WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a program to reduce emissions of common pollutants along with five other countries, including Canada, in an effort to combat global warming.

Peter Kent, Canada's environment minister, is in the U.S. capital for the announcement and says the alliance is an important one that will "serve to reduce emissions, help counter climate change, and work towards delivering a global solution to this global problem."

The five-year initiative was prompted by the slow pace of international climate change talks. Officials from Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the United Nations Environment Program are also on hand for Clinton's announcement.

The plan is aimed at addressing short-lived pollutants like soot or black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons.

All have a significant impact on global warming, accounting for as much as 40 per cent of the problem. But unlike carbon dioxide, they have a short lifespan and do not linger in the environment for thousands of years.

If such measures were implemented worldwide, scientists say it could slow global warming by about half a degree Celsius by 2030.

The initial cash infusions from both the U.S. and Canada are modest, however.

Canada will kick in just $3 million for the launch of the program while the U.S. will contribute $12 million. It wasn't immediately known how much money the other four countries were contributing.

The United Nations Environment Program will run the project.