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New global modelling for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) underscore how efforts to reduce them would have considerable benefits for climate, health, energy efficiency, development, and the environment. “No matter which set of impacts you look at there is always a reason to act,” said Dr Drew Shindell to a gathering of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Working Group.
The CCAC Working Group is meeting in Paris to ensure that there is global action within the next five years to rapidly reduce four key SLCPs: methane, tropospheric ozone, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (also known as HFCs, used in refrigerators and air conditioning). It will do this by transforming diverse sectors like transportation, cooking and heat stoves, oil and gas, waste management, etc. so they continue to deliver results beyond 2020.
Dr Shindell, who is Chair of the CCAC’s Scientific Advisory Panel and Professor of Climate Science at Duke University in the United States, presented preliminary global results as part of an ongoing regional assessment of SLCPs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Modelling done for the assessment takes into account new emission measures for flaring, fracking, and kerosene lamps. The new data suggests that the work the Coalition is doing is vital if SLCPs are to be brought under control.
SLCP reduction has to be complementary to deep and lasting cuts to carbon dioxide for long term climate stabilization." Drew Shindell
“SLCP reduction has to be complementary to deep and lasting cuts to carbon dioxide for long term climate stabilization,” Dr Shindell said. “But these results tell us that you cannot achieve deep reductions in SLCPs and associated benefits by focusing only on carbon dioxide mitigation.”
Another preliminary finding noted that the benefits of action have the potential to prevent more premature deaths than previously thought. A 2011 assessment estimated that a global deployment of 16 SLCP reduction measures would prevent an average of 2.4 million premature deaths annually by 2030, but new estimates raise that number to up to 3.5 million lives by 2030 and between 3 to 5 million lives per year by 2050.
CCAC Co-Chair and Norway’s Special Envoy on Climate, Hanne Bjurstrøm, said that these new findings and the important contribution SLCP reduction plays in limiting global warming to 2°C was the reason why the Coalition’s Working Group needed a strong strategy and implementation plan to deliver urgent action within the next five years.
“Over the next five years we want to catalyse action, mobilise support, leverage finance, and enhance science and knowledge,” Ms Bjurstrøm said. “We can start reducing climate pollutants in the time between what we hope is going to be a strong global commitment to reduce carbon dioxide in Paris this December, and when that commitment takes effect in 2020.”
Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the CCAC Secretariat, reminded delegates that the Coalition wanted “fast action, quick results and multiple benefits”.
“We have five years to show the real value of this work and I am confident that we can achieve a lot in that time,” Ms Molin Valdes said. “The sooner we start reducing these pollutants the sooner we will see benefits for health, climate and in other areas.”
The CCAC’s strategic plan will be finalised and agreed upon at its High Level Assembly at COP21 in Paris this December.
The CCAC Working Group also agreed on new funding, totalling US$3.1 million, for three initiatives: Municipal Solid Waste, Brick Production, and Clean Cookstoves.
Four new partners have also joined the Coalition since its last meeting in May 2015. They include, Lao PDR, Iraq, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Our Expert Assistance is a no-cost service that connects you to an extensive network of professionals for consultation and advice on a range of short-lived climate pollution issues and policies.
Experts will provide guidance on technological options, mitigation measures (like those carried out by our initiatives), funding opportunities, application of measurement tools, and policy development.