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:

Montreal Protocol: Call for show of leadership as ministers converge for high-level talks on phasing down HFCs

12 October 2016, Kigali: Negotiations to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFCs enter a critical stage as nearly 40 ministers arrive in Kigali (Rwanda) on Thursday to attend the high-level discussions. Hydrofluorocarbons are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries.
An agreement to halt their growth and to rapidly transition to energy efficient and climate-friendly alternatives can avoid warming of up to 0.5 degrees warming by the end of the century. This would greatly increase our chances to meet the world’s climate goal, to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.    

“Climate Action Network urges leaders use this occasion to come together to strike an ambitious deal to cut down on these heat-trapping "super pollutants" and reaffirm the commitment they made in Paris to use every opportunity they have to tackle climate change. A success in Kigali can really raise the bar for greater ambition on global climate action in the years ahead,” said Wael Hmaidan, International Director, Climate Action Network  
In the Paris Agreement, national leaders promised to try their hardest to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, those promises will ring hollow if we don’t get an early date for the global phase down of HFCs.  These chemicals are thousands of times more potent than C0₂ as a greenhouse gas and are increasing in use by 10-15% a year.”
 

Benson Ireri, Christian Aid’s Senior Policy Officer for Africa, said: “It’s fitting that ministers will be arriving here at the summit in the coming days because it is their government's credibility that will be on the line if we don’t get a good outcome. Vulnerable countries do not have time to wait, the climate is changing fast and phasing down HFCs is something which we absolutely must do if we’re going to honour the pledges of the Paris Agreement. It would be an embarrassing start if the Agreement came into force next month and countries had failed their first test by delivering a feeble deal on HFCs."
 

This week the Montreal Protocol has rapidly moved closer to an amendment that will build significantly on climate action committed under the Paris Agreement. Although we've made progress on the important issue of baselines in the negotiations, time is scarce, and barely three negotiating days remain to reach the ambition necessary to achieve the 0.5 degree contribution to avoided warming that we desperately need." said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, Environmental Investigation Agency (US).  "It is pivotal that all Parties agree to an early freeze date for HFC production and consumption and that sufficient funding and flexibility mechanisms are made available to enable such action in developing countries."

Conditions are ripe for reaching an ambitious agreement to phase-down HFCs this week. The technology to transition to energy efficient and climate-friendly alternatives is already available. As the talks progress, most developing countries are displaying ambition and are ready for a freeze starting in the first half of the next decade. Developed countries are also supporting early action and pledging adequate funding to developing countries through the Multilateral Fund,” said Bhaskar Deol, NRDC India Representative.

CAN Statement on the 2016 G20 Summit: A strong take-off , but a bumpy landing on climate change

Hangzhou, China, 5 September 2016: Climate Action Network welcomed the US and China’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on the eve of the G20 summit here. However, civil society groups are disappointed that more countries did not follow suit.  Moreover, the final G20 communique published today was overall low on details, weak in tone and failed to make strong commitments on fighting climate change.

The communique failed to make significant progress on several of CAN demands communicated to the G20 governments

  • Though there were references to sustainable development, there was no mention of countries submitting their long-term strategies and decarbonisation plans.
  •  The summit failed to set a deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies.
  •  While looking forward to outcomes from the forthcoming Montreal Protocol and the ICAO meetings, the communique was weakly worded and did not commit to reaching an ambitious agreement on either of these meetings.
  • While stressing commitments to scale up green finance, the G20 failed to mention the need for climate-related financial disclosures or to ensure that future infrastructures would be climate-friendly and pro-poor.
  • No plans were outlined on transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. 

Some of CAN members reacted to the outcome of the summit as below:

“Hosts to this year’s G20, China has shown great leadership on climate over the last year. Against a backdrop of declining coal consumption and rapid renewable energy growth, China has even greater potential now to match its political effort with further action...but the lack of progress on outlining a concrete timetable for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies is a reminder that the G20’s collective action on climate change must go further. Handing out money to the fossil fuel industry is simply not compatible with the Paris Agreement,” said Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia’s Senior Climate Policy Adviser.

"The Paris Agreement and the SDGs have set a new framework for the global economy and the G20 can't continue with business as usual if these goals are to be put into practice. Discussions started on these issues this year, but much more needs to be done. We commend China for putting the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the greening of the financial system on the G20 agenda - it is now up to the German presidency next year to deliver concrete implementation strategies on these issues. The United States and China formally joining the Paris Agreement is a big step, as it shows that the course set by the Paris Agreement is becoming irreversible. It also increases the pressure for all EU governments to follow suit if they don't want to be left out," said Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch

“The G20 failed to set the right priorities. They don’t seem to care for our common home. While climate change is only one of "Further Significant Global Challenges Affecting the World Economy”, the biggest problem and – at the same time – the one-size-fits-all solution G20 offers to these challenges is growth. They stick to the same old tools that have not been able to solve the climate crisis and global inequality,” said Pirmin Spiegel, General Director at the Catholic Bishops' Organisation for Development Cooperation MISEREOR

CAN believes it is imperative that the world’s most powerful economies, accounting for up to 80 percent of global emissions, take a strong lead to limit the increase in the global temperature beyond 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as committed under the Paris Agreement; end fossil fuel subsidies; and submit long-term decarbonisation plans, among other actions.
By missing out on an opportunity to consolidate the international community’s commitment to fighting climate change, two months before the COP22 in Marrakesh, the G20 has failed to build on momentum and ambition towards a post-Paris climate agenda commensurate with the challenges facing our planet.

Contact:
For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Communications Coordinator, Policy, CAN International 
Email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org or call +918826107830

More resources:
Open letter to G20 countries 
CAN Briefing: G20 Key Demands 
G20 Communique- English

About Climate Action Network:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 950 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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CAN statement: Montreal Protocol: Finish line in sight, now countries must seal the deal in 2016

Climate Action Network statement on the conclusion of the Vienna talks
Montreal Protocol: Finish line in sight, now countries must seal the deal  

Vienna, Austria, 25 July 2016: Civil society organisations welcome the progress that has been made at the international negotiations for phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which ended on a high this weekend in Vienna. Countries reaffirmed their commitments and sent a strong signal that climate action is a priority following the signing of the Paris Agreement. An agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol to cut potent heat-trapping chemicals used in refrigerants, air-conditioners and insulants has been nearly seven years in the making and now seems highly likely to be settled this year.
Following these latest round of negotiations, a deal will likely be struck when the Parties to the Montreal Protocol meet in October in Kigali, Rwanda. It may be the most important climate action of the year and demonstrate a united front towards fighting climate change just weeks before countries meet in Morocco in November for COP 22.

“An agreement this year to phasedown future consumption and production of HFCs would be a huge climate victory. China is working constructively with the US, Latin America, Europe, and other parties to reach a deal that will provide a clear timetable for transitioning to climate-friendly alternatives and strengthen finance for developing countries' transitions,” said Alvin Lin, China Climate and Energy Policy Director, NRDC China.

Expectations from Vienna were high as negotiators drafted the language of the agreement and worked on resolving details pertaining to additional funding to assist developing countries stay on track with their HFC commitments, calculating baselines, and determining timelines and schedules to freeze HFCs.

“It’s been great to see countries across the board show increasing flexibility to resolve some of the difficult issues. Specifically, progress has been made on agreeing an early freeze date for ending the use of HFCs, a baseline from which to start the phasedown and potential national reduction targets,” said Benson Ireri, Senior Advocacy and Policy Officer, Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture, Africa Division, Christian Aid.

While little now stands in the way to Kigali, it is imperative that countries stay focused on an ambitious agreement by working constructively to fill the gaps that remain and not losing sight of the fact that phasing down HFCs, the fastest growing greenhouse gases, could help avoid 0.5C warming by 2100.

“Though countries are ready to sign an agreement to phasedown HFCs this year, the proposals on the table are not ambitious enough. Countries need to agree on an ambitious phasedown schedule that will allow rapid reduction in HFC use in developed countries and enable developing countries to leapfrog to safer, energy efficient alternatives. This is the only way the Montreal Protocol can meaningfully contribute to reducing global warming,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, India.  

More resources:

Vienna HFC Talks: Progress, High Expectations, & Work Ahead: NRDC

Executive High-level Assembly Vienna Communique: CCAC

Remarks at the Montreal Protocol High-level Segment: John Kerry, US Secretary of State

Reducing Hydrofluorocarbons via the Montreal Protocol is the most significant climate action the world can take this year: UNEP Press Statement

For more information, contact:
Dharini Parthasarathy, Communications Coordinator, Policy, CAN- International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or call on +918826107830

About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

 

Montreal Protocol: Vienna talks pave the way for an ambitious plan to phase down HFCs

Who and where: The Open-Ended Working Group of Parties to the Montreal Protocol will meet in Vienna, Austria, on 15 July 2016. Nearly 40 ministers have committed to be present in the negotiations on 22-13 July. Last year, Parties agreed to reach an agreement in 2016 on cutting down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries. Used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, solvents and fire protection products. Successful talks in Vienna could lead to an agreement when the Parties meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2016. Such an agreement will help establish an early, clear and ambitious schedule to phase down HFCs, improve appliance energy efficiency, and quickly arrest warming.

 Why:

  • Nearly 178 countries to date have signed the Paris Agreement and 19 have ratified it. The international community recognises the urgency to take immediate measures to prevent global warming passing the 1.5ºC threshold.
  • The talks in Vienna will set the stage for an agreement on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs as it presents the earliest opportunity for the international community to unite once again on another landmark environmental pact to protect the climate.
    A rapid phasedown of HFCs could prevent more than 100 billion tonnes of CO2-e from entering the atmosphere over the next several decades and avoid 0.5°C warming by the end of the century. There are four proposals to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs (from the North American countries, the European Union, India and the Island States.) There is strong political will to take the talks forward demonstrated by the many high-level ministers who will be present in Vienna.
  • In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was formed to address the depletion of the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances. The success of that agreement, which has put the ozone layer on the path to recovery by 2065, calls for a repeat.

Civil society expectations from this meeting:  

  • The talks in Vienna should set the stage for an agreement that will ensure an ambitious phase-down schedule for both developed and developing countries.
  • Developed countries need to lead on setting an ambitious phase-down schedule of HFCs so as to commercialise climate-friendly alternatives, make them competitive and build confidence for developing countries to transition.
  • Developed countries need to provide adequate funding and technology transfer under the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to enable developing countries to remain on track with their phase-down schedule.
  • Additional fast start funding should be made available to developing countries to achieve energy efficiency gains, including to improve the design of equipment using alternatives to HFCs.          

More resources:
Ozone Secretariat 
CAN Briefing Paper: Achieving an ambitious outcome on HFC Phasedown under the Montreal Protocol in 2016 (Climate Action Network International)
Momentum growing for HFC agreement as Vienna talks kick-off (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Primer on HFCs (Institute of Governance and Sustainable Development
The importance of ambition in the 2016 HFC phase-down agreement (Environmental Investigation Agency)

For more information, please contact:
Dharini Parthasarathy, Communications Coordinator-Policy, CAN International,
email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org or call +918826107830,
Lina Dabbagh, Senior Policy Coordinator, CAN International, email: ldabbagh@climatenetwork.org 

About CAN:
The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1100 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 countries, working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels

Experts react as UN climate negotiations close

May 26, Bonn, Germany - Expert observers from Climate Action Network have responded to two weeks of UN climate negotiations as they draw to a close today. Civil society reflected on progress during the session and also on what needs to happen over the coming months, ahead of COP 22 in Marrakesh this November, to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement and boost short-term climate action.

“As Donald Trump takes evasive action to insure his golf course against climate impacts, governments and businesses, with far more at stake than the 18th green, are putting in the hard yards to accelerate the drive for 100% renewable energy, to build prosperous economies for the future.” said Wael Hmaidan, Director at Climate Action Network International

"In Bonn the countries have discussed the need for entry into force in a rapid manner. It is necessary that Parties take action back home to ensure that ratification happens swiftly, and in a manner that facilitates increase of ambition and with rules developed to ensure transparency and accountability of climate actions." said Vositha Wijenayake, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Climate Action Network South Asia

"The first week of negotiations post-Paris began with fits and starts. However, Parties managed to agree on an APA agenda and the hope leaving Bonn remains that COP 22 will be the Action COP. However,  because of the inadequacy of ambition in current INDCs, Marrakesh needs to make sure that the path is set for the facilitative dialogue in 2018 in order to ramp up ambition to limit global warming to 1.5°C." said Tina Johnson, Policy Director at US Climate Action Network

"After a slow start, the climate negotiations in Bonn picked up pace this week, and the path to a successful climate summit in Marrakesh this November is clearer than it was two weeks ago.  But there is much work ahead if we are to get the meaningful actions that are needed to start to close the substantial gap between the national commitments now on the table and the much greater level of ambition needed to give us a fighting chance of meeting the temperature limitation goals in the Paris Agreement.  We also need to ramp up support for efforts to help vulnerable countries deal with the mounting impacts of climate change that are ever more evident all over the world.  On both of these fronts, leaders, ministers, and negotiators alike need to summon the political will to back up their strong words in Paris with real action in Marrakesh." said Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy at Union of Concerned Scientists

"There has been painfully slow progress on key issues at the SB44 session in Bonn making it necessary to hold more meetings before the next Conference of Parties in Morocco. Raising adequate climate finance and carving out necessary rules and modalities to bring the Paris agreement into force must be the highest priority for all negotiators from now to November." said Sanjay Vashist, Director Climate Action Network South Asia

“The G7 Ise-Shima summit held in Japan is a great opportunity to maintain political momentum and accelerate negotiation on the Paris Agreement. However as the only G7 country to promote coal at home and the biggest coal financier internationally, Japan nearly fails to deliver strong message on climate. This looks likely to be remembered as the summit at which Japan missed the chance to capitalise on momentum for change and left it to China to lead the world on renewable energy.” said Kimiko Hirata, International Director at Kiko Network

“During the past two weeks in Bonn, we saw that the Paris spirit is still alive, but the implementation of the new climate deal remains a huge challenge. There has been some progress in helping vulnerable countries and people adapt to the  dangerous impacts of climate change, but more focus must be given to local gender-equitable adaptation plans and programmes. When countries meet at COP22 in Marrakesh, we expect to see a clearer roadmap for scaling up financial support for adaptation, and for addressing unavoidable loss and damage.” said Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International

“Marrakesh needs to be seen as the Renewables COP.  It offers an enormous opportunity to shift the conversation from grand political rhetoric to the implementation of short-term concrete actions which will keep the agreed temperature goals of 1.5°C and 2°C within reach. In Marrakesh countries must support the urgent need for more renewable energy in developing countries. There are exciting enterprises like the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the Solar Alliance which were launched in Paris and are building on the global need for renewable energy.” said Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Advisor at Christian Aid

“When countries next meet at COP22 in Marrakech, they need to make serious headway on the rules of the new climate regime and give the necessary teeth to the Paris Agreement. But above all, Marrakech needs to be all about action. Last year’s summit in Paris saw several promising renewable energy initiatives launched and today leaders from three developing country groups, representing over 90 countries, made a strong call for global action on renewable energy in Marrakesh,” said Jens Mattias Clausen, Senior Climate Change Adviser at Greenpeace Nordic.

“This year average global temperatures were more than 1°C higher than before the industrial era – and we have had 7 straight months of record breaking global heat with widespread climate change impacts. As temperatures soar, vulnerable people and ecosystems will have to adapt more drastically and rapidly, but they will also face impacts that go beyond the potential for adaptation. That's why negotiators need to urgently resolve the issue of adaptation and loss and damage to ensure that the necessary support will be delivered to help those that are least responsible but facing the worst consequences.” said Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Global Adaptation Expert for WWF International

“Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people are already facing the disastrous impacts of climate change. Yet, adaptation has been short-changed. COP 22 needs to pick up the unfinished business from Paris. At COP 22, developed countries must present a roadmap to show how they will deliver their $100bn a year promise, and adaptation finance must me a core component of this roadmap.” said Armelle Le Comte, Advocacy Officer for Climate and Fossil Fuels at Oxfam France

“Countries’ agreement to a 1.5°C temperature goal at the Paris talks was a step forward but this week’s next round of talks did not see a realistic conversation about what emissions pathways should look like. It’s extremely dangerous to assume that technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) can be used to commit to the 1.5°C target and solve the climate problem. We know that such proposed solutions require massive and unfeasible amounts of land that will compete with food in an already hungry world. If we are to stay under the 1.5°C goal we must be brave and address the elephant in the room – how we reduce our out of control consumption in a world with limitations." said Teresa Anderson, Climate Change Policy Officer at ActionAid

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Contact: Tierney Smith, GCCA, email: tierney.smith@tcktcktck.org, phone: +447545255955

About CAN: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org 

Organization: 

Vulnerable countries & youth kick-off for climate justice at UN negotiations

25th May - Bonn, Germany. Today Adriana Murillo Ruin, head of the Costa Rican delegation at the UNFCCC and representing a group of 43 nations vulnerable to climate impacts, took part in a footballing stunt with a German youth team at the UN climate negotiations, demonstrating the need for accelerated climate action to meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C degrees - a goal accepted by 196 countries in the historic Paris Agreement.

"The vulnerable groups suffer disproportionately the adverse impacts of climate change. Therefore the international agreement we adopted in Paris has the greatest potential for improving the enjoyment of fundamental human rights,” said Adriana Murillo Ruin who represents Costa Rica in the international climate process and whose country is a founding member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. “Keeping warming to a minimum - to below 1.5C degrees - won’t simply deliver safety and prosperity, it will also deliver justice.”

The senior Costa Rican official was joined by young footballers from Preußen Bonn, E-Jugend and together they played a themed match: tackling global warming to limit it to 1.5C degrees or less, shooting for the long-term goal of 100% renewable energy, beating the fossil fuel opposition, and defending against the worst impacts of climate change like extreme storms and flooding. They were cheered on by environmental, youth and development groups alongside members of several national delegations.

“To stop this climate emergency we must all play in the same team. The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and countries are being left on the sidelines, suffering the most for a crisis they did not cause in the first place,” said Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator at CARE International, one of the event organisers. “CARE is working with vulnerable people and communities to help them become more resilient to growing climate disruption, but countries need to also live up to their Paris commitments.”

The footballing stunt reflects growing calls for an injection of ambition in national and international plans to tackle climate change, which come at a time when the opportunity to accelerate climate action is increasingly feasible and beneficial - new industry figures released today show the growing renewable energy sector now employs 8.1 million people worldwide.

“As the cost of renewable technologies hits record-low figures, achieving a 100% renewable energy economy is a natural step to limit global warming below 1.5C degrees,” explained Wael Hmaidan, Director at Climate Action Network International. “It makes no economic sense to invest in fossil fuels anymore.”

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Photos for use will be posted here:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7a221o4g7u4zken/AAAkrT6MBARzy1rvRwCaA-F5a?dl=0

Periscope feed for live view:
https://www.periscope.tv/CANIntl

Contact:

Tierney Smith, Communications Manager, Global Call for Climate Action:
tierney.smith@tcktcktck.org
+447545255955

(For German Press Enquiries)
Sabine Wilke, Media Director, CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg:
wilke@care.de
+49(0)15114780598

Viivi Erkkilä, Climate Change Press and Communications Coordinator, CARE International: verkkila@careclimatechange.org
+447792454130

About:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org

CARE International is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty and delivering lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In 90 countries around the world, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women to equip them with the proper resources to lift their families and communities out of poverty. More at: www.careclimatechange.org

The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of 43 nations from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific working to tackle global climate change through collaboration on common goals, communications and the sharing of expertise and experience. More at:http://www.thecvf.org

Civil society experts set expectations on first day of UN climate negotiations in Bonn

May 16, Bonn, Germany - This UN climate negotiations, kicking off today in Bonn, represent the first time governments have formally met since the Paris Agreement was agreed last December, and with over 170 countries meeting in New York in April to sign the agreement political momentum on climate change continues on a high. Today countries are giving their opening statements in a plenary session as negotiators set out their stalls ahead of two weeks of negotiations, focused on rule-making for the new global climate regime and efforts to ramp up short-term ambition to tackle climate change. There is no time to lose.

“It was announced today that last month was the hottest April ever, which means we have now experienced seven months in a row of months breaking temperature records,” says Teresa Anderson from ActionAid. “As the hottest El Nino ever bites across the world, 60 million people are expected to face its impacts this year in the form of heatwaves, droughts and famine. In Paris, governments agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This number may prove to be the planet's lifeline, but only if we choose to pick up that lifeline, grab it with both hands, and follow it to its necessary conclusion. We need much greater ambition to radically and fairly cut emissions, delivered much faster than the national pledges currently on the table.”

“We are seeing some positive signs”, says Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. “177 parties have signed the Paris Agreement and 16 have already deposited instruments of ratification. Outside the UN process the renewable energy revolution is unfolding, and financial flows are shifting towards low carbon development - but the question is whether this is happening fast enough to keep pace with changes in the physical environment. Negotiators have an opportunity in Bonn to speed things up by developing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, working to build capacity for a major increase in both pre- and post-2020 ambition, and putting the spotlight on efforts to ramp up support for adaptation and loss and damage ahead of the COP in Marrakesh.”

“Today the new Moroccan Presidency labelled COP 22 in Marrakesh the ‘COP for action’ which is good a start”, says Anoop Poonia from Climate Action Network South Asia. “This year we need action to develop a roadmap that delivers the long-promised $100 billion in climate finance. In the process negotiators must ensure this finance supports both adaptation and mitigation in order to boost the resilience of the most vulnerable countries already experiencing climate impacts. Right now less than $6 billion per year is available for adaptation - this is not enough. Another important task for governments here in Bonn is to get working on the rules for accounting and transparency so that we develop more accurate ways to measure the cost of complex climate impacts and exactly what support falls under the banner of ‘climate finance’ as we move forwards.”

Contact: Tierney Smith, GCCA, email: tierney.smith@tcktcktck.org, phone: +447545255955

About CAN: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 950 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org 

Organization: 

Civil society experts respond to historic Paris Agreement signing ceremony

April 22nd, New York - Today representatives from more than 150 countries, including nearly 60 Heads of State, will gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to sign the historic Paris Agreement as governments take their first collective step from ambition to action after forging a new, global climate treaty in December. The event, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Earth Day, will be the largest signing ceremony of its kind in the history of the UN, demonstrating the political momentum behind the global plan to tackle climate change and end the fossil fuel era.

Civil society experts have commented on the significance of the signing and what needs to happen next to accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy and boost the resilience of climate vulnerable communities:

"Today’s signing of the Paris Agreement is truly one for the history books, marking a turning point for humanity and a permanent shift toward a 100 percent clean energy economy. Following on the historic momentum from Paris, we’ve seen remarkable climate action both at home and around the world. The victories are numerous, from states like Oregon and New York committing to eliminate coal, to the wave of announcements from cities and businesses pledging to go 100 percent renewable, to India committing to 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022. In Paris, the world gave fossil fuels their expiration date, and today’s signing has set that process in motion.” said Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club.

“For so many countries to sign at the first opportunity is a real indication of the overwhelming support to turn the Paris Agreement into accelerated climate action. The decisions in the Paris Agreement now need to be incorporated into government and corporate decisions by breaking free from fossil fuels,” said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. “More people than ever before mobilized for the public good and our climate in 2015; this global wave of people power helped deliver the agreement in Paris. The people will stay vigilant until fossil fuels are history and climate justice is delivered,” added Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

“The signing of this agreement reminds us just how far we’ve come. Just a few years ago the world was divided on how to respond to climate change and progress was slow. But this agreement shows the world is now united in tackling its biggest threat and the path towards a low carbon world is set. It is vital that countries ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible so that we can turn it into reality. The sooner it comes into force the stronger the signal is to investors and the faster the global transition will be, as money shifts to clean technologies. We’re already seeing this happen with coal as the market turns its back on companies like Peabody Energy.” said Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Advisor at Christian Aid.

“The formal signing of the Paris Agreement could be the next nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry if governments actually follow through on their commitments. The growing and vibrant climate movement is forcing governments to bow to the pressure to break free from fossil fuels. However there is still a dangerous gap between what the governments are signing up to, what they are doing and the real ambition we need to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground. As a movement we will continue to hold governments accountable, ensure they ratify the treaty, go well beyond their current targets and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy.” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.

“The signing ceremony is a historic and important step forwards for the Paris Agreement but today isn’t just about the UN process and governments. There is a variety and pick’n’mix feel to the groups gathered here in New York, with activists, faith groups, representative of climate vulnerable countries, city mayors and business leaders forging partnerships to accelerate the shift to 100% renewable energy by raising the pressure on governments, financial institutions and of course, the fossil fuel industry. The end of the fossil era is inevitable and what is developing here in New York means exciting times are ahead.” said Wael Hmaidan, Director at Climate Action Network International.

"The signing of the Paris Agreement is historic. It is a crucial step in a journey that began a long time ago. This day did not arrive without a tremendous amount of support from people around the world, from all walks of life marching, getting arrested, writing their congressmen, and signing petitions demanding that world leaders to take action on the global threat of climate change. As we celebrate this great achievement it is clear that greater ambition is required. Civil Society will continue to engage with and to push world leaders to do their part." said Tina Johnson, Policy Director of US Climate Action Network.

“After the signing the Agreement, governments around the world have to roll up their sleeves and get to work aligning national climate and development policies with the 1.5oC degree warming threshold - which requires a swift and just transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy as well as concerted efforts to bolster the global climate agreement itself.” said Krishneil Narayan, Coordinator of Pacific Islands Climate Action Network.

"Although we have seen a great amount of global commitment to tackle climate change, current national action plans are not ambitious enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. This is a question of survival for many poor and climate vulnerable communities and nations that need much more support to withstand increasing climate shocks. There’s no room for delay, now is the time to turn the Paris Agreement into meaningful action,” said Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator at CARE International

“The signature of the Paris Agreement is a strong signal forward, but the provisions of the agreement alone will not keep the planet away from dangerous climate change. Countries must therefore urgently get to work to increase their ambitions and turn them into swift, concrete actions if we are to keep temperatures well below the 1.5C [degrees celsius] threshold stated in the agreement. This is particularly crucial for communities around the world who are experiencing firsthand the effects of climate change at this very moment. It is therefore a moral duty to end the fossil fuel era now.” said Bernd Nilles, Secretary General at CIDSE.

“Governments must urgently turn these commitments into action by ratifying and implementing the Paris Climate Agreement at a national level while ratcheting up their ambition towards climate action, as the current commitments are not enough to avoid a world that is 3°C warmer. The first three months of 2016 are already recorded as warmest in hundred years and effects of which can be seen across the subcontinent reeling under unprecedented heat waves that has already claimed hundreds of lives.” said Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia.

"Now more than ever developed countries have to ensure that adequate climate finance is in place to help millions of vulnerable people to respond to the worst impacts of climate change. The current Paris agreement is still unclear on how climate action will be implemented equitably and fairly. This should be the key priority for negotiators meeting at Bonn next month to pick up where the Paris climate meeting left off.” said Vositha Wijenayake, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator at Climate Action Network South Asia.

“The signing of the Paris agreement today marks a critical step forward towards building a more resilient, low-carbon future. But there is still much unfinished business left from Paris on adapting to the dangerous impacts of climate change. If all of today’s public climate adaptation finance were to be divided among the world’s 1.5 billion smallholder farmers in developing countries, they would get around $3 each a year to cope with climate change.” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director at Oxfam International.

"What we need now is clear milestones on how rich nations will raise the $100 billion they promised, as well as ambitious roadmaps from all countries to show they are taking practical steps to address the crisis. The Paris Agreement needs to make sure that events like the current drought and other severe weather caused by El Niño can be effectively tackled in the future.” said Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid.

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Climate Action Network Condemns Deadly Crackdown on Coal Protesters

5th April, Bangladesh - Climate Action Network, a global community of over 950 NGOs in more than 110 countries fighting for action to tackle climate change, condemns yesterday’s deadly police crackdown on villagers protesting coal plant construction. Officials say that at least four people died when police opened fire on an unarmed crowd in Gandamara, a small coastal town in Bangladesh, where 500 villagers had gathered to oppose two new Chinese-funded coal projects.

The villagers had been protesting peacefully for days, despite a police ban, after the local conglomerate behind the planned coal expansion started bulldozing land to pave the way for the unpopular plants. Authorities in Bangladesh have long used intimidation tactics to prevent locals voicing their concerns - this new and deadly means of silencing opposition to dirty coal power is an extremely worrying escalation.

“More than six thousand farmers are dependent on this fertile land for agriculture and salt production, these farmers travelled to Gandamara to save their livelihoods and some paid for it with their lives," said Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia. "Experts have also pointed out that the operation of coal plants would cause major damage to the delicate ecosystem of the area, due to air and water pollution and increase in boat traffic to deliver coal to the plant.” he added.

“It is time for government to stop the death and destruction caused by coal projects in Bangladesh and show real leadership through redirecting investments away from coal to renewables like wind and solar,” said Dr. Mohd. Abdul Matin, Convenor of the Coal Affairs Program Committee and General Secretary of BAPA.

Wael Hmaidan, Director of Climate Action Network International said, “people have a right to peacefully stand up against reckless coal expansion that threatens to destroy their homes and ruin their livelihoods. This community is trying to defend itself from an increasingly desperate industry and has suffered a direct attack from the authorities who should be preserving their rights, not trampling on them.”

Climate Action Network supports the demand from local groups for an immediate, full and independent inquiry into yesterday’s events, to hold those responsible to account for the unnecessary murder of at least four people. It is simply unacceptable for police to open fire on protesters and shoot to kill.

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Editors note:

[1] A report from one of our members based in Bangladesh is here

[2] Photographs of the violent crackdown were posted on facebook by protesters here

[3] According to local reports Chittagong-based S. Alam Group plans to build two coal-fired power plants at the area. Two Chinese firms — SEPCOIII Electric Power and HTG — are financing $1.75 billion of the the plants’ estimated $2.4 billion cost.

[4] About CAN:

The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from over 110 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

CAN contact: Mark Raven, CAN International, email: mraven@climatenetwork.org, phone: +44 7841474125

“Break Free From Fossil Fuels”: bold, coordinated, worldwide actions announced

GLOBAL -- Today the global platform “Break Free” has been launched, featuring a series of peaceful, coordinated actions that aim to disrupt the fossil-fuel industry’s power by targeting the world’s most dangerous and unnecessary fossil fuel projects.[1]

This May, thousands of people from around the world will join actions taking place across 6 continents aiming to halt dirty fossil fuel operations and demonstrate support for an accelerated ‘just transition’ to 100% renewable energy. Major actions are currently planned in countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, US, Germany, Philippines, Australia and more - led by the communities that have spent years already fighting dangerous fossil fuel projects.[2]

“Hot on the heels of the largest ever climate mobilisations in history activists are once again stepping back into the ring to strike a body blow against a fossil fuel industry that’s on its knees.” said Wael Hmaidan, the Director of Climate Action Network. “More and more people are joining the fight because they see how fossil fuels are destroying the planet, risking the economy, and creating injustice for local communities. The movement is here to stay, there is no end to it, until the final bell tolls for the fossil fuel industry.”

On the back of the hottest year in recorded history, communities worldwide are demanding  governments put words into action after delivering the historic Paris Agreement in December where 196 parties signalled the end of the the fossil fuel era. In order to address the current climate crisis and keep global warming below 1.5C degrees fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced, now.

“The science is clear: we need to keep at least 80%, if not more, of fossil fuel reserves in the ground,” said Payal Parekh, the Global Managing Director of 350.org, “communities worldwide are experiencing first hand the consequences of climate change and the damage inflicted by the fossil fuel industry. It’s up to us to break free from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift towards a just transition to 100% renewable energy. It’s in our hands to close the gap between what current commitments will achieve and what science demands is necessary in order to protect our common home.”

The climate movement’s commitment to scaling up its resistance to the fossil fuel industry comes at a time when renewable energy is already more affordable and widespread than ever before. These new tools give communities at the front lines of climate change new ways to respond to the crisis and build their own power.

“Moving towards 100% renewable energy is possible with the political will to make the change” said Arif Fiyanto, Coal Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia. “There are no major economic or technical barriers to a future supported by renewable energy. Any new infrastructure built to support fossil fuels expansion, such as coal mines, power plants, oil rigs and export terminals will be a waste of money and further lock us into a path to irreversible climate change”

Post-Paris, the fossil fuel industry is running scared with prices plunging and companies going bankrupt. Now, ramped up civil disobedience will show that the industry’s social licence to operate is fast evaporating. Such peaceful civil disobedience brings people from all walks of life, and not just seasoned climate activists, to challenge both politicians and polluters to accelerate the unstoppable energy transition already underway.

One such example is last year’s Ende Gelände (Here And No Further), which saw 1500 people take part in a daring act of civil disobedience to shut down Europe’s biggest source of CO2 emissions. On the urgency at hand, Hannah Eichberger from this grassroots anti-coal alliance said: “It’s time now for a grassroots energy transition that does not only exchange one source of energy for the other but that tackles the root causes of natural destruction and social injustice: corporate power.”

The struggles against the fossil fuel industry and the environmental, social, economic and political destruction they’ve wielded has been underway across regions for many years.

"Fossil fuels have brought horrendous pollutions to the Niger Delta alongside unimaginable human rights abuses while severely harming communities, said Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian activist from the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, “We cannot allow fossil fuel addicts to burn the planet. The time for the shift is now. No one will set us free. We must break free ourselves, now" he added.

These peaceful worldwide mobilisations taking place in May serve as an important point in the climate movement’s trajectory to increase pressure on the fossil fuel industry. The global struggle to finally break free from fossil fuels will continue making this a struggle the world cannot ignore.

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CONTACTS

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] For more information visit: breakfree2016.org

[2] Highlights from some of the planned actions across 6 continents include:

Germany: Last year 1500 people entered the pit of a lignite coal mine in the Rhineland, and in May hundreds more are coming to Lusatia, where local communities have struggled against mining and resettlement for years. There they will engage in civil disobedience to stop the digging in one of Europe’s biggest open-pit lignite mines, which the Swedish company Vattenfall has put up for sale. The action will show any future buyer that all coal development will face resistance, and demonstrate the movement’s commitment to a different kind of energy system that prioritizes people and the planet over corporate power and profit.

Nigeria: In the Niger Delta actions will be held in 3 iconic locations that epitomise the decades old despoiling of the region. The actions will show clearly that Nigeria, nay Africa, is better off without the polluting activities of the fossil industry. They will also underscore the fact that people's action remains the viable way to save the planet from mankind's addiction to fossil fuels.

Turkey: community leaders in the Izmir region will confront the illegal tactics behind the coal industry’s plan to build 4 more dirty coal plants near their homes, in addition to the one operating illegally. They will gather at the gates of a massive, growing spoils mountain used by nearby coal plants against a court order to dispose of dangerous waste from the burning of dirty coal. This action will unite several fights against individual coal plants into a unified stance against the current Turkish government’s plan to dramatically expand the use of coal in the country.

Australia: As an election approaches, climate activists will bring the country’s growing climate movement to the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, and demonstrate their resolve to both make the climate a key issue in the coming election, and their determination to continue resisting coal no matter who is in the Prime Minister’s chair.

Brazil: Indigenous people and climate activists will join hands for four different peaceful actions addressing key parts of the country’s oil and gas infrastructure -- from where the gas is fracked in Indigenous land, to its risky transportation, to where it is burned. The exact details are being kept confidential, but thousands of participants are expected across more than a week of action in all areas of the country.

United States: Activists are targeting 5 key areas of fossil fuel development: new tar sands pipelines in the Midwest with an action near Chicago; fracking in the Mountain West with an event outside Denver; ‘bomb trains’ carrying fracked oil and gas to a port in Albany, NY; Shell’s devastating refinery pollution north of Seattle; and dangerous oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles. These diverse actions will all escalate critical local campaigns that target the unjust practices of the fossil fuel industry that burdened the poor and people of color with the bulk of the industry’s pollution.

[3] About CAN:

The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1,000 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from over 110 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

CAN contact: Mark Raven, CAN International, email: mraven@climatenetwork.org, phone: +90 53626 88406 or +44 7841474125

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