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FEATURE STORY

World Bank Joins Climate and Clean Air Coalition

April 24, 2012

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The World Bank has joined a growing coalition of international partners working to fast-track action on reducing black carbon, methane, and HFCs
  • Members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition announced five new initiatives toward those efforts
  • The new members — Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, the European Commission, and the World Bank — joined Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States and the UN Environment Programme in the coalition

The World Bank has joined a growing coalition of international partners working to fast-track action on reducing black carbon, methane, and a range of fluorinated gases called HFCs, substances that scientific research indicates trigger wide-ranging damage to health, climate, and crops.

Members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, meeting in Stockholm in parallel with the Stockholm +40 International Conference on Sustainable Development, announced five new initiatives toward those efforts on April 24 and introduced six new partners in the coalition.

"This is the most important decade for action on climate change,” said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.

“The Climate and Clean Air Coalition puts a practical new deal on the table — one that helps slow global warming while reducing the soot and smog that is damaging food crops and health worldwide, undermining growth and development."

Fast action to reduce the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) can have a direct impact on climate change, with the potential to reduce warming by up to 0.5 degrees C by 2050, help keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees C, and help address the rapid melting of Arctic ice and glaciers, such as the Himalayas.

Open Quotes

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition puts a practical new deal on the table – one that helps slow global warming while reducing the soot and smog that is damaging food crops and health worldwide, undermining growth and development. Close Quotes

Rachel Kyte, Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank

Rachel Kyte
Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank

The coalition meeting assessed about a dozen initiatives proposed by developed and developing countries for fast and federated action on short lived climate pollutants, including many happening already at the national level.

The delegates took forward five to be approved for rapid implementation by the ministers:

  • Fast action on diesel emissions including from heavy duty vehicles and engines.
    Studies show that reductions are possible by addressing emissions from the freight transportation supply chain, through city action plans, and adoption of a range of measures for reducing sulphur in fuels and vehicle emissions.

  • Upgrading old inefficient brick kilns, a significant source of black carbon emissions.
    Mexico has for example 20,000 small and medium-sized brick kilns and the design of many of the 6,000 in Bangladesh hark back to the 1900s.

  • Accelerating the reduction of methane emissions from landfills.
    World-wide the waste management sector contributes about 11% of global methane emissions, and the coalition will work with cities to reduce methane emissions from landfills by improving strategic municipal solid waste planning and providing technical assistance.

  • Speeding up cuts in methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry.
    Natural gas venting and leakage from the oil and gas industry accounts for over one fifth of global man-made emissions of methane: Flaring at oil installations generate both methane and black carbon emissions. An estimated one third of leaks and venting can be cut using existing technologies at low cost.

  • Accelerating alternatives to HFCs.
    HFCs are being rapidly introduced as replacements to chemicals that can damage the ozone layer — the Earth’s protective shield that filters out hazardous ultra violet light. But HFCs are also powerful greenhouse gases.

They also agreed on a new trust fund with initial pledges of about $16.7 million, to be managed by the UNEP-hosted secretariat, to support the coalition’s work. And they discussed additional initiatives – including a proposal by Ghana on agricultural/forest open burning and a proposal by Bangladesh on cook stoves – that are to be further developed over the coming weeks.

"From multi-billion dollar investments in clean energy each year to climate-smart solutions for agriculture and cities, the Bank already targets short-term environmental pollutants in developing countries through our lending, data and evidence based knowledge sharing and technical assistance," Kyte said. "We can achieve even more by working as a coalition.”

The new members — Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, the European Commission, and the World Bank — join Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States and the UN Environment Programme in the coalition, which was launched in February.

Five other countries — Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom along with delegates from the private sector also attended as observers at this week’s meeting to learn about the coalition’s plans.