President Obama announced Saturday at the conclusion of the G8 Summit at Camp David, Maryland that the G8 leaders have committed to cutting short-lived climate pollutants to mitigate near-term climate change, save lives, and improve crop yields, and have joined the new Climate and Clean Air Coalition for Reducing Short Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC).
The G8 leaders committed to taking comprehensive action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants as a compliment to reducing CO2, describing the new effort as a means to promote “increased mitigation ambition” to protect the climate. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to limit the increase in global temperatures to less than 2°C over pre-industrial levels, to phase-out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies over the medium term, and to increase food security. They also expressed strong support to implement the Cancun agreements and the Durban Platform, which calls for the adoption of a new climate protocol by 2015, to come into force by 2020.
“The President’s announcement puts the short-lived climate pollutant strategy where it belongs—firmly in the hands of the leaders of the world’s largest economies,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “The Climate and Clean Air Coalition focuses on fast-action climate mitigation that can be done today with existing technologies by willing partners, and takes a solution-oriented approach that is showing the world that it’s possible to start meeting the climate challenge.”
Zaelke added, “The strategy to reduce short-lived climate pollutants not only reduces a major part of climate pollution, save millions of lives a year, and increase food security, but it also builds the momentum and confidence we need to successfully manage carbon dioxide from energy production, which is essential for keeping the Planet’s long term temperature increase to an acceptable level.”
Short-lived climate pollutants include black carbon soot, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons, which are factory-made gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning and the fastest growing climate pollutant in the U.S.
Reducing the short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of climate change in half and in the Arctic by two-thirds for the next 30 to 40 years, according to a recent assessment by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization carried out by more than 50 of the world’s leading climate scientists.
The G8 also commissioned the World Bank to prepare a report on ways to integrate reductions of short-lived climate pollutants into their activities and to assess funding options for methane reductions.
The Coalition was first announced in February by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and until today was made up of 13 members from both developing and developed countries including: the US, Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Japan, Bangladesh, Sweden, Norway, Nigeria, Colombia, the World Bank, European Commission, and UNEP.
The addition of the other G8 members including Russia, Italy, France, the UK, and Germany, brings the Coalition up to 18 members.