The first ever Climate and Clean Air Awards were presented to seven winners today at a ceremony at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (COP23). The awards recognize exceptional contributions and actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone.
The award is global in scope and cover a wide range of activities and actions from individual efforts to transform a polluting sector, to state and national policies that are transforming attitudes, sparking innovation, and providing business opportunities.
Award jury member, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead and former Minister for Environment, Peru and COP 20 President, said the Climate and Clean Air Awards recognize what real climate action looks like.
“The winners show what is possible and achievable by those who have gone beyond what others thought possible. They’ve challenged the general consensus and acted to improve air quality and protect our climate,” Mr Pulgar-Vidal said.
Award jury member Youba Sokona, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said: “These awards represent real work being done now. Each winner is operating within their local contexts to produce benefits to people and the environment in ways that can be replicated and spread globally.”
The Awards were given out in four categories.
- Individual Achievement: recognizes the efforts by an individual to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
- Outstanding Policy: recognizes air quality improvements and SLCP reduction policies that are bold and transformative.
- Innovative Technology: recognizes ground-breaking, accessible and scalable technological interventions that reduce air pollution and protect the climate.
- Transformative Action: recognizes an action or activity that has fundamentally changed attitudes, practices, and/or policies related to air pollution and climate change.
An Honorary Award is also be awarded to nominees who have contributed considerably to SLCP reduction efforts, awareness, and/or leadership.
The 2017 Climate and Clean Air Award Winners
The winners of the 2017 Climate and Clean Air Awards are:
- The State of California won the Award for Outstanding Policy for putting into state law the most comprehensive and strongest set of targets for reducing short-lived climate pollutants, and for developing a detailed plan to meet these targets. California Governor, Edmund Gerald Brown Jr, and California State Senator, Ricardo Lara, accepted the award on California’s behalf. Click here for California’s press release.
- The National Petroleum Authority of Ghana also received the Award for Outstanding Policy for putting in place strong measures to reduce vehicle emissions. Ghana is the first West African country to move to low sulfur diesel and with a new sulfur content standard of 50 parts per million (ppm), down from 3000 ppm. The award was accepted on behalf of the National Petroleum Authority by Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana. Click here for Ghana’s press release
- Mr Sameer Maithel won the Award for Individual Achievement, for his work to reduce black carbon emissions from brick kilns in India. By helping install cleaner, more efficient brick kiln technologies, Mr Maithel has demonstrated that significant emission reductions of black carbon can be achieved by retrofitting and converting existing kilns, benefitting workers, owners, and the environment. Click here for Sameer Maithel’s press release
- Marcelo Mena Carrasco, Minister of Environment Chile, received an Honorary Award for Individual Achievement for his work to reduce air pollution in Chile. Under Mr. Carrasco’s leadership, Chile created “Plans of Prevention and Decontamination of Atmospheric Pollution” for 14 cities. Implementing these plans has led to significant reductions in air pollution and has made Chile a global leader in actions to improve air quality. Click here for Marcelo Mena Carrasco’s press release
- The Award for Innovative Technology was given to Öresundskraft Kraft and Varme AB for using sea water and absorption cooling technology to cool downtown Helsingborg, Sweden. The District Cooling expansion shows that there are alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and offers a sustainable, competitive, and need-driven cooling service to customers on a city-wide scale. The award was accepted by Gustaf Wiklund, Chairman of the Board, Öresundskraft AB. Click here for Öresundskraft Kraft and Varme AB press release
- Durban (eThekwini) Municipality received an Honorary Award for Innovative Technology for its Durban Landfill Conservancies project, a successful landfill that reduces emissions of methane, provides safe waste disposal, produces electricity for the local grid and employs workers from the surrounding communities. Councillor Ntombifuthi Zamathomoya Maluleka accepted the award on behalf of the Municipality. Click here for Durban (eThekwini) Municipality’s press release
- International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) won the Award for Transformative Action for its initiative to conduct checks of real-world emissions of diesel cars in the United States. This work uncovered a global scheme by Volkswagen to deliberately avoid motor vehicle standards. The scandal continues to reverberate in the auto industry and has raised global awareness of the impact of diesel vehicles on air quality. Nic Lutsey accepted the award on behalf of the ICCT. Click here for the ICCT’s press release
The Jury for the 2017 Climate and Clean Air Award were:
- Ms. Annika Markovic, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, former Minister of State for Environment, Peru, and President of COP 20. He is the current head of WWF's global climate work.
- Dr. Youba Sokona, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
- Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development a t the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The 2017 shortlist
The inaugural Climate and Clean Air Awards attracted a large number of stellar candidates. From these 14 were shortlisted by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Steering Committee for consideration by a panel of four judges. You can see the full list here.