Coalition of the Working - A blog from the CCAC

Author: Keith S. Collins, Communications Consultant, CCAC Secretariat Created: Monday, December 16, 2013 RssIcon
The CCAC's official blog
By CCAC Admin on Friday, September 19, 2014
In the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, home to 12 million people, less than half the garbage is formally collected. The rest is dumped in open spaces, particularly in slums.

The piles of rubbish create a stench, attract rodents and clog drains. Liquids leach into the groundwater. Often the trash is burned, creating thick smoke.

In Cali, Colombia, virtually all the waste is collected, and most goes into a sanitary landfill. Yet of the roughly 600,000 tonnes of material disposed of each year, only about 17 percent is recycled. Around half the recycling is done by informal waste-pickers, some of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Meanwhile in Stockholm, Sweden, less than 1 percent of trash goes to landfills. More than half is turned into energy – incinerated or used to produce biogas, which fuels city buses and garbage trucks. A third is recycled, and about one sixth is composted or anaerobically digested.

This is an exciting time for climate action. U.N....
By CCAC Admin on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
In early 2014 the Government of Bangladesh gave its brick kiln owners an ultimatum: Convert to clean, modern technologies for brick production by July or face tough legal action.

Brick kilns are one of the major sources of black carbon pollution in the world. In Bangladesh, black carbon from the nearly 7,000 kilns in the country was hurting pollination for the vast mango crop in the north, as well as the rice crop. It was harming human health. And it contributed to the climate change that has been raising average temperatures in the country, particularly over the last two decades. Kilns in Bangladesh produce some 20 billion bricks every year, but about 4,000 of the kilns used old and polluting technologies, and almost all used coal as a fuel.

Bangladesh’s stand against pollution from the brick kiln industry began with the personal commitment of one of the co-authors of this blog post, Anwar Hossain Manju, to do something about the problem.  He saw first-hand how pollution...
By CCAC Admin on Friday, September 12, 2014
OK, that's not literally a latte diesel-machiatto. But figuratively, you bet it is. Nearly everything you use or consume -- the coffee at your elbow, the table it's sitting on, the smart device you're reading this on, the eyeglasses you're wearing, the car you drove to get to the coffee shop -- was carried to you on a truck, and the chances are nearly 100 percent that that truck ran on diesel fuel. Some part of the price you paid for that stuff went to pay for the cost of that fuel, and not a small part, either: transportation accounts for on the order of 10 percent of the commercial cost of most products.

In a manner of speaking, that coffee, that smartphone, that table represent the diesel fuel that transported them -- as well as the climate pollutants and air pollutants released when that fuel was burned. The movement of freight by heavy-duty diesel vehicles produces about 20 percent of global emissions of black carbon, a climate pollutant second only in importance to carbon dioxide....
By CCAC Admin on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I am convinced that with an organized approach and a smart communications plan, any country can attack their short-lived climate pollutant challenges and make progress.

Here is how we in Cote d’Ivoire plan to do it:

First, we have established a legal framework with a steering committee to mirror, as much as possible, the work of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. With myself, two project assistants and a secretary, we intend to create and coordinate initiatives that exactly mirror the ten initiatives of the CCAC (such as agriculture, cookstoves, municipal solid waste, heavy-duty diesel, Support for National Action Planning (SNAP), etc.). Within this framework, these initiatives will report to a Coordination Unit, which will circulate all reports to the steering committee at the national level for political guidance and endorsement.

Next, we will implement a comprehensive communications plan, some elements of which are already in place. We have chosen five journalists...
By CCAC Admin on Friday, May 9, 2014
The Abu Dhabi Ascent, held May 4 and 5, was the first attempt by the UN Secretary-General to promote real and meaningful action by sector, not only to tackle climate change but to create political momentum for heads of state to come to an agreement on a path to avoid a catastrophic increase in earth’s temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. The world today has a better understanding of the urgency of the situation and the consequences of inaction.

Abu Dhabi reminded us that we also have the solutions at hand. Major action on SLCPs is one of those solutions, and if done right it can help avoid 0.5 C of temperature increase by 2050. We can do it, but we need strong leaders who can think globally and have long-term vision. The SG Climate Summit in September is the time to grab this opportunity, to tell the world that we have begun a new era, an era that can allow the atmosphere to heal, an era where living on this planet will be a pleasant adventure and not a scary one, where our children...
By CCAC Admin on Monday, February 17, 2014
No doubt we haven’t got it right over the years of climate talks. It is not too late, though, to begin. This laudable Coalition that so many of us are part of ­– I want to declare Nigeria's absolute and unconditional support. A Coalition of the Working! I am happy this Coalition is being driven by partners’ willingness to effect change for a cleaner world. We must consider ourselves fortunate to be part of a movement that is creating awareness that reducing short-lived climate pollutants is important not only to climate but also to development – to the environment, health and economic empowerment.

Nigeria is working on mainstreaming the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, on curbing gas flaring and venting to tackle energy poverty, providing clean cooking to over 70 million Nigerians without clean cookstoves, and making our agriculture sector viable again. We in the government are replicating all the Coalition's initiatives as part of our National Action Plan, as well as...
By CCAC Admin on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Over six million people die prematurely from smoking every year. New studies show that as many people die from air pollution. Whether to smoke or not is a choice we make, but we do not have the same opportunity to choose whether or not to breathe fresh air.

Preventing tobacco-related health impacts and other non-communicable diseases are on the top of the world’s health agenda.  Many countries have adopted strategies for limiting tobacco-related diseases. However, very few countries have concrete plans for reducing health impacts from air pollution, including black carbon. 

Last year many big cities experienced enormous problems, with pollution levels way beyond the danger zone. For example, some cities in Asia had pollution levels 40 times higher than what WHO defines as safe, which is higher than in smoking areas of larger airports.

The heaviest burden falls on the poor and vulnerable. Children under five and women in developing countries are the main groups dying...
By CCAC Admin on Thursday, December 19, 2013
2013 will likely be remembered in China as the year of the “airpocalypse.” In January, Beijing faced its worst air quality crisis in a decade. In October, buses in the northern city of Harbin literally got lost in the smog. In December, it was Shanghai’s turn to be engulfed in haze. It seems nearly impossible to see anything positive about these acute pollution crises, but there may actually be a silver lining in the smog.

Over the past year, the extreme air pollution has galvanized China’s top leaders, media, and general public, and catalyzed a host of major regulatory actions and plans targeting short and long-term particle pollution mitigation. For example, the State Council’s September...
By CCAC Admin on Monday, December 2, 2013
With the conclusion of COP19 and renewed attention to the problem of climate change, an important point seems to need making again. So if you will permit me, I would like to do so here:

Reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) does not decrease the urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).

This is something the CCAC says repeatedly. Reducing emissions of SLCPs, or non-CO2 forcers, can have a large benefit through reduced near-term warming and improved human and ecosystem health. But SLCP mitigation does not have much impact on long-term peak warming and so does not “buy time” for reducing CO2.

As we say in our basic brochure and all our literature, “Fast action to reduce [SLCPs], especially methane and black carbon, has the potential to slow down the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5°C, as well as prevent more than two million premature deaths each year and avoid annual crop losses of over 30 million tonnes. These actions need to be complemented...
By CCAC Admin on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Polish university student Agnieszka Madejewska has taken two weeks off from studies to help out at the Global Landscapes Forum, part of the events of the 19th Conference of Parties last week and this in Warsaw, Poland.

Let me talk for a minute about Warsaw, where I am attending the COP19 conference. It’s my first time here, and I’m really taken with the beauty of what has become a very modern city with old-world charm, and with the warmth of the people. But more than that, I have to say I love what the government and other organizers have done with this conference. They have made a potential logistical nightmare as smooth and impressive as their ability to handle all the z’s and w’s in their language.

I’m aware of the demonstrations and controversies. There are always controversies on these occasions, when everyone has an interest and everyone has an opponent. The CCAC has its share of opponents, too. That’s part of the democratic process. But a meeting like this can result in a lot more pain than is necessary if people are frustrated because they can’t figure out where to go.

But Poland has taken care of that part very well. Walk anywhere in the labyrinth of offices and meeting rooms at the National Stadium, where most events are being held, and you will find someone to help you. Sometimes every few feet. That’s no small thing when there are a dozen essential tasks that you needed to get done an hour ago, and you don’t have time to figure out the color-coded map. There is virtue in overstaffing at a time like this. Not to mention training. There is a minimum of shrugs and a maximum of “Yes, I know where that is” or “I know where you can find that out.” A little help makes a big difference.