annika Markovic

Ministers have been excited and have pushed us."

How did the government of Sweden become so involved in the issue of short-lived climate pollutants?

It was sort of a coincidence, really. The Minister of Environment [of Sweden] wanted concrete measures on reducing emissions, to give fast results on the climate, and UNEP came out with its report on the 16 measures that can reduce temperature rise by a half a degree. The Stockholm Environment Institute had also been involved in this research, and it all brought short-lived climate pollutants to the forefront.

And so how did this evolve into the Climate and Clean Air Coalition?

A number of other governments were also looking at how to make a fast impact on climate change and asking what is possible. The US organized a workshop in Washington in August 2011, then Mexico held one where Sweden was also engaged on a ministerial level, and we started discussing things with Mexico, wondering if we could create something global to move things forward...


Interview with Bahijjahtu Abubakar

Ms. Abubakar is leaving her position as co-chair of the CCAC in September after a successful two years in the position, where she saw the CCAC grow from seven partners to more than 90. She will remain active with the CCAC on behalf of her country, Nigeria, but she will also become involved more deeply in work with women’s organizations in her country. She sat down with the CCAC Secretariat for a few questions before departing.

You are passionate about this issue of short-lived climate pollutants. Why? What led you to become so involved in the issue and in CCAC?

I’m a very lucky Nigerian woman. I came from Muslim Northern Nigeria and was among the first women allowed to go to school there. I started as a mechanical engineer and then got a master’s degree in environmental engineering. I was probably the first female mechanical engineer in the North.


Report of the 16-17 July meeting of the CCAC Working Group

New Study on Pollution and Health

A new study by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution asserts that 8.4 million people die each year from air pollution, triple the number of deaths from malaria and 14 times those caused by HIV/AIDS. The estimate comes on top of the WHO report in March saying that some seven million people died prematurely in 2012 from air pollution.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is preparing to launch a global campaign to raise the visibility of this issue. A number of CCAC initiatives, especially those touching on diesel fuel emissions, brick production, municipal solid waste, agriculture, and household cooking and heating, are concerned with the health impact of short-lived climate pollutants, and we expect health, along with climate, to be a major focus of this Coalition in the future.

For more information on our global campaign on health, please see Clean Air in Every Breath: The CCAC Health Campaign.

The UN Environment Assembly

The UN Environment Assembly, which took place last week, was the first-ever gathering of all countries to discuss some of the most critical issues facing the environment.  With substantial interest from attendees, the CCAC conducted or participated in several events, including:

CCAC on World Environment Day

The CCAC is active every day enabling the world to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. Our partners work quietly, whether on their own or in concert with others, and the CCAC is proud to be their focal point for much of this important work.

But once a year it’s worth pausing for World Environment Day and assessing where it all fits in the larger scheme of things:

  • Short-lived climate pollutants are responsible for a substantial fraction of the upward pressure on global temperatures, not to mention the deaths of millions of people. This sounds apocalyptic, but evidence is hard to refute. The recent  IPCC Assessment Report and the World Health Organization’s study on the health effects of air pollution are only two of the most recent scientific assessments of the problem.
  • Reducing these pollutants, with the resulting reduction in the pace of world temperature rise, will help soften the blow of storms, lessen pressure on people’s health and livelihoods from higher temperatures, improve people’s access to food, and slow the melting of ice in the world’s coldest regions, thus keeping sea level rise at a slower pace and allowing more time for coastal areas to adapt. As one of the Small Island Developing States most endangered by climate change, the Republic of Maldives, a CCAC Partner, has been particularly active and outspoken on the issue of short-lived climate pollutants. The Dominican Republic, also a CCAC Partner, has likewise issued a statement for World Environment Day.
  • It’s pointless to compare the importance of reducing carbon dioxide with the importance of reducing the short-lived climate pollutants of methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone and HFCs. To reduce one without the other would leave much of the world still vulnerable to climate and other shocks. We’ve got to have both.
  • Talk has its place, but it all has to end in work. The CCAC has its ten initiatives. The US is taking bold steps. Countries like Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden and others have been serious for quite some time.

Needless to say, we are all in this together. If we may be so bold, the CCAC is an example of an organization that works. Spend a little time on our website. We are growing fast. If your government or organization isn’t a member yet, maybe it should be. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and see UNEP’s website for World Environment Day

Abu Dhabi Ascent

In support of Climate Summit 2014

The CCAC and its partners participated in a variety of ways in this important global conference in Abu Dhabi on the 4th and 5th of May. The conference laid the groundwork for the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit in September, where short-lived climate pollutants were featured as a topic of major interest.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, Bahijjahtu Abubakar, Co-chair of CCAC, Nigeria, and Minister Gregory Barker, United Kingdom, opened the conference with high-level presentations on Energy and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.

Meanwhile, breakout Sessions on Climate Action focused on specific initiatives in key action areas, where stakeholders from government, private sector, finance and civil society explored potential opportunities to engage in these initiatives. The CCAC participated in a number of ways in these sessions, including having two dedicated ones on SLCPs.

For more information:

Clean Air in Every Breath

A new CCAC campaign on air pollution and health.

Beginning soon, the CCAC will launch a worldwide campaign to highlight air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, as a major cause of health problems. As the World Health Organization announced on March 25, air pollution is now the world's largest single enironmental health risk, causing approximately 7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.

The CCAC has always focused strongly on climate change as a major effect of emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, but no less important is disease. The newly constituted CCAC Health Task Force, led by the World Health Organization and the government of Norway, will lead the CCAC in raising the visibility of this important issue.

For more information on the CCAC and health: