The U.S. has roped in Bangladesh and four other nations under a new six-country global initiative to combat climate change, protect health, improve agricultural productivity and strengthen energy security.
Announcing the ‘Climate and Clean Air Coalition’ here, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world has not done enough to fight climate change and the coalition of the United States, Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Sweden and Ghana will work to curb black carbon, methane and hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs).
Ms. Clinton said the U.S. will contribute USD 12 million to the initiative to spread practical ideas and practices.
This coalition — the first international effort of its kind — will conduct a targeted, practical, and highly energetic global campaign to spread solutions to the short-lived pollutants worldwide, she said.
It will mobilise resources, assemble political support, help countries develop and implement a national action plan, raise public awareness, and reach out to other countries, companies, NGOs and foundations.
Describing climate change as one of the most serious and complex problems facing the world, she said it impacted “global security, global economy, global food and water supplies, and the health and well-being of people everywhere.”
“And we know that in the principal effort necessary to reduce the effects of carbon dioxide, the world has not yet done enough. So when we discover effective and affordable ways to reduce global warming — not just a little, but by a lot — it is a call to action,” she said.
She pointed out that more than one-third of current global warming is caused by short—lived pollutants. They also destroy millions of tonnes of crops every year and wreak havoc on people’s health.
“Millions die annually from constantly breathing in black carbon soot that comes from cook—stoves in their own homes, from diesel cars and trucks on their roads, from the open burning of agricultural waste in their fields,” she noted.
“By focusing on these pollutants — how to reduce them and, where possible, use them for energy — we can have local and regional effects that people can see and feel,” she said.
Ms. Clinton noted that the U.N. Environment Programme has determined that reducing these pollutants can slow global warming by up to a half degree Celsius by 2050. To put that into context, the world’s goal is to limit the rise in global temperature to two degrees. So a half a degree, or 25 per cent, is significant, she said.