CAN Intervention: ADP Technical Expert Meeting on Cities at SB40s, not delivered, 10 June, 2014

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak.

I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network, 

The effects of urbanization and climate change are converging in dangerous ways that seriously threaten the world’s environmental, economic and social stability. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Almost all of the global population growth in the next two decades is expected to be in cities in the developing world.

Cities drive national economies and account for the lions’ share of national consumption – cities account for 70% of global GHG emissions, and urbanization following current unsustainable development patterns leads to phenomena such as urban sprawl and increased car use, which threatens ecosystems and livelihoods, and puts tremendous strain on the natural environment and the quality of life.

CAN would like to see cities adopt a vision for the future which free of fossil fuel emissions and looks at 100 % uptake of renewable energy for meeting the growing energy demand within cities. Compact, efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and make services like water, energy, and transport more accessible.

Cities have the opportunity to rethink urban design fundamentally, enhance resilience, and build-in sustainability considerations from the start. Cities can be the locus for integrated solutions, and offer entry points for rapid action. Cities also are the hub of green growth and incubators of innovative solutions, as the concentration of people and institutions enable economies of scale in providing green infrastructure and services. Cities offer a robust platform to generate and disseminate technological, scientific, and social ideas, with potential for transformational impacts. 

Thank you. 

Refreshing winds of change from Mexico

Ministers failed to deliver climate action on Thursday and Friday, and the planet treated us to stifling heat yesterday in Bonn. Fortunately, a cooling breeze from Mexico has reached ECO to remind us that the warming can be stopped and that the heat in Bonn (and in the UNFCCC negotiations) can be reversed.

This breeze started off a few months ago in Mexico, as the government there published its Climate Change Special Program 2014-2018 that commits to unilaterally reduce emissions by 90 MT CO2e by 2018. Additionally, a 2018 Renewable Energy Special Program was agreed to, which sets a goal of increasing renewable energy’s share of electricity generation from the present 15% to 25% in 2018 and 35% in 2024. These renewable power increases would be coming from wind and solar.

Based on energy demand projections, this target actually represents a doubling of present renewable energy generation to 80 TWh per year. The monopolised electricity grid is opening up to more clean and distributed power by independent producers, and provides options for customers to specifically purchase renewables. There is a whisper floating around that there is more of this to come, and it must, especially if funding from the Green Climate Fund is made available to Mexico and if energy reforms are implemented sustainably. ECO, of course, acknowledges that all of these changes are based on the Climate Change General Law, which aims to reduce emissions in 2020 by 30% compared to projected business as usual levels, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.

More than 50% of Mexico’s population is below the poverty line due to deep inequalities. Its per capita GDP is on par with the global average and per capita CO2 emissions are below the global average. Yet, Mexico is doing more to confront climate change than many wealthier nations because it realises that its own interest isto take action. This is a critical first step towards achieving the phase out of GHG emissions that Mexico called for in its intervention on Sunday in the ADP.

ECO pleads with Parties that they allow this fresh breeze into the ADP Workstream 2 engagements so that more Parties can be inspired to follow suit. If Mexico can achieve a 10% increase in the share of renewables in its electricity grid over the next four years, surely other high-emitting nations can do the same — or more — to close the pre-2020 emissions gap.

Just imagine how much more could be accomplished if wealthier countries ramped up their support for efforts like those being taken in Mexico and other developing countries. Developed countries need to harvest their own low-hanging fruit by stepping up energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. Mexico is showing that we don’t need to let the heat build and build until 2020 – we can (and must) act now to stop the warming!

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Intervention: Volveremos Civil Society Intervention and Declaration with CAN, CJN and YOUNGO in ADP High-Level Ministerial

We are people who participated in the walk out of the Warsaw Climate Conference and those who supported and united with its call for more serious climate action.  We have come together to reiterate to all ‘leaders’ participating in the UN climate negotiations that they are dangerously off track in addressing the climate emergency.  We call upon them to listen to the demands and solutions of people.

The walk out was an act of protest and indignation over governments’ continued failure to take decisive and swift action against the biggest threat to both people and the planet, and an act of condemnation of continued domination and sabotage of the international climate talks by powerful corporate interests.

In the face of massive destruction, displacement and loss of lives caused by current levels of global warming and the certainty of much worse impacts in the near future, governments continue to choose to act in the interests of a wealthy few, and collude with big business to defend unsustainable consumption and production models ahead of the urgent need for a sustainable, ecological, and just world.

We are more determined than ever to fight for the survival of our families, our communities and our peoples across the world – a survival that rests on nothing less than the fundamental transformation of a system that has generated massive impoverishment, injustices and a climate crisis that threatens all life on earth.  People are waging this fight in various arenas in every corner of the globe, over every dimension of their lives – food, energy, health and security, jobs and livelihoods.

People are mobilizing everywhere and taking to the streets in bigger numbers and increasing intensity to stand up to vested interests and fight for their future and those of the next generations.   People driven solutions, compatible with planetary limits are being created and asserted at local, national and global levels – aimed at meeting the needs of people rather than the relentless pursuit of profits for big business and wealthy elites.

We  are back,  far more strengthened in giving voice to those who are already acting with the urgency needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change -  the huge majority of civil society around the world that you, ministers, represent and can not ignore any longer.

In the coming weeks and months, towards and during the Social COP in Venezuela, the People’s Summit and the COP20 in Peru, and the COP 21 in France, we will be fighting harder than ever for governments to:

  • Commit to a global goal of limiting warming that recognizes the latest IPCC’s warnings on the threats of tipping points, and to the right to food and food sovereignty, recalling that science suggests that 1.5C of warming would be too much for many vulnerable peoples and countries.
  • Deliver a swift global transformation away from the use of dirty fossil fuel and destructive energy systems driving the crisis, towards a carbon-free and renewable energy economy that, primarily amongst others, is decentralized, community controlled, affordable, accessible to all people for their basic needs and well-being;
  • Urgently scale up targets for emissions cuts in the pre-2020 period, and set emission targets comparable to the scale of the emergency for 2020-2025;
  • Ensure equitable and fair sharing of efforts among all countries based on their historical responsibility, their capacities, and the urgency of the crisis
  • Enable people to deal with climate impacts by protecting the rights of peoples and communities, building resilience, addressing loss and damage, and ensuring a just transition to climate resilient, low carbon, equitable and democratic economy and society.
  • Define and commit to concrete targets for the transfer of finance and technology to make global transformation possible
  • Reject the damaging influence of corporate interests on climate policy  and prevent their promotion of false solutions as the global response to the climate crisis

The global climate movement is building its strength and power in every country of the world. We call on those who claim to represent us to either act in our interests or step aside.

ADP: Ambition Delivery, Please?

The week began on a high note with positive signals coming from some major emitters, they’re moving in the right direction, but all countries can go further and faster. ECO expects - and the world needs - more positive signals alongside concrete additional commitments between now and the Ban Ki-Moon Summit in September, COP20 in Lima, all the way to the March 2015 deadline.   

You might be asking, what about today? ECO has been perusing the information note for this Ministerial and noticed its four objectives for the session, so here’s our take on what your role is on:

1. Motivating the Parties to do more

ECO promises to have our cheerleaders - in custom outfits in your national colours, chanting in your native language - out for any Minister announcing new mitigation, financial commitments or actions pre-2020, in any session. This offer remains open through to the Ban Ki Moon Summit!

2. The political implications of the IPCC findings, for both mitigation and adaptation

The results of the AR5 are crystal clear. 

All fossil fuel emissions need to be phased out and we need to start immediately if we want to remain within the lowest temperature limit of 1.5oC. It’s not just about phasing out all the bad stuff, we need to phase in the good stuff too - a 100% renewable future with energy access for all. 

WGII reflects that our adaptation response to current extreme weather events remains low, highlighting an “adaptation deficit” in both developing and developed countries. ECO is concerned that this is being replicated in the ADP. Let’s be clear: a 2015 agreement is not politically or practically feasible without addressing the deficit. The ADP must have significant support to scale up adaptation action for developing countries if it wants to protect the most vulnerable people and ecosystems.

Adaptation has long been given a lower priority in the negotiations, including in the ADP. ECO is pleased to see many developing countries now seriously considering what a new agreement needs to deliver to match their growing adaptation needs, and address loss and damage. A key element is more resources provided by rich countries. We also need to start thinking on how we can all be preparing for the impacts of climate change. Ask yourselves, Ministers, what would climate change look like if we took it as seriously as we did the global financial crisis? This is a global challenge and we need radical changes to protect our planet from a climate disaster. Take off your party political hats, and put on your thinking caps! We need bolder and braver policies to protect us from climate change.  

3. The preparation of nationally determined contributions from all Parties

ECO has many wise friends in many countries. These friends would like to help support the ADP by conducting an independent civil society review of initial pledges on both adequacy and equity. This review will cover not only mitigation offers, but also what rich countries are planning to provide on climate finance (for both mitigation and adaptation), as a crucial element of those countries’ fair share in the global effort. Ministers, our friends don’t bite...unless you’re timid with your ambition!  The ADP needs to create a formal space for civil society reviews, and the independent analyses and reviews we expect other expert groups (like UNEP) to produce, as to inform the process.  This is extremely important and must not be allowed to fall through the cracks. Concrete signals on this assessment process today and an agreement on it in Lima are critical.

4. Providing political guidance and support for the ADP

Ministers, though sometimes you may suspect otherwise, ECO does like you! We get very upset when you don’t show up to things (see yesterday’s edition). It’s up to you to lead the convoy as we head to Paris. Climate change is the most pressing challenge of the 21st century and this calls for continued political engagement at the highest levels until the crisis is solved.

Ministers, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in – the world needs your leadership!

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Intervention: ADP Opening Plenary SB40s, 4 June, 2014

Thank you Co-Chairs, 

I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

As if the findings of the AR5 were not enough of a call to action, melting of a major section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet now appears inevitable and we may have already committed ourselves to 3 or more meters of sea-level rise from this ice sheet alone.  This is yet another reminder of the extent of climate impacts to which society is already committed and that critical tipping points are now being crossed.  At the up-coming Ministerials, emissions cuts must be elevated to a new level.  Workstream 2 must adopt concrete measures in Lima to accelerate the transition to a 100% renewable energy future. 

As governments will soon start announcing their post-2020 mitigation and financial commitments, it will be critical that Workstream 1 agree, at THIS session, on the information to be included and equity indicators to be used when tabling such commitments.  Luckily part of this task is essentially complete as there must be NO backsliding of Kyoto-style commitments for developed countries. Workstream 1 must also make progress on elaborating of elements of a draft text, including addressing critical issues like loss and damage and compliance.

Thank you, Co-Chairs.


Penny wise, pound foolish

We applaud the ADP Co-chairs’ tradition of emphasising openness and transparency as a key part of the party-driven ADP process. But now, it seems that this tradition might be under threat, with the Contact Group meetings limiting space for observers.  This alone was shocking enough, but given the level of interest in these critical meetings across the world, ECO was flabbergasted to be told that “due to budget constraints” the ADP Contact Group meetings won't be webcast.

Let’s get something clear. When a session is webcast, everyone with an internet connection and an interest can follow our work online. It’s real-time transparency. When it’s webcast and made available on demand, it’s full transparency.

The Co-chairs need only look as far as the system adopted by the Technology Executive Committee, which offers convenient real-time access to their sessions as well as archiving. Anyone can access them.

The UNFCCC budget should ensure that these important proceedings are webcast. To get the ball rolling, ECO offers to put up the first 500 Euros. Over to you, governments. 

Related Newsletter : 

Welcome to Bonn!

ECO welcomes Party delegates to Bonn. Now get to work! We know that you fully recognise the immense responsibilities you have at this session. Coming hot on the heels of the sobering IPCC Working Group 3 report, there should be no doubt that the following urgent tasks must be delivered at this Bonn Session:

Close the Ambition Gap in the pre-2020 period: ECO is very disappointed to hear that not many Ministers will attend the high-level segment this week on the Kyoto Protocol and the ADP review.   ECO suggests that those that do make the effort to come use the time here to tell us how they plan to deal with this gap in the near term. Deeper developed country emissions reductions in this KP commitment period is clearly a key element, as is their support to developing countries for enhancing their efforts to reduce emissions. All countries should use complementary concrete measures - such as scaled up implementation of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency - to close the gap.

Put the money in the Fund: Developed country Ministers present in Bonn have an ideal opportunity to signal commitment to mobilising resources for the “newly opened for business” Green Climate Fund. We have lost much time in getting actual climate action funds flowing at scale, so any delays in resource mobilisation for the GCF would be seriously unwelcome.

Ensure success in Lima for success in Paris: ECO recalls that at the last session in Bonn, every last one of you expressed your commitment and willingness to work hard for a success in Lima and in Paris. We suggest that, at this session, you set in motion the process for developing a draft text that will be ready in Lima, and that you finalise the details for the content and preparation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This must include agreeing on the information required to be provided with these NDCs so that they are comparable, comprehensible and transparent - a precondition to any ability to ensure equity and adequacy in effort.

ECO urges you to address this now, so that countries will be prepared to make early submissions before March 2015. ECO encourages parties to see both the Climate Leaders’ Summit in September and the COP in Lima as ideal opportunities for making announcements about these commitments.

ECO also urges you to prioritise the issue of adaptation and the protection of those most vulnerable to climate impacts in these discussions, and to put this issue front and centre in any new agreement. We cannot fail the poor. We suggest that you spend time in this session to clarify the idea of an Adaptation Goal and that you also finalise the work programme towards setting up a mechanism for Loss and Damage. 

ECO is confident that you, dear delegates, are up to these tasks. We look forward to witnessing such a  sense of urgency these next two weeks that we feel the walls of the Maritim shake in your haste.

Related Newsletter : 


Subscribe to Tag: AWG-ADP