Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Report on the Inaugural Meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), a group of countries organized to address the short-lived climate pollutants of HFCs, black carbon, and methane, held its inaugural meeting April 23 and 24 in Stockholm, Sweden. The initiative was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in February.

Since the announcement of the CCAC, Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, the European Commission, and the World Bank, have joined the inaugural members: the United States, Canada, Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the UN Environment Programme. Several other countries, Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, were also present as interested observers that may become full partners.

At the meeting, the parties discussed 12-16 proposals for action across a number of initiatives in multiple focus areas. Of those proposals, they narrowed the list down to five areas of policy that they intend to initially work upon:

· HFCs -Accelerating alternatives to HFCs.
· Diesel emissions - Fast action on diesel emissions including from heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
· Brick Kilns - Upgrading old inefficient brick kilns that are a significant source of black carbon emissions.
· Landfill Methane - Accelerating the reduction of methane emissions from landfills.
· Oil and Gas Methane - Speeding up cuts in methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The Alliance was the only true representative of the private sector that attended the meeting, which was open to invited observers through much of the first day but subsequently closed. Though the CCAC’s press release noted the presence of “delegates from the private sector” aside from Kevin Fay the only observers were a representative from the Stockholm Environment Institute, a representative the International Council on Clean Transportation, and Durwood Zaelke, from the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Furthermore, in discussion with EPA it appears there is scant evidence that the sectors targeted by these initiatives have been fully engaged with the proposals that were presented at the meeting, or in current plans about a path forward for those proposals. This is particularly concerning because, while participation in CCAC is voluntary for any country, the proposals under discussion could ultimately include mandatory regulatory initiatives. Therefore, while voluntary for countries to participate, the initiatives will not necessarily be voluntary for affected industries once agreed to by the group.

It also appears that there has been little definitive thought invested as to how CCAC will interact with many of the other international forums addressing climate such as the UNFCCC, the Major Economies Forum, and the G-20, or to the Montreal Protocol in the case of HFCs. There is a possibility that the coalition will have a side-event at the Rio +20 meeting in Brazil in June, but it is not expected to dwell on the specifics of any of the five initiatives.

A second meeting of the CCAC will be held in Paris during July at a date to be determined.

Attached is a draft of the concept paper developed by the United States on the HFC initiative. As you will note, it focuses on “promot(ing) climate-friendly, cost-effective alternatives and technologies for new and existing equipment; minimize(ing) HFC leaks through responsible management; and encourage(ment of) recovery, recycling, reclamation, and eventual destruction of existing HFC supplies.”

During the discussion in Stockholm, the World Bank asked if this could also be expanded to include CFC destruction as a component. The United States replied that it would welcome consideration of that as part of the initiative.
The US was designated to take the lead on the HFC initiative. It will be recalled that EPA and State Department representatives had presented this as a means to promote the North American amendment proposal, however, the paper does not address this nor was it discussed during the meeting. Representatives from EPA and the State Department will be invited to a future Alliance Board meeting to discuss their plans for this initiative.

The partnership contemplates a Secretariat operating out of the UNEP IE office in Paris. Current partners have pledged $18 million to date, including $12 million from the United States towards the secretariat and to get the partnership operational.

The summary statement from the Ministerial portion of the meeting is also enclosed.

Dave Stirpe
Executive Director
Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy
2111 Wilson Blvd., 8th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201

phone: (703) 243-0344
website: www.arap.org

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