Home » Press Releases » Fast action on HFCs, other short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of global warming in half

Fast action on HFCs, other short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of global warming in half


Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s five-year strategic framework aims to avoid 0.6° C of warming by 2050

High-Level Assembly of ministers endorses cutting HFCs under Montreal Protocol California rallies cities and states

21 May 2015 – A five-year strategic framework adopted today by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition will scale up fast mitigation by cutting short-lived climate pollutants, in an effort to help keep global warming to less than 2°C above pre-Industrial levels.  Studies show that fast reduction of the short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of global warming in half and avoid 0.6°C of warming by 2050. Short-lived climate pollutants include black carbon, ground-level ozone, methane, and HFCs.  The five-year strategic framework also will save many millions of lives.  According to the World Health Organization, seven million people die every year from air pollution, principally black carbon and ground-level ozone.

The United States pledged $4 million and Norway more than a million to fund further Coalition work, in support of the five-year strategy, which will be finalized in Paris in December.

The Coalition’s High-Level Assembly of ministers endorsed cutting production of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, leaving accounting and reporting of emissions in the UN climate regime. The High-Level Assembly emphasized the importance of moving forward with the proposed HFC cuts under the Montreal Protocol when the Parties meet in July at their Open-Ended Working Group.

Chile announced that it would follow Mexico’s lead and include reductions of black carbon as they develop their “intended nationally determined contributions” to climate mitigation in the run-up to the UN climate negotiations in Paris in December, when a new climate deal is anticipated, with the goal of taking effect in 2020.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that “steps to address short-lived climate pollutants are now seen as an essential complement of the aggressive mitigation actions needed to combat climate change,” in his opening statement at the High-Level Assembly.  “The Coalition’s mobilization of concrete actions to reduce emissions by 2020 promises high-impact results. These efforts will protect the climate, our environment and improve the health and lives of people across the globe.”

"The Coalition, which the member countries refer to as ‘the coalition of the working,’ shows what can be done by a small group of committed actors,” said Romina Picolotti, former Minister of Environment from Argentina.  “The Coalition is targeting specific sectors such as black carbon from transport and brick kilns, and sharing technology, regulatory experience, and funding to help country partners make fast progress.  Our success is giving us the confidence to increase our ambition so we can deliver the full climate protection at a global scale.”

The Coalition is the only international organization focused on reducing short-lived climate pollutants as a package. HFCs are used primarily as refrigerants, and methane comes from oil and gas exploration and transmission, landfills, agriculture, and coal mines.  The Coalition has 47 country partners, along with the World Bank, UNEP, UNDP and WHO, as well as 57 nongovernmental organizations as partners.

Earlier this week California and 11 other subnational government leaders, representing over 100 million people, agreed to take action to keep the global average temperature below the 2°C guardrail for the most dangerous climate impacts, including by cutting short-lived climate pollutants.  The “Under 2 MOU” agreement was signed by leaders of California, Oregon, Washington and Vermont, Baja California and Jalisco Mexico, British Columbia and Ontario Canada, Catalonia Spain, Wales UK, Arce Brazil, and Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and pledges reductions of greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or per capita annual emission target of less than two metric tons by 2050.

California also released a draft concept paper earlier this month describing how the state plans to aggressively reduce short lived climate pollutants, which the paper notes are responsible for as much as 40% of current global warming.

“California once again is showing the world a better future by coupling fast mitigation from cuts in short-lived climate pollutants with longer-term mitigation from cuts in carbon dioxide,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “We can’t win the climate challenge without first winning the battle against air pollution and HFCs, which can provide the fastest mitigation in the near-term.”

IGSD’s Primer on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants is here.

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.