Wednesday, February 20, 2013

International Climate & Clean Air Coalition 1st Year Anniversary

Feb 20: The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) -- a global movement to significantly reduce emissions of black carbon, methane and other substances known as "short-lived climate pollutants" (SLCPs) - celebrates its first anniversary today [See WIMS 1/15/13]. The Coalition, comprised of more than 50 partners, has been collaboratively spearheading international efforts to raise awareness of the major environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved by lowering emissions of SLCPs alongside catalyzing action.

    Since its launch in February 2012 [See WIMS 2/16/12], the Coalition has grown from 7 partners to more than 50, currently consisting of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Republic of Maldives, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States, as well as other key parties like the European Commission, the UN Environmental Programme, the World Bank, and the UN Development Programme. The Coalition expresses support for scaled-up actions across a range of economic sectors, including transport, oil and gas, and waste, to ensure reductions of emissions from SLCPs.   

    According to studies by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), fast action on black carbon and methane have the potential to slow global temperature rise by up to 0.5°C by 2050, reduce air pollution-related deaths by as much as 2.4 million, and avoid around 30 million tonnes of crop losses annually. Scientific assessments indicate that the near term benefits in places like the Arctic and on glaciers in mountain regions could be even higher.

    UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "The success of the CCAC shows that more and more countries are now recognizing the multiple, cost-effective benefits that swift, coordinated action on SLCPs can deliver. UNEP has partnered with researchers for over ten years to bring the science of short-lived climate pollutants to the fore. This research clearly shows that action on SLCPs can deliver important near-term climate gains, contribute to the achievement of internationally-agreed development goals, and support the transition to a green economy."

    Among its many activities, the CCAC is working closely with an initial group of 10 major cities including Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Stockholm, Accra, and Tokyo to accelerate methane reductions from landfills and black carbon or 'soot' from burning wastes. It has also joined forces with the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles to reduce black carbon emissions or 'smoke' from heavy duty vehicles such as trucks by accelerating the introduction of low sulfur fuels and tighter emission standards in Asia and Latin America.

    The Coalition is also coordinating actions to address hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- commonly found in air conditioners and refrigerators -- which are a major short-lived climate pollutant. While HFC emissions currently represent less than 1 per cent of current total greenhouse gases their warming impact is particularly strong and, if left unchecked, they could account for 7 to 19 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The CCAC hosted the second International Technology Forum in 2012 to showcase a range of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs for use in refrigeration and other kinds of equipment.

    Other CCAC initiatives are focusing on reducing emissions from brick production and assisting countries in developing national action plans to prioritize action for SLCP reductions. The Coalition underlines the fact that actions to reduce SLCPs must be complemented by immediate deep and persistent cuts in carbon emissions if global mean temperature rise over the 21st century is to be held below 2°C. UNEP's 2011 report Near-Term Climate Protection and Clean Air Benefits outlines 16 measures to be implemented immediately in order to ensure significant emissions reduction of SLCPs.

    Access a release from UNEP with extensive links including the 2011 report, a chronology of CCAC events this past year and a video (click here). Access the CCAC website for complete information (click here). [#Climate, #Air]

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