Press Releases

CAN is an important, critical voice in the international climate policy process. The network’s regular press briefings and commentary help journalists and their audience make sense of what can be a baffling process, even to those who have been covering it for years.

CAN helps coordinate and amplify the communications work of its 850 members around major international climate processes. CAN also provides an important capacity building role for some members interested in boosting their communications efforts.

You can find a range of our latest resources and releases below:

 Study quantifies benefits unlocked by new climate action commitments

Scaling up action scales up benefits

Berlin, Germany. March 31, 2015: More jobs, fewer deaths and money saved from fuel imports. That’s what the climate action commitments laid out by the EU, US and China will deliver to their nations, according to a study by NewClimate Institute, and commissioned by Climate Action Network. 

The new study calculates that as well as helping reduce climate change risk, the steps outlined in the plans for these three economies will mean a total of almost 1 million new jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 113,000 people who will no longer die prematurely thanks to reduced air pollution, and huge savings from avoiding the high costs of imported fossil fuels. 

What’s more, scaling up their commitments to be in line with the transition to economies powered by 100% renewables by mid-century will mean unlocking even more benefits for these nations. More ambitious plans would collectively create around 3 million jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 2 million people who would otherwise fall victim to deadly air pollution, and would save around US$520 billion from avoided fossil fuel imports per year. If all countries took climate actions at this scale, global warming would not cross the 2degC threshold, beyond which scientists predict climate change to spin out of control. Such action would also give us an even chance of staying within 1.5degC - the threshold advocated by many of the most vulnerable nations. 

NewClimate Institute’s Niklas Höhne, author of the study, said: “This new analysis shows that any governments currently formulating climate action plans should consider the significant benefits for their people that could be achieved by setting their ambition levels to maximum.” 

Climate Action Network chair Mohamed Adow said: “Over 100 countries have thrown their support behind a phase out of fossil fuel emissions and it’s not hard to see why - making a just transition to 100% renewable energy is a no brainer as it means healthier economies and healthier people.” 

The report comes as developed countries - and others in a position to do so - were expected to lodge their offers with the UN by today. These offers will form the building blocks of a new climate agreement to be signed in Paris this December. 

The study shows that Europe stands to save around USD$33 billion per year on avoided fossil fuel imports through its climate action plan, but this would jump to around USD$170billion a year if the region scaled up its offer. 

China’s battle with air pollution has been well documented, as has the country’s actions to get it under control. Beijing’s new climate offer will save around 100,000 lives a year, but as they scale up their efforts that figure rises to around 1.2 million people annually. 

The United States is expected to formally lodge an offer with the UN today which will create around 470,000 jobs by 2030 in the country’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, with even more potential in the country’s energy efficiency sector. 

This study once again confirms key findings from last year's Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which informed governments that the only way to build and retain prosperous economies is through both mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

All eyes will now turn to other major - more and more isolated - economies such as Japan, Australia and Canada whose governments appear to have missed today’s deadline for lodging climate action commitments with the UN.

With evidence piling up on the side of scaling up action and the multiple benefits that delivers, their people will increasingly question government decisions that fail to speed up the people-driven transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.  

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The report, Assessing the missed benefits of countries’ national contributions, was written by the NewClimate Institute - which raises ambition for action against climate change and supports sustainable and climate-resilient development through research and analysis. 
  2. The report was commissioned by Climate Action Network - a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: 
  3. You can find the full report here, a summary of the findings here, and an infographic here

 

Contact 
To be connected with a spokesperson on the report, please contact:  Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org  

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Europe becomes second party to lodge Paris climate action commitment

Climate Action Network released the following statement upon the release of Europe's commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change today. 

European environment ministers have today agreed on the EU’s first climate action commitment towards the Paris agreement. The pledge translates its previously announced target to reduce carbon pollution by at least 40% by 2030. After Switzerland, the EU will be the second party in the world to lodge its plan to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy with the UN. Commitments from other major countries including the United States and Mexico are expected later this month. Together, these pledges will signal the start of what will be the world’s first collective step on climate action. 

Europe has in many ways been spearheading the global transition, and it has only last week presented a domestic energy strategy that makes clear that Europe’s move towards a decarbonized economy is well underway. That’s why some observers want Europe’s first offer to go further in harnessing progress towards a fossil fuel phase out and Europe’s vision to be the world leader in renewable energy. For example, Denmark has already committed to make 100% of their electricity supply renewable and party leaders in the UK have committed to phase out coal. Accelerating this transition makes sense because it can deliver more and better jobs, improved public health and more robust economies.

Today’s announcement leaves open the tricky question of how to deal with forests when counting emission reductions. If not handled well, accounting rules could dilute the EU’s commitment. Progressive Member States are working to reach a decision that ensures environmental integrity and retains ambition. Furthermore, despite calling for countries to renew their pledges under the Paris agreement every five years, the EU does not outline a 2025 target in its offer.

The EU’s plan stayed silent on the amount of additional support they'd provide to developing countries who are expected to take their own climate action under the Paris agreement. Scaling up support will be vital if we're to secure a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris in December that builds resilient communities and helps vulnerable people cope with unavoidable climate impacts. In a bid to shore up Europe’s leadership on climate, European foreign ministers can step up and explicitly outline their offer to help communities adopt renewable energy and adapt to climate change.

Undoubtedly, this offer will not be the final word from Europe on climate action towards the Paris agreement. Indeed, the EU’s pledge document says it looks forward to working with other countries to find “ways to collectively increase ambition further”. And European NGOs will continue to push member states to do more to unlock the “at least” part of their 2030 commitment.  The European Commission has already outlined plans to hold a conference in November to review collective commitments, providing the impetus for all countries to consider what more they can do to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. To give that agreement a smoother landing, Europe can reassert itself as a leader on climate diplomacy giving countries confidence in the collective steps we’re taking on climate action.

Contact: Ria Voorhaar
Head - International Communications Coordination 
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

 
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EC kick starts 2015 climate pledge wave with draft proposal but more work ahead of Europe

Climate Action Network provided the following comment on the releasse of the EC's Energy Union package today. 

The European Commission has today published a proposal on how to flesh out the EU's commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change as part of a package outlining Europe's vision for energy and climate issues. 

Building off it's previously announced target to reduce carbon pollution by at least 40% by 2030, the EC is the first party to attempt to translate its pledge for presentation to the UNFCCC after after last year's major climate negotiations in Lima gave countries guidance on the information to be presented.  While being the first off the mark is cause for applause, European NGOs will be working with EU member states to improve the transparency and quality of the EC's proposal before a version of it goes to the bloc's environment ministers next week. 

Moving forward, the EU will need to bring to life the "at least" part of their climate action commitment. Countries like Denmark have already committed to make 100% of their electricity supply renewable because they know that such policies can deliver more and better jobs, improved public health and more prosperous economies.  

The EC's draft proposal was silent on the amount of additional support they'd provide to developing countries who are expected to take their own climate action under the Paris agreement. Scaling up support will be vital if we're to secure a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris in December that builds resilient communities and helps vulnerable people. Developing countries in particular will be looking for the EU to be more explicit in coming months on how it will help  communities adapt to climate change.

The EC's move today will kick off a wave of pledges from countries over the course of the year - all of which will add up to the first collective signal that the world is moving out of fossil fuels and embracing the renewable energy era.  All eyes will now turn to other developed countries who need to submit their commitments by the end of March.  The EC has also outlined plans to hold a review collective commitments in November providing the impetus for all countries to consider what more they can do to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels on the eve of the Paris Climate Summit. 
 

Contact: 

Ria Voorhaar - +49 157 317 355 68, rvoorhaar @ climatenetwork.org 

UN climate talks in Geneva close adopting a draft text but much political work remains ahead

The UN climate talks in Geneva have closed today with an air of optimism having made progress towards a new agreement that is due to be signed in Paris at the end of the year. The draft agreement is on track to signal an end to fossil fuel emissions with both Jamaica and Switzerland adding their voices to the idea of a long term goal.1 

Climate Action Network members made the following comments on the closure of the UN session:

It's good news countries have given a stamp of approval for a new draft version of the climate agreement that will be the basis of negotiations through the year and that it features a wide range of options to deal with mitigation and to provide support to help developing countries prepare for climate impacts including a loss and damage mechanism.  

There's been a seachange in the dynamics here thanks to the open and consultative approach of the Co-Chairs.  Countries also came ready and willing to work.  The spirit of Geneva needs to be kept alive, as we move to on to deal with crunch issues like the need to scale up financial support for action and how to treat richer and poorer countries fairly, and loss and damage - which has the potential to be a make or break issue for Paris.  

Julie-Anne Richards, Climate Justice Programme  

All eyes must be on political leaders now, as they are the single most important influence that will shape the final outcome of a new global climate deal in Paris later this year.  

There are important political moments outside of the UN climate negotiation process – at both ministerial and Heads of State level - on the road to Paris where they can demonstrate their intentions, such as the G7, the G20 meetings, and the SDG Summit.

 The first test of political will and influence inside the negotiating process will come in the period from March to June when countries announce their plans to reduce emissions and, we hope, provide financial resources for the post-2020 period.

Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to the UNFCCC

As the talks here in Geneva come to a close, people around the world are taking part in Global Divestment Day, a worldwide effort to move money out of the fossil fuel industry and into a clean energy future. 

That's what these negotiations need to do, as well: send a clear signal to investors that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.

Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director. 350.org

1. CAN is calling for a complete phase out of fossil fuel emissions and the phase in of 100% renewable energy by 2050 with sustainable energy access for all. 

Media Briefing: From Geneva to Paris - what this week's talks mean for climate action in 2015

Civil society will assess what the outcome of the UN climate negotiations in Geneva this week means for progress towards a new climate agreement due to be signed in Paris this December. 

The talks conclude with momentum for a phase out of fossil fuel emissions growing across the board, and campaigns like those calling for people and institutions to withdraw their money from dirty energy companies gaining ground with divestment events taking place in 58 countries.

From Geneva, negotiators will return to capitals where governments are busy preparing their climate action commitments towards the Paris agreement before they meet again in Bonn in June for talks to resume.

When: Friday February 13th, 2pm Geneva time which is 8am New York/5pm Dubai/ 1pmGMT

Where: Room XXIII (23), Building E, Level 1, UN Palais Des Nations, Geneva or join online.

To Join: You can join the teleconference online here: www.uberconference.com/climateactionnetwork or dial the relevant telephone number for your country listed below and enter the conference number: 855-534-4477 followed by the # key when requested.

From the US or via Skype, dial (+1) 855-534-4477 - no PIN required. A full list of available telephone numbers can be found here: https://www.uberconference.com/international 

If your country is not listed, and you cannot join via internet browser, please contact us. 

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

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

What to look for when the UN climate talks in Geneva wrap

 

Climate Action Network experts will brief reporters on Thursday morning on developments in the UN climate talks in Geneva and outline what to expect from the meeting's final hours.

When: Thursday February 12th, 10.30am Geneva, 3pm New Delhi, 5.30pm Beijing, 13.30pm Dubai.  

Where: Room XXVII (27), Building E, Level 1, UN Palais Des Nations, Geneva or join online.

Who: 

- Alix Mazounie, RAC France

- David Turnbull, OilChange International

To Join:

You can join the teleconference online here: www.uberconference.com/climateactionnetwork or dial the relevant telephone number for your country listed below and enter the conference number855-534-4477 followed by the # key when requested.

From the US or via Skype, dial (+1) 855-534-4477 - no PIN required. 
A full list of available telephone numbers can be found here: https://www.uberconference.com/international 

If your country is not listed, and you cannot join via internet browser, please contact us. 

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

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

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What to Expect from the UN climate talks in Geneva

 

As countries gather in Geneva to shape and sharpen the draft global climate agreement due to be signed this December, Climate Action Network experts will brief reporters on their expectations for the week ahead, and outline how the UNFCCC negotiations are impacted by developments in capitals around the world.

What: CAN will host TWO briefing calls to cater for timezones. Civil society expects will analyse opening day of the first UN climate negotiations of the year currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland, and layout expectations for the week ahead.

When: Monday February 9th

- Call 1:  10.30am Geneva, 3pm New Delhi, 5.30pm Beijing, 13.30pm Dubai.  

- Call 2:  6.30pm Geneva, 12.30pm New York, 15.30pm Sao Paolo.

Who: 

- Call 1: Anoop Poonia, CAN South Asia, Camilla Born, E3G. 

- Call 2: Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists, Tania Guillen, Centro Humboldt/SUSWATCH. 

To Join:

You can join the teleconference online here: www.uberconference.com/climateactionnetwork or dial the relevant telephone number for your country listed below and enter the conference number855-534-4477 followed by the # key when requested.

From the US or via Skype, dial (+1) 855-534-4477 - no PIN required. 
A full list of available telephone numbers can be found here: https://www.uberconference.com/international 

If your country is not listed, and you cannot join via internet browser, please contact us. 

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

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

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France reaffirms its commitment to phase out coal financing abroad, but more to do to show climate leadership

Climate Action Network said today the reaffirmation by French President Francois Hollande that the country would stop funding coal plants overseas through export credits was to be welcomed as long as the ban starts now. 

With President Hollande to host the major UN climate negotiations in December this year at which a new, global agreement will be signed, it is heartening to see the government hinting at climate leadership. However, France can really show it means business by encouraging other countries in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to commit to the same standard as soon as possible.

As part of the ongoing transition away from dirty fossil fuels, its imperative governments and institutions stop funding new coal projects and instead shift their investments to projects that speed up the path to 100% renewable energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a major report last year that to keep the temperature rise within limits agreed by governments, the world had to reach a complete phase out of fossil fuel emissions. That means most of the world's known fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground. 

Climate negotiators will meet in Geneva on Sunday to continue negotiations on the global agreement. 

 

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Lima Summit shows climate politics lagging behind real world momentum

Big issues punted to Paris

Lima, Peru, December 14, 2014: All eyes will turn to the leaders of the governments who have signed off on an outcome at the UN climate talks in Lima today which neither reflects the growing public support for the ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies nor the urgency to accelerate this transition.

The Lima Decision reaffirmed that governments are now on the spot to put the individual climate pledges on table in the first half of next year, that will form the foundations of the global climate agreement due in Paris next December, but some of the big issues that have been plaguing the talks for years were shirked and could cause headaches later on.

When it comes down to it, these talks shows governments are disconnected from their people who are worried about climate risks and want a just transition to boost our economies, deliver jobs and strengthen public health. Increasingly domestic issues, whether they are elections or decisions about major projects such as the KeystoneXL pipeline in the US and the Galilee basin in Australia, will be seen as a country’s intention on climate change.

While governments were able to hide in Lima, they won’t have that luxury in Paris where the world will be expecting them to deliver an agreement, not shoe-gazing.

"The talks took place in the wake of worsening climate impacts hitting communities around the world, like Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines which has highlighted to ensure communities can adapt and to providing support for the loss and damage they experience when they can no longer adapt" said Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Advisor at Christian Aid.

“There is an elephant in the room at these negotiations - we’ve not managed to entice it out. Working out how to fairly share the workload of tackling climate change between developed and developing countries has become the major stumbling block on the road to Paris.”  

Samantha Smith, Leader, WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative said “Governments crucially failed to agree on specific plans to cut emissions before 2020 that would have laid the ground for ending the fossil fuel era and accelerated the move toward renewable energy and increased energy efficiency. The science is clear that delaying action until 2020 will make it near impossible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, yet political expediency won over scientific urgency. Instead of leadership, they delivered a lackluster plan with little scientific relevancy.”

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International said, "there is still a vast and growing gulf between the approach of some climate negotiators and the public demand for action. This outcome can only be seen as a call to action for people around the world. Governments will not deliver the solutions we need unless more people stand up to make our voices heard. We must continue to build a stronger movement to counteract the narrow interests that are preventing action."

In a positive contrast, negotiators here in Lima were in sync with the emerging consensus around the world that we need to phase out fossil fuels, illustrated by this phaseout surviving as one of the options listed in the current list of options for the Paris agreement. Governments need to get to real work at the next UN climate session in February, in Geneva, to convert the options into plain English, legal negotiating text.

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New energy emerging around plans for national climate action commitments at COP20

Despite slow progress on the penultimate day of the UN climate negotiations in Lima, new energy has emerged around constructive proposals from Latin American countries on guidelines on what countries in wildly varying positions should put forward as their climate action commitments under the new global agreement due at the end of next year.

The Vasudha Foundation’s senior advisor Rahman Mehta said many countries wanted clarity on the expectations for who will do what, before making their own commitment, or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, early next year.

A proposal under discussion would see countries choose the kinds of actions they undertake as part of their commitment under the Paris agreement, for example economy wide or sectoral mitigation actions, but the rules about the kind of information they provide on that contribution would be set.  

“That way each country determines their own actions, but they are transparent about what those actions include and the effect they are likely to have,” Mehta said. “This would apply across the board on all actions, including finance and mitigation.”

Developing countries have been clear that a decision on climate finance in Lima which paves the way for the delivery of the previously promised USD100 billion a year in support by 2020, is needed to get a strong agreement.  

“Finance is a big piece of the jigsaw puzzle that could change the whole picture,” Mehta said. “At the moment many of the countries opposing important rules for INDCs are concerned because they feel they do not have the necessary financial support - they want a level playing field and unless they feel this is what they are getting, they are not prepared to face scrutiny over their own commitments.”

Yesterday and today Peru and Colombia pledged funds to the Green Climate Fund in a positive move that could help to shake up the current impasse around climate finance contributions.  

RAC France’s European policy officer Celia Gautier said other ways to ensure climate action headed in the right direction was to turn the so-called “workstream two” element  of the talks into a robust, well-financed platform which could scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency around the world. 

At the start of this week, there was a move by developed countries to rip out of the draft COP decision text language that would see the Green Climate Fund provide cash towards such efforts. 

“Lets be clear, that unless we provide finance and capacity building support to developing countries who are looking to do more, this element of the talks will be a toothless tiger,” Gautier said. 

“This is bizarre - there's been amazing progress this year on renewable energy as well as initiatives to drive efficiency in cities, by businesses and by citizens  and we've been reminded time and time again that acting now is more cheaper and more effective than waiting.” 

“Countries need to find  a way to integrate these developments in this process in a meaningful way which could also land the Paris agreement much more easily.”

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International said “There are many critical issues that must be resolved here in Lima so a deal could be secured in Paris next year. 

“Progress is far too slow,” she said. “But while we must follow these issues closely, sometimes it is easy to forget what these talks are really about. Underneath the technical details we discuss here, this conference is really about human rights. It is about the right to food, the right to water the right to land and the right to stand up for these rights. All over the world people are losing those rights, and it is our job here in Lima to restore them.”

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