Cooperating to mitigate climate change

Preventing global average temperatures from rising above 2°C is a major objective of the international community. Reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) can provide up to a quarter (or 0.6°C) of this goal, but fully reaching it requires an integrated approach combining deep and rapid cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with significant and immediate SLCP reductions. 

SLCPs are particles and gases that have great climate warming potential, compared to CO2, but have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere. Eliminating emissions of these pollutants can reduce their concentrations in the atmosphere in a matter of weeks to years, providing immediate benefits in terms of health, ecosystem and near-term climate.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)

Founded in 2012 by six countries and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the CCAC aims to reduce four key SLCPs: Methane, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, and tropospheric ozone. The Coalition is the first global effort to treat these pollutants as a collective challenge. As of September 2015, it had 109 partners: 49 countries, 44 NGOs, and 16 International Organisations. It also works with numerous actors at the sub-national and city level and in the private sector.


The far-reaching benefits of lower SLCPs

A key attraction of the Coalition’s efforts is that action on SLCPs provides multiple benefits across a wide range of sectors beyond climate protection. Reducing black carbon and methane emissions, for example, can prevent more than 2 million premature deaths per year and help avoid annual crop loses of over 50 million tonnes.

Methane capture from municipal solid waste dumps can provide cities with new, clean and cost effective sources of energy production. Action by the oil and gas industry on methane can increase its credibility as a source of clean energy: a 40 to 45% reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2025, recently called for by US President Barack Obama, would, according to the EPA, reduce 340,000 to 400,000 short tons of methane in 2025, the equivalent of reducing 7.7 to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and yield net climate benefits of $120 to $150 million. 


Bringing change through practical initiatives


Another attraction of the CCAC is that SLCP mitigation can be accomplished with technology and practices that exist today. The Coalition focuses on practical action in 11 key initiatives that seek to achieve near-term reductions of SLCPs at a substantial scale worldwide. Seven initiatives focus on single sector activities, while the remaining four cut across a variety of sectors.

Single sector initiatives focus on specific SLCP producing activities to identify the most cost-efficient and practical pathways to reduce emissions. These initiatives work closely with communities, industry, NGOs and policy makers in each sector to improve technology, practices and policies for specific pollutants. 

Cross cutting initiatives encompass different sectors in ways that accelerate emissions reductions across all short-lived climate pollutants. Changes in policies and practices in these areas can affect change across a wide range of polluting activities.

By catalysing new and transformative actions in these fields, while highlighting and bolstering existing efforts, the CCAC is confident in achieving SLCP reductions at scale.