CCAC Working Group meets in Nairobi, Kenya

This was the 24th meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Working Group met in Nairobi, Kenya, days before the opening of the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly to discuss and strategize the Coalition’s future direction and vision for the coming decade.  

The Working Group emphasized the working part of their name as they rolled up their sleeves and set about developing a new strategic vision for the Coalition and its initiatives. Initiatives honed their strategies to increase ambition, urgency, and impact. This was spurred by the 2018 International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report Global Warming of 1.5˚C, which gives the world a 12-year window, to 2030, to rapidly reduce all climate forcers and turn the trend on potentially catastrophic climatic conditions.

Alice Kaudia, the CCAC’s Kenyan Co-Chair, welcomed delegates to her country and the beautiful World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), where the meeting took place. Ms. Kaudia also took the opportunity to launch the Coalition’s ‘Africa Assessment’, which she said would be instrumental to guiding climate and clean air policies across the continent. The Africa Assessment work starts this year and is expected to be completed by 2021.

A vision for the future

The Coalition was reminded that it had much to achieve in the 12 years in order to maximize the climate, health and economic benefits from reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The Coalition agreed to recommend to ministers attending the CCAC’s High Level Assembly in New York this September, that the Coalition’s mandate be extended to December 31, 2030 to deliver the near-term positive impacts for the climate needed to keep warming to 1.5˚C.

The CCAC’s work will continue to be anchored in the “short-lived climate pollutant control measures” and the recently developed “multiple benefits pathway framework”. It was recommended that Coalition countries undertake localized and integrated analysis of the actions needed to put themselves on an ambitious pathway to achieving the global 1.5˚C temperature target and the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

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CCAC Working Group meets at ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Coalition will identify where quick results are readily achievable before 2030 and prioritize areas of action. This includes increased outreached to the private sector and wider public, creating a pipeline of finance ready projects, and strengthening collaboration with other partnerships and networks. Many of these activities need to happen in the first half of the next decade in order to have impact by 2030.

Coalition initiatives also met to improve their overarching strategic directions to increase their urgency and ambition and increase the speed and impact of their actions. Initiative lead partners presented an overview of their objectives, achievements, challenges and opportunities and discussed where there could be better linkages between initiatives.

A task team was formed to develop and take the Coalition’s Strategic Vision to the Coalition’s High-Level Assembly, in New York this September.

Science Update

Johan Kuylenstierna, Research Leader at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and member of the CCAC Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), presented the latest science to the Working Group. This include a briefing on the IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5˚C, the pathway methodology, and a short-lived climate pollutant regional breakdown.

On the IPCC report the SAP emphasised that while there are many different paths that can be taken to reach the 1.5˚C global temperature target, the world must follow a low- or no-temperature overshoot pathway to achieve both the target and the sustainable development goals. According to the report this means that by 2030 we must reduce methane by 37%, black carbon by 35%, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 70-80%. The CCAC can achieve this and more. The short-lived climate pollutant measures the Coalition is working on will be able to deliver by 2030: all methane mitigation, and substantially more with new research into reducing agricultural methane; 60-80% reductions in black carbon emissions; and a 90% reduction in HFC emissions.

Air pollution, climate mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development are closely linked, the SAP recommends countries develop an integrated approach, using the CCAC’s “multiple benefits pathway framework”, to identify strategies that maximize synergies and avoid negative trade-offs. This will help decision-makers compare the impacts and benefits of policies and measures, reduce the costs of achieving climate and sustainable development goals, and increase the social, institutional, and economic feasibility of additional necessary actions.

The SAP also provided an overview of regional methane and black carbon emissions and their mitigation potential.

On methane the SAP said that recent models show that nearly half of global anthropogenic methane emissions could be reduced by 2030. The largest potential for reductions, 33%, come from North America and Europe. For all regions, the fossil fuel sector (coal mining and oil and gas production) provides the greatest methane reductions. Reductions in the waste sector are the second highest contributor to methane mitigation.

Black carbon emissions could be reduced by 3.8 Megatons (Mt – 1 Mt equals 1 billion kilograms) per year by 2030. 1.1 Mt in reductions could come from Africa, 1.0 Mt from East and South East Asia, and 1.1 Mt from South West and Central Asia, which is about 90% of global mitigation. Household energy could contribute 55% of reductions while 20% would come from the transport sector.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) presented an overview of recommendations on integrating short-lived climate pollutants into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Asian countries. The report found that several Asian countries have incorporated SLCPs in their NDCs but there is still considerable potential for more countries in Asia to make these climate-air pollution links in their NDCs, particularly for black carbon. By doing so countries have the potential to bring more financial resources and other forms of support to improve air quality and mitigate near-term climate change. There is a need for more awareness among policymakers and improved interagency coordination mechanisms.

Other Decisions

The Working Group approved the implementation plan and budget for the CCAC Action Programme to Address the 1.5˚C Challenge. The Action Programme aims to assist and encourage countries that wish to increase efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution in an integrated way and to enhance action on short-lived climate pollutants in national emissions management programs and strategies. The Action Programme rests upon three workstreams:

  • development and mobilization of high-level political leadership with a regional focus;
  • targeted country-level support to prove the approach and build country champions; and
  • strong science, analytical support and communications to fill knowledge gaps and build confidence.

The Working Group established an Action Programme Task Team, whose first task is to explore how to mainstream the Action Programme further into Coalition’s governance and budget structures.

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(l-r) Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the CCAC Secretariat, with CCAC Co-Chairs, Alice Kaudia (Kenya) and Yuka Greiler (Switzerland)

Nigeria introduced a proposal to adopt a new initiative on clean and efficient cooling. This followed a call by Rwanda and France at the CCAC’s 2018 High-Level Assembly in Katowice, Poland, that the CCAC works to ensure that the global phase down of HFCs also leads to hyper-efficient, less energy intense, cooling technologies. The Working Group agreed in principle to a Clean Efficient Cooling initiative, asking proponents to consult with the HFC initiative and Montreal Protocol Secretariat before submitting the final initiative framework to the Working Group for approval.

There were also changes to the Coalition’s steering committee. The World Resources Institute (WRI) will replace the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) as NGO representative to the Steering Committee. It joins the other NGO representative: the International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection Associations (IUAPPA).

Kenya’s term as CCAC Co-chair came to an end at the meeting and will be replaced by the Philippines. The Working Group thanked Alice Kaudia for co-chairing on behalf of Kenya, and the baton was passed along to the Philippines, who will be represented by the Secretary of their Climate Change Commission, Emmanuel (Manny) de Guzmann.

The Working Group also welcomed Thailand and Niger as new country partners to the coalition. As of this writing, the CCAC has 64 country partners, 17 intergovernmental organizations, and 56 non-government organizations, for a total of 137 partners. 

The next CCAC Working Group meeting will take place in 2020. 

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Until next time...

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