First Aid to Policy Development

by Kristine Smukste - 31 July, 2015
CCAC is rolling out the second phase of the Regional Assessments Initiative to inform policy-makers on most effective actions to address climate change and air quality with a focus on Asian region.

Identifying the most effective actions to address climate change and air quality through a robust assessment of available relevant science is a powerful tool for policy makers.

A UNEP/WMO Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone produced in 2011 has helped us understand the nature and impact of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). It identified 16 key measures that, if implemented by 2030, could reduce global methane emissions by about 40% and global black carbon emissions by 80%, with the effect of slowing down the warming expected by 2050 by about 0.6 C degrees and prevent millions of premature deaths from air pollution.

To allow policy-makers to make informed decisions on which measures to prioritise in their geographical and meteorological as well as socio-economic contexts, generalisations and aggregations at the global scale need to be downscaled at the regional level.

The Regional Assessment Initiative, one of the cross-cutting workstreams of the Coalition, was established to help do this.

The regional assessment for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region:

The LAC assessment responds to the shortage of data on the emissions sources, pathways and impacts of SLCPs as air pollutants and their contributions to climate change. This shortage of information is to date a significant constraint on policy making both on the national and regional scales.

Bringing together a group of eminent scientist from within the region, and with contributions from international scientists, the assessment report will support and provide a framework for national action, enhance regional cooperation on SLCP mitigation, and present engagement opportunities with policy-makers, scientists and other stakeholders

As part of the process, existing science is reviewed and rendered to inform policy development considering priority measures, mitigation potential and benefits.  Case studies of successful mitigation solutions at national and regional level are identified and reported, including analysis of their potential for scale up. Finally, collected information is used for modelling at the LAC regional scale of relevant measures, their mitigation potential and multiple benefits that will support decision-making. At the same time, the assessments will identify and highlight gaps in knowledge and data.

The first regional assessment for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is well underway, with a first draft being released later this year.

The regional assessment for the Asia Pacific (AP) region:

Recognising that Asia’s high levels of pollution and its vulnerability to climate change make it a particularly important region for taking action on SLCPs, the Regional Assessment Initiative is now starting the production of the  Asian Regional Assessment.

The Initiative is led by UNEP, Mexico, Stockholm Environment Institute, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection, and other stakeholders. IASS and ICIMOD will co-lead the Asian regional assessment, providing project oversight and contributing scientific as well as regional expertise.