Network Updates / Worldwide / 2024-05-30

Supercharging Climate Finance to Combat Super Pollutants:

There’s still time to expand our climate efforts and finally fund serious action against the super pollutants that are choking communities and warming the planet.

Shape Created with Sketch.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Reposted from CCAC

We’ve all seen the headlines: 2023 was the hottest year on record, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and more and more of our cities and urban centers are cloaked in air pollution, with devastating effects on human health.

As the world continues to hit deadly climate milestones, it’s high time we had a serious conversation on how to accelerate action to reduce often-overlooked and high-emitting super pollutants, which would provide us with the best chance of avoiding the worst of the climate crisis.

Super pollutants such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and black carbon have long been the lowest hanging fruit on our path to significantly limit warming.

And yet, although they are responsible for up to 45% of global warming, measures to reduce super pollutant emissions are dramatically under-funded, under-utilized, and under-implemented.

Take methane, which, despite being the largest contributor to global warming outside of carbon dioxide, receives merely 2% of global climate finance. Worse still, methane emissions are approximately 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet over the next 20 years, and are a precursor to tropospheric ozone, a toxic air pollutant that cloaks cities around the world with unhealthy smog while inhibiting plant growth and thereby contributing to food insecurity globally.

While COP28 made much-needed progress in unlocking climate finance, with billions of dollars committed by both the private sector and governments, this important progress has not yet fully cascaded into desperately needed funding for super pollutants.

That needs to change.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), a UN Environment Programme-convened partnership of over 160 governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations, continues to champion action on super pollutants through global advocacy and targeted support to developing countries for projects cutting super pollutants.

And the momentum is growing.

Azerbaijan, host of the upcoming COP29 in Baku, recently joined the CCAC, and is the latest signatory to the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), hinting at the key role that super pollutants might play at this year’s conference in November.

At the recent World Bank Spring Meetings, we saw calls to step up efforts to meet the gaps in funding super pollutants starting to be heard, with an announcement of a MIGA guarantee of $1 billion USD address air pollution.

This year is critical to supercharge super pollutant action. In 2025, each signatory of the Paris agreement will need to submit an updated national climate plan, or “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC), embodying efforts by each country to reduce national emissions.

Fully incorporating specific reduction targets and measures to cut super pollutants into each NDC is a step to unlock resources and connect donors to underfunded regions where action on super pollutants is needed.

Sometimes, the solutions we need aren’t flashy, but rather technical; and building country capacity to navigate and manage the NDC process will be a key part of tackling super pollutants and keeping 1.5C within reach.

To be clear, defining specific super pollutant targets in both developed and developing countries NDCs won’t be enough; these targets need to be matched with sufficient resources to turn the ambition into action. This means public and private finance to support developing countries in achieving their ambitions, and for developed economies to make good on their longstanding climate finance commitments.

And with climate finance now a flash point in the global dialogue on addressing the climate crisis, it is our responsibility to demonstrate the rapid environmental and health benefits that come with tackling super pollutants.

While we continue to decarbonize and transition towards a more just and sustainable future, supercharging climate finance for super pollutants can be our lifeboat out of the climate crisis, buying us precious time and limiting the climate impacts that are hitting us harder and harder.

We can’t afford to miss the boat.