Climate and Clean Air Coalition Ministers approve strategy to significantly cut short-lived climate pollutants this decade

by CCAC secretariat - 9 November, 2021
To kickstart the CCAC's 2030 Strategy countries pledged an initial $25 million to the Coalition’s trust fund as a first step towards a $150 million goal that will drive emissions reductions.

Ministers from 46 countries kicked off a new phase of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) at COP26 today by approving the Coalition’s 2030 Strategy, which will see scaled-up efforts to significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)—methane, hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), black carbon, and tropospheric (ground level) ozone—by 2030.

Michael Regan, Administrator of the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, opens the Ministerial.

The CCAC’s 2030 Strategy comes at a time when there is growing global concerns about methane emissions and increasing calls to urgently slow the rate of warming. The strategy plays on the Coalition’s strength of turning science into action. It aims to significantly reduce methane this decade in line with recommendations in the Global Methane Assessment and UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, and to speed up reductions of HFCs and black carbon. The Coalition will support the implementation of the Global Methane Pledge and assist all participants achieve its goal to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. 

Ministers recognized that further reducing emissions of these powerful climate forcers is necessary to limit warming to 1.5⁰C and complements efforts to scale-up actions on carbon dioxide (CO2). Reducing these pollutants would also prevent millions of premature deaths from air pollution and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Ministerial was opened by the Coalition’s current Co-Chairs, Ghana and the United States.  

625A7162 (2).JPG
John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate said the Coalition has been instrumental at elevating short-lived climate pollutants from the margins to the center of the climate change discussion.

“Because of this Coalition the world is finally paying attention. It is making a difference particularly in the unprecedented strength of the global momentum to tackle methane emissions. The CCAC’s collective diplomatic and scientific leadership has been instrumental in the development of the Global Methane Pledge. We need to step up ambition that’s why the CCAC’s Methane Flagship and other efforts will be critical.”  

Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ghana said the Coalition deserves time and investment and that Ghana will be making the case for stepping action at home and across Africa.

625A7215 (2).JPG
Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ghana

“The Coalition has achieved a lot; a key achievement has been the Coalition’s support to developing countries to plan, build capacity, and take action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and has demonstrated the positive impacts these efforts can have on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly for public health and food security. The CCAC is entering a new phase focused on implementation guided by the 2030 Strategy. I would like to call for maximum support in terms of finance, technology, and capacity building. Without the means to implement the activities in the strategy it will become another unfulfilled wish list. Supporting the CCAC will unlock much greater action for climate, air quality and development priorities and contribute to actions to achieving the Paris Agreement.”  

The CCAC’s Secretariat is hosted by UNEP. In her opening remarks Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director said: “To have a shot at keeping warming below 1.5°C this century, the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years. We are running out of time. But, as the CCAC’s new 2030 strategy shows, action on short-lived climate pollutants can achieve fast results, help avoid tipping points and create multiple benefits. The CCAC has achieved much. Now the pace must pick up.” 

A focus on methane

Methane emissions are rising at an alarming rate. Halting and reversing this trend is a priority focus for the Coalition going forward.

Ministers approved the implementation of a Methane Flagship, which, starting in 2022, will foster and strengthen high level commitments to reduce methane, amplify and raise awareness, support planning and delivery of strategies and plans, provide analysis and tools to support action, and scale up financing.

There was strong and broad support for the recently launched Global Methane Pledge and ministers welcomed the CCAC having a leadership role in supporting its implementation.

In a message to the Ministerial, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said: “To slow down global warming short-lived climate pollutants like methane need to be tackled. The CCAC is an important forum for this. For that reason, we support the CCAC, in particular to implement the Global Methane Pledge.”

In his message to the Ministerial, U.S. President Joe Biden said: “What we do between now and 2030 is going to impact significantly whether we’ll be able to meet our longer-term commitment. And one off the most important things we can do in this decisive decade is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible.”

Philanthropies have raised $328 million to ratchet up ambition on methane and support countries implement the Global Methane Pledge. Philanthropies were represented at the Ministerial by Hannah McKinnon of the Sequoia Climate Fund, Carrie Doyle from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Justin Johnson from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

Ms. McKinnon said: “Effectively tackling methane can help supercharge our progress on climate change in this critical decade. It will also improve the health and well-being of communities, especially those that contribute the least to the climate crisis but experience its harshest impacts. We look forward to supporting civil society, governments, researchers and more around the world to drive increasing ambition to tackle methane across sectors.”

Reducing human-caused methane emissions will require action in the three main emitting sectors, agriculture, fossil fuels, and waste. The CCAC launched new work in each of these sectors. Ministers outlined actions they are taking in each.

Real reductions this decade

Ministers recognized that the CCAC has already facilitated much progress. It has shared good practices; strengthened the science behind SLCPs, globally, regionally, and nationally; and developed tools such as case studies, guidance documents, policies, and methodologies to guide emissions reductions. Many country partners have developed national action plans and policies that integrate climate, air quality and development goals, and 60 countries have included SLCP reduction in their commitments under the Paris Agreement (NDCs).

The CCAC has been instrumental in changing the emissions trajectories of black carbon and HFCs, with emissions of both pollutants expected to follow a downward trajectory over the coming decades. Improved fuel standards, adoption of renewable and cleaner energy, improved agricultural practices, and electrification of transport are expected to drive black carbon reductions. The Coalition’s high-level political efforts on phasing down HFCs contributed to passing the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Over Phase II the Coalition will continue to support ways to speed these reductions and focus on implementing actions at scale.

The potential to significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants guides the Coalition’s 2030 strategy. Concerted global efforts to implement known practices and existing technologies can achieve global reductions of at least 40% of methane by 2030 compared to 2010; up to 70% of black carbon by 2030 relative to 2010; and 99.5% of HFCs by 2050 compared to 2010.

In approving the CCAC’s 2030 strategy, countries agree to work to strengthen capacity building, peer-to-peer engagement, and leadership to achieve substantial emission reductions. Governments and non-state partners will help countries integrate short-lived climate pollutants into climate, clean air and development plans and policies, where needed, and move quickly from planning to emissions reductions in key polluting sectors.

Japan highlighted Coalition efforts ensure the proper disposal and destruction of HFCs. Tsuyoshi Michael Yamaguchi, Minister of the Environment, Japan said: “Given the urgent need to address climate change comprehensively and the increasing demand of fluorocarbons as refrigerants in the cooling sector, it is essential to control fluorocarbons emissions throughout the life-cycle including leakage in use and discharge to the air at disposal. Japan will actively collaborate with the CCAC and its partners to tackle HFCs emissions in the Cooling Hub.”

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada said: “Reducing short-lived climate pollutants will have an immediate impact on the air we breathe and is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to combat climate change. As a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Canada is proud to be a leader in the development of the Coalition’s 2030 Strategy. We are pleased to join the global community in endorsing this Strategy. Canada is stepping up to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, at home and abroad. I look forward to working with CCAC’s partners to meet this challenge.”

Leaders provided quotes in support of the launch of Coalition’s 2030 strategy.

Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh said: “Reducing the short-lived climate pollutants with significant global warming reduction potentials is critical to slow down the climate crisis. The CCAC has solutions that countries can implement today and NDC targets to achieve our desired climate goals.”

David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia said: “The greatest chance of survival for island states and other vulnerable communities is finalizing our gameplan to save humanity. This means rapid and focused action to cut the gases warming our planet including methane, HFCs, and black carbon. I humbly call on the CCAC to assist in catalyzing accelerated action, as they can deliver results through their multi-faceted membership that unites government, scientists, and private sector actors.”  

The Coalition’s 2030 strategy recognizes that mobilizing finance to achieve these reductions is critical. Working with its country and financial institutional partners, the Coalition will design financing models and strategies to fund solutions to deliver its mandate. To kickstart the new strategy countries pledged an initial $25 million to the Coalition’s trust fund as a first step towards its $150 million goal.

Pledges came from Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Monaco, and the Flemish Region of Belgium.

The CCAC welcomed new national and regional partners that have joined since its last meeting. These include: The African Union Commission, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Federal States of Micronesia, Niger, Spain, Uganda, and the Ukraine. Ministers invited other countries and partners who are committed to methane and SLCP mitigation to join the CCAC.

Ministers also noted with appreciation the partners now serving on the new CCAC Board, and welcomed both the leadership of the Co-Chairs, the USA and Ghana, and that of the other members, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, the European Commission, India, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Switzerland, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the World Bank, Clean Air Task Force and the World Resources Institute.

Closing the Ministerial, Rick Duke, CCAC Co-Chair and U.S. Senior Director and White House Liaison for the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said: "The CCAC is known as the 'coalition of the working'. We have seen a clarion call to move faster on methane in just eight brief years. What we need from all of you is your ideas. We have the world’s attention. We have the attention of the World Bank, other multilateral development banks, and bilateral financial institutions. We have the attention of the philanthropic sector. What we need is your ideas, your request, and actions. Together with Ghana's Co-Chair, Peter Dery, we welcome direct outreach, direct engagement, with your ideas to move faster this year, so that we come back in COP27 in Egypt with a clear start in this program."


Quotes from CCAC Heads of State can be found here 

The following quotes were provided prior to the Ministerial and recorded during the meeting. 

Minister Quotes 

Tsuyoshi Michael YAMAGUCHI, Minister of the Environment, Japan: “The Climate Crisis is the existential challenge for all the human-being and we must act now with urgency to transition socio-economic system to achieve 1.5-degree goal under the Paris Agreement. Given the urgent need to address climate change comprehensively and the increasing demand of fluorocarbons as refrigerants in the cooling sector, it is essential to control fluorocarbons emissions throughout the life cycle including leakage in use and discharge to the air at disposal. Japan will actively collaborate with the CCAC and its partners to tackle HFCs emissions in the Cooling Hub. Japan has joined the Global Methane Pledge and we will continue to make consistent efforts to reduce methane emissions. Furthermore, Japan provides technical cooperation and support in the waste sector by utilizing the technologies that have been developed thus far.”  

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada: “Canada welcomes the CCAC methane flagship as a key tool for delivering the Global Methane Pledge and spurring urgent and ambitious action on methane. I would like to congratulate the Coalition and its members on the adoption of the 2030 strategy. This strategy highlights how the CCAC will continue to be instrumental in the creation of policies and practices that deliver substantial reductions in short-lived climate pollutants. We are at a pivotal moment in time for climate action, particularly preventing near-term warming through immediate reduction in short-lived climate pollutants. The work that we are doing here today will help us achieve these urgently needed reductions.” 

Steven van Weyenberg, Minister for the Environment of The Netherlands: “The Netherlands wants to underline the importance of the CCAC 2030 Strategy. This meeting also marks the launch of the CCAC Methane Flagship. The need to reduce methane emissions – the fastest growing short-lived pollutant – was at the heart of the CCAC working group meeting earlier this year. So, launching this Methane Flagship is absolutely the right thing to do. The IPCC report published earlier this year shows us more clearly than ever that we have no time to lose. Action is needed – not tomorrow, but today. We owe it to the generations to come that they can live in a safe, clean, and healthy world. So, the work of the CCAC is more important than ever.” 

Eamon Ryan, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Ireland: “The Global Methane Pledge is world-changing, but we now need to go further and really set out how we deliver real methane reductions. That’s why having the CCAC play a central role is critical. A lot of the immediate methane reductions will come from fossil fuels, but land-use is more difficult, more complex. We could take this opportunity to develop protocols for land-use emissions and agriculture emissions, which achieve a multiple of objectives. Not just improving our climate change defence, but also to support forms of agriculture that delivers biodiversity protection, improves water and soil quality management, and supports the forms of agriculture that build strong communities. If we can show how it can be done, and do it now, the prize is huge. We can change agriculture funding streams in a way that supports climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.”

Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission: “Air pollution is a grave danger to human health. In Europe alone, 400.000 people die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution. Our fight against air pollution and the climate crisis requires us to tackle all harmful emissions. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has helped to ensure that we don’t just focus on CO2 emissions, but on all gases that drive global warming. That is how we can reach a climate neutral future and enable our children and grandchildren to live healthy lives.”  

Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency, Germany: “The mitigation of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants such as methane is one of the most effective strategies to rapidly reduce global warming. We must now take the opportunity and initiate ambitious mitigation projects and involve more partners.”  

Espen Barthe Eide, Minister for Climate & Environment, Norway: "For almost a decade, CCAC has been working on integrated climate and clean air solutions. This work has never been more important than now. Rapid emission reductions are necessary in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. By reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, we see many positive benefits. Temperature rise can be reduced.  Jobs can be created. Public health improved. Larger crops achieved due to a cleaner environment. Seeing such quick improvements across different sectors is important to help build trust in a just transition."  

Simmoneta Sommaruga, Head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland: “I want to congratulate the CCAC on the launch of its 2030 strategy. I am confident that this new strategic plan will make the Coalition an even more effective partnership by not only sharing best practices, but also promoting joint action. The CCAC’s landmark Global Methane Assessment, and the methane flagship we are launching here today, are testament to the Coalition’s capacity to push global action. By joining hands in this coalition, we can decisively accelerate concrete action to jointly tackle climate change and air pollution around the world with many benefits for human health, food security, environment, and poverty reduction, taking us a few steps closer to meeting the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Tamar Zandberg, Minister of Environmental Protection, Israel: “The window of opportunity for combatting the climate crisis, the most significant global challenge of humanity, is closing. In joining the CCAC, the Global Methane Initiative and most recently the Global Methane Pledge, Israel has consistently supported the global commitment to reducing methane. This goal of reducing methane emissions has been anchored in a major governmental decision from July this year Beyond Low Carbon Economy. Cutting methane emissions is the fastest way we have to immediately slow the rate of global warming. We cannot miss this opportunity and Israel is proud to be part of it together with our partners in the CCAC and in the Global Methane Pledge.”   

Shahab Uddin, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bangladesh: “Despite being a highly climate vulnerable country with negligible greenhouse gas emissions, Bangladesh wants to actively play its part in the global efforts in countering climate change. Bangladesh submitted its updated NDC on 26th August 2021, enhancing our unconditional and conditional contribution with ambitious mitigation targets. Realising the potential of short-lived climate pollutants, our updated NDC target includes reducing household energy sector emissions by 18%, brick kiln sector emissions by 46% and municipal solid waste and wastewater emissions by 8% by 2030.”

Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change , Finland: “To keep the 1.5 alive, we should strive for the net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide by mid-century and at the same time, significantly reduce emissions of methane and black carbon. Finland is committed to take action. Today, the coalition’s 2030 strategy is ready and I’m happy to express our full support to it. Finland considers CCAC as a key form for scoping concrete, scalable, solutions to reduce emissions of black carbon and methane and we actively participate in many of its work-streams. We really look forward to continuing to cooperate with all of you in this fine coalition for another decade. Let us make it together a decade of action and success.”

Anna Moskwa, Minister of Climate and Environment, Poland: “We need to maintain the synergy of actions aimed at tackling climate change and improving air quality. It is crucial for people’s health and the lives of all continents. I would like to thank the experts from all over the world who worked very hard to prepare the CCAC’s 2030 Strategy. Actions must be taken jointly by all countries, otherwise, it will not be possible to stop climate change and air quality deterioration.”

Alfredo Mamani, Deputy Minister for the Strategic Development of Natural Resources: "Faced with climate change, Peru has committed to reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030. Thanks to the national declaration of climate emergency, this will be possible to improve air quality in our cities, generate positive impacts on health and guarantee the well-being of present and future generations."  

"Ante el cambio climático, el Perú se ha comprometido a reducir sus emisiones en 40% al 2030. Gracias a la declaración nacional de emergencia climática, ello será posible para mejorar la calidad del aire en nuestras ciudades, generar impactos positivos en la salud y garantizar el bienestar de las generaciones presentes y futuras." 

Hassan Musa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Nigeria: “Through its engagement with the Coalition to date, Nigeria has been able to develop ambitious targets to reduce SLCPs and has a clear set of measures and actions that can realise them. In Nigeria’s updated NDC, we have committed to 60% reduction in figurative methane emissions from our oil and gas operations by 2031. Indeed, Nigeria’s updated NDC comprehensively integrates SLCP mitigation across all sectors. This includes implementing the Kigali Amendment to reduce HFCs and taking actions to reduce methane emissions from waste, both of which were new to our climate change commitment. Implementing our ambitious NDC will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 47% in 2030, but would simultaneously reduce black carbon by 42%, methane by 28% and other air pollutants by 35%. All by 2030.”

Ms. Maria Varteressian, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway: “The launch this year of the CCAC and UNEP’s Global Methane Assessment and the IPCCs latest Climate Report (AR6), have helped open the eyes of the world to the importance of rapidly reducing the methane emissions. I want to salute the CCAC for raising the attention on methane to the world. Without the tireless work of this coalition, over many years, we would not have seen the more than one hundred countries signing up to the Global Methane Pledge here at the COP last week. This is something to be proud of. Norwegian support to the CCAC has been strong and stable for several years and we intend to keep supporting your work in the years ahead."

UN and Non-Government Organizations Quotes 

Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme: Inger Andersen's full speech to the Ministerial can be found here

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN HABITAT: “Climate change and air pollution are inextricably linked. Clean air cannot be a luxury. It is imperative that cities are considered as units of actions by national governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived pollutants. The good news is NDCs increasingly acknowledge the rule of cities. Three quarters of all second generation NDCs have strong or moderate urban content and thousands of cities across the globe now have climate action plans. Cities must be empowered to take meaningful action including through assists to finance and result-oriented partnership and at UN HABITAT we stand ready to support the CCAC framework at the local level.”

Dr. Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO: "World Meteorological Organization monitors full spectrum of atmospheric constituents and provides critical information to support climate action, from state of global and regional climate to tailored national and sector specific science-based climate services for adaptation. As a partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, WMO supports solutions for reduction of short-lived climate pollutants. WMO’s Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System, methodologies and tools support countries develop effective targeted emission reduction strategies for both short-lived and long-lived greenhouse gases."  

Jane Burston, Executive Director, Clean Air Fund: “Air pollutants and greenhouse gases share common sources, the burning of fossil fuels, but governments address these twin global threats separately. Only 7% of countries’ NDCs included action on short-lived climate pollutants. Very few NDCs make tackling air pollution an explicit priority despite the heavy toll that toxic air imposes on millions around the world. Governments are missing obvious wins for health, the economy and social justice by failing to prioritize air quality alongside solutions to climate action. In the EU, it is estimated that spending €38-40 billion a year on controlling both greenhouse gases and air pollution could generate up to €157 billion per annum in health benefits. Despite this, less than 1% of total aid spending goes towards air quality. The Clean Air Fund is calling on development agencies and multilateral banks to fund action on pollution more generously. By prioritizing action on global air quality governments and other funders can protect our health, mitigate climate change, and address inequality.”  

Armond Cohen, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Clean Air Task Force: “The mission of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition has never been more important. We are in the fifth quarter of the game, with carbon emissions still trending up. Reducing methane and other short-lived climate pollutants is by far our best chance to limit warming over the next two decades and deliver numerous public health, food security, and economic benefits in the process, even as we redesign the carbon economy for the long haul. The CCAC has a critical role to play in raising global ambition and helping countries deliver the needed actions by 2030, and Clean Air Task Force is proud to serve as an active partner.”  

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund: “Putting methane atop the agenda for COP26 is a critical move that will improve the lives of millions of people around the world by holding off climate chaos. This one of the major success stories of the Glasgow talks. Cutting methane pollution is the fastest way there is to slow the rate of warming as we continue the transition to cleaner, safer, healthier energy systems. The challenge for all signators of the Global Methane pledge is to go home and make good on these ambitious goals as fast as they possibly can.”   

Pema Gyamtsho, Director-General, ICIMOD: “Transboundary air pollution is a serious concern for the Hindu Kush Himalayan region as it not only deposits black carbon and particulate matters on the snow and ice bodies resulting in their rapid melting but also causes serious health hazards for local residents.”  

Aniruddha Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute: “The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has played an instrumental role in putting short-lived climate pollutants on the global agenda since 2012. This leadership has set the stage for a remarkable new commitment at COP26, where more than 100 countries joined the Global Methane Pledge, aiming to cut methane emissions by 30% over the next decade. We think agriculture is one of the under-addresses opportunities to reduce methane while improving livelihood and climate. We are working with the CCAC and other partners on new research on the mitigation of agriculture methane emissions. Solutions such as effective farming practices, reducing food loss and waste can play a very crucial role in reducing near-term warming while supporting lives and livelihoods of farmers everywhere. WRI is pleased to collaborate with CCAC and its partners on the robust implementation of the pledge, helping stave off the worst climate impacts and ensure a safer future for all.”