Coalition Kicks-off Global Effort to Close Information Gap on Short-lived Climate Pollutants

3 June 2012, Stockholm – Sweden’s Environment Minister, Lena Ek, US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden today joined researchers, students and business leaders to kick-off a global effort to raise awareness about the impacts of short-lived climate pollutants. 

The event, jointly convened in Stockholm by the governments of Sweden and the USA, was the first of many outreach and awareness-raising efforts planned by the new Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.

Representatives from the private sector, civil society and government discussed the lack of current awareness of ‘short-lived climate pollutants’ or ‘SLCPs’, and contributed advice and ideas on how to boost effective outreach and action to reduce these emissions. 

In addition to previewing a global outreach contest, Minister Ek and Secretary Clinton highlighted the Coalition’s transformational initiatives that are being implemented to accelerate action to reduce a range of health, crop and climate-damaging pollutants.  

These include working with cities to reduce methane from solid waste, driving down black carbon from diesel engines, and using new alternatives to HFCs in refrigerators and air conditioners.

Speaking at the outreach seminar, Minister Ek stressed the importance of communicating about SLCPs in a way that will catch people’s imagination and is easy to understand.

“‘Short-lived climate pollutants’ is a strange and perhaps unfamiliar set of words to most,” Minister Ek said.

“But SLCPs such as black carbon, soot, tropospheric ozone, methane and short-lived hydrofluorocarbons all have some characteristics in common as they significantly contribute to global and regional warming. 

“They also impact crop yields, deteriorate air quality and affect human health across the globe. And because they are short-lived, they represent a golden opportunity to slow down climate warming in the near term,” the Minister said.

Secretary Clinton outlined the Coalition’s strong momentum since its launch in February 2012, including a near tripling of its size, which will be furthered still by additional engagement with other countries, organizations and private sector players.

“We need to convince decision makers everywhere, political leaders, CEOs, civil society leaders, investors and students that this is one of those areas where we can show tangible progress almost immediately and that we can do it in a cost effective way,” Secretary Clinton said.

“Few people actually know about the impact we could have on global warming if we aggressively target short-lived climate pollutants. And fewer still know that many cost-effective solutions already exist and are just waiting to be broadly implemented. 

“We are going to hold a global contest to find the most creative ideas for raising awareness of short-lived pollutants and the work that must be done to stop them, and I invite everyone to visit the Coalition website for the details,” Secretary Clinton said.

The contest entry information will be available soon – see Global outreach and awareness contest.

“The benefits of actions are tremendous. Help us to make them known,” Minister Ek said.

Sweden and the USA are among the Coalition’s founding partners.  See Partners for details of the Coalition’s growing alliance which now includes 13 partners, including governments, the European Commission, the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP hosts the Coalition’s secretariat in Paris.