International Women's Day: Celebrating the CCAC's women in science

by CCAC secretariat - 8 March, 2023
Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Here we feature just a few of the women of the CCAC who are driving inclusive climate and clean air action.

This International Women’s Day recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.  

Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs. 

The full participation of women in science is key to reducing air pollution and stopping the climate crisis.  The Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) is comprised of world-renowned scientists that provide the data, expertise, and analysis which underpins Coalition activities and guides strategic priorities. This year, we are proud to celebrate that the SAP has achieved gender parity, fulfilling a key objective of the CCAC Gender Strategy and building a stronger and more inclusive Coalition.  

Scientists on the CCAC's SAP have a diverse range of expertise related to short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and work in countries around the world to advance cutting-edge research. This is a strong example of what can be achieved when we ensure opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  

For International Women’s Day 2023, we asked how their work contributes to the development of innovative solutions, and why climate and clean air are critical for equality.  


Dr. Shonali Pachauri

Dr. Shonali Pachauri is research group leader of the Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group, in the Energy, Climate, and Environment Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.  Pachauri's research focuses on the role of social, institutional, and technological innovations for inclusive human development, particularly for those people without access to basic infrastructures and services. 

CCAC: Why is climate and clean air critical for equality?

Dr Pachauri: There are stark inequalities in how different populations contribute to air pollution and in who suffers from it. In a study for India, we show that poorer households suffer much more from early mortality from air pollution relative to what they contribute to ambient air pollution.  

In other research, we find that implementing integrated climate, air quality and energy access interventions can vastly reduce child stunting in India, with the largest health benefits for the most disadvantaged children and geographic regions.  

In a study for South Africa, we find that achieving universal clean cooking access has substantial health benefits, with the health of individuals of genders and races with the poorest health and wellbeing endowments improving the most. Thus, appropriate and targeted clean cooking and air policies can significantly reduce existing inequalities among genders, races, ages and income groups. 


Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus

Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus is chief scientist at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD), Washington, DC and Paris, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She joined IGSD in 2017 after nearly a decade of working at the science and policy interface with the US Department of Energy, rising to deputy director for the Office of International Climate and Clean Energy, and previously with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and US Senate. 

CCAC: How is your work contributing to short-lived climate pollutant reductions?

Dr. Dreyfus: My research clarifies why reducing short-lived climate pollution is an essential complement to cutting carbon dioxide. For too long people have been thinking about reducing short-lived climate pollution as if it were in competition with efforts to cut long-lived carbon dioxide emissions.

This thinking relies on old assumptions that the impacts of climate change are far off and that pollution control policies don’t slow warming. But climate impacts are already affecting billions of people today and the necessary shift away from burning fossil fuels is contributing to faster warming as shutting down coal plants stops the emissions of both carbon dioxide and sulfate particles that have a cooling effect. Only by doing both, cutting short-lived climate pollutants and carbon dioxide, can we slow warming in both the near and longer term.


Dr. N'Datchoh Evelyne Toure


Dr. N'Datchoh Evelyne Toure is a researcher at the Laboratoire des Sciences de la Matière, de l'Environnement et de l'Énergie Solaire (LASMES) of the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB) in Côte d’Ivoire. She completed her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) in Nigeria. Her Ph.D. work focused on the West African aerosols and their climate impacts within the framework of West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) and International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Sandwich Training Educational Programme (STEP) scholarships. 

CCAC: What are examples of innovative solutions on climate and clean air that you are working on?

Dr. Toure: Here in Abidjan, we are focusing on the APIMAMA (Air PollutIon Mitigation Actions for Megacities in Africa: Abidjan) programme, our research team is working to allow less pollutant cooking stoves to women working on smoking fish and meat. These brave women as well as their young kids are usually exposed to poor quality of air affecting their health. This program APIMAMA facilitates their access to improved stoves and engages them to be more aware of the implication of the use of solid fuel and the stove types to their health and those of their children.


Dr. Ilsa Aben


Dr. Ilse Aben is a senior scientist in the Earth group at SRON. The group focuses primarily on the interpretation of satellite remote sensing data of greenhouse gases (CO2 and methane) and related species as part of the Carbon cycle research. Dr. Aben is the Dutch Co-Principal Investigator and co-initiator of the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 Precursor mission.   

CCAC: How is your work contributing to short-lived climate pollutant reductions?

Dr. Aben: The research from my team focuses on using satellites to detect methane super emitters globally and to identify the sources of these super emitters. This is important as it is the low hanging fruit wrt reducing methane emissions, and reducing methane emissions is critical to mitigate climate change on the short term. Turns out there are quite a lot of those methane super emitters across the globe. These super emitters not only come from anomalous operations in the Oil & Gas sector (unlit flares, well blowouts, …), and from coal mines, but also quite a number of landfills/waste dumps emit huge amounts of methane. With our research we contribute to the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) Methane Alert and Response System which will hopefully soon make a real change in reducing methane emissions. 


Dr. Kenza Khomsi

Dr. Kenza Khomsi is an independent researcher working on air quality and its interactions with the general atmospheric circulation and the impact on health. She is member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Study Group for Integrated Health Services and the Study Group on Integrated Urban Services.   

CCAC: Why is climate and clean air critical for equality?

Dr. Khomsi: Climate and clean air are essential for promoting equality as they have a direct impact on human health and well-being.

Unfortunately, marginalized communities, such as people of color, low-income communities, and Indigenous people, are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change and air pollution. These communities are often located in areas with higher levels of air pollution and are more likely to experience the adverse health effects of extreme weather events, heat waves, and air pollution.

In addition, climate change and air pollution can lead to economic inequality by causing financial losses and increased medical costs, which can be especially burdensome for low-income countries. Furthermore, environmental injustice can occur as communities of color and Indigenous communities are more likely to live near polluting industries and vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change.

To promote equality and justice for all, it is crucial to take action to reduce air pollution and mitigate the impacts of climate change, ensuring that all communities have access to clean air and a safe and healthy environment.


Prof. Lisa Emberson

Professor Lisa Emberson is an environmental pollution biologist in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. Lisa has over 20 years’ experience in the field of air pollution and climate change focussing on impacts on agricultural yields, forest productivity and the functioning of terrestrial semi-natural ecosystems. Her research has focussed on the development of modelling methods used to tighten controls on emissions leading to air pollution, and more recently to climate change. 

CCAC: How is your work contributing to short-lived climate pollutant reductions?

Prof. Emberson: Our work explores the effects of ground level ozone on ecosystems, with a particular focus on crops and forests. For crops, we are developing crop models to better understand what the combined effects of ozone and climate change will be on crop productivity and how changes in productivity might affect future food supply. Such changes in supply will likely have effects on price of commodities affecting producers and consumers in different ways, it will also affect the cost of food welfare programmes designed to support the more vulnerable members of society with limited food access.

This type of research improves our understanding of the socio-economic benefits afforded by action to reduce ozone precursors such as methane. For forests we are developing methods to assess how carbon sequestration in living forest biomass is impacted by ozone which will allow us to understand how SLCP reduction can also reduce the concentrations of longer lived GHGs in the earth's atmosphere; this can also help to inform the efficiency of nature based solutions such as increasing tree cover to limit climate change under polluted environments.

Additionally, we are working with colleagues who are experts in remote sensing to understand how existing and new earth observation (EO) products might be useful in evaluating existing methane emission inventories for agriculture. We also hope to explore how EO might also be used in the future to assess the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce methane emissions from agriculture and whether these could support policy tools and mechanisms such as carbon credit schemes. This research has a focus on Australian agriculture which is rather unique in terms of its large scale and intensive vs extensive structure as well as its importance for meat export. 


The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is committed to gender equality and the empowerment of women, including through CCAC-funded projects. Following International Women’s Day, join us on 13 March for our webinar on designing gender-responsive climate and clean air projects.