Although it is necessary to reduce CO2 in order to close the emissions gap and protect climate over the long run, a complementary strategy is gaining traction – namely, to reduce “short lived climate pollutants” (SLCPs) over and above CO2 reductions. These substances are so named because they have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere and at the same time cause global warming and air pollution. They include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons
Reducing short lived climate pollutants will not replace needed reductions of CO2, but they will help slow near-term global warming, lessen regional climate change impacts, and reduce public health risks and crop damage caused by air pollution. Reducing the risks of air pollution is an especially important consideration since it shows that action on short lived climate pollutants would lower a major health barrier to sustainable development. Science is now pointing the way to the most effective measures for reducing these pollutants at the national, regional and global scales.
In February 2012, several countries took a major step towards reducing these substances in the atmosphere by forming the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce short lived climate pollutants (CCAC). Founding members of the Coalition were the governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States of America and UNEP.
The objective of the Coalition is to enhance global, regional, and national public and private efforts to substantially reduce SLCPs by:
- Raising awareness of short lived climate pollutant impacts and mitigation strategies.
- Enhancing and developing new national and regional actions, including by identifying and overcoming barriers, enhancing capacity, and mobilizing support.
- Promoting best practices and showcasing successful efforts.
- Improving understanding of the science of SLCPs, as well as their impacts and mitigation strategies
As of October 2012, the CCAC consists of 19 state/regional partners, three intergovernmental organisations and 11 non-governmental organisations
The Office of the Chief Scientist worked with colleagues from UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics and Division of Communication and Public Information to help found the Coalition. The Chief Scientist serves on the Coalition's Steering Committee, in its Working Group, and on its Scientific Advisory Panel.