Coalition doubles efforts to limit global temperature, air pollution
After 10 years of momentum and achievements, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is redoubling its efforts to rapidly deploy solutions to limit global temperature rise and make air pollution a problem of the past.
At an event celebrating its 10th anniversary, Coalition leaders said they are forging ahead to implement tried and tested solutions to achieve critical climate and clean air goals by 2030. These efforts will be supported by $11 million in new funding announced today for the CCAC and Global Methane Pledge implementation.
Since its founding in 2012, the CCAC has grown from a group of six countries – Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the USA – and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to a continually growing partnership that currently brings together 75 countries and 71 Inter-Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations. The USA and Ghana currently co-chair the Coalition. Its Secretariat is hosted by UNEP.
Speaking at the anniversary event, John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, recognized the Coalition’s leadership in advancing fast action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants and called for redoubled efforts to deploy cost effective, ready-to-go solutions to significantly reduce these powerful climate forcers this decade.
“Ten years ago, the U.S. co-founded the Climate and Clean Air Coalition because we knew that tackling climate change and tackling air pollution went hand in hand. Thanks to the CCAC’s leadership, the world has made strides in aggressively reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, driving simultaneous progress on climate, health, social, and economic outcomes. In the decade ahead, the CCAC’s work will be more critical than ever – dramatic reductions in emissions from short-lived climate pollutants are a critical component of efforts to keep warming below 1.5⁰C. The U.S. is as firmly committed to the CCAC’s mission as we were from day one, and we are eager to continue our deep partnership to deliver on our climate and clean air goals.”
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana, said a stand-out achievement of the CCAC’s work is its focus on supporting many developing countries plan, build capacity, and take action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and its demonstration of the powerful impacts this effort has for important Sustainable Development Goals like public health and food security.
“We need to urgently respond to the existential threat of climate change and take immediate steps to save lives and preserve health from air pollution. CCAC governments are working together to create an environment where real emissions reductions can be achieved,” Dr. Afriyie said. “As the CCAC enters a new phase focused on implementation, I call for maximum support from all partners in terms of finance, technology, and capacity building. Doing so will unlock much greater action on climate, air quality and development priorities.”
The CCAC’s work at the international, national, and subnational level have generated significant progress on reducing short-lived climate pollutants. Coalition efforts supported the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, which will avoid 0.5ºC of warming by 2100. The CCAC’s work and other global efforts to improve fuel standards, adopt more efficient and zero emissions vehicles, and changes to technology and production methods in bricks and agriculture means black carbon emissions are also on a downward trend.
The CCAC played a critical role in shaping the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) to collectively reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels. The CCAC and UNEP’s 2021 Global Methane Assessment formed the GMP’s scientific underpinning by illustrating that there are readily available measures that can achieve its goals. Methane emissions reached record levels in 2021, despite the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rapid action to mitigate methane is one of the most effective strategies the world has to keep global temperature rise below 1.5⁰C.
111 countries, representing 50 per cent of global man-made methane emissions, have now joined the GMP to reverse this trend. Likewise, over 20 philanthropies have pledged $340 million to help support ambitious methane mitigation goals around the world by forming a first of its kind foundation called the Global Methane Hub. The Global Methane Hub will support implementation of the pledge by supporting organizations like the CCAC.
Moving forward the CCAC will be a core implementing partner of the GMP. It will work with GMP participating countries to support national planning and implementation. The CCAC Secretariat will serve as point of first contact for GMP countries to clarify domestic needs and priorities and identify sources of technical and financial assistance. The CCAC’s deep country engagement has been a cornerstone of its success in the past decade and will continue to be a vital asset to achieve the GMP’s ambitious methane reduction target.
To support this, Global Methane Hub CEO, Marcelo Mena, announced the Hub will contribute $10 million in funds to the CCAC to help countries achieve the GMP’s target, saying short lived climate pollutants put a human face on climate action by reducing exposure to pollution and bringing direct health benefits to the citizens of countries that act.
“Methane mitigation has become increasingly urgent, and we have witnessed its contribution to current warming. Reducing methane emissions by 45% will allow us to prevent 0.3 degrees of warming by 2040, and that’s why the Global Methane Pledge is important,” he said. “The Global Methane Hub will support countries that want to meet the pledge and those that want to go beyond. I am convinced that fighting methane emissions will contribute to climate benefits, but also help contribute to more sustainable energy and food systems.”
Sweden used the occasion to announce $300,000 in new funding for the CCAC and Luxembourg will provide an additional $75,000.
Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director, said the Coalition must build on its strong partnership to ensure significant progress toward both climate and clean air goals by 2030.
“At a time when multilateralism must urgently step up to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, the CCAC has demonstrated the power of partnerships to forge leadership and increase action,” she said. “Just as its support to the Kigali Amendment was a major stride in tackling HFCs, we are now looking to the CCAC to further create momentum for methane action and the successful implementation of the Global Methane Pledge. We must now intensify action to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and decarbonize to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5⁰C degrees alive.”
This strong support to the CCAC’s mission and 2030 strategy comes at a time when there is growing global concerns about methane emissions and calls to urgently slow the rate of warming.
“Meeting the Global Methane Pledge will prevent more than 200,000 premature deaths due to air pollution each year by 2030 and more than 60 billion hours of lost work due to heat exposure each year by the 2040s” said Drew Shindell, chair of both the Global Methane Assessment and the CCAC’s Science Advisory Panel. “The increased momentum on methane is a natural outcome of the CCAC’s core efforts to raise awareness of the dual benefits to climate change mitigation and clean air from well-designed emissions reduction strategies.”
The CCAC starts its next 10 years under new leadership. Martina Otto takes the helm as the new Head of the CCAC Secretariat. Her appointment follows the retirement of former Head, Helena Molin Valdés, in 2021. Ms. Otto said she looked forward to working with all countries looking to cut emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under this solid partnership.
“We have the opportunity to increase the pace and scale of action commensurate with the climate emergency and the pollution crises. Action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants is one of our best bets to reduce air pollution this decade and avoid climate tipping points. In line with our 2030 strategy, we will over the next couple of years prioritize policy and planning assistance to developing countries,” she said. “We will help by providing the tools, institutional strengthening, technology, and financial support needed to reduce emissions in key polluting sectors and achieve national climate and clean air priorities. The CCAC sector Hubs are rallying points for joint vision, peer-to-peer exchange, and matchmaking, and are designed to deliver collective impact that is greater than the sum of individual actions. Our Methane Flagship will support Global Methane Pledge countries achieve, and go beyond, their collective goal.”
The CCAC is a voluntary initiative to advance efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants – methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and black carbon – in ways that protect the environment and public health, promote food and energy security, and address near-term climate change.
Reducing short-lived climate pollutants can cut as much as 50% of the warming projected between now and 2050 (0.6⁰C) and help achieve the Paris Agreement goal to limit warming to 1.5⁰C. Reducing these pollutants can also prevent approximately 3 million premature deaths annually by reducing outdoor (ambient) air pollution and prevent over 50 million tonnes of crop losses each year.
The Coalition’s 2030 Strategy sets out three directions to guide the Coalition: driving an ambitious agenda by increasing high-level ambition; supporting national and transformative actions by mobilizing finance and strengthening capacity building to achieve substantial emission reductions and advancing policy-relevant research and analysis to provide decision-makers the confidence and tools to make ambitious commitments and take fast action.