CCAC approves focus on health in cities

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Partners in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants have approved a new focus on health in urban areas at the UN Climate Summit in New York.

Five ambitious efforts were also presented at the UN Climate Summit, aiming to catalyse action on emissions from agriculture, freight, oil and gas production, and municipal solid waste, and to phase down high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling and refrigeration. Launched in 2012 by seven partners, CCAC is the only global forum dedicated to reducing short-lived climate pollutants at the source.

SLCPs are substances that remain in the atmosphere for a relatively short time, from a few days to 15 years, but are powerful drivers of near-term atmospheric warming. Scientific research shows that proven measures to reduce SLCPs – in particular, methane, black carbon (soot) and some HFCs – could, if widely implemented, reduce global warming by 0.6°C by 2050, save more than 2 million lives, and achieve multiple development benefits. In its first two years, CCAC has launched 10 initiatives to tackle SLCP emissions from a wide range of sources, raise awareness of SLCPs, and help countries develop their own plans and actions to tackle these pollutants.

“We launched CCAC as a ‘coalition of the working’ to achieve real results on the ground, and it is thrilling to see how far we’ve come in just over two years,” said Lena Ek, Sweden’s Minister of Environment and one of the founders of CCAC. “We hope that as we share our successes and ambitions at the UN Climate Summit, many more will be inspired to join our efforts.”

On Monday, partners approved the funding of Phase I of an 11th initiative, to raise awareness of SLCPs’ impact on health in urban areas. The Coalition’s activities at the UN Climate Summit aim to scale-up and build on all this work. Ministers and heads of partner organizations approved the five action plans at CCAC’s fifth High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened with a message expressing his support for the Coalition’s multi-stakeholder approach. “You are helping to accelerate political momentum on climate change and catalyse ambitious action on the ground,” he said. “The coalitions you have built among the private sector, finance, civil society, research and other institutions can help to build a new world of collaboration and high standards. The results of your actions can have an immediate impact: cleaner industries; cleaner engines and oil and gas production; cleaner recycling and waste processing; cleaner brick kilns and cookstoves; and cleaner urban air.”

Sheila Watson, Director of Environment at the FIA Foundation, said: “We have recently joined the CCAC to work with partners to develop strategies for tackling urban air quality and short-lived climate pollutants arising from vehicle traffic. Particulates from motorized transport are a particular concern, both for the powerful greenhouse gas impact of black carbon and for the effect on health of poor air quality. The Foundation’s participation in the CCAC therefore complements our work through the Global Fuel Economy Initiative and the Partnership for Clean Fuels & Vehicles”.