SLCP reductions will come only by concerted effort, says CCAC

Paris, 15 August 2013 – The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) reiterated today that only through the dedicated effort of governments, organizations, businesses and individuals can the harmful effects of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) on health, agriculture and climate be reduced.

“The CCAC believes that urgent and consistent action is needed now to produce the reductions in SLCPs that will help relieve pressure on climate and human health,” said Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the CCAC Secretariat.

Responding to a new study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which claimed that efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) will have a smaller effect on global climate than previously thought, in large part because emissions controls will come automatically as societies advance, the CCAC noted that hard work will be needed to reduce the impacts of SLCPs.

“Emissions controls don’t happen automatically, even those that lead to cost savings,” said Drew Shindell, the chair of the CCAC’s Science Advisory Panel and a senior scientist at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “While advanced nations have indeed cleaned up their emissions dramatically over recent decades, it took a lot of work.”

Shindell commented that the CCAC takes “a proactive approach” in dealing with SLCPs. ”We look at the benefits such dedicated work would achieve,” he said, “without assuming that wealth and idealized economic behavior will deal with the majority of the problem on their own.”

Despite different assumptions and conclusions of the new study, the CCAC welcomed the renewed attention brought to the problem of SLCPs. SLCPs are a growing area of research, and the CCAC expects further studies in coming years to add to the existing body of scientific literature.

“There is clearly growing scientific and political interest in the benefits of action on SLCPs,” said Valdes. “For example, people are recognizing that reducing outdoor and indoor air pollution by controlling black carbon and methane emissions can have large benefits for public health. We are not comfortable waiting for the problems to disappear by themselves.”

The Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, published in 2013 by the leading medical journal The Lancet, estimated that indoor pollution is the fourth most important contributor to the global burden of disease and outdoor air pollution the ninth, together causing six million deaths each year.

Shindell stressed the urgency with which the CCAC approaches the subject of SLCPs. “The CCAC recognizes the need for rapid action,” he said, “especially for sensitive regions such as the Arctic, and is therefore pushing for more immediate emission reductions than might otherwise occur.” He also expressed the conviction of CCAC members that climate change is happening now and that immediate and dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide are needed to address climate change over the long term. “The CCAC fully supports complementary efforts to achieve immediate and dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, which all scientists agree are critical for addressing climate change over the long term,” he said.

The CCAC partnership has grown in the past 18 months from six national governments and the UN Environment Programme to nearly 70 partners, including some 34 countries, both developing and developed.

Contact

  • Nick Nuttall, Director UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information/UNEP Spokesperson on +254 733 632755, nick.nuttall@unep.org
  • UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi) on +254 20 762 5211 / +254 725 939 620 / unepnewsdesk@unep.org
  • The Climate and Clean Air Coalition website is available at www.unep.org/ccac