17 July 2014, Paris – The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), at the regular meeting here of its Working Group of partners, took the significant step of welcoming partner applications from businesses and business associations.
Starting in 2012 as a partnership of six governments and the UN Environment Programme, the CCAC has grown quickly and now includes some 93 partners, including 40 governments and 53 non-state entities. Business has played an important role in many of the CCAC’s initiatives to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and the CCAC partners felt it was time to engage with business on the policy level.
“Having the private sector at the table is important for making not just a willing and a working coalition but also a winning coalition,” said Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen, Vice President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for the organization Business for Social Responsibility in addressing the Working Group. The Coalition partners agreed.
New Initiative on Health
The Coalition adopted its first new initiative of 2014, which will focus on the health benefits from reducing SLCPs in cities. The World Health Organization, in presenting the proposal, noted that the fast growth of cities in developing countries, the growing concern over the health impact from indoor and outdoor air pollution, and the evidence of health benefits from reducing SLCPs all made the initiative timely.
Dr. Carlos Dora, Coordinator of the Department of Public Health and the Environment at WHO, noted that health issues are not often part of decisionmaking about air pollution at the city level. He believed the initiative could help to change that, and he saw the CCAC as an enabler of the connections needed across health, environment and sector policies.
CCAC Action at UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit
In other news, the CCAC announced that it would launch substantial new actions at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September.
“We have great faith that the SLCP agenda is delivering,” said Cynthia Scharf, a senior officer on the UN Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team, as she welcomed the participation of the CCAC in the Summit. “The results are popular. It gives people hope.”
At the Summit, in its continued efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), the Coalition will launch a partnership with oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions, a green freight global action plan , a campaign with key countries and leading industries to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, an expanded approach to dealing with municipal solid waste that will help reduce the high levels of black carbon and methane emitted in many cities, and new efforts to deal with some of the most serious sources of short-lived climate pollutants from agriculture.
"We launched the CCAC two years ago because we were eager to make a difference in reducing short-lived climate pollutants emissions now,” said Annika Markovic, CCAC co-chair and Sweden’s ambassador to the OECD. “We wanted to create a platform where countries could work together with industry, international organizations and NGOs, with a common objective. And we wanted to show that emissions reductions are effective not only in reducing near-term climate change but also in improving public health and agricultural yields. I am very happy that the CCAC will showcase our concrete actions at the climate summit in September, and that this group of now over 90 partners is eager to make a difference. We are doing it together, learning from each other and inspiring others to join in."
Oil and Gas
Minimizing methane emissions from upstream oil and gas production is one of four key global methane mitigation opportunities, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil and gas is the second largest source of global anthropogenic methane emissions. The CCAC’s Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, which has already been endorsed by three international investor groups with more than $20 trillion in assets, intends to bring energy and commitment to this effort through joint action among governments and industry. It will be officially launched with the participation of energy companies at the Climate Summit.
The transportation sector contributes about 19 percent of black carbon emissions in the world. Heavy-duty diesel vehicles such as those used for freight transportation have a disproportionate impact on climate and air quality. The CCAC’s Global Green Freight Action Plan, a voluntary, multilateral, multi-stakeholder global partnership, aims to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies and strategies to save fuel and reduce costs for business and at the same time create significant reductions of black carbon as well as CO2 reductions from the sector. The Action Plan will also help harmonize national, regional and mode-specific green freight programs already in existence or being developed.
High Global Warming Potential HFCs
HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that are substitutes for ozone-depleting substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. While currently present in the atmosphere only in small quantities, their use is growing rapidly, increasing by as much as 10-15 percent per year. Without immediate action, these emissions are projected to continue to accelerate rapidly, thus creating significant additional pressure on global warming. The CCAC’s initiative on Promoting HFC Alternative Technology and Standards is encouraging industry and governments to support a phasedown of HFC use through a number of avenues.
Municipal Solid Waste
Landfills are the third largest anthropogenic source of methane, accounting for approximately 11 percent of estimate global methane emissions. The CCAC’s initiative to Mitigate SLCPs from the Municipal Solid Waste Sector has been working with more than two dozen cities around the world to create momentum toward developing and implementing sustainable waste management practices to significantly reduce SLCPs. At the Climate Summit the CCAC will offer a strong commitment from a number of cities and national governments to scale up this effort.
The agriculture sector is the largest source of methane emissions and produces significant portions of black carbon. The CCAC agriculture initiative will launch three efforts at the summit to deal with some of the most serious sources of short-lived climate pollutants.
Pilot Auction Facility
In late 2012 the G8 requested that an international group of experts explore “whether and how public finds, utilizing per-for-performance mechanisms, may be used to incentivize reductions of methane emissions.” One of the key results, which will be formally announced at the Climate Summit, is the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF), which will offer an innovative climate finance model to address the acute problem of methane-reduction projects that languish because of lack of funding.
“The CCAC is active on a multitude of fronts, each of which is contributing something significant to the world’s efforts to address short-lived climate pollutants,” said Bahijjahtu Abubakar, CCAC co-chair and National Coordinator of the Renewable Energy Programme of Nigeria. “Speaking as a Nigerian, I have to say that the work that these partners from countries big and small, developing and developed, are doing is inspiring. We are going to push forward as fast as we can to do our part to help slow global warming and climate change, protect human health, use energy more efficiently, and save millions of tons of food crops from contamination.”
Partners in Action
At its Working Group meeting, the CCAC also heard partner descriptions of work being conducted to help reduce SLCPs. Some examples include:
- Nigeria’s bill, currently progressing through the National Assembly, to require gas companies to submit feasibility studies, programs or proposals for capturing gas for reuse. The government is also participating in a national clean cooking scheme to provide a million clean cookstoves by the end of the year.
- Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire are both attempting to replicate all 10 of the CCAC’s initiatives in their countries.
- Russia’s new green shipping project, the St. Petersburg Initiative, which supports business investments in environmentally safe marine transportation
- Morocco’s introduction of financial incentives to replace old vehicles and raise fuel standards
- Switzerland’s work in Latin America to mitigate SLCPs from brick production
- Mongolia’s actions to strengthen its position as the only developing country in Asia that has put in place legal measures to control the import of HFCs
- The OECD’s report, recently released, titled “The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impact of Road Transport”
- The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation’s “Project Support Instrument” to help mobilize and channel financing for Arctic Council projects that prevent, abate and eliminate pollution, including black carbon
The CCAC announced its next high-level assembly of ministers and other chief executives on September 22 at the UN Climate Summit in New York. The Coalition also welcomed new partners International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and World Meteorological Organization.
“Short-lived climate pollutants are among the most important contributors to global warming after CO2, and they are also air pollutants with serious consequences for human health, agriculture and ecosystems,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. “Reducing these pollutants can slow the rate of global warming and help save many of the millions of lives lost as a result of air pollution. By joining the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, WMO will contribute its scientific and technical expertise and networks, including the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch, to improve the observation of SLCPs and help to mitigate their effects on the planet and people’s health.”
Sweden and Switzerland announced contributions to the CCAC Trust Fund of 3 million Swedish Krona and 2 million Swiss Francs, respectively.
Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the CCAC Secretariat, said: “We have one and a half years before the big [UNFCCC COP21] meeting in Paris to address climate change. We have spent more than two years now showing what reduction of SLCPs can do for near-term climate change as well as human and environmental health, and we are happy that the importance of SLCPs is more widely recognised as a crucial complement to addressing long-lived climate forcers such as CO2. Our aim is to bring together governments, businesses, organisations and other entities to catalyze rapid and concrete action to address SLCPs as a global and collective challenge to protect the environment and public health, promote food and energy security, address air pollution and to help halve near-term global warming over the next couple of decades.”
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants is a partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, the environmental community, and other members of civil society. Short-lived climate pollutants are agents that have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere—a few days to a few decades—but also a warming influence on climate as well as, in many cases, detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems.
For more information on the CCAC, please see www.unep.org/ccac or contact the CCAC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For complete coverage of the meeting, please see the report of the IISD.