Open Letter to G20 Govenments

In 2015, the world took a historic step in the fight to tackle climate change. In adopting the Paris Agreement, governments jointly committed to pursuing efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5ºC above preindustrial levels, in recognition of the disastrous impacts that will affect diverse communities around the globe above these limits. The need to now take action is urgent - we are already seeing increased extreme weather events as a result of climate change.

G20 countries represent approximately 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the global population. G20 leadership on climate change is crucial, and global economic governance must be compatible with the requirements of the Paris Agreement to safeguard development against climate risks and to provide a safe future for all citizens of the world.

In July 2016, CAN developed a briefing of eight key climate demands for the G20.[1] Importantly, we call on the G20 countries to ensure that important agreements take place this year, such as at the International Civil Aviation Organization and in the Montreal Protocol, which will result in ambitious outcomes that are compatible with the Paris Agreement. At the 2016 G20 Summit, we urge all member countries to prioritize two key issues: ratification of the Paris Agreement, for expedited entry into force; and development of long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonization.

We look forward to an ambitious outcome from the 2016 G20 Summit, in which climate change is recognized not simply as an environmental problem, but as the threat to the global economy, security and sustainable development that it truly is.


CAN Position: Agriculture in the UNFCCC - elements to consider post-Paris, August 2016

Agriculture, as a source of livelihood and income for over three billion people, a contributor to nutrition and health, and the foundation of identity and food security, requires special consideration under the Paris Agreement. Parties need to approach actions holistically in line with the principles of the Paris Agreement.

CAN has looked at the Paris Agreement to identify opportunities where agriculture could be better integrated. Below some key considerations for specific areas of the APA as well as SBI and SBSTA where considering agriculture will be important in the future. This is not an exhaustive list. There might be other areas where agriculture and work on agriculture might become beneficial in the future, such as the work program on response measures, capacity building and others.



CAN Non-Paper: Input to IPCC SR 1.5 scoping meeting

CAN welcomes the ongoing work by the IPCC for the release of the “Special Report on the Impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissions pathways (IPCC SR 1.5)” in 2018.  The preparation of this report were suggested by the UNFCCC in December 2015 and decided in the IPCC meeting in Nairobi in April 2016. 

In order to define the scope of the report in autumn 2016, the IPCC has invited experts and governments to a first scoping meeting from the 15th to the 17th of August of this year in Geneva, Switzerland. Given the scarce participation of civil society in the upcoming Geneva scoping meeting, CAN has put together this paper with recommendations on topics and findings that could best trigger increased action by Parties to tackle climate change.

The task for the Geneva meeting is to identify the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. (see: Art. 2.1 Paris Agreement and Par. 21 in 1/CP.21).

As outlined above a key question is which messages of the Special Report on 1.5 degrees could trigger best Party action to decrease emissions and which topics should be covered by the report? We are aware of the fine line between policy relevant information that the report should deliver without being prescriptive. We hope our recommendations can help to come to a good agreement on the scope of the report in the IPCC plenary session in autumn 2016.



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.


Viennese Treats: Mozartkugeln and HFCs


Mozart-a-what, you ask? Why, the small, round sugar treats made of pistachio marzipan and nougat, covered with dark chocolate. The Mozartkugeln! Delicious, endorsed by ECO, and a perfect accompaniment to good climate news. Parties to the Montreal Protocol recently made progress, in Vienna, towards adopting an amendment to phase-down HFCs this year, with huge benefits for the climate.

Parties finalised text on the financial mechanism for the HFC phase-down, as well as on the finance, intellectual property and linkages with the HCFC phase-out. Progress was also achieved on key elements, when Parties put forward options for baseline ranges and consumption freeze dates. Before you help yourself to a second Mozartkugeln, ECO would like to remind you that important work still remains to be done so that the HFC phase-down agreement will achieve a generous amount of emission reductions.

In light of Paris, it is imperative to aim for the most ambitious phase-down schedule possible with an agreement this year in Kigali. If Parties are wondering what can be done to make Kigali a feast; how about a reminder to MOP negotiators that they should honour the Paris Agreement when trying to come to a deal in October?

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Brexit: Keep Calm And Up Your Global Climate Leadership

June 23: the day those careful, reserved Brits voted to leave the EU. Wow. The outcome sent shockwaves around the world. Alas, the climate keeps changing and ECO hasn’t stopped demanding that the UK, and the EU’s other 27 member states, shoot for higher climate ambition.

In practice, the UK won’t leave the EU until 2 years after they trigger “Article 50”—which, rumour has it, will not happen until 2017. In the meantime, the UK, the EU and its other 27 member states will all need to ratify the Paris Agreement. Brexit may be an upheaval, but it is not an excuse for delaying ratification. ECO calls on the EU to speed up its effort sharing decision and show that collaboration on climate must persist regardless.

And as for the UK’s own leadership on climate change, ECO was not impressed when it heard the UK was merging their climate department with business and industry. Some stressed the opportunities to be gained through integrating climate considerations into industrial projects, but it’s up to the UK to prove them right. The final outcome remains to be seen, but, dear United Kingdom, ECO will not let you off the hook.

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Aviation Climate Deal: Global Must Mean GLOBAL

2013 saw governments, industry and NGOs come together in an attempt to do something about ever increasing aviation emissions. Part of the plan is a global, market-based measure to stabilise net emissions at 2020 levels, primarily via offsetting. This was set to be agreed by Parties to ICAO at its next assembly in late September this year. Success is essential–after all, international aviation alone has a climate impact equal to the 129 lowest emitting countries combined.

With the deadline approaching, ECO is dismayed to see silos emerging. Just because international bunkers are not part of the Paris Agreement, Parties can’t try to shift responsibility to others. It’s time to work out a deal that’s fair to all. All countries must act so that aviation emissions, everywhere, can fall to reach 1.5°C. Historically, developed countries have produced the majority of aviation emissions—the EU and US combined account for 40%, for example. However, developing countries are fast catching up, with some large developing countries growing at 2 or 3 times the global average.

Developed countries, especially the US, appear to be trying to take advantage of how their emissions grew rapidly in previous decades to craft a deal that places little to no obligation on their airlines. Many developing countries are ignoring the Paris spirit of “we’re in this together” by trying to opt-out entirely. On that note, ECO salutes Mexico for agreeing to join from the very beginning.

A comprehensive deal with global coverage, fair to all, is urgently needed. It’s not just a case of opting in or out. The deal itself must have environmental integrity. As the measure will heavily rely on offsets (and to a lesser degree on biofuels), it must have strong and transparent rules to keep out those dodgy offsets (and biofuels) that don’t represent real emission reductions elsewhere, or that undermine sustainable development..

Like the Paris Agreement, this global measure will be a starting point–not the end game. The proposals on the table are a step forward, but they don’t get the aviation industry anywhere near a fair or sufficient contribution to our 1.5°C benchmark. This starting point will become a false start unless everyone pulls their weight. ECO asks every country to do their bit in Montreal!


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Human Rights: the Pre-Marrakesh Homework


While formal climate negotiations will only reconvene in November, other UN bodies continue their work to support the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Their respect of the UNFCCC mandate means that climate negotiators still need to play their own part.

In early July, the Human Rights Council adopted a new resolution on human rights and climate change. Other human rights bodies, such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, are also scheduled to focus their work in the coming months on the implications of climate change.

Even though the Council had already adopted resolutions on climate change and human rights in the past, this year’s resolution was unique in emphasising heavily the role played by the UNFCCC on these issues. The resolution recalls the language included in the Paris Agreement affirming the necessity for Parties to respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights when taking climate action. It also emphasises the need for early ratification and effective implementation of the Agreement, and calls upon states to consider, among other aspects, human rights within the framework of the UNFCCC.

But the Council was careful not to step on the toes of climate negotiators, refraining from adopting any prescriptive conclusions. Instead, it leaves to climate negotiators the task to determine how the rights-based approaches mandated by the Paris Agreement will need to be implemented.

With about 100 days left before the COP, delegations still have time to consider how the outcomes of COP22 can ensure that human rights and core social principles are fully integrated to climate policy, to deliver benefits for communities, too. ECO is hopeful that many of the submissions prepared in the coming months will already articulate some of this vision.


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