Integrated Assessment of Air Pollution and Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa

In November 2022, the Clean Air and Climate Coalition (CCAC), United Nations Environment Programme, and African Union released a landmark Integrated Assessment of Air Pollution and Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa.

The assessment shows how African leaders can act quickly across five key areas—transport, residential, energy, agriculture, and waste—to fight climate change, prevent air pollution, and protect human health. 

The multi-faceted development benefits of implementing the actions include:

  • preventing 200,000 premature deaths per year by 2030
  • reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 55% and methane emissions by 74% by 2063
  • improving food security by reducing desertification and increasing crop yields for rice, maize, soy, and wheat

All of these benefits come alongside making quick gains in keeping warming below 1.5°C by reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs).  

The assessment is particularly significant to Africa as the impacts of short-lived climate pollutants on human and environmental health are pronounced on the continent due to high dependence on solid fuel for cooking – the largest controllable source of black carbon emissions – and the open dumping of waste – a major source of methane emissions.  

This assessment is the first of its kind for Africa. The CCAC coordinated the process for developing the integrated assessment by bringing together a pan-African team of researchers with contributions from international scientists and experts, coordinated by CCAC partner Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) to discuss possible solutions, taking into consideration the data, experience and local development priorities. 

The Assessment’s recommendations are closely aligned with key priorities of Agenda 2063 and with the goals and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Nearly all the recommendations can be found in at least one African Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and are currently identified as contributing to achieving national climate change mitigation goals.