The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Focus Day on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) was held on 4 December 2015 in Paris, France by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Held during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the SLCP Focus Day brought together policymakers, academia, representatives from the business community, and multilateral institutions to discuss measures to address SLCPs.
The LPAA is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP presidencies, the Office of the UN Secretary-General and the UNFCCC Secretariat. The LPAA was announced in December 2014, with the objective of strengthening climate action throughout 2015, at COP 21 and beyond. It seeks to demonstrate that the transition to low-emission and climate-resilient development is both urgent and feasible, with state and non-state actors creating and implementing initiatives and generating momentum for climate action in different action areas. The SLCP Focus Day is one of the thematic focus events being organized under the LPAA to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to present issues in their action area and showcase solution pathways to tackle.
During the event, participants heard from high-level participants and panel discussants describing progress on SLCPs at the national and local levels, as well as from non-state actors. Participants heard strong messages from ministers of environment, trade and transport among others, pledging to address SLCPs in their sectors. Representatives from multilateral development banks and other donors showcased options for funding and supportive actions to reduce SLCPs, including pipeline projects and other tools to finance mitigation activities.
REPORT OF SLCP FOCUS DAY
On Friday, 4 December, Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, opened the session, lauding the CCAC’s work and noting that addressing SLCPs is critical to bending the emissions curve and keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C.
Stressing the importance of envisioning a world beyond oil, Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France, urged participants to be bold in insisting that oil companies invest heavily in renewable energy, thereby addressing SLCPs. She noted that although they are short-lived, the effects of SLCPs can be felt in the long term, drawing attention to the threats they pose to public health and the environment.
SESSION I: RATIONALE FOR FAST ACTION
This panel was chaired by Thiaw, and highlighted the science behind SLCPs as well as the social consequences of not addressing them.
Mario Molina, Mario Molina Centre for Energy and Environment, highlighted that in the process of identifying climate-altering gases, only one longer term timescale was chosen. He said this is a mistake as this therefore excludes SLCPs. Molina stressed that there is no choice between addressing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and SLCPs, but that both must be addressed in order to ensure a smaller temperature rise.
Noting that the science on SLCPs has been in the public domain for over 40 years, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, CCAC Scientific Assessment Panel, presented on the two-level approach for bending the curve. He reiterated the need to address both CO2 emissions reductions and SLCPs in order to stay under 2°C, and stressing that the world “has waited too long to address CO2 emissions.”
Lamenting that there are 7 million deaths due to air pollution a year, Elaine Fletcher, World Health Organization, drew attention to the fact that black carbon/soot is one of the most lethal SLCPs. She underscored the direct and indirect health benefits of addressing SLCPs, including the reduction of traffic and the increase in life expectancy.
SESSON II: PROGRESS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
NATIONAL AND LOCAL PROGRESS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: The event continued with a panel where national and local actors reported progress and announcements on SLCPs. Helena Molin Valdes, Head, CCAC Secretariat, chaired the panel.
Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Kenya, noted that air pollution poses threats to environmental integrity and sustainable development. She shared progress in the development of national air quality standards, and drew attention to the East African Parliament’s adoption of clean air standards for the region.
Andre Johnson, Minister of Environment, Togo, stressed the need to address agricultural practices that produce SLCPs, such as the burning of vegetation and deforestation. He further highlighted SLCPs from the burning of fuel wood, noting that addressing this will also reduce pressure on forests, promote clean cooking methods and reduce the burden of women.
Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of the Environment, Maldives, noted that addressing SLCPs is an important issue for Small Island Developing States, as these pose an increased risk of sea-level rise. He expressed support for addressing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.
Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Minister of Climate Change Issues, New Zealand, said there is no choice between increased food production and combating climate change, but stressed the need for research into addressing emissions from food production. He presented research on emissions from food production particularly livestock, noting progress in the identification of compounds that can inhibit methane production in the rumen.
Rodolfo Lacy, Vice-Minister of Environment, Mexico, emphasized the need to move from the concept of GHGs to that of “climate forcers.” Ivan Valentik, Deputy Minister of Environment, Russian Federation, reported on forest protection measures and corresponding decreased emissions.
Cristian Bowen Garfias, Vice-Minister of Transport, Chile reported measures to reduce SLCPs in the transport sector. Cliff Recthschaffen, Senior Advisor to the Governor, State of California, showcased legislation to reduce black carbon, methane and emissions of F gases.
NON-STATE ACTORS’ PROGRESS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: The event continued showcasing non-state actors’ progress and announcements, in a panel hosted by Durwood Zaelke, President, Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
Helge Lund, CEO, BG Group, and Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund reported on the CCAC Oil & Gas Methane Partnership, which provides a platform for companies to share good practices to address methane emissions. Drew Kodjak, Executive Director, International Council on Clean Transport, reported on action to reduce black carbon from diesel engines.
Roger Libby, Senior Director, Corporate Public Policy, DHL Deutsche Post, reported on green freight and alternatively-powered vehicles, which not only reduce air and noise pollution, but also produce considerable co-benefits, such as improved health.
Sheila Watson, FIA Foundation, announced new work on the role of lighter vehicles and two wheelers in addressing SLCP emissions. Gary Crawford, Vice President, Veolia, and International Solid Waste Association, announced action to reduce SLCP emissions from waste and resource management.
Kevin Fay, Executive Director, International Climate Change Partnership, and John Madyck, Chief Sustainability Officer, UTC/Carrier, reported action to reduce HFCs. Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, presented action to reduce emissions from refrigeration systems in their operations around the world.
Antoine Azar, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, explained how his organization is trying to phase out HFCs in all sales equipment. Aron Cramer, CEO, Centre for Responsible Business, announced new commitments from various business sectors on SLCPs, bringing more private sector partners to the table. Clay Nesler, Vice President, Johnson Controls, reported US$15 million investment in new technologies.
SESSION III: WAY FORWARD
The event closed with a panel considering the way forward in addressing SLCP emissions, hosted by Kate Hampton, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
Vikram Widge, Head of Climate and Carbon Finance, World Bank, presented the World Bank’s initiatives to enhance action to reduce SLCPs. Nancy Saich, Advisor, European Investment Bank, explained that the Bank has recently undertaken a stocktaking process and will soon be presenting a report identifying huge potential for reducing SLCPs.
Karen Fiorini, Arctic Council, reported on activities of the Arctic Council’s Task Force for Action on Black Carbon and Methane. Christian Friis Bach, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), shared insights from UNECE’s experience with the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, and the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme. Hanne Inger Bjurstrøm, Climate Envoy, Norway and CCAC Co-Chair, concluded the panel, underscoring that the CCAC’s work is necessary to achieve the 2°C goal. After a short discussion session, during which participants discussed EIB funding and avenues for access to private finance, Kate Hampton brought the event to a close.