BANGKOK, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Officials from 19 Asian countries have begun discussions on how to reduce air pollutants produced in the Asia-Pacific region, the United Nations announced.
The U.N.-backed meeting in Bangkok will focus on the reduction by those countries of short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, methane, ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons blamed for a substantial portion of global warming and detrimental effects on human health, agriculture and ecosystems, a U.N. release said Monday.
Aggressive action to reduce such pollutants in Asia could avoid 2 million premature deaths and annual crop losses of over 30 million tons each year, a study by the U.N. Environment Program said.
Asia is one of the regions that could benefit the most from pollutant reductions, the study said.
The meeting is being held under the auspices of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a voluntary global effort of 28 partner countries, inter-governmental organizations, representatives of civil society and the private sector.
"We look forward to welcoming all countries in Asia and the Pacific into the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to scale up the work and join forces with the other partners in this effort to address the challenge of short-lived climate pollutants and deliver rapid and multiple public health, food and energy security, as well as near-term climate benefits," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.