All G8 Countries Back Action on Black Carbon, Methane and Other Short Lived Climate Pollutants
22 May 2012 - All Members of the G8, during a meeting at Camp David in the United States, have thrown their collective support behind a new international effort to phase-down so-called short lived climate pollutants.
Research indicates that pollutants such as black carbon, methane and some fluorinated gases know as HFCs are not only aggravating climate change but several are responsible for over 2.5 million premature deaths annually and millions of tonnes of crop losses.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition was launched in February by six countries-Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the United States-with the UN Environment Programme as a partner and host of its secretariat.
In April the membership expanded to 13 with the enrollment of Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and the European Commission along with the World Bank.
Over the weekend, the remaining members of the G8 who are not yet part of the Coalition-Germany, France, Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom - agreed to join on and expressed their support for its aims and initiatives via the Camp David Declaration.
The Declaration states: "We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met at Camp David on May 18 and 19, 2012 to address major global economic and political challenges.... Recognizing the impact of short-lived climate pollutants on near-term climate change, agricultural productivity, and human health, we support, as a means of promoting increased ambition and complementary to other CO2 and GHG emission reduction efforts, comprehensive actions to reduce these pollutants, which, according to UNEP and others, account for over thirty percent of near-term global warming as well as 2 million premature deaths a year. Therefore, we agree to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants".
Fast action to reduce short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) can have a direct impact on climate change with the potential to reduce warming by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and help keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius.
Reductions of SLCPs would also allow for addressing rapid melting in the Arctic and in mountain regions with glaciers, like the Himalayas.
By around 2030, fast action can potentially prevent millions of premature deaths from for example inhalation of black carbon while avoiding an estimated 30 million tonnes of crop losses.
The Coalition emphasizes that the climate benefits need to be backed by cuts in other greenhouse gases including C02 if temperature increases over the 21st century are to be held below 2 degrees C.
However, addressing near term warming from SLCPs may be crucial to avoid the most serious impacts over the coming decades
Assessment and Go-Ahead for Scaled-up Initiatives
At the Coalition's first Ministerial meeting in Stockholm, delegates assessed around a dozen initiatives proposed by developed and developing countries for fast and federated action on short lived climate pollutants including many happening already at the national level.
Delegates took forward five to be approved for rapid implementation by Ministers on the final day. Those approved included:
Fast action on diesel emissions including from heavy duty vehicles and engines
Studies show that reductions are possible by addressing emissions from the freight transportation supply chain, through city action plans, and adoption of a range of measures for reducing sulphur in fuels and vehicle emissions
Upgrading old inefficient brick kilns which are a significant source of black carbon emissions
Mexico has for example [20,000] small and medium-sized brick kilns and the design of many of the [6,000] in Bangladesh hark back to the 1900s.
Accelerating the reduction of methane emissions from landfills
World-wide the waste management sector contributes about 11% of global methane emissions, and the coalition will work with cities to reduce methane emissions from landfills by improving strategic municipal solid waste planning and providing technical assistance.
Speeding up cuts in methane and black carbon emissions from the oil and gas industry
Natural gas venting and leakage from the oil and gas industry accounts for over one fifth of global man-made emissions of methane. Flaring at oil installations generate both methane and black carbon emissions. A significant portion of leaks and venting can be cut using existing technologies at low cost.
Accelerating alternatives to HFCs
HFCs are being rapidly introduced as replacements to chemicals that can damage the ozone layer-the Earth's protective shield that filters out hazardous ultra violet light. But HFCs are also powerful greenhouse gases.
The Coalition aims to fast track more environmentally-friendly and cost effective alternatives and technologies to avoid HFC growth.
Additional initiatives - including a proposal by Ghana on agricultural/forest open burning and a proposal by Bangladesh on cookstoves - would be further developed over the coming weeks.
Trust Fund Established
To support the Coalition's efforts, a new Trust Fund managed by a UNEP-hosted secretariat was agreed in Stockholm.
Initial financing pledges for the Coalition now amount to some $16.7 million with significantly more funds expected over the coming 12 months.
Science Advisory Panel
Sound science has underpinned the formation of the Coalition and will guide its work into the future. In Stockholm, Ministers asked three luminaries involved in short lived climate pollutant research to advise them on the formation of a dedicated world-class Science Advisory Panel to provide scientific advice to the Coalition.
The advice will be provided by Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Mario Molina, the distinguished Mexican chemist and 1995 Nobel Prize co-winner and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, chair of the UNEP Atmospheric Brown Cloud project based at the University of California San Diego,
For More Information please go to http://www.unep.org/ccac/