Tag: G20

Open Letter to G20 Govenments

In 2015, the world took a historic step in the fight to tackle climate change. In adopting the Paris Agreement, governments jointly committed to pursuing efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5ºC above preindustrial levels, in recognition of the disastrous impacts that will affect diverse communities around the globe above these limits. The need to now take action is urgent - we are already seeing increased extreme weather events as a result of climate change.

G20 countries represent approximately 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the global population. G20 leadership on climate change is crucial, and global economic governance must be compatible with the requirements of the Paris Agreement to safeguard development against climate risks and to provide a safe future for all citizens of the world.

In July 2016, CAN developed a briefing of eight key climate demands for the G20.[1] Importantly, we call on the G20 countries to ensure that important agreements take place this year, such as at the International Civil Aviation Organization and in the Montreal Protocol, which will result in ambitious outcomes that are compatible with the Paris Agreement. At the 2016 G20 Summit, we urge all member countries to prioritize two key issues: ratification of the Paris Agreement, for expedited entry into force; and development of long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonization.

We look forward to an ambitious outcome from the 2016 G20 Summit, in which climate change is recognized not simply as an environmental problem, but as the threat to the global economy, security and sustainable development that it truly is.


CAN Briefing: G20 Key Demands, July 2016

In December 2015, the G20, as part of the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC, committed to a historic global agreement to address climate change and pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, so as to mitigate the harmful effects on the world’s people, biodiversity and the global environment.

According to the IPCC, the global carbon budget consistent with a 66% chance of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5ºC will be used up by 2021 if we carry on under current projections. For any fair likelihood of meeting the Paris temperature targets, our collective mitigation efforts need to be multiplied as soon as possible. Otherwise, our countries and economies will face severe impacts of unstoppable climate change, including social, environmental and economic instability. In recent years, we have seen the G20 countries take more serious notice of the role that climate change plays on its overall objectives, in particular its objective to promote financial stability. G20 leadership on climate change is extremely important since the greenhouse gas emissions of the G20 member countries account for approximately 81% of total global emissions. It is therefore imperative that the G20 countries start collaborating immediately on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, using their influence, to develop a consensus-building approach and focus on financial stability to drive stronger action on climate change.

Climate Action Network has eight key demands for the G20:

  • Ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible; 
  • Develop and communicate interim National Long-term Strategies for Sustainable Development and Decarbonization by 2018; 
  • Achieve an ambitious outcome on HFC phase-down this year;
  • Introduce mandatory climate-risk disclosure for investments; 
  • Remove fossil-fuel subsidies;
  • Accelerate renewable energy initiatives towards 100% RE; 
  • Ensure that new infrastructure is pro-poor and climate compatible;
  • Support effective ambition for international aviation and shipping.

CAN Briefing Paper: G20 Recommendations, November 2015

Held only two weeks before the UNFCCC COP21, the G20 Summit presents a unique opportunity to strengthen international confidence and momentum towards an ambitious climate agreement in Paris and to show commitment to low-emission and climate-resilient development by the biggest economies in the world.

Climate Action Network identified three key issues G20 countries need to assume a leadership role to send strong signals to Paris:

- Climate Finance
- Adaptation and Loss & Damage
- Emission reduction and economic transformation

Dear Mr. Prime Minister...

In a disappointing and disheartening plenary session today, the Brazilian chair adopted the watered down draft text to be taken to world leaders tomorrow to formally adopt. As delegations clapped away at our failed future, civil society loudly protested from the back of the plenary hall. 

As a last attempt to salvage this summit, civil society has united its efforts to write a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the G20 Summit calling for an urgent intervention to deliver ambition at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The letter highlights that the draft text is severely lacking in ambition, urgency and political will. Countries are reluctant to commit to a bolder agenda largely because they do not believe that the money can be found to deliver the transition to a fair, prosperous and sustainable world for all.

Civil society is calling on the UK, as a member of G8, G20, UN Security Council and the European Union, to take matters into their own hands and be pioneers in this endeavor to save the planet and forge an international agreement on tackling global inequalities. To do this, three commitments are needed to transform this summit.

  1. Phase out harmful fossil fuel subsidies, with safeguards for the world poorest communities.  Commitments to begin such a process were made by the G20 at their meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009 and again in Toronto in 2010, but with almost no progress to date. Developed countries spend around $100bn a year in subsidies and tax breaks to prop up fossil fuel production, according to the OECD.
  1. Introduce a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) which has been proven by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and independent studies to be a credible, effective and development friendly tax. It is a hugely popular idea, supported by 63% of European citizens and more than 1000 economists, and could raise at least $400bn a year.
  1. Stop multinationals dodging their taxes. This would generate an extra $160 billion a year in tax revenues in poor countries alone. This is money that these companies already owe but which they are not paying.

The biggest impediment to means of implementation and finance is that the money isn’t there, but as shown above, the money is clearly there and can be easily freed up and utilized. Strong political will and even stronger leadership is needed now to push these negotiations to deliver a safe and prosperous world for everyone.

Related Newsletter : 

Finding the Finance

ECO is pleased to see the discussions on long-term finance in Panama finishing on a better note than they started. Too many hours in Panama were lost as developed countries pondered whether there was a need to even discuss how to mobilize the money they committed in Cancun. At one stage one developed country party even seemed to query what climate finance was.

 Let’s hope all that is now water under the bridge (or through the Panama canal). Yesterday the EU joined their partners in AOSIS, the Africa Group, India and Saudi Arabia in submitting text on long-term finance. As ECO goes to press, there is news that Japan and even the US are bringing their own ideas to the table. That sounds like consensus on the need to negotiate a package on long-term finance in Durban. The homework countries face until then, is what that package will contain.

Two upcoming meetings in the meantime may give them some ideas. First, the final session of the Transitional Committee will start to clarify the ambition of the Green Climate Fund. Many developed countries have said they are waiting to hear more about the contours of the fund being created before committing the resources that will ensure it is not an empty shell. ECO hopes that the final meeting will again capture the imagination of governments North and South. The world needs a new kind of fund to meet the climate challenge and spur commitments at the scale of resources needed.

Second, G20 finance ministers and leaders will discuss the report they requested from the World Bank and IMF on sources of long-term climate finance. The leaked preliminary report indicated an encouraging analysis of the potential to raise large sums from the international shipping sector, without hitting the economies of developing countries. ECO was told the report will show that a $25 per tonne carbon price will increase the costs of global trade by just 0.2%, while generating around $25 billion per year. ECO was particularly pleased to hear that the World Bank and IMF have found that it is possible to compensate developing countries by directing a portion of these revenues to them, ensuring they face no net incidence as a result of these measures. That would be a unique international solution to the high and rising emissions of a unique international sector.

ECO has never questioned the legitimacy of the UNFCCC process to take the final decisions on questions such as sources of finance. But any responsible country that is serious about generating the scale of resources so urgently needed – especially by the poorest countries – will not ignore such strong evidence to help do that.

So ECO leaves Panama with cautious optimism on the finance track. Countries have finally come together to negotiate text. With the inputs they will receive from the Transitional Committee meeting and the G20, there is every chance they can arrive in Durban ready to strike the real deal on long-term finance that developing countries need.


Charting a new course on shipping emissions

Panama could not be a more fitting place to reboot the negotiations on controlling the high and rising emissions from international shipping. Last month’s G20 finance ministers’ discussions on raising climate finance from international transport suggest there is a huge opportunity to do so.

The magnificent sight of the Panama canal is a reminder of the scale of emissions from the international maritime fleet. Shipping is already responsible for 3% of global emissions – more than those of Germany, and twice those of Australia. Without urgent action, emissions could triple by 2050, likely ruining any chance of keeping global warming below the 2°C target agreed in Cancun, let alone the 1.5C target needed. Tackling the emissions from this sector is a vital part of the efforts needed to close the emissions gap.

A step in the right direction was taken this June when governments in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) established energy efficiency design standards for new ships. But welcome though this was, it will only reduce shipping emissions by around 1% below business-as-usual levels by 2020.

It is clear that weak efficiency standards alone are not enough. A carbon price for shipping is needed to drive emission cuts at the scale needed – applied either through a bunker fuel levy or the auctioning of emissions allowances in a new sectoral emissions trading scheme.

As the preliminary report of the World Bank and IMF shows, a carbon price of $25 per tonne would raise the cost of global trade by approximately 0.2% - or $2 for every $1000 traded – and would raise $26 billion per year by 2020. The report suggests that to make a global agreement stick, this revenue should be used to compensate developing countries for the economic impact of higher shipping costs – ensuring they face no net incidence as a result – and as climate finance.

Even after some revenues are used as compensation, this should still leave at least $10 billion per year to be directed to the Green Climate Fund. That would be a significant step towards the $100 billion per year that developed countries have promised to mobilise by 2020, which – unlike Fast Start Finance pledged to date – should be genuinely new and additional to existing promises of development assistance.

The World Bank and IMF report shows the way to a new approach to tackling shipping emissions which Parties meeting in Panama must seize. Building on the work in the G20, a decision in Durban on the key principles of this approach would give the IMO all the guidance needed to get to work on designing and implementing a scheme that delivers a double dividend for the climate. By helping to close the emissions gap, and fill the Green Climate Fund, such a deal on could be a flagship of success in Durban.

Four C

Lina Li
Shanshui Conservation Center

Chinese people like simplifying things. So I'd like to use four key words (all of which initial with initial C) to take you through a brief update at what we (the Chinese NGOs) are doing in China to combat climate change.

1. China
It might be too early to say it is another climate year in China since Copenhagen. But for sure there are a lot going on within China now regarding climate policy-the air is heating up (or let's say cooling down, since we are reducing more GHG emissions?:)

      1) 12th FYP
Five year plan (FYP) is the macro economic and social development plan that the central government issues every five years which sets the direction for the country with specific targets. This March, Beijing launched the 12th FYP (2011-2015). Building on the energy intensity target of 11th FYP (as 20% reduction of 2010 compared to 2005), it includes three key quantitative targets related to climate: energy intensity (reduction rate of 16%), carbon intensity (of 17%) -- both with 2010 as baseline, and increase the renewables in the overall primary energy consumption to 11.4% from the current, little more than 8%.

It also marks the first time that in our FYP, there is a dedicated chapter on climate change, with three sub-sector: adaptation, mitigation and international cooperation. It's not called 'energy security', nor 'low carbon development' , it is called the 'climate change' sector. This shows that climate change is at the center point of China's domestic policy.

      2) Programs and projects
The targets look motivating, but can be also pointless without solid implementation plans. There have been quite concrete projects and programs to meet the above targets. The 'five Provinces and eight cities program' selected 13 cities and provinces all over China to develop low carbon plans and its supporting policy framework, including climate change work on local strategy, educating the public on green lifestyles and setting-up measurement system of GHG emissions. 100 cities have been piloted as renewable showcase cities. Grid companies are asked to take measures to reduce electricity usage by customers by 0.3% compared to last year (Demand Side Management). And Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Hunan have been selected to test emissions trading scheme with the expectation to launch by 2013 and roll out by 2015. The '10 cities and 1000 vehicles' program is set to support electric vehicle promotions.

      3) Climate Change Law
The NDRC is also drafting the first climate change legislation in China, aiming to finish the first draft by early 2012 to the being latest 2013 (overall timeline is 2011-2015). Many crosscutting issues are planned to include in this so-called 'practice-oriented' law such as institutional structure, emission trading, CCS, low carbon development. Public consultation is also on-going.

2. Climate
     1) Working together – CCAN
Chinese NGOs do have difficulties regarding vague legal status, lack of resources, and sometimes capacity. But many NGOs (typically environmental ones) have been working on various issues related to climate in through approaches. Realizing 'together we are stronger', we have been working together centered around CCAN for several years. Building on the collaborations over Tianjin and Cancun last year, this spring the NGOs sat together to reflect what we have done and discussed how we could work together better. Two working groups were formed since then - one on policy and one on action. And the policy working group came up with a concrete yearlong plan with scoping of NGO competence, study group (capacity building scheme), working on COP and climate law, etc. We have held regular meetings and online discussions to progress our planned work.

      2) Interaction with the government
In the past, Chinese NGOs, especially grassroots, focused our work primarily on campaigning (influencing the public and communities to act on climate change) and policy was an area we did not cover much due to political sensitivity and our own capacity gap. Hence the interaction with government was also somehow hidden in our work (not in a regular, coordinated and effective manner). The climate topic gives us a golden opportunity (since the government is more and more open to the NGOs regarding this topic). We've (by we I mean not only Chinese NGOs but also international NGOs working in China like Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, etc) been holding regular meetings collectively with NDRC to exchange our views and seek ways to enhance our policy work. The last one was held last week on the topic of climate change law. For us this journey has just started, but is definitely challenging and interesting.

3. COP
     1) COP working plan
We are planning to continue the regular policy working group meeting monthly as well as interacting with the government regularly. A 'China day' event has been planned before Durban to showcase the NGO work. A filming campaign is also set to record stories from all over China from bottom-up work on climate issues. Exchanges with international NGOs (e.g the Europeans) are also planned.  

     2) RIO+20 working plan
Rio+20, to be held next year, will focus on the green economy under the background of poverty eradication and sustainable development. This is highly linked with our climate work. Three working streams have been identified: following negotiations and policy advocacy, collaborating with international NGOs, and review and assessment of China's 21st century agenda implementation from the NGO perspective.

4. C+
A bigger plan is under way, which could set our work within a bigger framework to increase our impact, streamline our direction, and support a stronger voice. We call it C+ in light of 'beyond COP, beyond Climate and beyond China', aiming at mobilizing all citizens, the business sector, schools, communities, etc. to do more than what the governments have plagued.

The South Capacity Building program of CAN offers me a great chance, at this crucial moment, for international negotiation and also for China's domestic green pathway building up, to learn, to network, to connect Chinese NGOs (especially our policy work) with CAN, and to expand the cooperation.

For sure, there is a long way to go, both for myself and Chinese NGOs, but I am confident Bonn would be a nice step forward.

Fast-Start Disclosure

ECO is in shock!  Are we really witnessing a race to the top for the transparency of fast start finance?

After months of pestering developed countries about fast-start disclosure, the United States – a country not known for its climate leadership – says it will disclose so much information that the Dutch fast start finance website will put up ‘under construction’ signs. 

Todd Stern stated at the finance meeting in Geneva that the US would undertake a ‘very detailed document’, much to the shock (and possibly horror) of its Umbrella Group colleagues. 

ECO understands the US will proudly announce that much of its fast-start finance is ‘new and additional’.  That’s easy to do when your previous climate finance contributions are close to zero.  On the other hand, this doesn’t help the comparison of additionality of different rich country contributions.  Only a fair common baseline across all contributing countries will allow that.  What’s actually additional gets even more complicated because the US seems ready to double-count funds for its G8 Food Security commitment towards its fast start package.

If the EU wants to call itself a climate finance leader, a common baseline to measure ‘new and additional’ is a real test of its conviction, and would pressure other rich countries to follow suit.  That’s the race to the top these talks actually need.   ECO would like to remind parties that disclosure and transparency is the first step towards creating accountability and confidence.

Whilst the EU worries about being put in the shade by the US report, they have an opportunity to reclaim their leadership on climate finance by agreeing internally a fair and common baseline for additionality and proposing it for adoption by all parties in Cancun.  ECO understands the EU has considered a common baseline proposal to be included in the EU Fast Start Finance report which could nudge the US to the same starting position.  We’ll know when that report is finalised by mid-November.

Finally, developed countries have no leg to stand on regarding MRV of actions if they cannot be transparent in their support.  We will know more in Cancun about US and EU commitment to transparency of both sources and uses of their fast start
finance, and that will be the time to check in on whether the Brollies have taken heed as well.  So stay tuned to your fast start finance channel right here in ECO!

Related Newsletter : 

G8/G20 Conference - June 2010

In this year's meeting, the G8 leaders agreed in reaffirming the group's essential and continuing role in international affairs and "assertions of new-found relevance." The 2010 G-20 Toronto Summit is the fourth meeting of the G-20 heads of government, primarily to discuss the global financial system and the world economy, which took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during June 26–27, 2010.


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