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Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Central Strategy in Abu Dhabi Climate Ascent


Washington, DC, 6 May 2014 - The message was clear coming out of the May 4 & 5 Abu Dhabi Ascent in the to the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit in September: time is running out to take necessary action to prevent the worst predicted impacts of climate change, but real solutions exist to fight back.

Attended by more than 100 ministers, the ascent is part of the U.N. Secretary-General's effort to build momentum for a strong climate treaty in Paris by the end of next year, by highlighting concrete mitigation actions, including actions to reduce both carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, and methane.

In his opening message, the UN Secretary-General stated that "[t]he planet is sending us clearly a message that nature is now sick. We must listen. That is why I am saying to world leaders: Don't be on the losing side of history. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It's time to lead."

Representatives from governments, the financial and private sector, civil society, and intergovernmental organizations presented concrete actions ranging from measures on energy efficiency and renewable energy to climate finance and agriculture.

The Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to Reduce Shot-Lived Climate Pollutants presented a number of actions designed to provide near-term climate benefits while protecting human health and improving agricultural production, including promoting a Green Freight Action Plan, HFC alternative technology demonstration projects, and a new methane finance mechanism with the World Bank.

"Cutting short-lived climate pollutants could cut the current rate of climate change in half by 2050, while preventing more than two million deaths a year from air pollution, and avoid around 35 million tonnes of crop losses annually," stated Durwood Zaelke, who attended the ascent. "When Ban Ki-moon asks for practical action to combat climate change, the work of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants must be a central part."

Fast action to cut short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of climate change in half in the near term, potentially avoiding as much as 1.5ºC of additional warming by the end of the century.

Looking forward to the NY Summit, the CCAC will be working to launch a strong public/private partnership to promote a global phase-down of HFCs, which are the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in many countries including the U.S., E.U., China, and India.

"Phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs through the Montreal Protocol is the fastest and cheapest opportunity available to the world today," added Zaelke. "Phasing down these potent gases could avoid the equivalent of a hundred billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, and build the sense of urgent optimism that we need to meet the challenge of climate change."

“Reducing short-lived climate pollutants must be part of the climate equation if we are to keep the world on a less than two-degree path. Multiple initiatives brought to the Ascent aim to tackle SLCPs in innovative ways, and showed promising momentum,” stated UNDP Administrator Helen Clark in her closing remarks.

The CCAC's Abu Dhabi SLCP Briefing note is here; IGSD's Primer on SLCPs here.