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CAN Position: Implications of 1.5C & Zero-Carbon Goal by 2050 on Public Finance Institutions, June 2017

Key Message and Recommendations

Under the Paris Agreement, 196 countries agreed to align financial flows with a pathway towards low-GHG, climate-resilient development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda aim for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy and infrastructure by 2030. This CAN position paper outlines the role of public finance institutions (PFIs) such as Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) in supporting countries in the zero-carbon, climate-resilient transition. The paper urges that:

  • Public finance must be transformational, catalytic, inclusive and responsive;
  • PFIs must apply precautionary principles in assessing the climate and development impacts of their policies and projects avoiding harm to people, nature and economy;
  • PFIs must provide policy, technical and financial support to help countries transform their energy sectors to sustainable, efficient systems that prioritise energy access;
  • PFIs must cease by 2020 direct, indirect, ancillary infrastructure and policy support for upstream and downstream fossil fuels, GHG-intensive projects, nuclear, large bioenergy and hydropower when more cost-effective and less damaging alternatives exist;All PFI investments must meet strict environmental and social development criteria and be assessed through a pro-poor, inclusive, climate-resilient and gender-responsive lens;
  • All PFIs, beginning with OECD countries in 2017, should report annually on their progress in scaling back support for fossil fuel-related transactions.

This paper identifies a number of opportunities for PFIs:

  • MDB country strategy revision processes provide an opportunity to integrate Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies (LTS) for zero-carbon development under the Paris Agreement;
  • Policy reforms lending can be strategically influential to usher in urgently-required energy and infrastructure sector policy reforms;
  • Strengthening oversight over their financial intermediaries’ compliance with environmental and social frameworks, as well as gender and energy policy provisions would significantly reduce impacts on ecosystems and society by PFIs;
  • The results framework for PFI energy investments could incorporate outcome indicators for alignment with the 1.5°C goal and the 2030 Agenda SDGs;
  • All PFIs should initiate reports to present pathways for their operations to contribute to sustainable energy and development commitments of their stakeholder governments.

CAN calls on all PFIs to produce pathways to 1.5°C and Agenda 2030 for their respective operations by 2020 based on a synthesis of scientific advice and an assessment of social and economic development needs.

Note: This position paper is supported by more detailed analysis in a companion document.

Related Campaign: 
PDF icon companion_document_-_pfis_1.5c.pdf211.08 KB

G20 Issue Brief: Long-term Strategies, February 2017

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to formulate long-term low-GHG emission development strategies, in line with pursuing efforts to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5ºC. With the 2016 adoption of Agenda 2030, countries are also beginning to implement policies to fulfil the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Long-term strategies create a framework within which the implications of short-to-medium-term decisions that impact both greenhouse gas emission trajectories and development pathways can be coherently planned and adjusted where necessary. Developing and implementing these strategies ensures alignment with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, in a way that fosters increased prosperity for citizens, reduces the risk of locking-in unsustainable and high-emission infrastructure, and will help to avoid stranded high-carbon assets.

Careful long-term planning also provides an opportunity to maximize socio-economic benefits, such as cleaner air and water, improved security for jobs and energy access, and better health. If well done, these strategies can identify such opportunities, as well as challenges, open a space for democratic consultation on these implications, and secure a just transition for workers and communities which depend today on a fossil-based economy. 


Civil society warns UN Security Council climate change a driver of conflict, hunger and poverty


[New York – United States] – February 15, 2013 – Climate Action Network-International (CAN-International) today warned a special event for United Nations Security Council members at the UN headquarters in New York that climate change was a critical driver of poverty, inequality, instability, and conflict which would ultimately affect us all.
Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-International, told the meeting, convened by Pakistan and the United Kingdom, that the situation demanded an unprecedented commitment to collective action to drastically reduce these climate-driven risks which were already being experienced, first and foremost, by the poorest and most vulnerable within our societies.
“We are gravely concerned by the prospects for mass displacement of people within States and across borders driven directly by climate impacts like sea level rise, droughts, desertification, biodiversity loss and indirectly by its impacts on food and natural resources,” Hmaidan said.
“We recognise that the decision to leave one's home and community is often the result of multiple factors, but that climate change impacts are often a critical driver, he said.
For example, the thousands of people who were displaced from Somalia into neighbouring countries in 2011 were not primarily fleeing conflict, but in search of food in the wake of drought.
Tim Gore, from Oxfam International, also present at the event, said that nowhere can this climate risk be more clearly seen than in the global food system.
“Droughts or floods can wipe out entire harvests, as we have seen in recent years in Pakistan, in the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel. And when extreme weather hits major world food producers – like last year’s droughts in the US and Russia – world food prices rocket. This presents a major risk to net food importing countries, such as Yemen, which ships in 90% of its wheat,” Gore said.
“The food riots and social unrest seen in the wake of the 2008 food price spikes were not a one-off phenomenon, but a sign of the risks we face through our failure to feed a warming world. With major producers either suffering or barely recovering from extreme heat and drought, combined with world cereal stocks falling again, world food security remains on a knife-edge.
Hmaidan said governments need to dramatically scale up public investments to help communities and countries adapt to the changing climate as well while at the same time ramp ing up international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent much greater harm.
“Adequate preparation for permanent loss and damage inflicted by climate change, including the establishment of a new international mechanism under discussion at the UNFCCC and the recognition of new rights for climate-forced migrants is required,” Hmaidan said.
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
For more information, please contact Climate Action Network-International communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 157 3173 5568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
Related Member Organization: 

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010


A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C. 

Negotiations Post-Copenhagen
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.

Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:

  • Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
  • Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
  • Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
  • Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement. 

Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:

  • Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
  • Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
  • There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction. 

So, what does a pathway forward look like?

Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved. 

CAN Position: High-level principles and recommendations for transformative pathways towards "real zero" emissions, September 2020

There is hardly any carbon budget left, which means there can be no delay in action. Emissions must decrease as fast as conceivably possible in rich countries, followed by likewise unprecedented rapid reduction rates also in poor countries – enabled by significantly enhanced support from richer countries for climate mitigation, resilience building, adaptation and Loss and Damage provisions.

The IPCC 2018 special report on 1.5°C estimates the remaining carbon budget for a 67% chance of keeping below 1.5°C global average heating to 420 Gt from 2018 onwards. This only corresponds to 8,5 years at current global emissions levels. The UNEP Emissions Gap report concludes that there will need to be 7.6% yearly reductions globally to have a decent chance (67% probability) to keep below 1.5°C by 2100 while still allowing for higher temperatures (overshooting) before that. With no overshooting and less risk acceptance, global reduction rates must be much higher.

For countries with higher capacity and historical responsibility for having caused emissions, the rate of yearly GHG reductions would clearly need to be significantly higher than this global average rate (likely somewhere between 10 and 20% per year), and including scaled-up contributions of climate finance toward mitigation in poorer countries.

The climate crisis is all about what we do now – immediate behavioural and lifestyle changes to reduce consumption, particularly by the rich and powerful; immediate regulations, bans of dirty infrastructure  like coal power stations, standards and policies; immediate planning and investments in renewables, and energy and resource efficiency solutions in all sectors in order to have them play out over coming years and decades to move to 100% renewables, ideally well before 2050. There is no scope for delay.

Platform #Redesign2020: CAN Executive Director Tasneem Essop's Intervention

Platform #Redesign2020: Tasneem Essop, Climate Action Network International Executive Director

Originally posted on: https://platform2020redesign.org/stakeholders/


Here's the full transcript:

Ministers, Executive Secretary, colleagues, I am Tasneem Essop, the Executive Director of Climate Action Network International and I am sharing this message on behalf of our Network of 1300 members in over 130 countries, all campaigning on climate change.

CAN strongly supports a just, sustainable  and equitable economic recovery that is socially inclusive, transparent and that addresses the multiple and intersectional crises the world is facing now, namely, the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, inequality, climate impacts, gender inequality and systemic racism amongst others.

Governments will spend several trillions of dollars on the Recovery. These investments must result in a better and safer world for all.

It should prioritise the support and building of resilience of the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable, the jobless and those impacted most by these crises.

These investments  must address  the huge national and international inequalities of wealth, as well as support clean, innovative and sustainable industries and practices to overcome the climate crisis.

The investments in the recovery must contribute to keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees celsius and in line with the Paris Agreement, in order to prevent devastating climate impacts that serve to further exacerbate other existing crises. This means that we cannot afford to invest in a Business as Usual economy or society.

2019 saw the highest  fossil fuel CO2 emissions ever. The world faces species extinction and ecosystem destruction  on a massive  scale. Freshwater scarcity and food insecurity are at crisis levels. About 4 million people die from air pollution each year. The pandemic has exposed the systemic fragility and inequalities in the world and that undermine and threaten the achievement of the Paris Agreement´s long-term goals, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is therefore vital for the economic recovery to be compatible with the Paris Agreement. The IPCC showed there are many possible co-benefits of climate action and sustainable development. Governments should actively plan their recoveries to achieve these co-benefits.

For example, by transforming our energy system away from all fossil fuels, the UN Secretary General recently pointed out, investments in renewable energy, clean transport and energy efficiency as part of the recovery efforts could enable 270 million people globally access to electricity, and create 9 million jobs annually over the next 3 years.

We must shift all land use practices to sustainable ones,  increase the protection of biodiverse ecosystems, and overcome energy poverty in developing countries, in line with a Just Transition for all.

Importantly, the Cost of the recovery must be borne by those who  have been benefiting from the unjust, fossil-fuel based economic system for decades, that is, the wealthy.

Developed countries must act and invest in a clean, sustainable and just transition and, as part of delivering their fair shares, provide upscaled international support to developing countries to do the same.

Finally, economic recovery programs by rich countries need to embrace international solidarity and enable  poorer developing countries to overcome these multiple crises and enter a new phase of sustainable development and that Leaves no-one behind.

Thank you



IEA Ministerial Summit: CAN Intervention by Dr. Stephan Singer

09 July 2020. The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit held today virtually brought together the ministers of countries representing over 80% of global energy demand and carbon emissions, with civil society interventions including Climate Action Network (CAN) through Dr. Stephan Singer, CAN's Senior Advisor, Global Energy Policies.

Due to technical issues and time constraints during the virtual conference, the below transcript was not delivered in full but the message remains the same: governments must not offer hand outs to the fossil fuel industry, and move towards a global phase-out of fossil fuels with the help of the IEA.


Dear ministers, governmental and other delegates and IEA. Climate Action Network (CAN), the largest global network of civil society organisations working on all aspects of climate change, thanks you for this opportunity.

CAN strongly supports a just, green and equitable economic recovery that is socially inclusive and addresses the multiple crises the world is facing.

Ministers, governments will spend several trillion USD for the recovery. This must have at its core the creation and maintenance of a resilient and robust pro-poor health system that is also preparing societies and communities for adapting to further health crisis such as those caused by growing climate change related diseases, flooding, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

These investments must support the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable, the jobless and those already impacted by the multiple crises. And they must be supported with policies that overcome the huge national and international inequalities of wealth. And let’s make sure that they assist clean, innovative and creative industries and practices to overcome the climate crisis, and do not support those forces that generated the mess we are in.

Ministers, we cannot go back to pre-CORONA times. 2019 saw the largest fossil fuel CO2 emissions ever, the world faces species extinction and ecosystems destruction on a huge scale.  Freshwater scarcity, food insecurity are reaching crisis levels.  About 4 million people die from air pollution each year.

CAN strongly objects to governments using the economic recovery to hand out money to any fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure industry, or to others that do not commit credibly to enhanced sustainability objectives in line with a Just Transition to meet the 1.5 C survival objective as enshrined in the ratified Paris Agreement.

And that means, Dear ministers, you should already be preparing for a global phase-out of fossil fuels by the mid-century at the latest as urged by science and the IPCC to avoid many irreversible climate impacts. CAN requests the IEA to provide you with tools needed for success by making a 1.5C global scenario central to your decisions.

CAN demands that the economic recovery shall significantly grow renewable energies, support energy and mineral resource conservation and efficiency with strong social and environmental safeguards in all sectors, shift all land use practices to sustainable ones, increase and ensure the protection of biodiverse ecosystems, and overcome energy poverty in developing countries in line with a Just Transition for all.

Finally, economic recovery programs by rich countries need to embrace international solidarity and allocate a “fair share” of the money to poorer developing countries for adaptation to health and climate change impacts, as well as support for clean technologies - and that should be much higher than the present development assistance.

Thank you


About Climate Action Network
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1300 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org


CAN International Policy Manual: Sustainable Policy Responses for the Aviation Sector in the COVID Crisis, June 2020

Until the COVID-19 crisis, aviation was a top-ten global emitter. While there is uncertainty regarding air traffic projections over the next year or longer, the sector’s emissions are still expected to rise dramatically by mid-century under a business-as-usual scenario. Aviation alone could consume one-quarter of the remaining global carbon budget. After decades of climate inaction. Now, many airlines are asking for tens of billions of dollars in public bailout money. If state aid is granted, it should primarily serve to protect impacted workers, to avoid major negative effects on the economy, and to continue strategically important services. Rescue operations for airlines and airports which were struggling financially before the crisis are questionable. A recent study by well-known economists Prof. Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern have rated unconditional airline bailouts as particularly poorly across all economic metrics. This briefing outlines key steps for policy makers if they intend to provide public money for airline bailouts.


Why Indonesia should Raise Climate Ambition

By: Nithi Nesadurai, CAN Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator

If there is one country which raises the profile of Southeast Asia and ASEAN, it is Indonesia. First and foremost, because of its huge geographic spread, population of more than 273 million and membership to G20.

Additionally, as one of the world’s 12 most mega biodiversity countries, it has played a prominent and progressive role in both the Biodiversity and Climate Change convention negotiations hosted by the United Nations.

In its intended nationally determined contributions (INDC), Indonesia had pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% below the business as usual (BAU) level by 2020 through unilateral actions, and by 41% with international support through bilateral cooperation.

This original NDC target was considered relatively high by Indonesian officials compared to other countries, including industrialised nations. Subsequently, this target was mainstreamed into government policy by the low carbon development strategy developed in 2019 to achieve economic benefits by transitioning to development with a lower carbon footprint.

This led many to look forward to an announcement from the Indonesian Government of raised climate ambition and higher targets in its revised NDC. During a discussion hosted by NDC Partnership on 11 May, senior Indonesian government officials said it was not going to happen because of the adverse economic effects of Covid-19. As a result, Indonesia will retain its original targets of 26% and 41% respectively.

While the pandemic has adversely affected Indonesia’s economy in general, this has resulted in huge reductions in energy-related emissions from the industrial, transportation and commercial building sectors. It would have been an opportune moment for the revised NDC to build on this trend and create a new normal with an enhanced emissions reduction target prioritising renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This would have provided leadership to other ASEAN countries to follow in its path. After all new research1 shows every country in the world would be economically better off if all could agree to strengthen commitments on the climate crisis through international cooperation. Conversely, weak action would lead to steep economic losses and losses of life.


1 Wei, Y., Han, R., Wang, C. et al. Self-preservation strategy for approaching global warming targets in the post-Paris Agreement era. Nat Commun 111624 (2020) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-15453-z

CAN Position: Fundamentals for Recovery & Economic Stimulus Packages in response to Covid-19, May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic presents real and immediate risks to people's health and livelihoods. 

We must not respond to this disaster in a way that could put people’s health at greater risk and worsen other crises, notably climate change. This is a transformational moment. The decisions made today will shape our societies and economies for years or decades to come. This is the same window of time we have left to take the necessary action to stem the climate crisis and limit warming to below 1.5ºC. 

The most vulnerable people already gravely impacted by the climate crisis are at risk of being pushed into further uncertainty and poverty. To minimize the harm of COVID-19, protect people, and ensure long term resilience and prosperity, governments’ reactions must be swift, people-centered and in the spirit of solidarity.

That means focusing on helping workers in all affected industries, but avoiding subsidies or bailouts that would keep or increase heavily polluting activities or infrastructure investments that lock in greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. And it means understanding and addressing the underlying inequalities that make people especially vulnerable to both climate change and COVID-19.




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