CAN Briefing Paper: Measuring what matters in the Energy SDG

~The SDG discussions have recognised that access to sustainable energy is crucial for many areas of development as well as for tackling climate change . Billions of people worldwide still do not have access to the energy services they need to lift them out of poverty and build sustainable development.

Proposed SDG 7 aims to close this energy gap and “ensure access to affordable, sustainable, reliable, and modern energy services for all”, with targets on universal access to energy, increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix and doubling the annual rate of improvement in energy intensity.

However, these targets must be sufficiently ambitious to bring about meaningful change and their indicators must be robust and fit for purpose. In other words, they must “measure what matters” and ensure that progress can be tracked through clear milestones.

 

CAN Briefing Paper: Climate Change and Financing for Sustainable Development

~~The aim of this paper is to highlight both the importance and the potential of the Finance for sustainable Development (FFsD) process in advancing global efforts to tackle climate change. At present, FFsD does not specifically address climate change among or through the issues and mechanisms that are being discussed within the process – namely international public finance, domestic resource mobilisation (tax and private capital), international private finance, trade, and debt and systemic issues that form the Monterrey Consensus on FFD at the basis of the Addis Ababa Accord.

CAN Briefing Paper: Measuring what matters in the climate change SDG

~The SDGs must contribute to a global low-carbon climate resilient development pathway, to keeping global warming below dangerous levels and to massively scale up actions to adapt to climate impacts. An adequate implementation is necessary to reach the goals at the level that science demands. Well-designed indicators are an important tool to guide adequate action and to monitor progress, to help raise ambition and to measure what matters. In addition, to catalyse action, indicators need a clear timeframe with intermediate goals to have time to adjust and improve. This briefing paper gives feedback to the Technical report by the Bureau of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) on the process of the development of an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda (Working draft), especially to proposed indicators for goal 13.

CAN Letter to Chancellor Merkel and the G7 re: April Meetings, April 9, 2015

Dear Madam Chancellor,

2015 will be a decisive year for setting the course for climate policy. Germany is addressing the implementation of its Climate Action Program 2020 and the design of the power market while the EU is discussing how to put its emissions trading system on track again. At the international level a new global climate agreement is to be concluded at COP 21 in Paris in December. In view of this we very much welcome that “climate action” has been chosen as a key topic for the G7 agenda. Climate Action Network International, the broadest civil society coalition aiming at overcoming the climate crisis, kindly asks you to consider the following proposals for your G7 presidency.

Many countries have already started transformational processes at the national level, including increasingly basing their economic development on renewables and improved energy efficiency instead of fossil energy sources. Since renewable energies have undergone significant price declines in recent years, they have become competitive in many regions of the world thereby creating new development opportunities and expanding access to energy. These developments have to be strengthened and expanded by providing favorable political framework conditions.

In this context, the international climate negotiations play an important role. Decisions made within the context of the UNFCCC attract worldwide attention. They provide long term orientation and can give clear signals to investors that low carbon development is not only inevitable but also a real economic opportunity. During your last G8 presidency you were instrumental in defining the “2°C limit”. This has been a groundbreaking first step. We call on you to consolidate the achievements of the past during your current G7 presidency:

  1. Based on the L’Aquila declaration from 2009, and taking into account the G7’s particular responsibility, the G7 should make the next step and commit to a more specific and actionable long-term goal. In accordance with the high probability scenario of IPCC to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius it is necessary to phase out fossil fuel use and to phase in 100% renewable energies by 2050, providing sustainable energy access for all people.
  2. This long-term goal should be backed up with a substantial increase in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in the run up to 2020 as in the post-2020 period for which countries are currently making pledges that seem insufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. For example, G7 countries should commit to deadlines for phasing-out domestic use of coal. 
  3. The G7 should confirm its commitment to the goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion in climate finance by 2020, as enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord. This should be backed with a corresponding pathway including increasing annual public contributions until 2020.
  4. G7 should commit to a global goal of ensuring climate resilience to all people by developing, implementing and financing developing country National Climate Adaptation Plans and respective robust and effective national and international frameworks to reduce and manage climate risks and losses that go beyond adaptation capacities. We welcome that Germany plans to enhance the G7 commitment to strengthen climate risk management in vulnerable developing countries. We ask you to ensure a strong focus on the needs of particularly vulnerable people and communities, espeically women. 

However, in CAN’s opinion, initiatives taken by G7 states should not only be limited to the UNFCCC process. While the above steps could in particular support progress in the UNFCCC process, the G7 should take complementary initiatives aiming at fostering trust building between developed and developing countries by launching projects and initiatives to facilitate the transformation process towards a low carbon and climate resilient future. Therefore, we call for your support to:

  1. Terminate the international financing of coal and lignite fired power plants including related infrastructure through the G7's development banks, other public banks and export credit agencies.
  2. Initiate new or significantly strengthen existing initiatives and financing instruments to promote capacity building, technology transfer and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries with ambitious climate and energy strategies.
  3. Mobilize new and innovative sources of climate finance including a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
  4. Accelerate efforts to end subsidies for fossil fuels by 2015 in the G7 countries, which have all signed the respective G20 agreement in 2009.

​Madame Chancellor, we are looking forward to further exchange views on these issues and remain at your disposal.

Kind regards, 

Wael Hmaidan

 

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 Study quantifies benefits unlocked by new climate action commitments

Scaling up action scales up benefits

Berlin, Germany. March 31, 2015: More jobs, fewer deaths and money saved from fuel imports. That’s what the climate action commitments laid out by the EU, US and China will deliver to their nations, according to a study by NewClimate Institute, and commissioned by Climate Action Network. 

The new study calculates that as well as helping reduce climate change risk, the steps outlined in the plans for these three economies will mean a total of almost 1 million new jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 113,000 people who will no longer die prematurely thanks to reduced air pollution, and huge savings from avoiding the high costs of imported fossil fuels. 

What’s more, scaling up their commitments to be in line with the transition to economies powered by 100% renewables by mid-century will mean unlocking even more benefits for these nations. More ambitious plans would collectively create around 3 million jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 2 million people who would otherwise fall victim to deadly air pollution, and would save around US$520 billion from avoided fossil fuel imports per year. If all countries took climate actions at this scale, global warming would not cross the 2degC threshold, beyond which scientists predict climate change to spin out of control. Such action would also give us an even chance of staying within 1.5degC - the threshold advocated by many of the most vulnerable nations. 

NewClimate Institute’s Niklas Höhne, author of the study, said: “This new analysis shows that any governments currently formulating climate action plans should consider the significant benefits for their people that could be achieved by setting their ambition levels to maximum.” 

Climate Action Network chair Mohamed Adow said: “Over 100 countries have thrown their support behind a phase out of fossil fuel emissions and it’s not hard to see why - making a just transition to 100% renewable energy is a no brainer as it means healthier economies and healthier people.” 

The report comes as developed countries - and others in a position to do so - were expected to lodge their offers with the UN by today. These offers will form the building blocks of a new climate agreement to be signed in Paris this December. 

The study shows that Europe stands to save around USD$33 billion per year on avoided fossil fuel imports through its climate action plan, but this would jump to around USD$170billion a year if the region scaled up its offer. 

China’s battle with air pollution has been well documented, as has the country’s actions to get it under control. Beijing’s new climate offer will save around 100,000 lives a year, but as they scale up their efforts that figure rises to around 1.2 million people annually. 

The United States is expected to formally lodge an offer with the UN today which will create around 470,000 jobs by 2030 in the country’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, with even more potential in the country’s energy efficiency sector. 

This study once again confirms key findings from last year's Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which informed governments that the only way to build and retain prosperous economies is through both mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

All eyes will now turn to other major - more and more isolated - economies such as Japan, Australia and Canada whose governments appear to have missed today’s deadline for lodging climate action commitments with the UN.

With evidence piling up on the side of scaling up action and the multiple benefits that delivers, their people will increasingly question government decisions that fail to speed up the people-driven transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.  

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The report, Assessing the missed benefits of countries’ national contributions, was written by the NewClimate Institute - which raises ambition for action against climate change and supports sustainable and climate-resilient development through research and analysis. 
  2. The report was commissioned by Climate Action Network - 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: 
  3. You can find the full report here, a summary of the findings here, and an infographic here

 

Contact 
To be connected with a spokesperson on the report, please contact:  Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org  

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CAN Position on a Sustainable Energy World Without Nuclear Power, March 2015

Key points

  • Nuclear power is socially, environmentally and economically unsustainable. Nuclear energy has no role to play in a fully decarbonized power sector in transition to phasing out all fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all, as early as possible, but not later than 2050.
  • Any climate agreement such as the one to be agreed in Paris in December 2015 must prioritize its efforts for climate change mitigation within the energy sector on sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency. Governments should not incentivize or rely on nuclear power in their mitigation planning including within their INDCs.
  • Nuclear power as an inherently unsustainable energy source shall not be eligible under any existing or new GHG compliance market mechanism for any carbon credits.
  • Nuclear power is not fit for any climate finance and therefore shall also be barred from receiving any financial support under either international or bilateral co-operations such as IFI, the GCF or ODA.

Therefore, CAN calls on all governments that have or are planning new nuclear power installation, to swiftly shift away from these investments toward safe, clean, appropriate and sustainable renewable energy.

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Europe becomes second party to lodge Paris climate action commitment

Climate Action Network released the following statement upon the release of Europe's commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change today. 

European environment ministers have today agreed on the EU’s first climate action commitment towards the Paris agreement. The pledge translates its previously announced target to reduce carbon pollution by at least 40% by 2030. After Switzerland, the EU will be the second party in the world to lodge its plan to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy with the UN. Commitments from other major countries including the United States and Mexico are expected later this month. Together, these pledges will signal the start of what will be the world’s first collective step on climate action. 

Europe has in many ways been spearheading the global transition, and it has only last week presented a domestic energy strategy that makes clear that Europe’s move towards a decarbonized economy is well underway. That’s why some observers want Europe’s first offer to go further in harnessing progress towards a fossil fuel phase out and Europe’s vision to be the world leader in renewable energy. For example, Denmark has already committed to make 100% of their electricity supply renewable and party leaders in the UK have committed to phase out coal. Accelerating this transition makes sense because it can deliver more and better jobs, improved public health and more robust economies.

Today’s announcement leaves open the tricky question of how to deal with forests when counting emission reductions. If not handled well, accounting rules could dilute the EU’s commitment. Progressive Member States are working to reach a decision that ensures environmental integrity and retains ambition. Furthermore, despite calling for countries to renew their pledges under the Paris agreement every five years, the EU does not outline a 2025 target in its offer.

The EU’s plan stayed silent on the amount of additional support they'd provide to developing countries who are expected to take their own climate action under the Paris agreement. Scaling up support will be vital if we're to secure a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris in December that builds resilient communities and helps vulnerable people cope with unavoidable climate impacts. In a bid to shore up Europe’s leadership on climate, European foreign ministers can step up and explicitly outline their offer to help communities adopt renewable energy and adapt to climate change.

Undoubtedly, this offer will not be the final word from Europe on climate action towards the Paris agreement. Indeed, the EU’s pledge document says it looks forward to working with other countries to find “ways to collectively increase ambition further”. And European NGOs will continue to push member states to do more to unlock the “at least” part of their 2030 commitment.  The European Commission has already outlined plans to hold a conference in November to review collective commitments, providing the impetus for all countries to consider what more they can do to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. To give that agreement a smoother landing, Europe can reassert itself as a leader on climate diplomacy giving countries confidence in the collective steps we’re taking on climate action.

Contact: Ria Voorhaar
Head - International Communications Coordination 
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

 
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CAN input to post-2015 declaration

To emphasise the need for ambitious action in the short, medium and long-term, Climate Action Network recommends that the declaration on post-2015 sustainable development includes:

1. To include a reference to crucial goals for the tomorrow we want: “to avoid the worst effects of climate change we must phase out carbon emissions and phase in 100% renewable energy with sustainable energy access for all” with the possible addition “as early as possible, but not later than 2050”

2. Further include paragraph 8 of the preamble to the Open Working Group report to signpost to the UNFCCC process, especially the following parts:  underscoring “that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions; [recalling] that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provides that parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. […] having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below [2°C, or] 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

EC kick starts 2015 climate pledge wave with draft proposal but more work ahead of Europe

Climate Action Network provided the following comment on the releasse of the EC's Energy Union package today. 

The European Commission has today published a proposal on how to flesh out the EU's commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change as part of a package outlining Europe's vision for energy and climate issues. 

Building off it's previously announced target to reduce carbon pollution by at least 40% by 2030, the EC is the first party to attempt to translate its pledge for presentation to the UNFCCC after after last year's major climate negotiations in Lima gave countries guidance on the information to be presented.  While being the first off the mark is cause for applause, European NGOs will be working with EU member states to improve the transparency and quality of the EC's proposal before a version of it goes to the bloc's environment ministers next week. 

Moving forward, the EU will need to bring to life the "at least" part of their climate action commitment. Countries like Denmark have already committed to make 100% of their electricity supply renewable because they know that such policies can deliver more and better jobs, improved public health and more prosperous economies.  

The EC's draft proposal was silent on the amount of additional support they'd provide to developing countries who are expected to take their own climate action under the Paris agreement. Scaling up support will be vital if we're to secure a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris in December that builds resilient communities and helps vulnerable people. Developing countries in particular will be looking for the EU to be more explicit in coming months on how it will help  communities adapt to climate change.

The EC's move today will kick off a wave of pledges from countries over the course of the year - all of which will add up to the first collective signal that the world is moving out of fossil fuels and embracing the renewable energy era.  All eyes will now turn to other developed countries who need to submit their commitments by the end of March.  The EC has also outlined plans to hold a review collective commitments in November providing the impetus for all countries to consider what more they can do to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels on the eve of the Paris Climate Summit. 
 

Contact: 

Ria Voorhaar - +49 157 317 355 68, rvoorhaar @ climatenetwork.org 

UN climate talks in Geneva close adopting a draft text but much political work remains ahead

The UN climate talks in Geneva have closed today with an air of optimism having made progress towards a new agreement that is due to be signed in Paris at the end of the year. The draft agreement is on track to signal an end to fossil fuel emissions with both Jamaica and Switzerland adding their voices to the idea of a long term goal.1 

Climate Action Network members made the following comments on the closure of the UN session:

It's good news countries have given a stamp of approval for a new draft version of the climate agreement that will be the basis of negotiations through the year and that it features a wide range of options to deal with mitigation and to provide support to help developing countries prepare for climate impacts including a loss and damage mechanism.  

There's been a seachange in the dynamics here thanks to the open and consultative approach of the Co-Chairs.  Countries also came ready and willing to work.  The spirit of Geneva needs to be kept alive, as we move to on to deal with crunch issues like the need to scale up financial support for action and how to treat richer and poorer countries fairly, and loss and damage - which has the potential to be a make or break issue for Paris.  

Julie-Anne Richards, Climate Justice Programme  

All eyes must be on political leaders now, as they are the single most important influence that will shape the final outcome of a new global climate deal in Paris later this year.  

There are important political moments outside of the UN climate negotiation process – at both ministerial and Heads of State level - on the road to Paris where they can demonstrate their intentions, such as the G7, the G20 meetings, and the SDG Summit.

 The first test of political will and influence inside the negotiating process will come in the period from March to June when countries announce their plans to reduce emissions and, we hope, provide financial resources for the post-2020 period.

Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to the UNFCCC

As the talks here in Geneva come to a close, people around the world are taking part in Global Divestment Day, a worldwide effort to move money out of the fossil fuel industry and into a clean energy future. 

That's what these negotiations need to do, as well: send a clear signal to investors that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.

Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director. 350.org

1. CAN is calling for a complete phase out of fossil fuel emissions and the phase in of 100% renewable energy by 2050 with sustainable energy access for all. 

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