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This year’s COVID-19 pandemic taught us an important lesson: international cooperation and solidarity are the essential building blocks for an effective response to global crises. It is a lesson we must heed not only as we recover from this pandemic but as we look forward to what will be an even greater challenge: tackling the existential threats of climate change and air pollution.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is proud to be leading the global charge to build a prosperous, healthy, and sustainable future by mitigating short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), to supplement and enhance deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. As the window for stopping the direst climate change scenarios closes, the world is also confronted with the deep social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With global poverty projected to rise for the first time in 30 years, there has never been a more important time to undertake this work.
The CCAC’s signature agenda of SLCP measures can save lives by reducing air pollution and the 7 million premature deaths the World Health Organization estimates it causes annually. There is also a growing body of evidence that air pollution may be responsible for exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic. The negative effects of SLCPs on agriculture means that reducing these super pollutants can also save millions of tons of crops per year. Given that the United Nations World Food Program projects that the pandemic could nearly double the number of people suffering acute hunger, making it over a quarter billion people by the end of the year, SLCP’s are a crucial tool to fight food insecurity.
SLCP measures are highly cost-effective and can save trillions of dollars by reducing near-term warming, improving health and food security, and reducing pressure on the environment. Tackling SLCPs can make a decisive contribution to a green, resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Sustainable Development Goals.
As the co-chairing countries of the CCAC, we are proud to highlight this year’s impressive results, which are continuing to strengthen the Coalition’s foundational work to slow climate change and abate air pollution while improving global health and food security.
A critical part of the CCAC’s work is helping countries scale their national action on SLCPs by increasing knowledge of the links between climate change and air pollution, identifying the highest impact mitigation measures, and coordinating action across government ministries and sectors. This year, with CCAC support, Bangladesh, Mexico, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo all published National Action Plans to reduce SLCPs, identifying measures that will avert thousands of premature deaths, often while saving money and increasing crop production. Our partner countries have also stepped up the ambition of their Nationally Determined Contributions, including Rwanda’s adoption of a vehicle emissions standard and Chile’s decision to include black carbon mitigation.
To achieve the major reductions in SLCPs necessary to slow the rate of global warming, we must foster national and regional leadership. Japan, Rwanda, Nigeria, and France are leading the Coalition’s new initiative on energy efficient cooling, which is helping to implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol which could avert 0.1˚C of warming by 2050 and up to 0.4℃ by 2100. The Philippines hosted the Southeast Asian (ASEAN) ministerial roundtable on clean air, health, and climate which brought ministers and senior level officials from across the region together to share strategies and information. In South Africa, the African ministers of the environment at the 17th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) called for rapid action on SLCPs, citing the CCAC’s push to take fast and ambitious action. In Central America, the Environment Ministers put out a call for countries of the Central American Integration Systems (SICA) to integrate action on climate change and clean air.
The CCAC is also supporting partner countries to integrate and amplify their air pollution and climate change policies. This work included hosting Science Policy Dialogues on black carbon, HFCs, and methane. During the methane dialogue we presented our ground breaking new online Global Methane Assessment Tool, which will help users weigh the often minimal costs and massive benefits of methane mitigation while identifying the most effective and targeted interventions.
Partner countries are also transforming their agricultural sector by reducing emissions and improving productivity, such as the work CCAC is doing to help Bangladesh and Ethiopia determine the most effective interventions to reduce emissions intensity in the livestock sector while also increasing output. At our High Level Assembly, we released the report Synergizing Action on the Environment and Climate, showing that China and our partner countries’ integrated air pollution and climate policies can be replicated to deliver immediate air quality and economic benefits around the world. Our Global Sulfur Strategy delivered a major blow to air pollution and climate emissions in West Africa when all 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States adopted comprehensive regulations for clean fuels and vehicles in West Africa.
This past year, the Coalition has also developed a new strategy to ensure the CCAC continues its role as a global leader driving an ambitious SLCP agenda, supporting transformative national action, and advancing policy-relevant science and research. The next 10 years are vital for global efforts to decarbonize the economy, reduce air pollution and put the world on a path that limits global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The essential work of building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic means that the CCAC is more relevant than ever. Today’s challenges are formidable, but as we embark on our 2030 Strategy, our strong and growing partnership stands ready to rise to the occasion.
Due to restrictions from COVID-19 the CCAC's 2019-2020 Annual Report is now a fully online publication.
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.