UPDATED: Japan and European Commission join the US in coalition to accelerate HFC alternatives

By Alexandra Maratou, May 23, 2012, 13:22 3 minute reading

At the end of April 2012, Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and the European Commission, along with the World Bank, have joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), bringing the members to 13. Subsequently, during the May 2012 G8 meeting, those G8 countries that had not yet joined the Coalition, namely Germany, Italy, France, Russia and the

The coalition was launched back in February 2012, with the initial membership including Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, the United States and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "The European Commission is very pleased to join this Coalition. This initiative should complement the efforts needed under the UN climate change convention to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit global temperature increase to below 2°C".

Further momentum could in the future come from the additional five countries that attended as observers the first meeting of the Coalition on 23-24 April 2012 in Stockholm, namely Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.

All G8 countries join the Coalition and commit to advance appliance and equipment efficiency

Indeed at the May 2012 meeting of G8 countries, the United Kingdom along with Germany, Italy, France, Russia expressed their support for the aims and initiatives of the Coalition via the Camp David Declaration and agreed to join it: “Recognising the impact of short-lived climate pollutants on near-term climate change, agricultural productivity, and human health, we support, as a means of promoting increased ambition and complementary to other CO2 and GHG emission reduction efforts, comprehensive actions to reduce these pollutants, which, according to UNEP and others, account for over thirty percent of near-term global warming as well as 2 million premature deaths a year”, reads the Camp David Declaration. “Therefore, we agree to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants.” In the same declaration, the G8 countries agreed to continue efforts to address climate change and committed “to advance appliance and equipment efficiency, including through comparable and transparent testing procedures, and to promote industrial and building efficiency through energy management systems”.

Go ahead for initiative to accelerate HFC alternatives

The Coalition's first meeting in April 2012 assessed several initiatives proposed by developed and developing countries for fast and co-coordinated action on short lived climate pollutants including those that individual countries are implementing at national level.

Five initiatives were approved by Ministers for rapid implementation, including:
  • Accelerating alternatives to HFCs: 
HFCs are being rapidly introduced as replacements to chemicals that can damage the ozone layer. But HFCs are also powerful greenhouse gases. 
The Coalition aims to fast track more environmentally friendly and cost effective alternatives and technologies to avoid HFC growth.
  • Fast action on diesel emissions including from heavy duty vehicles and engines
  • Upgrading old inefficient brick kilns which are a significant source of black carbon emissions
  • Accelerating the reduction of methane emissions from landfills
  • Speeding up cuts in methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry

Formed Trust Fund includes $16.7 million in initial financing pledges

To support the Coalition’s efforts, a new Trust Fund managed by a UNEP-hosted secretariat was also agreed at the Coalition’s first meeting. 
Initial financing pledges for the Coalition now amount to some $16.7 (€12.5 million) million with more funds expected over the coming year. 

Lena Ek, the Swedish Environment Minister, said: “Sweden is committed to continue working actively with this important coalition. Furthermore we are happy to announce our contribution to the Coalition Trust Fund with 1.4 MSEK (about €156,000) for the UNEP Secretariat and 10 MSEK (about €1.1 million) to concrete projects”.

Science Advisory Panel to advise the work of the Coalition

With sound science underpinning the work of the Coalition, ministers have also asked three luminaries involved in short lived climate pollutant work to advise them on the formation of a dedicated world-class Science Advisory Panel that will provide scientific advice to the Coalition.

The advice will be provided by:
  1. Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies,
  2. Mario Molina, the distinguished Mexican chemist and
  3. 1995 Nobel Prize co-winner and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, chair of the UNEP Atmospheric Brown Cloud project based at the University of California San Diego 


By Alexandra Maratou

May 23, 2012, 13:22

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