There is a growing sense of urgency about the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift economic systems away from fossil fuels and onto low-carbon pathways. At the same time, many countries are struggling with severe air pollution, particularly in urban areas, which is harming human health and damaging crops and ecosystems. There is also growing interest in addressing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – such as methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – to slow near-term climate change.

Synergies between these three issues have long been recognized, but there has been little integration of efforts to address them. A second key challenge is that decision-makers, particularly in developing countries, lack crucial data on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, pollutant concentrations, impacts, trends, and the costs and benefits of different policy options. This makes it hard to identify and prioritize measures, or to make the case for coordinated action.

The SEI Initiative on Low Emission Development Pathways (LED-P) aims to help bridge this gap by providing decision-makers with the tools and knowledge they need to consider these issues together. It is creating an integrated research programme, along with easy-to-use planning and analytical tools. These tools will be backed by hands-on training, synthesis of the latest research, and data to support decision-making. We are also conducting new research to fill knowledge gaps and answer pressing questions that arise in policy and planning discussions.

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