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COP24: Countries struggle to muster political will to tackle climate crisis

Paris Rulebook adopted but a response to the urgency from the IPCC 1.5C Report requires stronger climate targets by 2020 and predictable and adequate support to developing countries

15 December 2018, Katowice: World leaders arrived at the UN climate talks in Katowice with a mandate to uphold the Paris Agreement and respond to the emergency of the climate crisis. The IPCC 1.5C Report makes it clear that every tenth of a degree of warming matters and we need to act now to cut emissions in half within the next 12 years.
 

But these past two weeks governments did not respond with the political will to tackle the urgency of the climate crisis, despite growing evidence from the latest science.

The United States and a handful of rogue nations like Saudi Arabia sought to deny science and routinely disrupt the process and far too many countries came unprepared to strengthen the international climate regime. Countries must bear the weight of their decisions and acknowledge their lack of leadership to support the most vulnerable countries, who are leading by example.

In Katowice, governments were expected to craft robust rules for the Paris Agreement that will drive climate action, adopt a COP decision to enhance climate targets by 2020 and deliver adequate and predictable finance and support to fully implement nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Countries agreed to a comprehensive set of rules that will help operationalize the Paris Agreement, despite failing to establish any rules for carbon markets post-2020. On transparency, guidance for NDCs and accounting, a strong basis has been created that ensures parties will be accountable for their commitments. A robust framework has been created for the Global Stocktake, taking into account equity and best available science. The framework for carbon markets proved to be too contentious to land an agreement. Even the most essential accounting requirements could not be agreed upon, such as avoiding double counting of emission reductions, and led to postponing the entire set of rules related to article 6 - dealing with carbon markets- to COP25.

However, developed countries are still largely free to account as they see fit for the finance they provide and must now mobilize to meet the $100 billion goal by 2020. Loss and damage finance must be part of the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism in 2019. While these talks saw much-needed financial pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF),  to the Least Developed Countries Fund -- and, for the first time Adaptation Fund pledges crossed the $100 million threshold-- wealthy nations must offer larger and more predictable channels of funding that will instil confidence in developing countries to implement national climate plans. The dearth of adequate finance continues to undermine trust. The replenishment process to the GCF in 2019 must be a race to the top with countries following the example of Germany to at least double their current commitments. 

Outside the isolation tank of the COP is the real world where thousands of children are boycotting school to demand action, people are taking on fossil fuel lobbies, risking arrest and bringing cities to a halt and farmers are marching against escalating impacts. 
Our current collective climate targets set us on a 3C warming pathway but people are refusing to accept a status quo that consigns our future and that of other species to a smouldering pile of ash.

COP24 was a test on climate multilateralism- one that countries have barely passed.

Countries have reaffirmed their decision  to submit national climate commitment by 2020 but now delegates must return to their capitals and begin the serious work of domestic processes to enhance ambition by 2020. Nothing short of this will do. They must bring these commitments to the UN Secretary General’s Summit in 2019 and set a clear direction of travel for 2020 that will spur businesses and cities to accelerate their own actions and infuse momentum into the real economy.

The arrest, detention and deportation of participants entering COP24 by Polish authorities shows how civil society voices are actively stifled and people are prevented from doing their work on climate change. It is the responsibility of the UN to ensure this can never happen again and guidelines are in place in host countries for UN conferences.

The overbearing presence of the fossil fuel industry combined with a weak Polish Presidency also cast a shadow over these talks.

Chile, as the next COP Presidency, needs to show real commitment and immediately ratify and sign the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters, known as the Escazú Agreement.

 

Members from Climate Action Network react:

Simon Bradshaw, Climate Change Advisor, Oxfam Australia: “The leadership vacuum from those with the responsibility and power to prevent suffering from climate change on a terrifying scale is shameful. We are standing with leaders from the Pacific and other vulnerable regions, communities taking their survival into their own hands,children who will have to inherit this increasingly hostile planet, and all those leading the fight for climate justice.”  

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org: “Hope now rests on the shoulders of the many people who are rising to take action - the inspiring children who started an unprecedented wave of strikes in schools to support a fossil free future;  the 1,000+ institutions that committed to pull their money out of coal, oil, and gas; the many communities worldwide who keep resisting fossil fuel development and calling for a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy systems for all.”

Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead, Christian Aid:  “This was the first opportunity since the IPCC report for countries to prove to the world that they were taking this seriously. They’ve just about scraped a C minus when the scientists of the IPCC showed that they needed to get straight As. Countries such as the USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia and Brazil have clearly not shown up prepared to do what they said they would. Without more homework nations are not going to solve the climate crisis.”

Bee Moorhead, representing Interfaith Power & Light: “As American faith communities, we are disappointed at our national leaders’ lack of courage and failure to exert moral leadership. We have great confidence in the capacity of the American people to lead morally and technologically, in business and in civil society—our challenge is to build political will and to elect leaders who will act courageously on behalf of vulnerable people and our common destiny.

Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch: Germany has played a dynamic role at this COP by providing necessary money for climate and resilience action and as a co-initiator of the high ambition coalition. But now Germany has to show leadership by action. Coal exit, transformation of the mobility system and a carbon price have to be regulated next year in the German Climate Law. Germany should also initiate transformative climate partnerships with developing and emerging countries.  

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change, CARE International: At COP24, a number of powerful countries driven by short-sighted interests pushed to abolish the ambitious 1.5°C limit and throw away the alarming findings on harmful climate impacts of the IPCC Special Report. The most vulnerable countries, civil society and people on the ground have been leading the fight for climate justice. While governments accomplished the task of adopting a rulebook to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the world now requires much faster and stronger climate action at the national level, and support for poor countries to build climate resilience.”

“Vulnerable countries can not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Multilateralism was held hostage at COP24 by a few powerful countries. It is unacceptable for governments to continue to cower behind the inaction of the United States and other big polluters. Countries that have been bystanders in this process must bear the weight of their decisions and acknowledge their failure to follow the lead of the most vulnerable.”

Jennifer Morgan Executive Director, Greenpeace International: A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more. Instead, governments let people down again as they ignored the science and the plight of the vulnerable. Recognising the urgency of raised ambition and adopting a set of rules for climate action is not nearly enough when whole nations face extinction.

“Without immediate action, even the strongest rules will not get us anywhere. People expected action and that is what governments did not deliver. This is morally unacceptable and they must now carry with them the outrage of people and come to the UN Secretary General’s summit in 2019 with higher climate action targets.”

Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director, Corporate Accountability: “While outside of the negotiations, the world is waking up to the stark reality of climate change and the short window we have for action, inside COP Global North government have used COP24 to bury their heads further in the sand and force corporate false solutions like carbon markets to the center of the global response.”

But, despite Global North obstruction, we’ve never seen a more united, organized and energized movement to demand climate justice. Governments are demanding it. People are demanding it. And we will get it.”

Michael BruneExecutive Director, Sierra Club: “There’s simply no debate; fossil fuels have no place in a liveable future. While Donald Trump may seek to further isolate the U.S. on the world stage, leaders from across the globe continue to work together to tackle the climate crisis. At a time when science makes it clear that we have only 12 years to deeply cut carbon pollution to avoid climate chaos, the climate negotiations have continued to bring the world together to move towards a sustainable climate and healthy communities.

“Following yet another year of devastating and historic hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and droughts, it has been the unstoppable power of people that has continued to drive climate progress, from retiring more than half of the U.S. coal fleet to moving cities to 100 percent clean energy.The American people are joined by the rest of the world in signaling that they will not tolerate any more of Trump’s shameful blustering and inaction, and they have taken up the mantle of climate action while Trump abdicates any semblance of global leadership. The Sierra Club is proud to continue to join with allies in the movement driving that progress and ensure the transition to clean energy leaves no one behind.”

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia: "Following the IPCC Special Report, we came to COP 24 motivated, energised and with hopes of addressing some of the more serious concerns and pressing issues that we at hand. Issues that will not just impact us but for the generations after us. The developing South needs financial aid from the rest of the world to work towards more adaptive and resilient climatic conditions. Despite governments continuing to fail us at Katowice, we believe that change is possible. We see conversations starting and actions stirring among communities and we believe in the hope and change we see in people."
 

Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney, Center, International Environmental Law (CIEL): Simply put, the outcome of COP24 is not compatible with the Paris Agreement, which promised to protect, respect, and consider human rights in climate action. The rulebook gavelled in at the Spodek Center in Katowice offers too little people-centered, rights-based guidance for countries to jointly deliver on the Paris promises, conditions that the IPCC recognizes as necessary to keep global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius. As delegates return home and countries work toward increasing ambition and enhancing national climate commitments, they must also remember that they are already bound by international agreements to respect human rights, and that these must drive how they implement necessary climate action and ensure equity.

Karin Lexén, Secretary General, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation: Two months ago, the scientific community sent an emergency message on the state of the climate crisis. Coming to Katowice, we demanded no less than an emergency response. This was not delivered. Now all countries must urgently pick up the baton, do their homework and get ready to radically scale up climate action at home. In Sweden, we demand a ban on fossil fuels by 2030.  

Hanna Aho, Climate Policy Adviser, Finnish Development NGOs – Fingo: The science is clear and we need bolder climate action now. Each country must go home and prepare a 1,5 degrees compatible plan where ambition is increased by 2020. Finland wants to show leadership by banning the energy use of coal by 2029. We demand this happens together with a ban on peat energy use by 2025. The change is in the hands of the Finnish people as we prepare for parliamentary elections in 2019.

Otto Bruun, Climate Policy Officer, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation: "This autumn climate scientists highlighted a safe option to avert climate chaos. Early  retirement of fossil fuels should go hand in hand with the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems. While the governments at the Katowice conference did not produce the rulebook to match the ambition of the Paris treaty, governments must now mind the gap in ambition and increase their efforts at once. The April 2019 general election in Finland looks set be a climate election. Our collective ambition in civil society is to drive through an unforeseen and just policy shift to immediately protect and restore forest and peatland carbon sinks and stocks while retiring fossil fuels altogether within two decades."

Gilles Dufrasne, Policy Officer, Carbon Pricing, Carbon Market Watch: “The last minute article 6 standoff showed that financial interests still trump environmental integrity in some countries, despite the indisputable evidence of the climate crisis. A few countries prevented the most essential accounting requirements to be adopted, while in parallel defending the future of the flawed Clean Development Mechanism. This could blow a hole in the Paris Agreement by allowing NDCs to be met through credits with little environmental integrity, and double counting them.”

Alden Meyer, Directory of Strategy & Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists: “The recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees represents a wake-up call from the world’s top scientists, making clear that we face a planetary emergency unless we take profound and rapid action to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. While the United States and three other major oil-producing countries prevented the urgency of action from being fully reflected in the final decision, the vast majority of countries indicated they have heard the dire warning from scientists.

“World leaders must come to next September’s climate summit in New York being organized by UN Secretary-General António Guterres with a clear indication of how they intend to substantially raise their climate ambition by 2020. This will be the acid test of how serious they are in their professed commitment to averting a climate catastrophe.”

Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director in the Climate & Energy Program and lead economist, Union of Concerned Scientists: “In Katowice, world leaders failed to adequately address the needs of people suffering from climate change right now, including small island nations and even some U.S. communities who face existential threats. The latest IPCC report confirms that climate change is here and now, impacts are only going to get worse, and current national commitments are nowhere near what is needed to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees, as countries agreed to in Paris. The barely adequate outcome in Katowice means there’s much work ahead to ensure countries live up to their responsibilities to put more ambitious action on the table by 2020. Every fraction of a degree avoided matters. Children around the world, including those who inspired us by their climate strikes this week, will hold countries accountable to do their homework and come prepared to ace the exam on robust climate action.”

Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe: “The weak outcome of this COP runs contrary to stark warnings of the IPCC report and growing demand for action from citizens. Governments have again delayed adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. The EU needs to push ahead and lead by example, by providing more support to poor countries and increasing its climate pledge before the UN Secretary General Summit in September 2019. It must be a significant increase, even beyond the 55% reduction some Member States and the European Parliament are calling for.”

Stephan Singer, Interim Focal Lead, Climate Action Network: “In order to bring governments on track to a development that does not violate serious climate thresholds like the 1.5 C guardrail, CAN supports the plethora of actions and commitments by non-state actors. From health providers, youth, faith communities, indigenous peoples and farmers that are rising up to stop coal, fight forest destruction, going on school strikes, from clean businesses that purchase all energy from renewable power to trade unions that embark on a Just Transition process, from cities that are declaring climate emergencies and pursuing full decarbonisation efforts to progressive financial actors that ban fossil fuels from their portfolios.  All these actions and many more have to magnify and multiply in next years. CAN members will stand with the vulnerable people to hold all governments to account."

Sebastian Scholz, Head of Climate Policy, NABU/BirdLife Germany: “Again at this COP civil society made their demand clear to those decide to stay within the limit of 1.5 degrees of global warming. None the less several issues weren't solved by the delegations. Even the alarming findings of the IPCC Special Report weren't properly integrated into the outcome. Germany did well in ramping up finance pledges at this COP, but this cannot be a buyout of actual mitigation measures. The coal phase can not be postponed any longer.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice: “World leaders arrived in Katowice with the task of responding to the latest climate science which made clear that we only have 12 years to cut emissions in half and prevent catastrophic global warming. They’ve made important progress, but what we’ve seen in Poland reveals a fundamental lack of understanding by some countries of our current crisis. Luckily, the Paris Agreement is proving to be resilient to the storms of global geopolitics. Now we need all countries to commit to raising climate ambition before 2020, because everyone’s future is at stake.”

Farhana Yamin, Extinction Rebellion, UK: Governments here had a simple task: accept the findings of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 and use it to bring forward new NDCs that truly respond to the planetary emergency. A handful of countries stopped that from happening. We pay tribute to activists, students, civil society and the leaders of vulnerable countries who are rising up all over the world demanding more. We need now to work together to build an emergency coalition focused squarely on tackling climate devastation and providing support to those already suffering loss and damage.

Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid International: “Our governments have failed us. Some of the most powerful countries in the world are led by reactionary climate deniers and their views have been allowed to water down the ambition and cooperation needed to avert catastrophic climate change.
“Rich countries have a moral and a legal responsibility to provide money and technology to developing countries to make their economies greener and tackle the impacts of climate change. Instead of taking this seriously, they pushed through a rulebook riddled with loopholes allowing them to avoid this responsibility.
“The climate crisis simply cannot be fixed without financing. It’s hugely frustrating to see a Paris Rulebook that goes backwards on delivering real finance and real action.
“The worst affected communities have shouted from the rafters about the loss and damage they’re experiencing right now. More than 20 million people a year are being forcibly displaced by sudden, extreme weather events. The agreement to now officially monitor losses shows that, although these communities are finally being heard, the world is still standing back and watching climate change like it’s a slow-motion car crash. Citizens and young people around the world recognise the urgency of action on climate change.

“High level talks have disappointed us over and over, but we know that the real solutions lie in local movements and communities that use their votes and voices to hold their governments accountable for solving the climate crisis. Change is possible.”

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada: “What really matters is what everyone does when they leave Katowice and go home. The last two weeks have seen plenty of lovely declarations of countries’ commitments to ambition, but precious few specifics on how individual governments plan to respond to the devastating climate chaos of 2018 and deliver the climate action that science demands. Countries like Canada need to follow the leadership of braver, poorer nations who, even in the face of floods and fires, have told the world exactly how they plan to get to a 1.5 degree compatible climate pledge.
The world’s scientists tell us we have 12 years to cut climate pollution in half and give human civilization a shot at thriving. Knowing this, some countries - particularly the world’s most vulnerable - came to COP24 ready to work. It is thanks to them we made some progress here. Others - particularly Saudi Arabia and Brazil - nearly derailed the process. The world has no time for such self-interested games.”

 

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About Climate Action Network:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

Draft Text still a mixed bag in critical final hours of negotiations

Katowice, 14 December 2018: As a new draft of the negotiating text emerged in the final hours of the UN Climate Talks currently underway in the southern Polish city of Katowice, civil society expressed concern that key elements still need to be strengthened considerably to deliver a strong outcome from COP24.

“Countries need to show that they have understood the 1.5 IPCC Report. The COP must embrace the IPCC findings and decide on a way forward by which to translate the signs to climate action,” said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International.

This is imperative to fill the gap between the current level of ambition as reflected in countries’ NDCs and the targets in the Paris Agreement. Countries also need to develop domestic processes for enhancing their NDCs. Calling on the EU as a member of the High Ambition Coalition, in particular, she said that the EU must advocate for greater collective ambition from its member countries by 2020. “Have you heard the call from the Climate Vulnerable Countries? … The talks on ambition cannot just be waffle. It has to be clear.” said Morgan.

Turning to the Rulebook, Yamide Dagnet, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute, said that although civil society is seeking compatibility with the 1.5 report, there has been mixed progress on reaching this goal. Whilst the inclusion of NDC compliance mechanisms in the current text can contribute to assessing the levels of commitment coming forth as new NDCs are announced, much more comprehensive work is required. To date the Global Stocktake has also failed to account for Loss & Damage, which is a crucial element of the Rulebook for the developing world.

Calling for a more comprehensive Rulebook and particularly strong language on transparency that prevents countries from hiding their inaction, Dagnet warned that “Failure to get a Rulebook that preserves environmental integrity would ultimately undermine ambition, would undermine human rights, would undermine the effectiveness of the regime, and would prevent us from reaching our goal.”

Speaking on the issue of Loss & Damage, Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International, stressed that vulnerable nations need to be accounted for as many millions of people face loss and damage from climate change impacts on a daily basis. Although significant efforts by countries on adaptation is observed, the developing world is dependent on the inclusion of Loss & Damage in both the Rulebook and the Global Stocktake in order to ensure that assistance from wealthy and high emitting nations are provided. Although Loss & Damage has been included in the Transparency Framework, it is only mentioned as a footnote in the Global Stocktake, while being omitted entirely from the current text on Finance.

Lucile Dufour, International Policy Advisor, Climate Action Network, France, said that the recent commitments made by countries to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund have been overshadowed by discussions on how finance will be implemented in the Paris Rulebook. The current iteration of the text includes more robust language on predictability; however, it falls short when addressing transparency. Lacking transparent reporting on finance would undermine the greater progress we’ve seen achieved on predictability. Furthermore, the text has failed to properly deliver on goals for post 2025 finance, which are intended to reassure the developing world of long-term support.

Dufour urged progressive nations to push for a Rulebook and Ambition Outcome that takes into account the needs of the LDCs and develops a realistic pathway towards 1.5C.

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

COP24: “A Swiss-cheese rulebook is unacceptable"

Katowice, 12 December 2018: Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, former IPCC Vice-Chair and climate physicist said: “The best way to recognize the work done by IPCC would be to stop arguing about whether to ‘note or to welcome’ the IPCC 1.5C Report, and start to take its numbers seriously. This must be done in a COP decision, the main outcome from Katowice. And with a clear reference, a logical reference, to the need for all countries to increase their ambition level in all three areas mentioned in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Finance” said van Ypersele.  

“The Paris Rulebook is the cement of the entire international climate regime” said Li Shuo, Senior Climate and Energy Policy Officer at Greenpeace East Asia. Shuo outlined two forms of underlying politics that influence the future of the Paris Agreement. Firsty, the politics of differentiation: How is climate responsibility distributed among developing and developed countries? And secondly, the politics of vulnerability: Will key issues for the developing world such as Loss & Damage be incorporated in the Rulebook? Li Shuo called for strong leadership from the Polish Presidency to ensure a high-quality outcome on the Rulebook; however, “We want to make it very clear that a swiss-cheese Rulebook is unacceptable” he said.

Loss & Damage has been used as a bargaining chip by the developed world, but it has become a pillar for climate action and has to be recognized as an essential element in a COP decision. The global stocktake, transparency, and finance, must all include references to Loss & Damage to appropriately address the climate change impacts, particularly in the developing world. “When we assess the Paris Agreement periodically, whether we are able to deal with the impacts should become the litmus test of the success of the Paris Agreement itself,” said Harjeet Singh, Global Climate Lead, ActionAid International. Singh argued that people are already being displaced due to climate change and that high-level discussions must be translated into real world action. “We can not afford not to talk about impacts on the ground, be it people, be it ecosystems. This issue is very central, it’s an overall issue, and it must be recognized in the Paris Rulebook,” said Singh.

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, Global Deputy of WWF's Climate and Energy Practice, synergized the various key elements of the current negotiations into the COP Package on Ambition. The leadership of Sweden and Costa Rica in the Talanoa Dialogue are signs of hope for progress in the ambition space. Further climate change champions will need to emerge if we are to reach a comprehensive Rulebook and COP Decision. Perez-Cirera emphasized that “Politics must recognize the science. Politics must recognize the evidence. Politics must recognize the people, and that people will be more affected as time goes by”.

Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Member of Parliament, Republic of Vanuatu, highlighted that Loss & Damage is key to Vanuatu’s desired outcome; however, on a technical level the negotiations have reached a deadlock. High-level bilaterals are the current approach towards achieving progress. Regenvanu stresses that the majority of countries are on the same page, but a vocal minority have hampered the negotiations and said the next days will be critical to get an outcome that seriously tackles climate change.

Singh  addressed the elephant in the room by highlighting how the United States is the key actor disrupting progress across the board. They have no stake in the Paris Agreement, but continue to enjoy their seat on the table, and are using every single opportunity to destroy the agreement. The US’ ally Australia has been hand in glove through the negotiations. Individual nations will need to stand up against these disruptive voices by bringing leadership and ambition to the table.

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

Talanoa Dialogue outcome must inform a COP decision on ambition setting a clear direction towards updated NDCs by 2020

Katowice, 11 December 2018: Today’s high-level Talanoa Dialogue needs to make clear how governments will actually commit to increased national climate pledges that fall in line with 1.5C pathways. Wendel Trio, Director, CAN Europe called on the EU to show leadership on ambition by increasing their 2030 targets.

“What we want to see coming out of this COP at the end of the week: That we have a strong decision of the COP, where governments recognize the importance of the 1.5 report, where parties recognize the importance of next year’s UN Secretary General Summit . . . and where parties commit to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2030, in order to bridge the gap” said Trio. 

Without a fully operational rulebook we will not be able to strengthen ambition. Unfortunately, parties are watering down the rulebook to the lowest common denominator, said Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead, Christian Aid. He called on the developed world to provide financial support to the developing countries. $100 billion is a pittance considering the projected costs of adaptation and mitigation. Further, Adow spoke on the COP outcome and noted that “No outcome here in Katowice will be acceptable without countries agreeing to review and ratchet their ambition”. He also described how the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are effectively working together in order to suppress the findings of the IPCC 1.5C report and the science on climate change.

One of the primary concerns in the developing world is that even high-level discussions on ambition may not lead to implemented changes on the ground. The consistently increasing climate change impacts require immediate action on the ground even in the pre-2020 timeframe. The developing world is racking up climate-change debt that is currently unaccounted for and needs to be addressed. Additionally, Vitumbiko Chinoko, Partnerships and Advocacy Coordinator, CARE Southern Africa, illustrated how much of what we are seeing labelled as ‘climate finance’ is highly inflated and creating a false narrative of large existing financial streams. He said the Talanoa Dialogue must go beyond just words and the world is waiting for clear commitments on support and ambition.

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, CAN Canada, also reiterated that the Talanoa dialogue cannot just be a talk-show without a substantive outcome. The Talanoa Dialogue is an essential mechanism that needs to cement the global stocktake into the rulebook in order to compel countries to ratchet up their ambition. The Paris NDCs are nowhere near sufficient in reaching the 1.5C threshold, so the outcome of today’s Talanoa will be a defining factor in the levels of ambition we will see from all nations moving forward.

Abreu highlighted that France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Spain, Norway, and now Canada have made statements on ambition earlier in 2018, and we are expecting them to step up and lead as climate champions for a strong COP outcome. Furthermore, she noted the successes of the 48 Climate Vulnerable Forum nations in committing to enhanced NDCs by 2020, which Fiji and the Marshall Islands have already submitted. “We need to hold countries to the highest standards of ambition if we are to see climate change addressed properly.”

The negotiations need to “deliver a strong COP decision that articulated countries’ commitments to ambition building on the declarations that have already been made. That COP decision needs to accept the reports emerging from the good work of the Talanoa dialogue this year, welcome with great concern the special report on 1.5C from the IPCC, acknowledge the conversations that have happened in the ministerial on pre-2020 action and finance this week, and also indicate party responsibility to respond to the Paris Agreement’s invitation to communicate updated NDCs by 2020” said Abreu.

When asked with regards to a scenario in 2020 if the emission gap is not bridged and climate momentum is lost, Trio emphasized that citizens will not take it. Climate marches are popping up all over the world, and citizens are taking their governments to court over negligence and inaction to the effects of climate change.

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

COP24: COP President must create a space for ambition discussion in response to IPCC 1.5C Report as Ministers arrive in Katowice

Civil society calls for COP President to set up a discussion on ambition in response to IPCC Report on 1.5C

Katowice, 10 December 2018: Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace, called on ministers arriving in Katowice this week for the UN climate talks- pitched as the most important talks since the Paris talks in 2015- to demonstrate their understanding of the current climate emergency through words but more importantly through actions.

She said ministers must anchor messages of the IPCC 1.5 report, ensure that the Paris rulebook drives ambition, and pledge greater financial support to aid the developing world calling on countries like Norway,  New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the EU countries to deliver on financial pledges.
 
Morgan expressed concern over the present COP Presidency, “There is no working group on ambition. How can you be a COP President of all the countries in the world after the IPCC report and not set up a group to figure out a signal that needs to be sent here on ambition? We call on him to open up such a negotiating group and to get real about what’s happening on climate change,” she said.  

Apart from persistently blocking the current negotiations, the United States are hosting a sideshow here at COP24 supporting fossil fuels. Through these actions the USA has undermined its credibility in these negotiations. We expect the American ministers to struggle to find strong footing in the political discussions as a result of their ongoing disruptions of constructive climate dialogue. However, the USA is also represented here through the We Are Still In Coalition, which represents half of the domestic population and over $9.4 trillion in economic activity. “The leadership that you can see at the US Climate Action Center more accurately reflects the transition that is underway in the United States and should be the symbol that other ministers and the political leaders this week use to guide their own ambition for the future of the Paris Agreement” said Lou Leonard, Vice President, Climate Change, WWF-US.

Saturday’s failure to acknowledge the IPCC 1.5 report in Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) should send a clear message to the arriving ministers that delivering a full ambition package is crucial in this week’s negotiations. “Without ambition, without concrete actions to deal with the climate crisis, the most wonderful rulebook in the world wouldn’t make a difference” said Jennifer Tollmann, Researcher, Climate Diplomacy, E3G. With regards to the rulebook we have seen progress being made, but we are now at a crossroads. Ministers may now strengthen it and add ambition as a concrete element or they can water down the rulebook, thus undermining the Paris regime. Today’s start on finance consultations is equally crucial in developing the rulebook groundwork on which ambition can be built. Further, Tollman highlighted the existing loopholes, transparency framework, and loss & damage and land use accounting which could undermine ambition. These need to be addressed in ernest to streamline options before presenting text to Ministers.

Svitlana Romanko, EECCA Regional Coordinator, 350.org, spoke out against the Polish authorities attempts to silence civil society through arrests, detention and deportation.
A number of civil society activists have been detained and deported as they tried to reach Katowice for COP24. These events are starkly contrasted by today’s 70th anniversary of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. Romanko asked the UN to set clear and strict guidelines for hosts countries to prevent such repression and stop the arbitrary detention of civil society activists.

The first week of negotiations have failed to develop a backbone for climate finance. Kashmala Kakakhel, Climate Finance Specialist and Advisor, set expectations for week two by describing the four key elements that need to be discussed. Firstly, we need to acknowledge the rising costs of climate change and the imperative to put the needs of the people in the forefront. Secondly, although there are existing arguments that several hundred billion dollars are already being put into climate related initiatives, we need to take into account the net value and the actual assistance seen on the ground. Thirdly, developed countries have to stop blocking dialogue on post-2025 financial targets. If we ask countries to lay out national climate plans till 2030 how can we not have a discussion on support for post-2025? she asked. Finance is the key driver for ambition and we need to see bigger commitments to the Green Climate Fund. Real money will lead to real climate action.

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

Faith, business and science representatives call on COP24 to deliver on heightened ambition and support for impacted communities

Katowice, 8 December 2018: Offering perspectives from the faith, business and science community, participants at a press conference today organised by Climate Action Network highlighted the urgency for the UN climate talks to address the importance of the IPCC 1.5C Report by committing to a COP decision that enhances NDCs by 2020.  

The extreme weather events that have been projected time again are now on our doorstep. People from all walks of life are suffering the consequences of political inaction in their daily lives. “Climate change is not just about facts and figures, it has a human face. It is a matter of life and death for many communities around the world. That is the spirit with which we carry the message of urgency” Yeb Saño, Climate Pilgrimage  Lead and Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Saño embarked on a 1,500 km environmental pilgrimage from Rome to Katowice and arrived at COP24 on December 7th. He described how every day without meaningful climate action is an injustice to the vulnerable peoples suffering from the impacts of climate change. When asked about the climate activists being detained upon reaching Poland, Saño said: “I pay tribute to those climate activists who despite those risks, continue to stand up for what is right.” When asked about the 5 year anniversary of the Warsaw international Mechanism for Loss and Damage initiated in Warsaw in 2013, Sano said it was a step in the right direction but work the Mechanism needs to be empowered to deliver on it's full mandate and progress on this has been lacking sadly.   

Astrid Caldas, Senior Climate Scientist, Climate & Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, echoed Yeb Saño as she highlighted further impacts of human induced climate change.
“Countries must increase their ambition, particularly concerning their NDCs. Their emissions reduction pledges should reflect the urgency laid out in the IPCC report. COP24 must be a response to this report. A COP decision on ambition where countries commit to stronger climate targets by 2020 will show they are serious about tackling climate change head-on. We have no time to spare,” she said. With each incremental increase in temperature, millions of people are involuntarily exposed to harsher weather events and greater threats to their quality of life.

Countries such as Brazil, Australia, and the USA had all made strong commitments in Paris, but are now reversing in the opposite direction. Aron Cramer, President & CEO, Business for Social Responsibility, emphasized that the private sector is acknowledging the climate crisis and is raising ambition by developing their own emissions targets. Over 500 companies have pledged to science based targets since the Paris Agreements. Over 150 of these are committing to 100% Renewable Energy. Companies are recognizing the significance of a just transition and are seizing the opportunity to be frontrunners in sustainable development. A COP outcome that expresses ongoing commitments, certainty, and heightened ambition would communicate to the businesses sector that they will be supported by their governments in their model shift towards renewables and low carbon alternatives.

On December 10th, the Pontifical Academy of Science is partnering with The Polish Academy of Sciences for a conference here in Katowice. “The urgency couldn’t be greater. Pope Francis, the catholic church, and other faiths are reminding us with really strong warnings that we have to rally behind the scientists. The science is crystal clear, we’re heading towards a cliff and emissions still continue to rise” said Tomás Insua, Executive Director, Global Catholic Climate Movement. He said on Sunday December 9, the Catholic Church in Poland will be holding a “COP24 National Prayer Campaign” in the 10,000 Catholic parishes of the country, right after the Sunday Masses.  

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About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

Civil Society representatives denied entry to Poland to participate in climate talks

Katowice, 7 December 2018: It is with deep concern that Climate Action Network (CAN) and its partners have learnt that Polish authorities denied entry and/or deported at least 12 members of civil society groups due to attend the United Nations climate talks in Poland.

The deportations follow the enactment of national legislation earlier this year passed by the Polish Government in relation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC CoP24) currently underway in the southern city of Katowice, from 2 - 14 December 2018. Several United Nations human rights experts have publicly questioned the compatibility of the law with international human rights standards.

“The fact that these are not isolated instances are extremely worrying and we view the actions by the Polish border authorities in an extremely serious light,” said Dr. Stephan Singer, Interim Executive Focal Point at Climate Action Network (CAN). CAN is a network comprising of more than 1,300 organisations working in over 120 countries. Under its network CAN convenes the largest share of environmental non-governmental organisations under the UN climate convention.

“The full and effective participation by civil society is entrenched in the Convention and, in fact, is imperative in our efforts to urgently transition to a new climate regime.”

Several civil society organisations have registered strong objection to the incidents that occured since the beginning of the UN conference.

"We strongly condemn the denial of entry and deportation of colleagues who have not been allowed into Poland in order to take part in COP24. From what we understand the reasons for refusing entry are due to allegations that they are a ‘threat to national security.’ These staff members and volunteers are individuals committed to tackling the climate crisis the world faces through campaigning for sustainable solutions,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.

“It is the belief of all of us at 350.org, and our partners, that the biggest threat that we face to our international and national security is that of not tackling the climate crisis and taking the urgent and necessary action to leave fossil fuels in the ground now.  This is underscored in the recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5C Global Warming.

The voices of those denied entry to COP24 are essential to the unfolding climate talks and it is unacceptable that their presence at the climate talks should be impeded in this way. Ongoing restrictions on civil society will not stop a resilient climate movement"

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The statement is supported by

350.org

Greenpeace

CAN Europe

CAN EECCA

Protect the Planet

Demand Climate Justice

SustainUS

Thanks Grassroots

Global Justice Alliance

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Indigenous Environmental Network

Climate Justice Alliance

Attac

The Just Transition Alliance

Oil Change International

11.11.11
Ukrainian Climate Network

Carre Geo & Environnement

Green Network

INFORSE

 

Reactions From CAN Members

 

Greenpeace Poland Office Director Bohdan Pękacki said:

“As host of the most important climate summit since Paris, Poland has the eyes of the world on it and the question is, what sort of host does Poland want to be? Will it embrace the demands of people demanding action and allow their voices to be heard or silence them through denied entry?”

 

Friends of the Earth Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Schneider said:

“We are working together with civil society groups from all over the world in Katowice to hold our leaders accountable and demand a response to the climate crisis. We are extremely worried about the decision of Polish authorities to deny individuals from our partner group entry into the country. We demand that everybody who wants to come to the climate conference is allowed into the country to enact their right to participate in peaceful civil society actions for the climate.”

 

Iryna Stavchuk, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction” (Ukraine) said:

“Participation of representatives of civil society organisations in climate negotiations is crucial, as they act as important leverage in decision-making. All this is to make sure that achievement of Paris Agreement goal to keep global warming at 1,5 - 2 °С level becomes a reality. We find the actions of Polish authorities denying entry of peaceful activists unacceptable”.

 

Wendel Trio, Director Climate Action Network Europe said:

“It is appalling and a disgrace that one of our collaborators who successfully co-organised a March of 65.000 people in Brussels last week has been denied entry into Poland. People are demanding climate action from our governments and should be supported for doing so. The Polish government is afraid to see the reality that also they need to act.”

 

About Climate Action Network: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org .

For more information, contact:

François Rogers

Head of Communications

CAN International

Mail: frogers@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +44 (0) 7 585 707 220

 

Kim Bryan

Global Communications Campaigner

350.org

Mail: kim.bryan@350.org, or whatsapp/call on +447770881503

Organization: 

It’s crunch time in the negotiating rooms: countries must hash out key technical elements in the next hours

Katowice, 7 December 2018: Speakers from Climate Action Network (CAN) unpacked the various elements of the rulebook that are currently being negotiated to give an overview of the state of progress, or lack thereof, that must be resolved before ministers arrive next week to take on more political issues.

A particular focus was given to a number of technicalities including: the level of flexibility given to developing countries, the scope of the rulebook, and reaching consensus on climate finance. Yamide Dagnet, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute, called on ministers to provide signals on ambition, which would result in a COP decision with commitments to enhanced NDCs by 2020.  She noted that we need to make sure that the Paris rulebook does not backslide and is compatible with the ambition we need to see for a 1.5C pathway. Further, Dagnet said: “We call to the leaders and to the negotiators not to stay in the negotiator bubbles. We need to salvage the multilateral regime, but also connect with the real world. This is why we need both a strong rulebook and strong signals for ambition.”

Common Timeframes are the heartbeat of the Paris regime and refer to the duration of future NDCs. Through properly defined time frames we can more accurately compare the ambition of different countries. A prevailing risk is that the existing guidelines allow for low ambition to be locked in for long periods of time. The negotiations so far, have failed to make significant progress towards the implementation of recurring 5-year periods.  “Instead of reaching a conclusive and substantive decision that would launch 5-year NDCs in the future, we are only going to reach a procedural decision,” said Li Shuo, Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer, Greenpeace East Asia Office. The slow-moving negotiations may indicate fears that this addition to the rulebook would allow for increased accountability of commitments.

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International, recognized the importance of further developments on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, because its acknowledgement and implementation would provide a foundation for which vulnerable countries could build upon to address climate change impacts.

"Loss and damage caused by climate disruption threatens the livelihoods of millions of people, particularly in developing countries. Loss and damage was highlighted in the Paris Agreement and developing countries are asked to integrate measures to avert and address loss and damage in their own national planning. Thus, it is essential to anchor the issue in Paris Rulebook here at COP24. We do not have all the answers on how to address loss and damage and how to finance the needs of poor countries, but we must start acting now. Developed countries who are committed to the Paris Agreement, like the EU, New Zealand and Canada, must work proactively with vulnerable, developing countries to jointly push for a strong rulebook, rather than hide behind the inaction of the USA," said Harmeling.

As this week’s negotiations are coming to an end we are seeing progress on finance in the rulebook. The recently released biennial assessment gives us a signal that climate finance is being mobilized but also shows how much more needs to be put on the table for any real impact to fight climate change. Furthermore, the assessment outlines the current opportunity to enhance and ensure balance between mitigation and adaptation support. “We need to leave Katowice with a clear and strong understanding that developed countries are committing to scale up. Next week we should set high expectations in relation to the Green Climate Fund replenishment. Germany has committed to double their commitments and others must do it too,” said Eddy Perez, International Policy Analyst, CAN Canada. He emphasised that a process must be agreed to to adopt post-2025 finance goals. Better clarity and predictability on finance can unlock ambition and instil trust among countries, he added.   

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About Climate Action Network: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

 

 

“Just transition and ambition are two sides of the same coin”

Katowice, 5 December 2018: Speaking at a press conference today, representatives from Climate Action Network (CAN) spoke on the need for a just transition that is built on social dialogue where transformative change towards a low-carbon future is not at the cost of exacerbating existing social inequality and removing social safety nets.
Highlighting the importance of a genuinely fair transition from fossil fuels to renewables, Lucile Dufour, International Policy and Development Adviser, Climate Action Network, France said:

“Just transition and ambition are the two sides of the same coin. While countries need to respond to the latest available science and scale up their NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) by 2020, maintaining global warming to 1.5C degrees will only be possible if the conditions are met to take everyone on board in a just and fair manner.”

Dufour pointed out that citizens everywhere do want climate action as they are rising everywhere and demanding countries to step up but it is governments that are failing to respond to people’s asks by implementing a transition that does not address social challenges, reduce inequalities and advance climate action at the same time.

“Recent developments in France are just one example on how not taking into consideration just transition can hinder the effectiveness of climate action,” Dufour said.

The decision by the French government to freeze the fossil fuel taxes for the next six months will hinder France’s ability to step up its climate ambition.

“By doing so the French government fails to respond to the social crisis but also fails to implement climate action that is socially acceptable. Fossil fuel taxes are key to accelerate climate action, we call on French government to learn from its mistakes” Dufour said.

Polish civil society called on the Presidency of COP24 in Katowice to lead on ambition by ensuring a dialogue on the Rulebook and on Just Transition highlights the importance of enhanced ambition to keep warming to 1.5C in line with the Paris Agreement.

“We call on (want) Katowice for being remembered as a response to the IPCC 1.5 report and not only an outcome on the Rulebook,” said Oskar Kulik, WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) Poland.

Speaking on finance and support, including for loss and damage, Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid International, emphasized the centrality of finance to ambition, finalization of the rulebook and tackling impacts. The $100 billion is the minimum required to implement the climate plans put forward by developing countries. Implementing the plans also requires keeping with Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement on financial predictability. Developing countries need to know when, how and source of the money to plan accordingly.

“Article 9.5 is about accountability and transparency. It is not there is no real money and if there is no real money there is no real action,”

He said, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said we need $500 billion every year by 2050. “So, $100 billion is just the bare minimum that we need to unlock ambition to also help people who need to deal with climate impacts,” Singh said.

He said that the negotiations are stuck whenever developing countries request support.

Tackling impacts or loss and damage is wrongly projected as a developing countries issue and there is no progress on finance in the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage.
Ocean acidification, melting of the arctic and desertification are impacting developing and developed countries alike.

“We need solidarity, we need the entire global community to come together to solve this global challenge. We are not seeing this spirit and the momentum required,” Singh added.

About Climate Action Network:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org . For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830

A strong call for ambition as world leaders arrive in Katowice for COP24

3 December 2018, Katowice: World leaders at the UN climate talks in Katowice have made statements calling for stronger ambition but it's now time for countries to keep their word by commiting to updated Nationally Determined Contributions by 2020. Countries are feeling the pressure following the IPCC 1.5C Report and public demand for action has never been higher.

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada, said this “COP24 has to wake up slow-moving governments”. 2018 has seen the small but continued rise of a very powerful group of politicians who undercover of populist rhetoric are working to defend our status quo lethal addiction to fossil fuels”. She said transformative work is required for a smoother transition to a green economy “The technical work is meant to underline much larger social transformation that happens on the ground in countries and we see that that has to go hand in hand with economic transformation and the creation of a stronger social safety net, so that we’re both moving forward with protecting the planet, but also making sure that people have access to decent work or are able to provide for themselves and their families. They must be protected from the kind of volatility that we’re seeing in the natural world and also across socio-economic spaces”.

However, Abreu remained positive about the COP’s potential as she stated “The Paris Agreement is one of the best examples that the world has of global cooperation on an issue of universal significance”  The CVF Virtual Summit and G20 outcome on climate, with 19 countries standing by the Paris Agreement, are evidence that climate multilateralism is gaining ground.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid, described the fundamental importance of developing the Paris Rulebook and establishing reliable financial flows for vulnerable countries. A strong Rulebook “allows us to hold countries accountable to their actions”. Further, he emphasized, that without delivery of $100 billion by 2020 we will lack the confidence to successfully implement the Paris Agreement. Adow underlined his concerns surrounding climate finance as he stated, “Rich countries of the world haven’t actually honored their commitments to deliver the kind of support that will allow developing countries to be able to meet and exceed their Paris pledges and this is critical”.

On the topic of a coal company sponsoring COP24, Mohamed Adow said “A coal company sponsoring this COP is actually equal to having arms dealers at a peace summit. The idea that the Polish Presidency can have the very companies that cause climate destruction sponsoring the talks is just a slap in the face of the poor vulnerable countries who are suffering the impacts of climate change, and it is a very unpresidential thing to do.”

Fernanda Carvalho, WWF International, expressed the need for near term pre-2020 action. She said, “We want countries at this COP to express politically their will to enhance NDCs”. Furthermore, Carvalho recognized the UNSG Summit in 2019 as a platform for nations to amplify their ambition. With regards to the need for greater political communication she said “The Talanoa dialogue is a process that should create the conditions and the trust to enhance ambition, we want a political outcome that is preferably captured in a COP decision”.

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

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