New, integrated initiatives aim to breathe life into efforts to address climate and clean air

  • Clean Air Flagship launched to save lives and slow climate change by boosting cooperation and reducing pollutant emissions
  • UNEP and CCAC’s Used Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) and the Environment report provides roadmap to reducing sector’s emissions through standardizing, monitoring, and greening strategies
  • Launch of major cost of inaction study supports economic case to act on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) to limit hazardous global warming and climate disasters

Government Ministers and partners of the UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) have this week put in place a raft of integrated climate and clean air initiatives designed to combat the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.

At the CCAC’s annual Climate & Clean Air Ministerial Meeting, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, this week ahead of the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), countries and partners launched a Clean Air Flagship effort to provide a platform to boost regional coordination and private sector engagement, data-led policy action, financing, science and advocacy.

Representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors discussed how to scale up implementation of country commitments to reducing emissions through the Global Methane Pledge and the Kigali Amendment through transformative action across key sectors.

Conference attendees also discussed progress on scaling up financing and implementing effective policies to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as cutting methane, black carbon and (HFCs), which are the fastest and cheapest way to reduce near-term warming and clean the air.

During the meeting, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the CCAC launched a new reportUsed Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) and the Environment, which reveals that CO2 emissions associated with heavy duty vehicles have surged by over 30 per cent since 2000 and outlines a roadmap for reducing sector emissions through standardizing, monitoring, and greening freight strategies.

“We need to push harder on super pollutants. I encourage all of you to build on the momentum from COP28. Include super pollutants in Nationally Determined Contributions as they are being renewed. Finalize Methane Roadmaps. And, crucially, find new ways to finance action,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director. “Just as you need a superhero to defeat a supervillain, we need super solutions to face down super pollutants. And we need you to mastermind these solutions.”

Cities are often on the front line of pollution and climate action, but have limited access to finance, so the CCAC provides platforms to discuss the importance of multi-level governance, including through its work with the C40 Cities network.

Partners also welcomed a CCAC Technology and Economic Assessment Panel to help close the gap between technologies and finance by focusing on cost of measures, business models and how to overcome barriers to scale up climate finance.

 “I think everyone here knows that we’re a very long way from winning the fight for clean air, clean water, and for a healthy planet. All our work — the plans we have put together for clean air and a healthy planet — must actually be turned into action and institutions. Without that, the planet remains in peril, our air dirty, and our water undrinkable,” said Ibrahim Auma, County Minister, Green Nairobi.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition exemplifies the principles of multilateralism and robust partnership, showcasing how coordination and cooperation helps to tackle multiple crises. Ghana sets an example as a founding member, pioneering the integration of short-lived climate pollutants and other air pollutants into our fourth official National Greenhouse Gas Inventory submitted to the UNFCCC,” said Peter Dery, CCAC Co-Chair and Director, Environment Division Director at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Ghana.

“The very essence of life starts with a breath, a gasp of air that signifies the beginning of our journey on this Earth. Yet, for too many across our globe, this fundamental act of breathing has become a hazard, a risk, a gamble against the odds of pollution and climate-induced adversities,” said Kenyan environmentalist Elizabeth Wathuti, who founded the Green Generation Initiative. “Our commitment to clean air and a stable climate is not just an environmental cause, it is a fight for the very right to life.”

Summaries of technical sessions will be uploaded to the CCAC website.

About the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)

The UNEP-Convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is a partnership of over 160 governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. It works to reduce powerful but short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone – that drive both climate change and air pollution. It aims to connect ambitious agenda setting with targeted mitigation action within countries and sectors. Robust science and analysis underpin its efforts and bolstered by its Trust Fund, it has given rise to high level political commitment, in-country support, and a range of tools that help make the case for action and support implementation.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

For more information, please contact:

Ava Bahrami, Communications Officer, Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat

News and Media Unit, United Nations Environment Programme 

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