THE POST-COPENHAGEN ROAD
A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C.
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.
Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:
- Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
- Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
- Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
- Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement.
Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:
- Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
- Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
- There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction.
So, what does a pathway forward look like?
Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved.
August 3 - New York: The world has updated its to do list to drive solutions to our biggest problems - poverty, inequality and climate change - after the new Global Sustainable Development agenda was finalised in New York on Sunday in preparation for ratification by world leaders at a major UN summit in September. The agenda, which includes a landmark set of 17 goals, acknowledges for the first time that countries need to address climate change as a developmental challenge, decoupling growth from environmental degradation. Governments will need to raise their ambition to start delivering on these goals by producing a universal and legally binding Paris agreement on climate this December to shift to a low-carbon economy.
For the first time, these global goals acknowledge that the world can’t deal with these crises in isolation, said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK. "We can – in our generation – stamp out extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development. But with climate impacts already hitting the most vulnerable people hardest, it’s clear that we will not meet these global goals unless we take decisive action on climate change, get an ambitious and universal climate agreement with legal force in Paris and manage to address the existing emissions gap – as rightly acknowledged by the post-2015 summit outcome document agreed at the UN in New York yesterday.” Nussbaum said. “That’s why we welcome the newly minted post-2015 sustainable development framework, which features climate action as a headline goal, as well as it running through many other goals like a green thread. The new framework recognises that addressing climate change and eradicating poverty are profoundly connected.”
“Many countries will need to drastically alter policies in favour of people and planet if they take this new to do list for the planet seriously. To tackle poverty and dangerous climate change, we must urgently end the fossil fuel era and deliver 100% renewable energy for all" said Daniel Mittler, political director of Greenpeace International. "These goals will mean nothing unless governments at the Paris climate summit complete the task and agree to phase out fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy for all by 2050.”
The Sustainable Development Agenda has laid the groundwork for such a signal, according to Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network International. “In New York, this week governments have failed to acknowledge the need to have ‘a world free from harmful emissions', which is needed to address the climate challenge, but there was a strong recognition that there is a need to follow more ambitious emission reduction pathways to stay below 2 or 1.5 degrees temperature rise. Beyond these temperatures economic development will become severely hampered.”
Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at CAFOD, welcomed the progress that these new goals represent in relation to the MDGs understanding of our shared responsibility to care for our common home. “Pope Francis’ powerful statements recently have reminded us that we must stand in solidarity with the poorest people and the environment, and that we must phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy to do this. The goals alone are not a solution to our world’s problems but a stepping stone we need to build on in the climate talks in Paris and through meaningful implementation of these goals over the next 15 years. This is our responsibility for present and future generations.”
About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 110 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org
Contact: Mark Raven, CAN International, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +90 53626 88406
Dear Madam Chancellor,
2015 will be a decisive year for setting the course for climate policy. Germany is addressing the implementation of its Climate Action Program 2020 and the design of the power market while the EU is discussing how to put its emissions trading system on track again. At the international level a new global climate agreement is to be concluded at COP 21 in Paris in December. In view of this we very much welcome that “climate action” has been chosen as a key topic for the G7 agenda. Climate Action Network International, the broadest civil society coalition aiming at overcoming the climate crisis, kindly asks you to consider the following proposals for your G7 presidency.
Many countries have already started transformational processes at the national level, including increasingly basing their economic development on renewables and improved energy efficiency instead of fossil energy sources. Since renewable energies have undergone significant price declines in recent years, they have become competitive in many regions of the world thereby creating new development opportunities and expanding access to energy. These developments have to be strengthened and expanded by providing favorable political framework conditions.
In this context, the international climate negotiations play an important role. Decisions made within the context of the UNFCCC attract worldwide attention. They provide long term orientation and can give clear signals to investors that low carbon development is not only inevitable but also a real economic opportunity. During your last G8 presidency you were instrumental in defining the “2°C limit”. This has been a groundbreaking first step. We call on you to consolidate the achievements of the past during your current G7 presidency:
- Based on the L’Aquila declaration from 2009, and taking into account the G7’s particular responsibility, the G7 should make the next step and commit to a more specific and actionable long-term goal. In accordance with the high probability scenario of IPCC to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius it is necessary to phase out fossil fuel use and to phase in 100% renewable energies by 2050, providing sustainable energy access for all people.
- This long-term goal should be backed up with a substantial increase in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in the run up to 2020 as in the post-2020 period for which countries are currently making pledges that seem insufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. For example, G7 countries should commit to deadlines for phasing-out domestic use of coal.
- The G7 should confirm its commitment to the goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion in climate finance by 2020, as enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord. This should be backed with a corresponding pathway including increasing annual public contributions until 2020.
- G7 should commit to a global goal of ensuring climate resilience to all people by developing, implementing and financing developing country National Climate Adaptation Plans and respective robust and effective national and international frameworks to reduce and manage climate risks and losses that go beyond adaptation capacities. We welcome that Germany plans to enhance the G7 commitment to strengthen climate risk management in vulnerable developing countries. We ask you to ensure a strong focus on the needs of particularly vulnerable people and communities, espeically women.
However, in CAN’s opinion, initiatives taken by G7 states should not only be limited to the UNFCCC process. While the above steps could in particular support progress in the UNFCCC process, the G7 should take complementary initiatives aiming at fostering trust building between developed and developing countries by launching projects and initiatives to facilitate the transformation process towards a low carbon and climate resilient future. Therefore, we call for your support to:
- Terminate the international financing of coal and lignite fired power plants including related infrastructure through the G7's development banks, other public banks and export credit agencies.
- Initiate new or significantly strengthen existing initiatives and financing instruments to promote capacity building, technology transfer and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries with ambitious climate and energy strategies.
- Mobilize new and innovative sources of climate finance including a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
- Accelerate efforts to end subsidies for fossil fuels by 2015 in the G7 countries, which have all signed the respective G20 agreement in 2009.
Madame Chancellor, we are looking forward to further exchange views on these issues and remain at your disposal.