Tag: Agenda 2030

Forget Forecasting and Back Backcasting

We’re all familiar with forecasts. There’s not much to be done if you’ve planned your Sunday picnic when it’s set to rain. All that’s left is hoping, often in vain, that rain will turn into shine. Let’s flip this idea of looking into the future on its head. Instead of forecasting what is likely to happen, how about backcasting? If we know where we want to be, we can work backwards and plan how to get there!

Tackling climate change and enabling sustainable development dominated global negotiations last year. Successfully addressing these interconnected, mutually dependent challenges is essential, via the development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation.

So let’s put backcasting into practice: we first need to know where we want to be. In Paris, countries agreed to pursue efforts to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. To achieve this, a global phasing out of fossil fuels and phasing in of 100% renewable energy will be required by 2050, if not well before. By working back from 2050 to now, we can plan our path to get there individually and collectively, ensuring that we have time to change tracks if needed. The development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation will provide us essential guidance on the impact of our current policy-making decisions., It is likely to show that achieving our long-term goals will require taking urgent action now. The more we raise our ambition in the short-term, the less steep emissions curbs will need to be in the future. See the logic?

For governments, backcasting through ambitious long-term strategies represents a significant opportunity to assess and plan for how their development needs and priorities fit. Furthermore, the resulting policies are likely to provide several co-benefits, while also contributing to countries’ fulfilment of both the aims of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of the 17 SDGs. Long-term planning will avoid locking in high carbon infrastructure and send a strong signal to the private sector, creating a positive policy framework for businesses to make informed decisions for shifting financial flows to climate-friendly investments.  

Recent discussions at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development show that political momentum is building in the recognition of the need to address these challenges synergistically. The Paris Agreement requires long-term strategies to be delivered by 2020, but several countries have indicated they will deliver sooner than this. Between now and the facilitative dialogue at COP24 in 2018, there is a real opportunity to ramp up global ambition on climate change.


Related Event: 

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.

The Right Agriculture (Workshop) Inputs

Before the SBSTA agriculture workshops, ECO wants to remind Parties that nearly 800 million people are chronically hungry. With over 75% of the world’s poor people living in rural areas and primarily reliant on agriculture, this issue needs to be higher up in the food chain of importance.

Commitments made under the new Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Decade on Nutrition, and the Paris Agreement all call for moving beyond the narrow considerations of yield. Producing more food alone will not end hunger in a changing climate: poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation are all drivers of food insecurity and vulnerability. Ensuring future food security requires agricultural strategies encapsulating environmental and socio-economic dimensions – livelihoods, land rights, animal welfare, fair and equal access to resources, decision-making and climate information, culture, and biodiversity protection.

The planned workshops must address the needs and contribution of small-scale food producers,who generate 80% of food in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Women play a dominant role, but lack equal access to critical resources, rendering them more vulnerable to climate change impacts. The workshops need to address the UNFCCC’s role in ensuring these populations can access the support they need.

Agroecological approaches not only improves soil health and water carrying capacity, but also empowers food producers, increases access to decision-making, and prioritises local knowledge. The FAO Director-General believes that agroecology is important as it will “help to address the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, in the context of the climate change adaptation needed.”

Parties should use this week to identify the UNFCCC’s role in more clearly articulating appropriate approaches and guidelines for effective action, and also identify gaps in knowledge, action, and support.

The workshops must enable meaningful civil society participation, recognising experience and expertise on the ground. Ending hunger and tackling climate change will require action and learning by all, and civil society is a critical partner in these efforts.

Related Newsletter : 

WS2 and Adaptation: The Talk of the Talks

ECO hears rumours that Parties have discussed the possibility of having a Technical Examination Process (TEP) on adaptation, and we’d be delighted if this was true. After all, there are more gaps in these negotiations than even ECO can keep track of, from gigatonnes to dollars. Adaptation appears to be one of the victims of process, and seemingly never has its time to shine. Finance for adaptation remains grossly insufficient, and more action is needed to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

An adaptation TEP might just be the match made in heaven to ensure that there is  both a technical conversation with concrete recommendations and political commitment, which would in turn increase adaptation actions. It’s high time to  kickstart  action on the ground.

However, while Workstream 2 can be a great vehicle to get adaptation off the ground, it needs to be done in earnest. An adaptation TEP has a lot to offer to vulnerable people by engaging experts and catalysing action. But it must not become a topic that slows down the good pace of WS2 that has been evident this past week.  Nor can it become a delaying tactic for the remaining thorny bits, including the many pivotal mitigation elements.

Even with the prospect of happy union between TEP and adaptation on the table, these precious elements should not fall by the wayside. Parties need to stay engaged with the issues at hand: accelerating the implementation of mitigation in the pre-2020 period, appointing high-level champions, and ensuring the necessary support is provided. Only after we’ve locked down these essential elements of WS2 should we export other possibilities.

Related Newsletter : 

Agenda 2030 — Share the Love in Paris

ECO is truly enthusiastic about the global sustainable development agenda: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which received a standing ovation when adopted last month in New York.

ECO strongly urges negotiators to support the proposal currently captured in preambular paragraph 33 of section III, which references the post-2015 agenda, to ensure alignment of the climate and development processes.

Here is why: Agenda 2030 includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One specifically urges action on climate change and its impacts when fighting global poverty, inequality and injustice. But, fret not about your role in the bigger picture, Agenda 2030 also says that the UNFCCC is the primary intergovernmental forum for negotiating a global response to climate change.

Although these two processes have different starting points, they both recognise the need to eradicate poverty. Agenda 2030 is the first UN document of its kind that tells us to look at development and climate together. It reminds us that the choices we make today when tackling hunger, improving energy access or building infrastructure will affect mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Agenda 2030 calls for these goals to be achieved while keeping the global average temperature increase below 1.5°C or 2°C. It asks all UN member states to work collectively through the UNFCCC towards an ambitious legal outcome, applicable to all Parties and following the CBDR principle.

Both processes must deliver in a coordinated and coherent manner. The Paris agreement should welcome Agenda 2030’s mitigation and adaptation targets, and acknowledge the important role that Agenda 2030 will play in climate outcomes. Turkey already supported the idea on Monday; ECO hopes that others will follow suit.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

Let’s leave no one behind

ECO congratulates governments on the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This not only provides positive momentum towards Paris but, also sends a strong message about the necessity of adopting an integrated approach to sustainable development.

The Paris outcomes should build on this momentum and promote the effective integration of human rights and gender equality into climate action. Such integration would provide three crucial benefits.

Firstly, it would ensure that climate policies contribute to the protection of the rights of local communities. Particularly those most vulnerable and do not exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities.

Secondly, it would strengthen the effectiveness of climate action, by ensuring that policies and projects benefit from local and traditional knowledge, by providing broader public support for such action, and by removing legal uncertainties. Empirical evidence demonstrates that rights-based climate policies are more effective, resilient and have a lasting impact.

Thirdly, it would contribute to the implementation of the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Today’s negotiations on Section C offers Parties the opportunity to ensure that the core Paris legal agreement explicitly emphasises the necessity for climate policies to integrate human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, and to ensure food security, gender equality and a just transition. This would send a very strong signal that governments remain committed to a transition towards low-carbon and resilient communities that leaves no one behind.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

Civil Society Reactions: Global Sustainable Development agenda finalised in New York

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: mraven@climatenetwork.org, phone: +90 53626 88406



Subscribe to Tag: Agenda 2030