Volume 172 Number 46 | Monday, 23 September 2019
Summary of the 11th High Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition
22 September 2019 | New York, US
The 11th High-Level Assembly (HLA) of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), convened to discuss climate and clean air action needed on the ground and their ambition for further implementation.
On air pollution and health, speakers stressed the loss of lives and economic costs due to poor air quality, and how this can be a lever for enhanced and fast climate action. They also discussed progress in monitoring air quality and addressing SLCPs, and the need to evaluate the benefits of climate change action through a wellbeing lens.
On cooling and efficiency, ministers reported on investments in efficient and climate-friendly refrigeration and cooling, highlighting the rising demand for cooling caused by climate change and growing cities. They drew attention to the Biarritz Pledge initiated at the G7 Summit and its call for support of the CCAC’s Efficient Cooling Initiative.
On agriculture and food systems, participants reported on efforts to reduce methane and black carbon emissions, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness on agriculture climate solutions that balance the need for ensuring food security and poverty alleviation. They also noted the importance of healthy, low carbon diets and of reducing food waste.
Taking stock of the CCAC’s work launched at the 2014 UN Climate Summit, representatives from the private sector described integrated solutions to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas industry. They highlighting private sector efforts to reduce climate and air pollutant emissions from freight. and called on countries to join a ‘Global Methane Alliance.’
In the closing session, participants adopted the 2030 Vision Statement committing members to “drive and respond to scientific and political progress to maintain an atmosphere that enables people and the planet to thrive – a stabilized climate with warming limited to 1.5 C and drastically reduced air pollution.”
Members agreed to add this statement to the CCAC Framework Document and to extend the duration of the Coalition’s mandate until the end of 2030. Several members pledged additional financial support to the Coalition’s work. The United Arab Emirates was welcomed as the CCAC’s newest CCAC state partner.
The 11th meeting of the CCAC HLA took place in New York, US, on 22 September 2019 on the eve of the UN Climate Action Summit. The HLA was attended by high-level representatives of governments and international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
A Brief History of CCAC
The CCAC is a voluntary international coalition of governments, international organizations, private sector representatives and NGOs, and aims to: reduce emissions of SLCPs; avoid millions of premature deaths; promote food and energy security; and address near-term climate change.
The CCAC was established in February 2012 by Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the US, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It is open to countries and non-state actors, and currently has 141 Partners consisting of 66 countries, 18 intergovernmental organizations and 57 NGOs. In 2018, it also launched a Platform for Subnational Action to Reduce SLCPs, starting with the State of California.
SLCPs include black carbon, methane (precursor to tropospheric ozone) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These pollutants have a near-term warming influence on the climate, and, in many cases, are also harmful air pollutants that affect human health, agriculture and ecosystems. The CCAC’s objectives include raising awareness of the impacts and transformative mitigation strategies of SLCPs. It also seeks to: enhance and develop new national and regional actions; promote best practices and showcase successful efforts; and improve scientific understanding of SLCP impacts and mitigation strategies.
Initiatives: The CCAC works on 12 initiatives, of which eight are sectoral and four are cross-cutting. Its seven sectoral initiatives include:
- Agriculture (enhancing agricultural climate action and ambition);
- Bricks (mitigating SLCPs and other pollutants from brick production);
- Diesel (reducing black carbon emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and engines);
- Efficient Cooling (Improving energy efficiency in the cooling sector);
- HFCs (promoting HFC-alternative technologies and standards);
- Household energy (reducing SLCPs from household cooking and domestic heating);
- Oil and Gas (accelerating methane and black carbon reductions from oil and natural gas production); and
- Waste (mitigating SLCPs from municipal solid waste).
The CCAC’s four cross-cutting initiatives address: financing mitigation of SLCPs; regional assessments; supporting national action planning on SLCPs; and health.
Governance Structure: The CCAC governance structure includes the HLA, Working Group, Steering Committee, Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) and Secretariat.
The HLA consists of ministers of State Partners and Heads of non-state Partners, and meets at least once a year to provide strategic guidance and leadership to the CCAC, including setting policy, taking stock of progress and initiating future efforts. The Working Group includes focal points from each CCAC Partner, and convenes at least twice a year to oversee activities.
The Steering Committee is composed of the two CCAC Co-Chairs and up to six State Partners, two representatives of international organizations and two NGO representatives. The Steering Committee meets monthly to provide oversight support and recommendations to the HLA and the Working Group. The SAP consists of 15 scientists, including, ex-officio, UNEP’s Chief Scientist. The CCAC Secretariat is hosted by UNEP’s Economy Division in Paris, France.
Recent Meetings: The Eighth HLA convened in Marrakech, Morocco, on 14 November 2016, in parallel with UNFCCC COP 22. The Assembly addressed implementation of the Paris Agreement, seeking to take advantage of the growing momentum to reduce SLCPs. It proposed specific action on methane in the oil and gas sector, and on black carbon in the transport sector, as well as the development of national black carbon inventories .
The 20th Meeting of the CCAC Working Group took place from 26-27 April 2017, in Santiago, Chile. Participants: set priorities for 2017 and 2018 to ramp up efforts to reduce SLCPs, especially black carbon; planned for the 2017 HLA; agreed on follow-up actions on previous HLA commitments; decided on future funding for initiatives; and showcased action to access financing for projects and the CCAC Trust Fund .
The 21st meeting of the CCAC Working Group took place from 25-26 September 2017, in Paris, France. During the meeting, participants: discussed preparations for the November HLA; considered the CCAC objective to ‘leverage finance at scale ’ and the draft CCAC finance strategy; and deliberated on next steps in addressing the proposed Pathway Approach for SLCPs .
The 22nd meeting of the CCAC Working Group took place from 17-20 April, 2018, in Toronto, Canada, in conjunction with the Global Methane Forum and the Coalition ’s Science Policy Dialogue. During the meeting, the Working Group allocated an additional USD 6 million toward Coalition initiatives .
The 23rd meeting of the CCAC Working Group took place from 8-12 October, 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand, and included the second Climate and Clean Air Solutions marketplace .
The Ninth HLA convened in Bonn, Germany, on Tuesday 14 November 2017, in parallel with the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). High-level representatives of governments and international and non-governmental organizations attended the Assembly. The HLA addressed the importance of reducing SLCPs to combat climate change, including through specific calls for action on agriculture and municipal solid waste, and adopted the ‘Bonn Communiqué.’
TheTenth HLAconvened in Katowice, Poland on 11 December 2018, in parallel with UNFCCC COP 24. During the meeting, the HLA launched the Action Programme, with many countries also endorsing the Talanoa Statement, which commits to global actions to mitigate SLCPs to avoid 0.6°C of warming between now and 2050. It also discussed further ways for the Coalition to ramp up its engagement in the climate and development spheres.
Report of the 11th CCAC High Level Assembly
On Sunday, 22 September 2019, Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the Coalition Secretariat, welcomed participants. HLA 11 Chair, Ambassador Manuel Sager, Director General, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), stressed that tackling the joint climate and air pollution crisis is more urgent than ever. He recognized that the Coalition has already made a significant contribution to raising awareness about the need for action, and has shown that many effective solutions already exist to reduce air pollution and protect human health.
Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, emphasized the need for a swift transition towards low carbon and resource efficient economies, in order to the meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. He outlined EU policies and actions to reduce SLCPs, noting that SLCP reduction plays a central role in several sectors, including agriculture and transport. He described a recent analysis for a long-term vision for a climate-neutral EU, which he said identified several possible pathways for the EU to become carbon neutral by 2050, including by focusing on carbon capture and storage or focusing on a circular economy and low carbon diets. He stressed that every pathway requires reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions radically by 2050.
Participants watched a video in which several ministers and heads of CCAC partners, as well as scientist Mario Molina and Drew Shindell, explained the role of SLCPs for climate change and health, including that reducing SLCPs is the fastest way to contribute to climate change mitigation while improving air quality for millions.
Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, State of California, provided an update on a satellite mission that will soon begin tracking methane emissions from various sources. She discussed California’s progress in reducing methane from landfills, the dairy sector and transport, noting that all buses in California must be carbon neutral in 2050.
Joseph Seka Seka, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, Cote d’Ivoire, launched the CCAC’s Integrated Assessment of Air Pollution and Climate Change for Africa, noting that it will support a better understanding of how development in Africa can go hand-in-hand with limiting air pollution and its impact on health and agriculture.
Rodolfo Lacy, OECD Director for Environment, outlined the findings of a report on the synergies between climate action and health when addressing SLCPs. He said the report proposes using a more comprehensive wellbeing lens, rather than an economic lens only, to understand the benefits of reducing SLCP emissions, noting that the health cost of air pollution is so far being ignored.
How the Coalition is Increasing Ambition and Will Scale-up Towards 2030
Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI), moderated a series of panel discussions on CCAC initiatives and ambitions in priority areas.
Air Pollution and Health: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO), said that globally 9 out of 10 people live in areas with air quality below WHO standards, noting that international response remains weak. He said the WHO has a mandate to bring policies in line with WHO health commitments and to help mitigate climate change.
Sook Kim, Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Coordination Committee of the NCCA, Republic of Korea, outlined his country’s initiative to table a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly to establish an international day for the blue sky, in order to raise awareness, share best practices and renew commitment to reduce SLCPs between countries.
Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources, Thailand, said the economy of his country suffers a loss of USD 85 million as a result of air pollution. He outlined actions to reduce SLCP emissions from vehicles and forest fires, and asked members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to work together towards cleaner air and a better climate for the planet.
Gabriel Quijandría, Vice-Minister of Environment, Peru, recognized that air quality is a key issue for sustainable development. He said Peru is creating incentives for the use of cleaner fuels and development of measures to support vulnerable groups that suffer most from air pollution.
Cooling and Efficiency: Patricia Fuller, Climate Ambassador, Canada, called for increased ambition, including for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which regulates the phase down of HFCs, a group of very potent GHGs. She said phasing down HFCs also opens opportunities for innovation and development of new technologies.
Shinjiro Koizumi, Minister of the Environment, Japan, said that in his first ten days in office as Minster of the Environment, he prioritized Japan’s membership of the CCAC. He outlined Japan’s initiative for life cycle management and recovery of HFCs.
Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Rwanda, lauded the Kigali Amendment’s potential to mitigate climate change. He described the CCAC’s new Efficient Cooling Initiative that aims to raise awareness on the benefits of transitioning away from the use of HFCs for cooling while also increasing the efficiency of refrigeration and cooling.
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, State Secretary for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, cited a recent study that found that rising demand for refrigeration and cooling will be responsible for increasing energy consumption. She called for a focus on solutions, including innovative building and neighborhood designs. Noting Germany has already contributed EUR 60 million to international initiatives to increase the efficiency of cooling and refrigeration, Schwarzelühr-Sutter committed an additional EUR 20 million to continuing bilateral support for such initiatives.
Stéphane Pailler, on behalf of Elisabeth Borne, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France, said the CCAC must provide concrete results on GHG emissions in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Emphasizing the need for efficient equipment for refrigeration and cooling, he announced that France had supported this through its G7 presidency, notably through the Biarritz Pledge.
Agriculture and Food Systems: Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, discussed recent meetings and activities on nature-based solutions for agriculture, including reducing methane emissions by improving the efficiency of small-scale farmers and through conservation agriculture.
Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, New Zealand, said methane emissions from agriculture are responsible for 43% of New Zealand’s emissions. He described a zero-carbon bill currently being discussed in New Zealand’s parliament that would require reducing methane emissions from agriculture to 10% below 2017 levels by 2030. He suggested that countries include emissions from agriculture in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Andreas Ahrens, Head of Climate, Inter IKEA Group, reported on the Better Air Now initiative in India, which aims to reduce air pollution in India by replacing rice straw burning with sustainable uses that can generate income and lead to better air quality. He said the initiative was an example of a problem that was turned into a solution, noting that it is scalable and transferable to other regions.
Martien Van Nieuwkoop, Global Director for Agriculture and Food Systems, World Bank, outlined several examples of GHG reductions from agriculture, including the reduction of gaseous ammonia from pork production. Noting that GHG emissions from agriculture constitute more than half of all GHG emissions in many regions, he suggested alternatives including in situ utilization of feces and conservation agriculture techniques. He called for a fundamental shift in policies and public opinion, and suggested redirecting public support measures in agriculture towards more sustainable outcomes.
Ola Elvestuen, Minster of Climate and Environment, Norway, said agriculture and food systems are key to solving all issues relating to climate change. He underlined the need to produce food in a way that can also reach other goals. He suggested establishing markets within the boundaries of nature and supported exploring healthier diets and reduced meat consumption in order to reduce emissions from agriculture. Underlining the need to address food waste, he said his country has committed to cut food waste in half by 2030.
Integrated Solutions and Transitions – Follow-up from the 2014 UN Climate Summit: Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), stated that reducing methane emissions is an immediate way to reduced GHGs. He noted that 25% of methane emissions is man-made, 30% of which originates in the oil and gas industry. Citing a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), he said three-quarters of the emissions from oil and gas operations can be reduced with relatively little effort by reducing practices such as venting and flaring and by fixing leaks. He said the CCAC’s Global Alliance to Significantly Reduce Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector by 2030 (Global Methane Alliance) is providing support to reducing emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), said the Global Methane Alliance members aim to accelerate the integration of methane targets in government climate change strategies. He explained that ENI has made progress in reducing the methane intensity of its production through upgrading equipment, reducing flaring and venting, and improving leak detection. Emphasizing the role of new technologies, he committed to sustained efforts in reducing methane emissions.
Patrick Pouyanne, CEO, Total, said the Global Methane Alliance has set realistic targets, which has encouraged countries to include methane emission reductions from oil and gas production in their NDCs. He described several partnerships that aim to increase the accuracy, quantification and reporting of methane emissions, adding that regulations should be backed up with sound scientific research. He closed by expressing optimism that the oil and gas industry can reduce methane emissions to zero.
Sophie Punte, CEO, Smart Freight Centre, gave an overview of emissions from freight. She noted that freight emissions, including warehouse emissions, are currently responsible for 10% of global emissions, and that this is set to double with global increases in freight demand. She reported on several projects that aim to provide better tools and methods to freight companies, such as the first ISO standard to calculate emissions from freight, a freight assessment tool, and a tool to assess multi-modal routes. Citing several examples, she identified training as key to enable and inspire freight companies to act and reduce emissions from fleet operations.
Henrik Henriksson, CEO, Scania, described his company’s heavy-duty initiative which has achieved an acceleration of emissions standards in several countries, including stricter black carbon standards. He outlined how collaboration in combination with stricter regulation can “step up the game,” and suggested that countries should establish carbon laws that require halving emissions from transport every decade. He said such laws would generate demand for sustainable alternative fuels such as biofuels from wastewater.
Pledges, Launching New Work, Plans, and the Coalition’s 2030 Vision
Special Launch of the UNEP-CCAC Tsinghua Report: Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, China, presented a report titled “Synergizing Action on the Environment and Climate – Good Practice in China and Around the Globe,” prepared by UNEP, in collaboration with Tsinghua University and CCAC. He said his country has realized that climate change action will not damage his country’s economy but will push it towards a transition to solve urgent issues.
The report contains several case studies of examples of progress in China, including an analysis of past policies and strategies. It is divided into chapters on China’s practice and future strategies, as well as global case studies. Zehnhua encouraged all countries to increase collaborate to fight climate change more effectively.
Pledges and Announcements: Finland pledged to support the CCAC with EUR 100,000 in addition to current funding, underlining initiatives to scale up black carbon avoidance. Monaco announced EUR 500,000 from 2020-2021 stressing that the public needs to be made aware of the role of air quality for quality of life. The United Arab Emirates reported on national initiatives to improve air quality and reduce pollutants by 2030 and was welcomed as the CCAC’s 66th State Partner. The Netherlands announced further support to the CCAC, focusing on decarbonizing transport and addressing solid waste.
The Dominican Republic announced work on social and political issues to support the most vulnerable. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) described the work of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants (LTARP) and its protocols, noting its upcoming 40th anniversary.
The Clean Air Fund previewed the upcoming launch of a report on philanthropic contributions, which finds that funding for reducing SLCPs has been growing but is mostly directed at three countries and that most development agencies lack a funding track on air quality.
The Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) described steps towards a roadmap for regional planning. The Children Investment Fund said it will invest USD 20 million in work to reducing SLCPs, particularly to support a number of CCAC NGO partners. Nigeria outlined its action plan to reduce black carbon aligned with the SDGs.
In the closing session, participants adopted the 2030 Vision Statement committing members to “drive and respond to scientific and political progress to maintain an atmosphere that enables people and the planet to thrive – a stabilized climate with warming limited to 1.5 C and drastically reduced air pollution.” Members also agreed to add this statement to the CCAC Framework Document and to extend the duration of the Coalition’s mandate until the end of 2030.
Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment, Chile and President-designate of COP 25 and Michael Kurtyka, State Secretary of Environment, Poland and COP 24 President, discussed experiences around the UNFCCC COP. Schmidt outlined recent progress in closing coal-fired power plants in Chile and scaling up the use of electric buses. She said climate change is about people and that we must put “people at the center of our decisions.” She suggested that reducing SLCPs is essential to the UNFCCC process because it represents climate action with immediate benefits for the people.
Kurtyka supported the argument for addressing the link between climate change and air pollution, noting that the COP in Santiago de Chile will be an opportunity to generate momentum for further implementation in Chile. The meeting was brought to a close at 6.35pm.
Climate Week NYC 2019: Climate Week NYC 2019 will gather representatives from businesses, governments, academic institutions, arts and music organizations, and NGOs for a variety of panel discussions, concerts, exhibitions and seminars. Events taking place during Climate Week NYC 2019 are organized into 11 categories: 1) Youth and Climate Activism; 2) Energy Transition; 3) Industry Transition; 4) Clean Transport, Buildings and Infrastructure; 5) Food, Land and Nature-based Solutions; 6) Climate Finance, Investment and Carbon Pricing; 7) National Government Policy and Commitment; 8) State, City and Local Action; 9) Health, Equality and Justice; 10) Sustainable Travel and Leisure; and 11) Resilience and Adaption to Climate Change.
Climate Week NYC 2019 will convene on the side of the opening of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and support the UN Climate Action Summit by providing a space for organizations to extend week-long activities outside of the UN building and throughout the week. A High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) (23 September), the SDG Summit (24-25 September), the 2019 High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) (26 September), and a High-level Review of Progress on SAMOA Pathway will also take place during the Week. dates: 23-29 September 2019 location: New York City, US www: https://www.climateweeknyc.org/climate-week-nyc-2019
Chatham House Climate Change Conference: Chatham House will convene its 23rd annual climate change conference on the theme, ‘Climate Change 2019: A Critical Year for Climate Action.’ dates: 7-8 October 2019 location: London, England, UK www: https://www.chathamhouse.org/conferences/climate-change-2019
Pre-COP to the Santiago Climate Change Conference: A pre-COP meeting ahead of the Santiago Climate Change Conference is expected to take place in Costa Rica from 8-10 October 2019. dates: 8-10 October 2019 location: San Jose, Costa Rica
International Symposium and High-level Event on Action for Climate Empowerment: The Symposium, which will convene for one and a half days from 13-14 October, will discuss how to raise the profile of, and mobilize support for, the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda in order to raise ambition and accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism in cooperation with the UNFCCC Secretariat and the state of Burgenland and the Austrian-German Friendship Association. dates: 13-14 October 2019 location: Austria additional: Pamhagen www: https://unfccc.int/topics/education-youth/events-meetings/other-events/international-symposium-and-high-level-event-on-action-for-climate-empowerment
Global Climate Change Week 2019: Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) aims to encourage academic communities, including academics, students, and non-academic staff at universities, in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities, and policymakers on climate change action and solutions. Held annually in October, GCCW provides an open-ended framework for voluntary activities aimed at raising awareness, inspiring behavior change and driving political transformation in relation to climate policy. The Week originated at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and is now in its fifth year. dates: 14-20 October 2019 location: worldwide www: http://globalclimatechangeweek.com/
Climate Chance Summit – Africa 2019: The ‘Climate Chance Summit – Africa 2019’ will focus on the following themes:
- Access to climate finance in Africa;
- Developing African cities in a sustainable way;
- Agriculture, food and reforestation in Africa;
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency in Africa;
- Mobility and sustainable transport in Africa;
- Adaptation and water in Africa;
- Sustainable building and construction in Africa;
- Education and training on climate change in Africa; and
- Circular economy in Africa.
The Summit is organized by the Climate Chance Association and the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG). dates: 16-18 October 2019 location: Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana www: https://www.climate-chance.org/en/climate-chance-africa-summit-2019/
31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 31): MOP 31 will be preceded by two associated meetings: the 63rd meeting of the Implementation Committee under the Non-Compliance Procedure for the Montreal Protocol and the meeting of the Bureau of the Thirtieth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. dates: 4-8 November 2019 location: Rome, Lazio, Italy www: http://conf.montreal-protocol.org/meeting/mop/mop-31/SitePages/Home.aspx
Santiago Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 25): The Santiago Climate Change Conference, which will feature COPO 25 and meetings of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, will convene from 2-13 December 2019. The pre-sessional period will be from 26 November to 1 December 2019. dates: 2-13 December 2019 location: Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: (49-228) 815-1000 fax: (49-228) 815-1999 e-mail: [email protected] www: https://unfccc.int/santiago