HIGH-level government officials, policymakers, environmental experts and industrial stakeholders from 15 countries converged in Africa for the first time last week, in a bid to identify ways of reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) from the continent.
SLCPs are substances emitted into the atmosphere as a result of human activities which have impacts on climate change and adverse implications for public health and agricultural productivity. Implementing measures to substantially reduce concentrations of methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone in the atmosphere would have substantial and immediate health, crop yield and other environmental benefits for Africa.
In addition, their reduction, along with reductions in the emissions of many HFCs, would help reduce near-term warming and climate impacts across Africa and globally over the next few decades.
At a global scale it is clear that these actions need to be complemented by deep and rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions if global mean temperature increase over the 21st century is to be held below 2°C. Therefore, addressing SLCPs is not an alternative to CO2 reduction but is very important regarding warming over the next few decades.
Hosted by the Environment Ministries of Ghana and Nigeria with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, CCAC, the African Climate Policy Centre, ACPC, and the UN Environment Programme UNEP, the three-day event addressed the critical need for national actions to address the SLCPs and consequently mitigation of their impacts. Countries who took part besides the hosts, Ghana and Nigeria, include Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Malawi, Senegal, Togo and Zimbabwe.
Municipal waste management
“Addressing the issue of SLCPs, will foster achievement of MDGs and their successors, specifically issues of health, food security, municipal waste management, access to cleaner cooking and energy access.’’ said Ghana Environment Minister Sherry Ayittey. “Action on SLCPs will help Africans to achieve development goals in a sustainable way, for example, by combatting the negative impact of indoor air pollution, especially on women and children’’.
Under the chairmanship of Ms. Bahijjahtu Abubakar of Nigeria and Prof. Youba Sokona of ACPC, participants will explore methods of SLCP reduction for African nations such as promoting best practices and showcasing successful efforts for the reduction of black carbon from cookstoves, oil and gas flaring, and transport, and the reduction of methane emissions from fossil fuel production and from the agricultural and waste sectors.