Tag: low carbon development

CAN Position on National Long-term Strategies for Sustainable Development and Decarbonization

The world is facing daunting challenges this century. The dual concerns of uplifting people from poverty and ensuring action against climate change have been at the center of global negotiations in 2015. In order to tackle these challenges, governments have agreed on the adoption of the Paris Agreement, under the UNFCCC, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving these common goals will require climate policies to be developed in the context of sustainable development, and as such, the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda will be most effectively implemented if they are addressed as mutually dependent and reinforcing processes. Many national policies will contribute to the achievement of goals of both processes, so addressing them together is likely to be the most equitable and effective way of achieving these goals.

Climate change and sustainable development are unavoidably interconnected, with both able to create positive and negative feedback effects on the other. Climate change impacts will affect countries’ abilities to conduct sustainable development, and subsequently, alternative development paths will have an effect both on the likelihood of future climate change and the ability of countries to cope with its impacts. From a climate change policymaker’s perspective, the development pathway influences a country’s emissions trajectory. From the development perspective, the main considerations are vulnerability to climate change impacts and adaptation. Developing long-term strategies gives countries a framework within which to place both of these considerations. The long-term strategy sets the benchmarks for safe emissions curbs to ascertain how development should take place, while implementation of the 2030 Agenda and national development goals enables countries to know what their development should look like, within these safe climate limits. In order to successfully implement these international agreements nationally, governments will therefore have to plan with foresight to ensure the synergies between these two agreements are captured at every national policy making juncture.

In this position paper, CAN intends to articulate opportunities presented by the development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonization for successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The position outlines why long-term strategies are needed, provides suggestions for what they might usefully contain, and presents a proposal for when they should be developed as well as a timeline for their periodic revision.


Exploring Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways - An introduction to international debates

Providing sustainable development for all and fighting climate change – these are two major challenges the world faces today. The project “Exploring Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways” aims to point out ways how to combine both: climate protection and sustainable development. As a joint initiative by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Bread for the World (BftW), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) and ACT Alliance of Churches, the project is led by the common understanding that any future development model has to be:

  • Low Carbon.That means with a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ecologically Sustainable. That means fully respecting planetary boundaries.
  • Human Rights-based. That means with a strong focus on poverty reduction and participation.
  • Socially Inclusive. That means creating wealth and employment while absorbing negative social impacts.
  • Just. That means equally sharing burdens and opportunities between different stakeholders.
  • Nationally appropriate. That means respecting countries different backgrounds and challenges towards sustainable development.

The project was started in 2013 in four pilot countries: Kazakhstan, Peru, Tanzania and Vietnam.

In close co-operation and ownership with different national partners from civil society, politics and science we aim to

  • Explore Sustainable Low Carbon Development Pathways in these countries which could serve as regional and international examples.
  • Show that Low Carbon Development is not only possible but economically and socially beneficial.
  • Create platforms for dialogue at the national level for a range of different stakeholders.
  • Support and intensify networks between civil society actors in the respective countries and regions.

Read the briefing to find out more about the current international debates on low carbon development. 


Countries Must Commit at Warsaw to put numbers on the table in 2014

Friday, June 14, Bonn – Germany:  Climate Action Network called for nations to agree a 2014 deadline for releasing their new carbon pollution reductions pledges before the close of the main climate talks in Warsaw this November.

The call came as the latest round of talks closed in Bonn today having made incremental progress on the shape of a comprehensive climate deal to be agreed in 2015.  But Greenpeace UK political advisor Ruth Davis said a deadline for pledges was vital for the negotiations to remain on track.

“This deadline is needed partly to give enough time to assess the pledges against the latest climate science, and partly so that countries can compare their efforts,” Davis said. “Having enough time to negotiate these targets is vital to avoiding the kind of last minute scramble that made the 2009 Copenhagen summit such a disaster.”

These negotiations were held against a backdrop of the worst-on-record flooding in Eastern Europe and extreme weather in the US. German and New York officials stated this week that they would spend billions fortifying their cities against future extreme weather, showing that the costs of climate change are already being tallied in rich countries as well as poor.  

With climate change already impacting millions across the world, the Climate Action Tracker initiative said this week current pledges put the world on track for 4 degree C warming. This would result in devastating impacts for the planet and its people.

With that in mind, Lina Li, from Greenovation Hub in Beijing, said the Bonn talks failed to make major progress on an international mechanism to cover the loss and damage caused to communities by the effects of climate change. Also missing in action was substantial progress on the review  which would assess whether the agreed global temperature limit of 2 degrees Celsius was adequate.

Areas for substantial discussion in Warsaw include the thread that pulls the climate negotiations together: financial support for developing countries to adopt a low carbon development strategy that reduces emissions and helps them adapt to climate impacts. 

“While most countries have shown a cooperative spirit in the talks so far this year, the Warsaw negotiations will be a test of whether this can be maintained as we move towards more substantial discussions,” Li said.

Dorota Zawadzka-Stępniak, from WWF Poland, said the Polish government needed to invite the holders of the purse strings - finance ministers - to Warsaw to discuss real commitments to increasing financial pledges.

“For the Polish presidency to be a success, Poland must stop blocking enhanced climate action in the EU and adopt a progressive attitude towards its domestic climate and energy policy,” Zawadzka-Stępniak said. “We need to embrace a low carbon pathway and make a strategic shift in the Polish energy system in order to be a credible partner in the negotiations.”  


Ria Voorhaar
International Communications Coordinator
Climate Action Network – International
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568



Related Member Organization: 

Right to appeal not a game of two halves

Here in Doha, Parties will decide on an appeals procedure that would consider decisions made by the CDM Executive Board. It is crucial that civil society representatives are eligible to launch an appeal. But wait, ECO heard that some Parties would like to grant the right to appeal to one side (investors) only? Dear delegates, this is not a game of two halves but two sides of the same coin. Indeed, we would like to remind you that any appeals procedure must serve the interests of all affected stakeholders.

Granting the right to appeal to investors only prioritises corporate profit over the public interest, especially given the wider impacts that flawed CDM projects can have on global climate change and sustainable development. ECO urges delegates to take this opportunity to adopt a fair and balanced means to provide a public check during the CDM project approval process, and promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the decision-making process.

Take this critical opportunity to introduce much needed quality control in the CDM decision-making process and adopt a robust appeals procedure!

Related Newsletter : 

Decision 1/CP.18: Close the Ambition Gap!!

What do the Beijing and Manila floods, US drought and hurricanes, and record low Arctic summer sea ice cover tell us? That climate impacts are a reality and, particularly with respect to sea ice, are happening faster than we thought. Report after report also tells us that current mitigation pledges are insufficient. It is clear that a work programme on increasing ambition in the short term must be adopted in Doha, so that emissions remain within a trajectory compatible with a 2°C/1.5°C limit.  We need a Doha COP decision on closing that gap!! (Of course, that is not the only decision we need from Doha – others being the adoption of the Kyoto second commitment period amendment, a timetable and milestones for the 2015 deal negotiations and so on – ECO’s point is simply that near-term ambition is critical: do something!)

In the interest of ensuring Parties have time to take in the sights of Doha, ECO has graciously done some of the work for you – with this list you could even forward draft decision text from Bangkok! The COP decision on closing the gap must include: 

-  Strong and early action on short-lived climate forcers – particularly Black Carbon. Doesn’t Black Carbon sound scary – well it is, and getting rid of it has major benefits. A recent UNEP report concluded that ambitious actions to cut Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone could reduce global warming by about 0.5°C by 2050 and even 0.7°C in the Arctic, with additional benefits related to health and food security. Parties should agree text that requests appropriate fora for these emissions to take urgent action.

-  HFCs – This is a process laden with abbreviations – so why don’t we get rid of one and accelerate the phase out of HFCs?? Parties should request that the Montreal Protocol agree to phase out production and consumption of these gases as a matter of urgency at MOP25, while all Annex I Parties should also commit to an immediate ban on the use of HFC-23 offsets for compliance with Kyoto Protocol targets. Alternative technologies to HFCs should be made accessible to developing countries in a cost-effective manner. Up to 1.3 GtCO2e could be saved annually by 2020, and we’d all be one abbreviation lighter.

-  Removal of fossil fuel subsidies: There is no better example of the idiom “killing two birds with one stone” than phasing out fossil fuel subsidies – which can contribute to both reducing emissions and act as a source of climate finance (with no disrespect for our friends at the CBD – we are, of course, referring to metaphorical birds).  Subsidy removal in Annex I countries should be prioritized both for its mitigation and financial gap filling potential. Plans for carefully supporting removal of subsidies in developing countries should be developed in the near term. A COP18 decision must establish the enabling conditions to achieve fossil fuel subsidy removal, including a timeline for phase out, identification of ways for some developing countries to pursue fossil fuel subsidy phase-out as a supported NAMA, and requirements to include fossil fuel subsidies existence and plans for removal as part of the National Communications and/or Biennial Reporting.

-  Develop low carbon development strategies as per the Cancun Agreements:  Establishing emission pathways consistent with the 1.5/2°C limit requires the steady transformation of economies away from a high carbon economic growth model – there is no reason not to start planning today!

These are but a few of the many options out there to reduce emissions in addition to developed countries raising their pollution reduction ambition.  It is clear that the COP decision should also mandate a technical paper to assess the overall level of ambition implied by mitigation commitments and long term low carbon development strategies, and identify any subsequent gap between this collective ambition and a trajectory consistent with a high probability of keeping warming below 1.5°C. We need to keep abreast of the size of the gap and ensure it is closed immediately.

But what about targets and actions? you may cry. How can that not be in your list, ECO? The answer is simple. KP Annex I Parties, including Australia and New Zealand, must move to the upper end of their ranges, enshrine these in an amendment to Annex B, along with removing false emission reductions by minimising carried over AAUs and improving CDM and JI rules. Non-KP Annex I Parties such as the USA must also increase their 2020 pledges so that the combined effort with the KP moves into the 25-40% range. Countries (we’re looking at you: Qatar, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand) that have not yet pledged NAMAs must do so in Doha, while developing countries that are in a position to do so should further strengthen existing pledges/NAMAs.

To enable developing countries to increase their mitigation actions, public finance from 2013-15 must be at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance. All this needs to be done in Doha and so would be superfluous to include in a COP decision on closing the gap. In today’s roundtable on raising near-term ambition in the ADP, ECO is anxiously awaiting constructive proposals, concrete commitments and draft text for an ambition COP decision in Doha. The climate crisis demands nothing less.

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