The US leads collaboration to reduce HFCs amongst other ‘short-lived pollutants’
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants to reduce methane, black carbon and HFCs in developing countries. The launch group of seven nations and the UN Environment Programme say these ‘together account for approximately one-third of current global warming, have significant impacts on public health, the environment, and world food productivity’.
They say that fast action to reduce pollutants can have a direct impact on global warming, with the potential to reduce the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5 deg C. “At the same time, by 2030, such action can prevent millions of premature deaths, while also avoiding the annual loss of more than 30 million tons of crops. Moreover, many of these benefits can be achieved at low cost and with significant energy savings.”
The new coalition is the first effort to treat these pollutants together, as a collective challenge, the partners say. The founding coalition partners are Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States, together with the UN Environment Programme.
The coalition will reduce short-lived climate pollutants by driving the development of national action plans and the adoption of policy priorities; building capacity among developing countries; mobilising public and private funds for action; raising awareness globally; fostering regional and international cooperation, and; improving scientific understanding of the pollutant impacts and mitigation.
Work on the international level is taking place through the Global Methane Initiative, the Montreal Protocol, the Arctic Council and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which was launched by Secretary Clinton in 2010.
The coalition notes that while HFCs represent a small fraction of the current total greenhouse gases (less than one per cent), many HFCs remain in the atmosphere for less than 15 years and their warming impact is particularly strong. The coalition warns that, if left unchecked, HFCs could account for nearly 20 percent of climate pollution by 2050.