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CAN Calls on Ministers to Drive Ambition and Fairness as All Eyes Turn to Paris

Bonn, Germany - Friday, October 23, 2015: At the close of the last negotiating session before ministers, heads of state, and negotiators meet in Paris to finalise what should be a comprehensive, ambitious, and universal climate agreement, parties are leaving with a clearer idea of the outline of the deal.

After a week of careful negotiating, there was concordance reached on some options, while discussion on other issues was taken as far as possible without the involvement of ministers and heads of state. During this session, parties took ownership of the text, building out their bloc positions and deepening a shared understanding on some contentious topics. 

Ministers will begin to examine the text at the pre-COP, taking place on November 8-10 in Paris, before the discussion moves to COP21 on November 30. Support for ambitious climate action has never been higher, and leaders from the business, faith, national security, health, and justice communities around the world will assemble in Paris to display the full breadth of the movement. 

On the ground in Bonn, CAN members made the following comments: 

“Everyone wants to play their cards late. But not everyone can have the ace of spades. This process is too important to be a high risk poker game. They need to put down their cards, and play together as a team."

-Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace

"A spirit of compromise will be important to reach a final agreement in Paris. But there can be no compromise on the level of ambition we need to address the climate crisis. Political leaders, representing ordinary people across the world facing the impacts of climate change, must be bold and decisive in acting to put the world on a path away to create a cleaner, safer more sustainable future for all. We want citizens and lawmakers in capitals to ensure that the message to leaders is clear and unambiguous:  Now is the time. You are the people who have with the power to change climate change. Paris is the place where the world must unite."
 -Tasneem Essop, WWF
"The French presidency will need to play a critical role. Until the very last minute of the very last night of the Paris COP, they will be the gate-keepers of ambition and fairness. A success in Paris is not only about signing a universal deal, but about signing an ambitious universal deal. And while some countries may have chosen to keep us out of the room here in Bonn, they won't be able to avoid us in Paris. We will be massively taking to the streets on November 28th and 29th—not just in Paris, but in cities all over the world. With our calls for climate action, we will make our voices heard throughout the talks. At the close of the COP, we will take to the streets of Paris again, reminding the leaders that we will not stop demanding progress and holding them accountable."
-Alix Mazounie, RAC France

Webcast: The press conference was webcast live and is available on demand here:  http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/bonn_oct_2015/channels/adp211-press-room

For a one-to-one interview with our spokespeople, please contact Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org.

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

Related Event: 

CAN Position: Integrating Human Rights into the Paris Agreement, October 2015

Climate change and the lack of adequate policies to address climate change present global threats to the realisation of human rights, in particular in relation to the rights of people and communities that are already vulnerable or marginalized. For this reason, the transition to a low-carbon economy and resilient communities must fully protect human rights. By integrating human rights into climate policies, countries will strengthen the long-term effectiveness of, and build public support for, climate actions. The Paris Climate Conference thus provides a crucial opportunity to establish a new framework for climate action that strengthens mitigation and adaptation while addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.

This paper sets forth CAN’s position as to why and where human rights language should be included in the Paris Agreement. In particular, in order to establish a framework that effectively addresses climate change and protects those most vulnerable from the adverse impacts of climate change and climate policies, Parties must include the following reference to human rights in the operative section of the core agreement:

All Parties shall, in all climate change related actions, respect, protect, promote, and fulfil human rights for all, including the rights of indigenous peoples; ensuring gender equality and the full and equal participation of women; ensuring intergenerational equity; ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs; ensuring food security; and ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems.

This language calling for rights protections must be included for the following reasons:

1. While the Parties to the UNFCCC have recognized the interplay between human rights and climate change, they have not taken action to operationalize their rights obligations.
2. Human rights are a cross-cutting issue in the implementation of the Convention.
3. Human rights must be integrated into climate actions at all levels.
4. Integrating human rights into climate action will not divert focus from combating the causes and impacts of climate change but will promote more effective climate action.

In order for the Paris Agreement to promote effective climate policies that benefit people and communities affected by climate impacts and climate policies, the Parties to the UNFCCC must include a reference to human rights in the core agreement to be adopted at COP-21 in Paris. This provision must be overarching in order to apply to all areas of implementation of the Convention. It must be included in the operative section of the agreement in order to guarantee its effective and systematic implementation. It must be comprehensive and address all key dimensions of the relation between human rights and climate change. 



Thank you for the opportunity to provide a written statement in advance of ADP 2-11.

Procedurally, the new Co-Chairs’ non-paper of 5 October represents a welcome shift in gear in the ADP process. But this text cannot be endorsed as the basis for text-based negotiations as it stands as its elements have been presented in a lowest common denominator form, manifestly lacking the ambition needed to prevent further environmental and human harms. However, it is a workable document whose options are far less divergent than those contained in previous drafts of the negotiating text. 

An adequate long-term vision, scientific integrity, as well as key equity, human rights and public participation considerations are missing from the current draft text. Certain political convergences, including from the lunch meeting hosted by Secretary General Ban at the UN General Assembly this September, are insufficiently reflected in the document.     

 ADP 2-11 needs to arrive at an ambitious “advanced draft Paris climate package” that paves the way for an outcome in Paris that will act as a springboard towards a climate-safe world. The main task for delegates at this session is to work from this non-paper to increase ambition across the various elements of the text, including – as set out below – on a robust review and revision mechanism, a long-term mitigation goal, adaptation, loss & damage, demonstrating that financial support from developed to developing countries will be scaled up, and pre-2020 action. 

Introducing the necessary durability and adequacy into the climate regime requires that the Paris Agreement establish a review and revision mechanism to increase Parties’ ambition over time consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The draft text alludes to the five-year commitment periods that are an essential starting point in this regard. However, the “Global Stocktake” proposed in the current text is a far cry from the robust process necessary to ensure countries realise an increase in efforts and ambition over time.

CAN proposes the adoption of a “Paris Ambition Mechanism” (PAM) in the Paris Agreement that should link and synchronise Parties' mitigation, finance and adaptation commitments in 5-year cycles. The PAM should facilitate ambition within the Paris Agreement to close any foreseeable ambition or implementation gaps within the relevant 5-year cycle of commitments. It should combine a review of the adequacy and equity of commitments with the matching of finance, technology and capacity building support to the requirements of countries that wish to act beyond their domestic capabilities as stated in their INDCs. A first review round should take place well before 2020 and lead to the ratcheting up of inadequate commitments for the determinative 2020-2025 period in a fair and ambitious manner.

The PAM’s work must be directed by a long-term vision of the world we need: countries must commit to reach full global decarbonisation and a complete transition to renewable energy by 2050. To achieve full decarbonisation in a way that is just and achieves wider sustainable development objectives, each country should develop national decarbonisation strategies to shift rapidly from a high-carbon economic growth model to sustainable development.

For where mitigation action falls short, the Paris Agreement must moreover make a much clearer link to increased financial support for adaptation, and recognise that rising temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts taking into account the expected temperature increase.

On loss and damage, the Paris Agreement should go much further than merely noting the problem and the need for international solutions: it should ensure that institutional arrangements under the Paris Agreement will further strengthen the work on and support for loss and damage as the problem evolves. This section must remain separate from adaptation.

Success in any and all of these elements requires an increase in the provision of financial support from developed to developing countries. The current draft, however, fails to provide even the most basic level of assurance and predictability in this regard. The Paris Agreement must establish that every five years, collective targets (with separate targets for mitigation and for adaptation) for the provision of new and additional public financial support will be set; and introduce a general commitment by developed countries and developing countries with a higher capacity and larger responsibility in a position to do so to contribute to meeting these.       

On Workstream 2, the Paris COP Decision must enable a move from discussion of opportunities to catalysing implementation on the ground, including through appointing high-level champions to help matchmake mitigation opportunities to partners and financing, as well as through strengthening of the technical examination processes.

Parties should also promote further adaptation efforts before 2020, including through identifying support and cooperation needs at different levels in order to achieve the speedy implementation of additional adaptation actions and components in INDCs and NAPs.

Crucially in pre-2020 finance, developed countries must demonstrate how they intend to scale up public finance in order to meet the financial commitment they made in Copenhagen to mobilise 100 billion dollars per year by 2020.

Finally, as an overarching concern, the current language of the draft Agreement and draft COP Decision should be improved across all sections to be more detailed, and far less ambiguous. Parties’ contributions should be anchored as “commitments” to show they are serious about meeting them. An overarching reference to human rights in the operative text of the Agreement must furthermore be included to help ensure that Parties respect human rights when developing and implementing these commitments and other climate actions. Parties should also reiterate their resolve to enhance public participation in climate policies.

The INDCs tabled over the course of this year are wholly inadequate for keeping the world on a pathway of less than 1.5°C temperature rise and preventing catastrophic climate impacts.  To achieve the necessary change, COP 21 must ensure a consistent increase in ambition over time across all elements of the Paris Package, requiring the current text to improve substantially. Governments must ensure they get this right, and the Climate Action Network looks forward to further opportunities for stakeholders to contribute to this process.


CAN Opening Intervention ADP 2-10, August 2015


Thank you for the opportunity to provide a written statement in advance of ADP 2-10.

Climate Action Network International (CAN) believes that the Co-Chairs’ tool and the Elements for a Draft Workstream 2 Decision Document, both published on 24 July 2015, form a conducive basis for discussions going forward.

However, several decisive issues still require further consideration and strengthening to instill confidence that the Paris outcome will be scientifically adequate, durable, and meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Recognising that only 10 official negotiating days remain before the start of COP21, and thus the need to prioritise key issues, CAN recommends that delegates ensure the following issues are addressed at ADP 2-10:

1. Ensuring appropriate placement of ‘Section III’ issues

2. Uptake and elaboration of a credible and durable Ambition Acceleration Mechanism

3. Increasing pre-2020 ambition

CAN's ADP 2-10 Opening Intervention sets out a number of concrete steps in this regard.


CAN Position: The Paris outcome: Composition and placement of elements, August 2015

The Durban Platform recognizes that in order to fulfill the ultimate objective of the Convention, the multilateral, rules-based regime will need to be strengthened. For this reason, it was agreed that by 2015, the ADP would develop and adopt “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”, to take effect from 2020.

However, beyond identifying these three possible outcomes from the ADP, the Durban mandate does not prescribe the final legal architecture of the agreement to be made at COP21. Notably, it does not specify whether the outcome should consist of a single instrument or multiple instruments, and, in case of the latter, what form these instruments should take or how obligations should be distributed within them.

Yet the question of the final architecture of the Paris outcome is crucial, as it will help determine how various elements and issues within the climate negotiations are treated, thereby impacting the ambition and effectiveness of the overall outcome. This matter needs to be addressed in the UNFCCC negotiations adequately early to provide the necessary clarity to move forward with the textual negotiations.                               

This position paper presents CAN-Internationals stance on, and expectations for, the composition of the final Paris outcome. It proposes a package dealone that takes into account national circumstances whilst safeguarding ambition, accountability, and equityas the most appropriate outcome for COP21.


CAN Briefing: Comments on land sector accounting in the Co-Chair’s tool, August 2015

~~CAN is encouraged that the Co-Chairs’ tool contains a substantial amount on land sector accounting rules from the Geneva Negotiating Text (GNT).  We have long advocated the need for such rules and think that an environmentally sound outcome can be developed from the current text.  We would prefer the principles governing land sector rules to be included in the treaty text, simply because they are principles, but accept that the same outcome can probably be achieved if they are included in the COP Decision, where the Co-Chairs have placed them.

In this paper we first restate in outline our policy position on land sector rules.  We then briefly examine the Co-Chair’s text and present a clean text on the land sector based on their tool.  This is followed by a section in which we show precisely which brackets we have removed and what we have deleted.


CAN Non-Paper: Options for a Long-Term Mitigation Goal in the Paris Accord, August 2015

All UNFCCC Parties agreed in Lima on a long-term temperature goal of limiting global average temperature rise to below 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels.  Since then, Parties have considered the possibility of adopting a complementary long-term goal (LTG) to operationalize this temperature target. The new global climate agreement, whose adoption is anticipated in Paris this December, represents a tremendous opportunity to frame an adequate, overarching global goal for the decades to come, yet it also comes with risks in this regard.

It is therefore timely for CAN to summarize the debate surrounding the appropriate LTG to emerge from COP21 in Paris. Although negotiators are also considering including in the Paris outcome LTGs for adaptation, loss and damage, and finance, this discussion paper limits itself to providing an overview and explanation of the mitigation LTGs referred to in the Geneva Text, as well as of the mitigation goals that have been prominently articulated by civil society. The paper aims to inform negotiators and civil society actors by clarifying different options currently in the text and by presenting a discussion on what the ultimate objective of the new Paris Agreement could be.  


Islamic Climate Declaration calls for fossil fuel phase out

Istanbul, Turkey - 18 August. Islamic leaders from 20 countries today launched a bold Climate Change Declaration to engage the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims on the issue of our time.

Adopted by the 60 participants at the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, (Istanbul, 17-18 August) the Declaration urges governments to deliver a strong, new international climate agreement in Paris this December that signals the end of the road for polluting fossil fuels by creating architecture that will give us a chance of limiting global warming above pre-industrial levels to 2, or preferably 1.5, degrees Celsius.

The Declaration presents the moral case, based on Islamic teachings, for Muslims and people of all faiths worldwide to take urgent climate action. It was drafted by a large, diverse team of international Islamic scholars from around the world following a lengthy consultation period prior to the Symposium. It has already been endorsed by more than 60 participants and organisations including the Grand Muftis of Uganda and Lebanon. The Declaration is in harmony with the Papal Encyclical and has won the support of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace of the Holy See.

The Declaration calls for a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels and a switch to 100% renewable energy as well as increased support for vulnerable communities already suffering from climate impacts. It can be seen as part of the groundswell of people from all walks of life calling for governments to scale up the transition away from fossil fuels. Wealthy and oil-producing nations are urged to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. All people, leaders and businesses are invited to commit to 100% renewable energy in order to tackle climate change, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

Amongst keynote speakers at the Symposium were three senior UN officials - from the UN Environment Programme, the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Secretary-General’s climate change team. Presentations were also made by scientists, NGO leaders and academics. Also attending were religious leaders from many other faith traditions.

That the Symposium was held in Istanbul is significant - just two weeks before the Paris Summit, for the first time in history, the G20 summit will be organized by the presidency of Turkey, a country with a majority Muslim population.  Leaders from the world’s largest 20 economies will gather in an  attempt to reach agreement on how international financial stability can be achieved. The economic implications of climate change and the huge amounts of subsidies given by G20 countries to the polluting fossil fuel industry will also be on the agenda.


“On behalf of the Indonesian Council of Ulema and 210 million Muslims we welcome this Declaration and we are committed to to implementing all recommendations. The climate crisis needs to be tackled through collaborative efforts, so let’s work together for a better world for our children, and our children’s children.” - Din Syamsuddin, Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulema

“I am proud to be associated with the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change released in Istanbul today. As a Muslim I try to follow the moral teachings  of Islam to preserve the environment and help the victims of climate change. I urge all Muslims around the world to play their role in tackling the global problem of climate change.” - Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of Institute of Environmental Studies

“The basis of the declaration is the work of world renowned islamic environmentalists, it is a trigger for further action and we would be very happy if people adopted and improved upon the ideas that are articulated in this document.” - Fazlun Khalid, Founder, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

“It is with great joy and in a spirit of solidarity that I express to you the promise of the Catholic Church to pray for the success of your initiative and her desire to work with you in the future to care for our common home and thus to glorify the God who created us.” - His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City

“A clean energy, sustainable future for everyone ultimately rests on a fundamental shift in the understanding of how we value the environment and each other. Islam’s teachings, which emphasize the duty of humans as stewards of the Earth and the teacher’s role as an appointed guide to correct behavior, provide guidance to take the right action on climate change.” - Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

“Civil society is delighted by this powerful Climate Declaration coming from the Islamic community, which could be a game changer, as it challenges all world leaders, and especially oil producing nations, to phase out their carbon emissions and supports the just transition to 100% renewable energy as a necessity to tackle climate change, reduce poverty and deliver sustainable development around the world.” - Wael Hmaidan, International Director of Climate Action Network

You can find photos available for use under creative commons license here, please credit Islamic Relief

Calls from the Declaration below, full version of the Declaration here:

3.1 We call upon the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol taking place in Paris this December, 2015 to bring their discussions to an equitable and binding conclusion, bearing in mind –

·       The scientific consensus on climate change, which is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate systems;

·       The need to set clear targets and monitoring systems;

·       The dire consequences to planet earth if we do not do so;

·       The enormous responsibility the COP shoulders on behalf of the rest of humanity, including leading the rest of us to a new way of relating to God’s Earth.

3.2 We particularly call on the well-off nations and oil-producing states to –

·       Lead the way in phasing out their greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century;

·       Provide generous financial and technical support to the less well-off to achieve a phase-out of greenhouse gases as early as possible;

·       Recognize the moral obligation to reduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is left of the earth’s non-renewable resources;

·       Stay within the ‘2 degree’ limit, or, preferably, within the ‘1.5 degree’ limit, bearing in mind that two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground;

·       Re-focus their concerns from unethical profit from the environment, to that of preserving it and elevating the condition of the world’s poor.

·       Invest in the creation of a green economy.

3.3 We call on the people of all nations and their leaders to –

·       Aim to phase out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere;

•       Commit themselves to 100 % renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible, to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities;

·       Invest in decentralized renewable energy, which is the best way to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development;

·       Realize that to chase after unlimited economic growth in a planet that is finite and already overloaded is not viable. Growth must be pursued wisely and in moderation; placing a priority on increasing the resilience of all, and especially the most vulnerable, to the climate change impacts already underway and expected to continue for many years to come.

·       Set in motion a fresh model of wellbeing, based on an alternative to the current financial model which depletes resources, degrades the environment, and deepens inequality.

·       Prioritise adaptation efforts with appropriate support to the vulnerable countries with the least capacity to adapt. And to vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples, women and children.

3.4 We call upon corporations, finance, and the business sector to -

·       Shoulder the consequences of their profit-making activities, and take a visibly more active role in reducing their carbon footprint and other forms of impact upon the natural environment;

•       In order to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities, commit themselves to 100 % renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible and shift investments into renewable energy;

•       Change from the current business model which is based on an unsustainable escalating economy, and to adopt a circular economy that is wholly sustainable;

•       Pay more heed to social and ecological responsibilities, particularly to the extent that they extract and utilize scarce resources;

•       Assist in the divestment from the fossil fuel driven economy and the scaling up of renewable energy and other ecological alternatives.

3.5 We call on all groups to join us in collaboration, co-operation and friendly competition in this endeavour and we welcome the significant contributions taken by other faiths, as we can all be winners in this race

وَلَكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُم فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ

He (God) wanted to test you regarding what has

come to you. So compete with each other

in doing good deeds.

Qur’an 5: 48

If we each offer the best of our respective traditions, we may yet see a way through our difficulties.

3.6 Finally, we call on all Muslims wherever they may be  –

  • Heads of state
  • Political leaders
  • Business community
  • UNFCCC delegates
  • Religious leaders and scholars
  • Mosque congregations
  • Islamic endowments (awqaf)
  • Educators and educational institutions
  • Community leaders
  • Civil society activists
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Communications and media

to tackle habits, mindsets, and the root causes of climate change, environmental degradation and the loss of biodiversity in their particular spheres of influence, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him),and bring about a resolution to the challenges that now face us. 


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