Oslo — The communiqué encouraged a global awareness-raising effort on the urgent need to prevent air pollution-related diseases, which account for more than six million deaths each year
Ministers of the Environment, CEOs and other senior officials of governments and nonprofit organizations released a communiqué here today celebrating 18 months of progress and laying out an ambitious agenda for the future in the fight to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). The communiqué emerged from the High Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), which met in an intensive day-long session of discussion and negotiation.
Norway's Minister of Environment and Minister of International Development served as co-hosts of the Assembly and made a significant announcement early. "We want to see other countries act," said Bård Vegar Sohjell, Minister of Environment. "We want to enable those with the will, but not necessarily the resources, to act. Concrete efforts in developing countries are important. We are pleased to announce that Norway, in addition to strengthening our efforts at national level for this year and next year collectively, will contribute an additional 110 million Norwegian kroner (approximately 20 million US dollars) to reduce emissions of short lived climate pollutants, with a main focus on efforts in developing countries."
UNEP and Climate Change
Sohjell added: "We must act together. We must encourage each other. And we must challenge and support each other to do more."
The high-level officials at the Assembly, representing many of the 72 partners of the CCAC, encouraged the rapid scale-up of the current CCAC initiatives to mitigate SLCPs, such as efforts to reduce methane and black carbon emissions from the oil and gas industry as well as from municipal solid waste and landfills. The partners also agreed to support a phasedown in the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol, announced support of CCAC's long-term goal to virtually eliminate fine particles and black carbon emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines, and welcomed the Coalition's efforts to help nations conduct national action planning on SLCPs. They also agreed to support the implementation of policies and technologies to modernize brick production worldwide.
"The rapid growth, enthusiasm and potential for this Coalition to catalyse fast action across a range of sustainability challenges, including climate change, is one of the really positive developments of the past year. We are proud to have played a key role in this effort. Today important steps have been taken to scale up and accelerate the collective ambition of this unique and inspiring partnership as we seek to complement the wider work under the UN Climate Convention," said UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The communiqué encouraged a global awareness-raising effort on the urgent need to prevent air pollution-related diseases, which account for more than six million deaths each year. Through the communiqué, CCAC partners encouraged Health and Environment Ministries to work together toward greater global awareness.
One of the CCAC's newest partners, the World Health Organization (WHO), noted the serious impact of SLCPs on health and the potential benefits from addressing the problem head-on.
"Interventions to reduce SLCPs can yield major health benefits and prevent child pneumonia as well as non-communicable diseases like heart and chronic lung disease," said Hans Troedsson, Executive Director of the Director General's Office for the World Health Organization. "SLCPs cause a particular burden on women and children in developing countries. A partnership between health, environment and other actors to reduce SLCPs, as facilitated by the Coalition, can bring synergies and enable multiple benefits for development, health and climate. Now that we are partners in the Coalition we welcome the opportunity to help expand the Coalition's public health efforts."
CCAC partners encouraged the bolstering of financial flows in order to catalyze significant global investment in SLCP reduction. The World Bank, a CCAC partner, released a report earlier in the day entitled "Integration of short-lived climate pollutants in World Bank activities," which described what the Bank is aiming to do in its portfolios, including integration of SLCP mitigation into development projects. The Bank encourages SLCP reduction potential in investments across a range of activities, such as bus and rail transport systems, solid waste collection and disposal, cookstoves, kilns, and rice irrigation and wastewater management.
"From our perspective, aggressive action on SLCPs, in tandem with addressing other pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, provides our clients time to invest and adapt [for economic growth]," said Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainability Development at the World Bank. "There are clear development benefits here that we should never lose sight of we're working to help manage lives better. Our initial work in this area revolved around determining what our exposure is. Now, it revolves around progress and projects to reduce SLCPs. It shows the potential if we really drive this forward."
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants is a partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, the environmental community, and other members of civil society. The Coalition is government-led but is highly cooperative and voluntary. Short-lived climate pollutants are agents that have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere - a few days to a few decades - but also a warming influence on climate as well as, in many cases, detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems.