ccac_who_unep_igsd24 July 2015: The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), and the World Bank co-sponsored a side event focused on how fast mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) could contribute to the post-2015 development agenda and the fulfillment of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event took place on 24 July 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, alongside the seventh session in the intergovernmental negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda.

Nathan Borford-Parnell, CCAC, moderated the event and highlighted delegates’ comments during the negotiations on the interrelated nature of sustainable development and the need to be innovative in implementing the post-2015 agenda.

Drew Shindell, Duke University and CCAC, explained that SLCPs include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and cause both climate change and air pollution. He said reducing SLCPs would contribute to reaching several of the SDGs, including on consumption and production, health, water and poverty. As an example of the integrated nature of reduced SLCP emissions on reaching the SDGs, Schindell said shifting from traditional cooking stoves in developing countries would lead to better ambient and outdoor air quality, and less violence against women, who would not have to collect fuel far from their homes.

Shindell noted that approximately 400 emissions control measures are in place to reduce SLCPs, and called to continue this work through ensuring worldwide implementation of specific measures to reduce the black carbon, methane and HFCs. He also highlighted the regionally uneven implications of SLCPs and the negative effects of SLCP emissions on plants and the agricultural sector.

Werner Obermeyer, UNEP, emphasized the increasing negative health impacts related to SCLP emissions. He said a more plant-based diet and methane-reducing changes in food production are key to reducing SCLP emissions. Obermeyer highlighted: the WHO General Assembly’s recent adoption of a resolution on better ambient air quality; and the World Bank, UNEP and WHO’s establishment of a global platform on air pollution and health, which they see as “cutting across several of the SDGs.” Obermeyer also called for strengthening targets under SDGs 2 (food security), 7 (energy) and 11 (cities).

Jamil Ahmad, UNEP, said reducing air pollution generates multiple benefits in terms of food security and health improvements, and that “if these are left unattended it would be a big stumbling block for sustainable development, the SDGs and for us to live within the boundaries of our planet.” He emphasized the detrimental long-term implications of SCLPs on climate change.

Gary Kleinman, World Bank, said the SDGs related to SLCPs have a special priority for the Bank, namely: Goals 1 (poverty), 2 (hunger), 3 (health), 7 (energy), 11 (cities), 13 (climate), and 17 (global partnership). Kleinman drew attention to the World Bank’s ‘Black Carbon Finance Study Group Report 2015,’ which reviews strategies to mitigate black carbon. He added that reducing black carbon is instrumental in curbing climate change and improving public health.

Kleinman also mentioned the World Bank’s Methane Pilot Auction Facility as an innovative approach to climate financing, from which lessons can be learned about how to restart projects following the collapse of carbon prices. [IISD RS Sources] [IISD RS Coverage of Seventh Session] [WHO Webpage on Air Pollution] [Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation]