Home » Press Releases » Obama gains allies for de-funding coal plants, expanding cuts in short-lived pollutants

Obama gains allies for de-funding coal plants, expanding cuts in short-lived pollutants


Focus on heads of government critical for fast, near-term mitigation in Arctic, elsewhere

Leader focus also critical for success with UN climate treaty in 2015 treaty

Washington, DC, 5 September 2013 —During his visit to Sweden yesterday, President Obama gained allies in his effort to stop coal plants when the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden agreed to join the U.S. “in ending public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances.” The leaders also agreed “to secure the support of other countries and multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies,” and “to continue their work, in all appropriate channels, to reduce the use of domestic fossil fuel subsidies globally.”

The leaders also agreed to “intensify our efforts” to reduce short-lived climate pollutants—HFCs, methane, tropospheric ozone, and black carbon. They noted “the rapid growth of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition” as well as the Coalition’s “potential…to catalyze significant global reductions of short-lived climate pollutants, which have major impacts on climate change and public health.” (See IGSD press release on the Coalition.)

“Reducing the short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of global warming by half and Arctic warming by two-thirds,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Fast cuts to this climate pollutants is critical for protecting the Arctic and other vulnerable places and peoples.”

The U.S. and Nordic leaders also “recommit to protecting the Arctic environment, … [and to] pursue opportunities in future Arctic Council meetings and other international fora to … reduce emissions of black carbon in the Arctic region, as agreed upon in the Kiruna Declaration.”

“President Obama pursuit of climate protection at the leader level started with his June agreement with President Xi Jinping of China to phase down HFC under the Montreal Protocol,” said Zaelke. “Agreement by heads of government is critical for fast near-term mitigation under existing laws and institutions, starting with the Montreal Protocol and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. It also is critical for building the confidence of the leaders to negotiate an effective UN climate agreement in 2015 to go into effect by 2020.”

The Nordic leaders also “agreed on the importance of reaching an ambitious, comprehensive, fair, and inclusive climate agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015 that is consistent with science, mindful of the two degree target, and applicable to all.”

President Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt issued a separate statement, noting that, “As founding members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, [we]…are pleased that the Coalition…is already working to catalyze significant global reductions of short-lived climate pollutants. We agreed to redouble our efforts and invite others to join to take full advantage of the Coalition's potential, including through innovative approaches to financing methane abatement.”

The White House Statement is here.

The Joint Statement by the US and Sweden is here.