Climate and Clean Air Coalition Marks One Year Anniversary

CCAC Plenary

CCAC Plenary Meeting in Nairobi

Paris/Nairobi, 20 February 2013 - The Climate and Clean Air Coalition - a global movement to significantly reduce emissions of black carbon, methane and other substances known as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) - celebrates its first anniversary today. The Coalition, comprised of more than 50 partners, has been collaboratively spearheading international efforts to raise awareness of the major environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved by lowering emissions of SLCPs alongside catalyzing action.

Since its launch last year, 27 countries, the European Commission and 28 non-state organizations have joined the Coalition to express support for scaled-up actions across a range of economic sectors, including transport, oil and gas, and waste, to ensure reductions of emissions from SLCPs.   

According to studies by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), fast action on black carbon and methane have the potential to slow global temperature rise by up to 0.5°C by 2050, reduce air pollution-related deaths by as much as 2.4 million, and avoid around 30 million tonnes of crop losses annually.

Scientific assessments indicate that the near term benefits in places like the Arctic and on glaciers in mountain regions could be even higher.

"The success of the CCAC shows that more and more countries are now recognizing the multiple, cost-effective benefits that swift, co-ordinated action on SLCPs can deliver," said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"UNEP has partnered with researchers for over ten years to bring the science of short-lived climate pollutants to the fore. This research clearly shows that action on SLCPs can deliver important near-term climate gains, contribute to the achievement of internationally-agreed development goals, and support the transition to a green economy," added Mr. Steiner.

Among its many activities, the CCAC is working closely with an initial group of 10 major cities including Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Stockholm, Accra, and Tokyo to accelerate methane reductions from landfills and black carbon or 'soot' from burning wastes.

It has also joined forces with the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles to reduce black carbon emissions or 'smoke' from heavy duty vehicles such as trucks by accelerating the introduction of low sulphur fuels and tighter emission standards in Asia and Latin America.

The Coalition is also coordinating actions to address hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - commonly found in air conditioners and refrigerators - which are a major short-lived climate pollutant.

While HFC emissions currently represent less than 1 per cent of current total greenhouse gases their warming impact is particularly strong and, if left unchecked, they could account for 7 to 19 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The CCAC hosted the second International Technology Forum in 2012 to showcase a range of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs for use in refrigeration and other kinds of equipment.

Other CCAC initiatives are focusing on reducing emissions from brick production and assisting countries in developing national action plans to prioritize action for SLCP reductions. 

The Coalition underlines the fact that actions to reduce SLCPs must be complemented by immediate deep and persistent cuts in carbon emissions if global mean temperature rise over the 21st century is to be held below 2°C.

Additional Quotes by Partners

John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States
"The CCAC has achieved remarkable progress over its first year, having grown from six to 28 country partners along with organizations like UNEP, Environmental Defense Fund, and the World Bank. And we’re implementing a variety of initiatives that have the potential to provide substantial benefits to our climate, health, and economies.  I look forward to personally supporting the Coalition along with colleagues around the world.  Much work remains, but we have a real opportunity to significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants through dedicated efforts by a wide variety of countries, businesses, and organizations."

Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, Canada:
"As an Arctic nation, Canada recognizes that addressing short-lived climate pollutants is an integral part of the collective challenge to fight climate change. We are pleased to be supporting the CCAC's activities and projects and join our international partners in commemorating the Coalition's first anniversary."

Juan José Guerra Abud, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico:
"For Mexico, a founder partner, mitigation of SLCPs is part of our low carbon economy policy towards meeting the country's economic sustainable development and poverty reduction goals, while also addressing global climate concerns. Mexico congratulates all CCAC partners on this joint venture's first anniversary. "

Lena Ek, Minister of Environment, Sweden
Efforts to reduce SLCP is a priority for the Swedish Government and we are proud of what the Coalition has accomplished in one year. Sweden is also actively pursuing this issue in the context of its Presidency of the Arctic Council.

Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency, Germany: 
"Germany fully supports the CCAC and the common target to reduce significantly short-lived climate pollutants! We believe that activities under the CCAC can play an important role by helping increase mitigation ambition before 2020 on our way to a new climate treaty under the UNFCCC." 

Frederic Hauge Founder and President of the Bellona Foundation:
" Bellona Foundation is excited to be a non-state partner of the CCAC and believes that reducing short-lived climate pollutants is a crucial part and promising way of addressing climate change. The release of black carbon and methane have a devastating effect, particularly in the Arctic. The CCAC enables us to put together the puzzle and address emissions from multiple sectors. Before the CCAC was formed these challenges was discussed in isolation."

Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD):
"In its first year the Coalition has been brilliant in developing a spirit of urgent optimism.  And it's already working on plans for taking its strategies to the scale it needs to meet the bold challenge of cutting the rate of warming in half for the next 40 years. The Coalition is a remarkable success story."

Notes to Editors

About The Climate and Clean Air Coalition

Since its launch in February 2012, the Coalition has grown from 7 partners to more than 50, currently consisting of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Republic of Maldives, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States, as well as other key parties like the European Commission, the UN Environmental Programme, the World Bank, and the UN Development Programme. 

UNEP's 2011 report Near-Term Climate Protection and Clean Air Benefits outlines 16 measures to be implemented immediately in order to ensure significant emissions reduction of SLCPs.

The report is available at:

Guided by this report, the Coalition is implementing seven international initiatives:

  • Reducing methane from the municipal solid waste sector, including landfills;
  • Reducing black carbon from diesel vehicles and engines;
  • Reducing SLCPs and other greenhouse gases from brick production;
  • HFC alternative technology and standards promotion;
  • Financing promotion;
  • National action plans; and
  • Accelerating cost-effective reductions of short-lived climate pollutants from global oil and natural gas operations.

The Coalition has established a Science Advisory Panel composed of the following eminent scientists to ensure its actions are guided by the latest science:

  • Dr. Markus Amann
    Surface Chemistry research group
    International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
  • Dr.Kalpana Balakrishnan  
    Professor & Head, Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute 
    Sri Ramachandra University
  • Dr. Johan Kuylenstierna  
    Executive Director 
    Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Dr. Mario Molina
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Centro Mario Molina
  • Prof. Veerabhadran Ramanathan 
    Distinguished Professor of Climate Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)
    University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • Dr. Drew Shindell 
    Climate Scientist
    NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • Dr. Youba Sokona
    African Climate Policy Center
    United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
  • Dr Leena Srivastava 
    Executive Director Operations, TERI
    Acting Vice Chancellor, TERI University
  • Dr. Joseph Alcamo (Ex Officio)
    UNEP Chief Scientist

For more information, please contact:

  • Nick Nuttall, Director UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information/UNEP Spokesperson on Tel. +254 733 632755, e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org
  • Bryan Coll, UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi) on Tel. +254 20 762 3088 / +254 731 666 214, e-mail: unepnewsdesk@unep.org
  • The Climate and Clean Air Coalition website is available at: www.unep.org/ccac