Tag: emissions gap

Climate Action Network comments on the release of the UNEP Emissions Gap report

Wednesday, November 19, 2014: The release of UNEP's Fifth Emissions Gap report today has added to the growing number of voices, including those of the 900 NGOS working together in Climate Action Network, which are calling for governments to scale up climate action to achieve a phase out of carbon pollution to zero by mid-century.

Today's report comes on the back of another blockbuster report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report which was released on November 1 and endorsed by governments. It said that the only way our economies can still prosper is if we both phase out fossil fuel pollution entirely and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The UNEP report makes plain that if governments scale up climate action now, they will unlock the benefits of action for their communities, such as better public health, more secure livelihoods and a reduction in poverty.  

The concept of a global carbon budget shared by all nations - put forward by both the IPCC and UNEP - and the bold NGO call for phasing down emissions to zero by 2050 have now both been added to new draft negotiating texts for the international agreement to limit climate change due to be finalized in December 2015 in Paris.

At the major UN climate negotiations in Lima next month, governments can support these concepts in the text as way to guide collective climate action.  They can sign off on a platform that would support countries to roll out more renewable energy, invest in energy efficiency and build smarter ways of powering our lives.

In early 2015, governments will table a commitment to take climate action which will speed up the ongoing transition of our economies away from reliance on fossil fuels that drive climate change and towards 100% renewable energy - a shift more and more citizens, businesses, investors and scientists are demanding and driving.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568

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All eyes on Germany as incoming government mulls EU climate targets

Open letter from global civil society calls on German party leaders to harness Energiewende spirit

[Warsaw, PolandNovember 19, 2013] –  Civil society organisations gathered in Warsaw for the United Nations climate conference (COP19) today sent letters to German Chancellor and CDU party leader Angela Merkel, SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who are in the middle of negotiations to form a coalition government for Germany.

85 groups and networks, representing citizens from around the world, are concerned that the coalition negotiations will result in weak climate targets. Given Germany’s key role in the EU, this would send a bad signal for the bloc’s impending decisions on 2030 climate and clean energy targets. European Heads of States are scheduled to address the issue in March 2013.

“As representatives of worldwide civil society, we are writing this letter from Warsaw today to urge you to show true leadership on climate policy”, said the letter, applauding Germany’s inspiring example of Energiewende.

Groups are urging the coalition negotiators to support European climate targets that would make a fair and adequate contribution to the global efforts of preventing catastrophic climate change, while putting the EU on track to become a climate friendly economy. 

A domestic EU reduction in carbon pollution of at least 55% by 2030 below 1990 levels is needed. This must be combined with ambitious and binding renewable energy and energy consumption targets. The 40% target, which is currently being floated in the coalition talks, is completely inadequate, and could imply only 33% domestic cuts, due to all the extra emission allowances in the EU emission trading scheme. Even the conservative-led UK government is advocating for a target of 50% by 2030. As for action on national level, the letter calls for a climate change act that uses binding climate and energy targets of the Energiewende as a framework for innovation. 

Ten days ago, the Philippines was hit with one of the world’s worst typhoons in recorded history, killing thousands, injuring many thousands more and displacing 4 million people. It was a grim reminder of the “weather on steroids” that climate change is causing. And it’s not just the Philippines.

Quotes:

“The emission gap is growing and growing while people in Kenya suffer from drought-caused decreasing agricultural yields every year. Please don't wait any longer and agree to the emission cuts necessary”, says ACT Alliance spokesman Votumniko Chinoko, Kenya

“If there are no drastic emission cuts, climate consequences look devastating for Latin America,” says Ariel Chavez from Diaconia Bolivia.

 “The people in Bangladesh are being forced to shoulder huge economic and social costs caused by climate change. To me it is an injustice when mitigation measures are continuously delayed and watered down”, says Mr Shamsuddoha from Center for Participatory Research and Development in Bangladesh.

“We need countries, which inspire the global transformation of our energy systems. Germany could and should do this. The world is watching you,” the letter concludes.

 

Contact:

For more information or for one-on-one interviews with CAN Director Wael Hmaiadn, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries.

 

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Where There's a Gap, There's a Way

ECO was pleasantly surprised by the tenor of interventions at the ADP roundtable on ambition Saturday. There was widespread acknowledgement that, as things currently stand, we are not on track for limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Many Parties lamented the lack of pre-2020 ambition, with one bright spark noting that failure to take decisive action in the short term has ominous implications for the post-2020 process.

In the words of one delegation “there is a serious gap”. This echoes what scientists have been telling us for some time now. In its “Bridging the Emissions Gap” report published at the end of 2011, UNEP undertook a systematic assessment of the size of what we should by rights be calling the Multi-Gigatonne Gap, concluding that it is in the range of 6-11 Gt.

So even under the most conservative assessment, which assumes perfect implementation of countries’ current pledges, the world is on a pathway to emit 50 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent per year by 2020, instead of the needed 44 gigatonnes or less. This analysis is backed up by a whole host of studies, so it seems the science is pretty solid. We think the sheer scale of the gap should have countries setting up Emergency Emissions Reductions Crisis Centres (ECO would abbreviate them EEKKs! if it were in charge).

One reason for optimism is that as huge as the Multi-Gigatonne Gap is, UNEP estimates that emission reductions of between 14 to 20 Gt of CO2-equivalent are possible by 2020 and without any significant technical or financial breakthroughs needed. What is more, the costs incurred by these reductions would not be prohibitive. That sounds like a win-win situation to us.

So what exactly can countries do to stave off impending global meltdown (unfortunately, we are not talking figuratively here)? As it turns out, there’s rather a large menu of options to choose from. Many actions could be implemented with immediate effect, using existing frameworks outside the UNFCCC. The phase out of HFCs is an excellent case in point. Agreeing to a consumption and production phase-out of these super greenhouse gases under the Montreal Protocol, with cost-effective alternatives made available to developing countries, would avoid a whopping 88-140 gigatonnes/CO2e emissions by 2050 at a very reasonable price – the near-term emissions savings would also be sizeable. This approach was recently endorsed by the nations of the world at the Rio+20 Conference – all it would take now is for Parties to the UNFCCC to do the same, thereby freeing themselves up to tackle other challenges.

Other, equally crucial initiatives countries should undertake include addressing international emissions from aviation and shipping, which together account for a massive 5% of global CO2 emissions, abolishing fossil fuel subsidies and closing the huge loopholes in the current commitments (did you know that up to 13 billion surplus AAUs could make their way into the Kyoto Protocol’s next commitment period?) to name but a non-exhaustive few.

With such a long shopping list of potential measures to chose from, there really is no excuse for inaction.

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