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IEA Ministerial Summit: CAN Intervention by Dr. Stephan Singer

09 July 2020. The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit held today virtually brought together the ministers of countries representing over 80% of global energy demand and carbon emissions, with civil society interventions including Climate Action Network (CAN) through Dr. Stephan Singer, CAN's Senior Advisor, Global Energy Policies.

Due to technical issues and time constraints during the virtual conference, the below transcript was not delivered in full but the message remains the same: governments must not offer hand outs to the fossil fuel industry, and move towards a global phase-out of fossil fuels with the help of the IEA.


Dear ministers, governmental and other delegates and IEA. Climate Action Network (CAN), the largest global network of civil society organisations working on all aspects of climate change, thanks you for this opportunity.

CAN strongly supports a just, green and equitable economic recovery that is socially inclusive and addresses the multiple crises the world is facing.

Ministers, governments will spend several trillion USD for the recovery. This must have at its core the creation and maintenance of a resilient and robust pro-poor health system that is also preparing societies and communities for adapting to further health crisis such as those caused by growing climate change related diseases, flooding, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

These investments must support the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable, the jobless and those already impacted by the multiple crises. And they must be supported with policies that overcome the huge national and international inequalities of wealth. And let’s make sure that they assist clean, innovative and creative industries and practices to overcome the climate crisis, and do not support those forces that generated the mess we are in.

Ministers, we cannot go back to pre-CORONA times. 2019 saw the largest fossil fuel CO2 emissions ever, the world faces species extinction and ecosystems destruction on a huge scale.  Freshwater scarcity, food insecurity are reaching crisis levels.  About 4 million people die from air pollution each year.

CAN strongly objects to governments using the economic recovery to hand out money to any fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure industry, or to others that do not commit credibly to enhanced sustainability objectives in line with a Just Transition to meet the 1.5 C survival objective as enshrined in the ratified Paris Agreement.

And that means, Dear ministers, you should already be preparing for a global phase-out of fossil fuels by the mid-century at the latest as urged by science and the IPCC to avoid many irreversible climate impacts. CAN requests the IEA to provide you with tools needed for success by making a 1.5C global scenario central to your decisions.

CAN demands that the economic recovery shall significantly grow renewable energies, support energy and mineral resource conservation and efficiency with strong social and environmental safeguards in all sectors, shift all land use practices to sustainable ones, increase and ensure the protection of biodiverse ecosystems, and overcome energy poverty in developing countries in line with a Just Transition for all.

Finally, economic recovery programs by rich countries need to embrace international solidarity and allocate a “fair share” of the money to poorer developing countries for adaptation to health and climate change impacts, as well as support for clean technologies - and that should be much higher than the present development assistance.

Thank you


About Climate Action Network
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1300 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org


Expectations For Bonn

Friends, delegates:

We find ourselves at a crucial time.  A record increase in greenhouse gas emissions last year, to the highest carbon output in history, puts your target of keeping warming below 2 degrees in jeopardy.  It puts the more important temperature threshold of 1.5 degrees – the limit needed to keep the sovereignty of many small island states intact – in even more grave danger. 

Parties, delegates, this is your moment.  The threat of climate change has never been more evident; just ask the hundreds of millions of people in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa who are already experiencing a food crisis.

Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA, says that disaster can be averted, if governments heed the warning. "If we have bold, decisive and urgent action, very soon, we still have a chance of succeeding."

The decisive action you must take, delegates, is to be productive at this Bonn intersessional, set yourselves a workplan for this year, that allows substantial progress to be made at Durban.  This work includes the following:

Advance the Adaptation Committee so that it becomes a driver for promoting coherence on adaptation under the UNFCCC. Agree on a Work Programme on Loss and Damage in Bonn and a further phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. Also advance modalities and guidelines for national adaptation planning that follow an inclusive and integrated approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems.

Bonn must take concrete steps to close the gigatonne gap. The first baby step towards that end is for developed and developing countries to clarify their pledges, including their assumptions on LULUCF, AAU carry over and carbon offsets, so that we know what amount of GHGs the atmosphere will see in 2020.

Ambition in the LULUCF sector can be increased by measures that include incentivizing emissions reductions below historical levels to add to overall effort and assist with deep, early cuts and increased targets. Parties must also move to address the bioenergy / biofuels emissions accounting loophole, ensuring that all bioenergy emissions are accounted for, either in the energy or LULUCF sector.

Parties must also talk about conditions that countries have attached to the high end of their pledged ranges – how will we know when these conditions have been met?  All that done, what do developed country Parties propose to do about the fact that their pledges are (far) below the 25-40% range and in some cases even below something Kyoto 1 targets.

Developing countries should be invited to make submissions on key factors underlying their BAU projections as well as the level and form of international climate finance needed to implement NAMAs that are conditional on such finance.

REDD+ negotiations need to start promptly in Bonn on all of the subjects that were mandated in Cancun.  By the end of the year, the COP needs to be able to decide on a mechanism for REDD+ that delivers adequate, predictable and sustainable

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