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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 Briefing: Expectations for the 17th Informal Meeting on Further Actions Against Climate Change

At COP24 Parties agreed largely the foundational elements of the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. In 2019 countries need to complement their work in Katowice by agreeing on strong guidelines for implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, advance on the urgent issue of climate finance including finance to address loss and damage, and by strengthening domestic targets in line with the 1.5°C temperature threshold.

The 17th Informal Meeting on Further Actions Against Climate Change provides the opportunity to advance the discussion on these key issues. Climate Action Network prepared this Briefing outlining expectations for 2019 with the intention of supporting parties at this Meeting.


Civil society stands in solidarity with 'Fridays For Future' global student strikes


Thursday 14 March, 2019 - Decades of dependence on a carbon-based economy has produced grave injustices on a global scale. Our children, grandchildren and the many vulnerable communities and species on the planet now have to carry the burden of a crisis that they have not caused. The youth are forced to act like grown-ups. Faced with government inaction despite the stark warnings from scientists to act, young people chose to leave school to confront a system that failed us all, but particularly those with the least power.

Years of empty promises to address the climate emergency have created intergenerational mistrust. Our children and grandchildren don’t trust us as adults, citizens, business people and politicians. Around the world, young people are taking to the streets to reclaim a safe future. They are not alone in this fight. They have inspired us to join them in saying: no, our future is not for sale and governments must ensure that fossil fuels are kept in the ground. We will exert all efforts to guarantee their victory.

This newly generated grassroots power is putting the last nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry and advocating for true, rights- and evidence-based solutions to climate change. It is essential that governments act on climate and work with vulnerable communities to protect them from dangerous warming while we ensure ecosystems can thrive and restore. The science is clear we must move faster to avoid catastrophe by decarbonizing the economy, cutting emissions by half by 2030 to reach zero emissions by 2050.

We, the members of civil society, stand in solidarity with students worldwide demanding climate justice. We shall relentlessly support their effort until they meet the success of their struggle through concrete government action to resolve the climate emergency.


Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said:

“We should all be showing solidarity with the inspiring actions being taken by young people all over the world. Whether it is the school strikes and street marches demanding climate action, or young people who are suing their governments over climate change, the youth are demanding that we stop stealing their future. As Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg said at COP24, 'we are running out of time. Change is coming whether you like it or not.' It is young people like her that are challenging us to show that change is possible, and we must rise to the challenge.”

May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org said:

“The thing with the climate crisis, that these children know is: it’s not going anywhere. Change is coming whether we like it or not, so we have to face up to the choices we can make in order to avoid the worst case scenarios of climate change. We can shape those changes to benefit our communities and humanity as a whole. The time to do so is now. We should not have needed our children to take to the streets to realise that. But it has come to that. So right now, we need to join these young people. The real impact begins when we (adults) use our power, join in and don’t just applaud from the sidelines.”

Josianne Gauthier, Secretary General, CIDSE – Together for Global Justice said:

“As leaders within civil society, used to speaking with decision-makers, we need to stand by and march along with the young people who have taken to the streets. It’s a matter of coherence, intergenerational justice, and legitimacy. We must allow ourselves to be swept up in the real emotion of their impatience and their hope. They are reminding us that talk is not enough, and that action, and sometimes reaction is required. The change is here and they are leading it. For once, we just need to listen and do what is right.”

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action said:

“Kids shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have a safe and productive world when they grow up. Yet decades of inexcusable political intransigence and cynical pursuit of profit from the adults in the room have left them no choice. In the age of climate change, we can add our children’s innocence to the laundry list of sacrifices offered on the altar of greed. The moral clarity if these courageous children is a gift. When few others are, they are leading with energy, creativity, and hope, and they deserve our full support. Their actions honor God the Creator, they honor their neighbors hard hit by climate impacts, and they honor themselves and generations to come. May our leaders have the courage to see them and to respond. May we all have the courage to see them and to respond.”

Bridget Burns, Director, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, said:

“WEDO stands in solidarity with the thousands of inspiring young people, in all their diversity and from all over the world, as they continue their unwavering quest for environmental justice. The current state of the climate crisis and its impacts are a clear threat to the future of humanity and our planet, and as advocates for environmental integrity, we proudly join these fearless, powerful voices - including many amazing young women leaders - as they continue to push for real action from governments and decision-makers at the frontlines. We must continue to collectively rise up across all generations, and vigorously fight for change.”

Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director for CARE International, said:

“The worsening impacts of climate change threaten us all, especially the next generation. Will leaders act now or continue to ignore the climate crisis as youth protests and school walkouts ripple across the globe? CARE joins their fight and Greta Thunberg’s criticism of leaders’ inaction on climate change. Our children have made climate action a priority, and we must heed their call.”

Sanjeev Kumar, CEO & Founder of Change Partnership, said:

“Young people around the world are highlighting the grave injustice of inadequate action and empty rhetoric which has blighted meaningful action on climate change for decades. We stand with them in the struggle to stop polluters polluting and defending the rights of victims everywhere.”

Nouhad Awwad, National Coordinator, Arab Youth Climate Movement-Lebanon, said:

“AYCM as a grassroots movement run by youth urge policymakers to take immediate actions to raise climate ambitions. We will be protesting in Lebanon on the 15th of March to say that our children in schools deserve a better future.  School strikes are an awareness tool for our fellow people and an alert for leaders to go in line with the Paris Agreement. Greta Thunberg said “We will have to go for a very, very long time, I think” and we are ready to go with her in the climate action road.”

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said:  

“The strikes make it clear to leaders that they need to take ambitious and immediate action. EU leaders meeting next week simply cannot ignore this powerful call to address the climate crisis. They need to work towards taking a decision on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero as soon as possible, and massively scaling up emission cuts by 2030. If leaders harness the momentum for more climate action that the youth create, we will still be able to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

Carroll Muffett, President, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), said:

“Children around the world are standing up and speaking out on climate change because they must. Their rights, their lives and their future are at stake—as are the rights, lives, and future of all of us. While the US President tweets climate denial, the Speaker of the House dismisses the Green New Deal as a dream, and the countries and companies most responsible for climate change embrace inertia over ambition, children around the world are taking action.They are leaving classrooms, entering courtrooms, and taking to the streets. That is where they belong until the world takes the urgent and meaningful climate action that is needed. It’s where we all belong. CIEL is proud to stand in solidarity with their efforts and follow their leadership. We urge those in office—or seeking office—to do the same.”

Hannah Mowat, Campaigns Coordinator, Fern, said:

"Today Fern’s offices are closed in solidarity with the tens of thousands of young people who are taking to the streets to protest against politicians’ frightening lack of action on climate change. Their demand is simple: governments must act on the irrefutable science, and that science is clear: without forest protection and restoration, climate change will be impossible to stop."

Nick Mabey, CEO, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), said:

“Politicians have a duty to represent everyone’s interests not just those who vote for them. They must listen to the unprecedented voice of young people who are striking so that for their future has its rightful place at the decision-making table. Politicians should also realise that they and their parties are now under scrutiny by the next generation of voters, who will remember who stood up for their rights and their safety in this critical time.”

Floris Faber, Director, ACT Alliance Advocacy to the European Union, said:

"Youth are leading the way, and the world should follow suit. Climate change is a devastating threat to us all. This is especially true for poor and vulnerable communities, who are already facing the effects of climate change. Severe droughts, floods and destructive hurricanes are jeopardizing the development we all want to see. The multilateral response on climate change must include both transition towards a green and sustainable economy, and urgent support for adaptation, to increase communities' resilience. There is no time to waste!"

David Howell, Climate and Energy lead at SEO/BirdLife in Spain, said:

“Our youth are our future, and their protests are showing us the path we need to follow to guarantee them their future, in what is their century. Across Spain the number of planned student protests has increased tenfold in two weeks, and we expect more in the coming weeks and months. Their message is crystal clear and should be at the forefront of the thinking of any serious politician in a key election year for Spain. In purely selfish terms, a political party which wants the support of younger voters must have a clear, coherent and ambitious programme for the future of the economy in the fight against climate change.”

Jagoda Munic, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“The young people on strike today speak with the authenticity of those whose lives will be dominated by climate breakdown, a crisis they did not cause. Climate change still feels distant to many – but it is close to home for the youth taking action today. Their demands for real, massive and immediate action for a fossil-free society must be heard. Friends of the Earth gives them our full support. “If decision makers were to act in line with youth climate strikers’ demands, they would be tripling our renewable energy goals, shutting off trade deals with climate deniers, and switching finance off fossil fuels to the fossil-free future we need.”

Øyvind Eggen, Director for Rainforest Foundation Norway, said:

“All parent generations have called for the younger generations to take responsibility, and history tells us they do. We are in a unique moment in history when the young ones not only take responsibility for their own time and their future, but also struggle to compensate for several previous generations’ wrongdoing. It is sad for the elder generations that they have to, but extremely encouraging to see that they are picking up the fight. And it is a very strong message to our generation: To make it possible at all for the young to take responsibility for the world, we must stop emissions now and save the remaining rainforests, so we have something to hand over to them.”

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy Union of Concerned Scientists, said:

“We stand in solidarity with student climate strikers around the world, and support their demand that our political leaders address the climate crisis with the urgency and focused action that the science so clearly requires. We are inspired by their moral clarity, and are hopeful that their actions will help drive the transformational changes that are needed to come to grips with the climate crisis.”

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia, said:

“Future leaders of this world refuse to watch the destruction of planet. Climate change today threatens the sustainable needs of the present and future generations. These needs should be dealt with urgency, but leaders today are driven by vested interests and have failed in decision making. Strikes by school students is among the most effective ways to demand for a secure future for the next generation that can only be ensured by today's leaders.”

Nithi Nesadurai, Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network Southeast Asia, said:

“We fully empathise with the strike actions of school students. They have been completely let down by our political leaders, at the global and national levels, entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding their future against climate change. As current leaders have wholly failed in their duty and still do not display any sign of urgency this crisis demands, it is only natural that students fill the vacuum created by seizing the leadership on addressing climate change which forecasts a bleak future for them in particular. We salute the students’ vision and determination and hope their actions are finally able to break the impasse and lethargy displayed by current leaders and bring about the dynamic changes required to tackle the climate crisis head-on.”

CAN Submission: Views and inputs on possible elements to be included in the terms of reference for the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism, February 2019

The IPCC report on 1.5ÅãC is a siren alerting humanity to the urgency of the climate crisis. The report shows that, already, some communities and ecosystems are being forced beyond the limits of adaptation.

Five years after the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage (L&D) was established at COP19 insufficient attention has been given so far to addressing the support needs of developing countries and raising additional support, including finance, to address L&D under WIM.


CAN Intervention: Talanoa Technical Phase Wrap Up Statement, December 6

The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC  is the most important contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue - it is a game-changer and clearly lays out “where we are”, “where we need to go” and “how we can get there”. 2°C of warming is much more dangerous than we thoughts a few years ago. We only have 12 years left to act swiftly and revert the current trend.  


CAN Intervention: COP 24 Closing Statement, December 15

The IPCC 1.5C Report is clear: we have just 12 years to make radical emission cuts if we are to avert a climate catastrophe.

Here in Katowice, governments were expected to craft robust rules for the Paris Agreement that would build confidence and drive climate action, to deliver adequate and predictable finance, and to commit to enhancing their climate targets by 2020.




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