CAN responds as China launches climate action plan towards Paris agreement

China has lodged its climate action commitment towards the new climate agreement which is due to be signed in Paris this December.

The pledge included a commitment to slash the carbon intensity of its economy between 60-65% by 2030 based on 2005 levels with the aim of peaking pollution levels by around 2030. China has also committed to increasing its national share of low carbon energy to 20% by 2030. 
 

CAN members made the following comments:

“China has only ever been on defence when it comes to climate change, but today’s announcement is the first step for a more active role. For success in Paris, however, all players – including China and the EU – need to up their game. Today’s pledge must be seen as only the starting point for much more ambitious action. It does not fully reflect the significant energy transition that is already taking place in China. Given the dramatic fall in coal consumption, robust renewable energy uptake, and the urgent need to address air pollution, we believe the country can go well beyond what it has proposed today.” Li Shuo, climate analyst Greenpeace China

“This is the first major developing country emitter to set a total emissions peak target. In doing so, China has committed to both global climate security and to a transformational energy transition at home. We emphasize the importance of the fact that China has made commitments beyond its responsibility as a developing country. But we hope that China will continue to find ways to reduce its emissions, which will in turn drive global markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.” Samantha Smith, Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader, WWF.

"It is clear that the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which was lodged by China today is a serious step forward for the country's transformation to low carbon and climate resilient development. Already a world leader in renewable energy, the government has announced it will roll out as much low carbon energy as the entire US electricity system by 2030. While the plan is indeed a strong effort, it should be viewed as the floor upon which additional efforts will be built. There are early indications that the country could exceed the targets it has set for itself. Bold actions are required from all levels of governments as well as from the indispensable private sector and civil society. China's commitment towards the Paris agreement is an important milestone on the way to Paris and can catalyse stronger action from the rest of the world." Bi Xinxin, coordinator CAN China. 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568

CAN Submission to the Technology Executive Committee on the TNA and TAP Processes

CAN thanks the Secretariat of the UNFCCC and the members of the Technology Executive Committee for the opportunity to comment on the Technology Needs Assessment and the Technology Action Plan processes. In response to the questions posed by the Secretariat on this topic, CAN submits the following responses, on which we would welcome a broader discussion with the TEC. 

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Civil Society Reactions: Papal Encyclical for Climate Action

Vatican City, Italy - June 18, 2015 -  NGOs have today welcomed Pope Francis' strong moral case for people and leaders to tackle climate change delivered in today's historic Papal Encyclical.

In a rare open letter that will shape Catholic teaching, His Holiness Pope Francis laid out our moral imperative to “care for our common home” and end the inequalities which are driving interlinked problems of climate change and poverty. Pope Francis is the latest and most high profile voice to join a long list of people, from scientists, business leaders, economists, labour leaders and youth, who understand that taking action on climate change and empowering poorer countries to develop sustainably is both morally and economically right. The fossil fuel industry is increasingly the sole and isolated voice opposing the groundswell of momentum for action. 

Today's call is set to provide a massive boost to two big summits happening this year on sustainable development and climate change. Politicians have a chance to listen to their people and deliver plans to move towards a poverty-free world powered by 100% renewable energy at the UN General Assembly on the Sustainable Development Goals in September (the Pope will be speaking at the UNGA and to the US Congress) and COP21 in December.

NGOs and their allies in the faith community made the following comments:

“The coming months will be critical for decisions about development and care for the planet. We hope that politicians and decision makers will take the strong messages of the encyclical on board and that the outcomes of these international meetings will put the common interest first and be able to make the difference.”  Bernd Nilles, Secretary General, CIDSE. 

“The call by His Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Francis, reminds us that climate change is first and foremost about people. The gross and growing inequality between rich and poor has been made worse by the climate crisis. Moreover, the emissions of the rich are driving weather extremes that hit the poorest hardest. Only when world leaders heed the Pope's moral leadership on these two defining issues, inequality and climate change, will our societies become safer, more prosperous and more equal.” Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International.

“From William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery in Britain to Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equal rights in the US and Desmond Tutu’s victory over apartheid in South Africa, Christians acting on their sense of moral duty have a history of transforming society for the better. If Christians in Europe and all over the world heed its call as many are already doing, the Pope’s Encyclical could well spark another transformation on a global scale – and Europe and the world would be a better place for it.” Christine Allen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Christian Aid 

"This beautiful and urgent call to action from Pope Francis, besides challenging our lifestyles and behaviors, has perfect timing ahead of the COP21 summit. It was Pope Francis himself who said he wanted the encyclical to influence the international climate negotiations, so now it's time for Catholics and all people of good will to mobilize and remind world leaders of the moral imperative of climate action." Tomás Insua, Movement Coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

“The World Council of Churches welcomes Pope Francis’ encyclical which catalyses what churches and ecumenical organizations have been doing for decades - caring for the earth and fighting for climate justice. By affirming human induced climate change and its impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable communities, the Encyclical is an important call to urgently act as individuals, citizens and also at the international level to effectively respond to the climate crisis.” Dr Guillermo Kerber, Programme Executive on Care for Creation and Climate Justice, World Council of Churches.

"As co-organizers of the June 28 March in Rome to St Peter's Square - Una Terra, Una Famiglia Umana - the Our Voices movement looks forward to showing that an incredibly diverse, rainbow coalition of Catholics, followers of all faiths, environmentalists and people of good will support the Pope's call for action by world leaders. The Encyclical shows that the global multifaith tide of demand for climate action is growing dramatically." Reverend Fletch Harper, Co-ordinator at Our Voices and Director at Greenfaith USA.

"Greenpeace welcomes the valuable intervention of Pope Francis in humanity's common struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change. This first encyclical on the environment brings the world a step closer to that tipping point where we abandon fossil fuels and fully embrace clean renewable energy for all, by the middle of the century. Everyone, whether religious or secular, can and must respond to this clarion call for bold urgent action." Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director at Greenpeace.

 

“We affirm Pope Francis’ moral framing of the threats posed by climate change. We have too many brothers and sisters around the world living on the edge of poverty whose livelihoods are threatened—and too many little ones in our congregations set to inherit a dangerously broken world—to believe otherwise. For too long the church has been silent about the moral travesty of climate change. Today, the Pope has said, ‘Enough is enough,’ and the Christian Reformed Church welcomes his voice.” Dr. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America 

“Pope Francis’s encyclical has added a moral imperative to the financial case for preventing catastrophic climate change. Carbon Tracker’s financial analysis has shown that plans to invest trillions of dollars in high-cost fossil fuel projects does not make economic sense. Pope Francis makes it clear it doesn’t make moral or ethical sense either. These fossil fuel assets that may never be burned anyway pose significant risks for investors and will impact the pension pots of millions of ordinary people,” Anthony Hobley, CEO of the Carbon Tracker Initiative

"The Pope’s moral call to protect the environment and humanity is backed by science. Pope Francis has hit the nail on the head by connecting the climate crisis with its root causes of huge consumption, massive inequality and destruction of ecosystems. As he says, real solutions need to be based on equity, justice and morality." Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager for ActionAid International

“Climate change will be felt mainly through water – too much in times of flood, too little in times of drought, and in many places increasingly saline or polluted. Though the world’s poorest have done least to contribute to this global catastrophe, they are the most vulnerable to climate change and least able to cope. As the world’s temperature rises, basic needs for water – including drinking, cooking, washing, sanitation and hygiene – must be given priority, to ensure the health and well-being of those most vulnerable, and to make communities more resilient to climatic changes. Developed world support to help least-developed countries adapt to the new realities will be essential.” Louise Whiting, Senior Policy Analyst, Water Security and Climate Change, WaterAid UK

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568

CAN Briefing: Comments on the Post-2015 zero draft, June 2015

~Climate Action Network values the efforts by the Co-Chairs to put forward a zero draft text to move the discussions on the post-2015 agenda forward. We believe the proposal’s structure can facilitate further discussions on some of the key principles and elements to strengthen the declaration in order to guarantee the desired implementation and outcome of the goals and targets. However, the preamble and declaration in the zero draft fall short of adequately addressing the important issue of climate change and sustainable energy access. We note with great concern that the framing and inclusion of these issues have been weakened from the chapeau of the OWG report  and the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report .

Climate change impacts are unfolding rapidly, thereby undermining the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable. The declaration must drive inspiration and help communicate what the new development agenda is about. It must ensure that climate change is treated as a development issue because it threatens poverty eradication and puts at risk the achievement of the sustainable development goals and targets. It must be clear about the causes of climate change and that it impacts the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. But it must also recognize that solutions such as sustainable energy systems are emerging rapidly, which can inspire all members of society to act against climate change and end poverty in the next 15 years.

Climate Action Network would like to offer our immediate comments in order to further strengthen some of the key elements of the declaration to effectively reflect the severe threat emerging from climate change, and the opportunities of decisive action to achieve real sustainable development.

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CAN Closing ADP 2.9 Intervention for UNFCCC Website, 11 June 2015

Thank you, honourable Co-Chairs and distinguished delegates for the opportunity to submit a written statement for the website.

CAN believes that the end of the fossil fuel era is inevitable, and the dawning of the age of renewables is unstoppable. The recent G7 declaration points towards this. The world is watching to make sure their governments are part of the solution, and not part of the problem. 

This session has provided an opportunity for enhanced trust building and contributed to a sense of ownership by governments of the draft text for Paris.

Yet the past two weeks in Bonn have left us with feeling that a sense of urgency and purpose has eluded the negotiations. 

Climate change is real, and happening now. As highlighted by the outcomes of the Structured Expert Dialogue 2013-2015, safeguarding human rights, security and well-being requires all efforts to be made to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The first step towards realising this scientific and moral imperative is an urgent need for all countries to increase their mitigation ambition in the pre-2020 period. 

This increase of ambition in developing countries should be supported by ensuring adequate and predictable means of implementation. 

A roadmap towards achieving the $100 billion per year target and clear milestones towards this target by developed countries is essential for increasing ambition in developing countries for the pre-2020 period, along with developed countries increasing their own mitigation targets.

But our work is just beginning. A high level of ambition must carry over to the post-2020 period with all countries putting forward ambitious INDCs as early as possible.

Parties at COP 21 would need to decide on a mechanism with the intent to periodically upscale and enhance mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation to be provided. CAN would like the duration of this enhancement to be 5 years. This will ensure that we do not end up increasing the existing gigatonne gap, and that we continuously have a forward direction instead of a "one step forward, two steps back” approach to ambition.

Since no country can escape the realities of climate change, we support a global adaptation goal that links adaptation requirements to mitigation efforts. This goal should be predicated on the principles of appropriateness, gender equality, and a rights-based approach to adaptation.

However, we must also recognise that mitigation and adaptation efforts cannot always be sufficient. Loss and damage should therefore be anchored in the 2015 agreement on an equal footing with adaptation, and additional finance ensured.

Honourable delegates, the world is counting on you to rise to the challenge and demonstrate the necessary foresight, courage and leadership.

Thank you.

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CAN Intervention in the Bonn Climate Change Conference SBSTA & SBI Closing Plenary, 11 June, 2015

Fanny Petitbon (SBSTA):

Thank you Madam Co-Chair and distinguished delegates.

My name is Fanny Petitbon and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

CAN welcomes the conclusion of the three issues that remained open after the adoption of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+. The focus should now switch to the implementation of all the provisions and guidance produced in the past years ensuring the highest standards of social and environmental integrity.

We encourage Parties to secure the links of REDD+ to the Paris climate agreement to guarantee long-term support and results.

Negotiations on the Framework for Various Approaches fell short of what was needed to assist the ADP negotiations in the avoidance of double-counting and the assurance of common standards for environmental integrity and net benefits in any ADP outcome.        

While it is clear that this technical work will take some time, we urge Parties to leverage their engagement in SBSTA to ensure that the conclusions of the COPs from Durban and Lima are reflected in any ADP recognition of market mechanisms.

Two valuable SBSTA workshops on agriculture showed that some workable solutions exist and are already being implemented to reduce the risks that farmers face.

We expect Parties to use the conversation from the workshop to inform negotiations going forward, and hope next year's workshops will provide for active civil society participation so that we can share our successful experiences with Parties.

Thank you.

 

Naomi Ages (SBI):

Thank you, Mr. Co-Chair and distinguished delegates.

I am Naomi Ages and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

Last week’s Multilateral Assessments provided a valuable opportunity for mutual learning and enhanced transparency between Parties on their mitigation efforts. 

But they also highlighted yet again the collective international ambition gap in keeping global temperature rise limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

The Structured Expert Dialogue that concluded in February confirmed this target as necessary if we are to avoid many of the disastrous impacts of climate change.

Climate Action Network strongly recommends that the SED’s findings inform the Paris outcome and was discouraged to see some Parties in Bonn attempt to skirt this scientific and moral imperative.

We would also like to underline the vital role that civil society plays in the UNFCCC process.

Having closely followed the budgetary discussions that took place during this session, CAN would like to highlight that it is not in favour of cutting funds for observer participation. 

Civil society has played an indispensable and unique role in the UN process since 1946, and the goals of the Convention cannot be achieved without broad and inclusive non-state actor involvement.

We thank you for your understanding.

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Civil Society Reactions: UN Climate Negotiations close in Bonn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bonn, Germany - June 11, 2015 -  NGO observers called out the juxtaposition between growing real world momentum for a 100% renewable energy world and the slow pace of the UN climate negotiations which close in Bonn today.

In the negotiations toward a new global climate agreement due to be signed in Paris this December, countries will agree that the the co-chairs in charge will produce a new draft for senior politicians to review. This will allow them to tackle crunch issues over the coming months before talks resume in August. The co-chairs will also set forward initial ideas about how a Paris package covering finance, mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage should be structured. And after difficult negotiations, all countries have come forward with proposals to achieve more ambitious and immediate emissions cuts over the next five years - another key element of the Paris package. A work program on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation also closed, providing guidance to those working in the field.

CAN members made the following comments:

“The reality is that we need much faster progress on the post-2020 negotiations, that we need to ramp up what we are doing already, that we cannot ignore that impacts are already hitting people everywhere, and that the solutions, from falling renewable energy prices to low carbon transport are out there, waiting to be scaled up.” Jaco du Toit,  climate change officer, WWF

“The text which will make up the Paris agreement is like a lens we’re all looking through to a safe and secure world.  At the moment it’s a bit grubby and hard to see through. The co-chairs of the negotiations on the Paris agreement need to go away and give it a good clean so that leaders can see what needs to be done." Mohamed Adow, senior climate change advisor, Christian Aid

"All around the world, we are witnessing a groundswell of climate action -- from companies, governments and financial institutions. Now there is a clear path for our leaders to make the necessary, bold decisions in the coming months that will ensure historic international action on climate change." Jake Schmidt, director of international program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

"The Luddites of climate action in the coal and oil industry should take note of the signals coming from G7 and progressive business leaders.   The negotiators in Bonn should take note too, and make more rapid progress in the upcoming formal and informal meetings.  The Paris climate protocol should accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, building in new commitments from major emitting countries every five years,  so that we can achieve the vision of 100% renewable energy by 2050." Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics, Greenpeace 

"From floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons and heat waves, the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident all over the world. The world expects an agreement in Paris that accelerates the shift away from a global economy based on polluting fossil fuels towards one based on clean renewable energy sources, and that helps vulnerable communities deal with climate impacts.  Ministers and national leaders must actively engage with each other over the summer to provide the political guidance that will enable their negotiators to pick up the pace when they return to Bonn in late August." Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy, Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Negotiators avoided a show-down over crunch issues like finance and increasing near term emissions cuts, but they are only delaying the inevitable. A clearer mandate from Heads of State and ministers is needed to ignite the talks and ensure key questions are answered. Upcoming events like the Financing for Development meeting in Addis, the UN General Assembly in New York or the G20 in Turkey offer the perfect opportunity for high level political signals to be sent. Political leaders need to give a clear steer on how to address the inadequacy of current emissions reductions pledges, but also on the urgent financial support needed for the most vulnerable countries and populations." Jan Kowalzig, climate change policy adviser, Oxfam

"The conclusion of the work program on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation provides a little more clarity on safeguards reporting and the importance of promoting the multiple benefits that forests provide, but it is minimal. Now all eyes are on finance and implementation, and we will have to be vigilant in tracking whether safeguards are actually respected on the ground." Niranjali M. Amerasinghe, director, climate & energy program, Center for International Environmental Law

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568

Copyright © 2015 Climate Action Network - International, All rights reserved. 

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Cycles, cycles, cycles

While ECO daydreams about cycling along the Rhine into the sunset, the EU seems confused about how cycles move us forward. On one hand, the EU supports stock-takes of mitigation ambition in 5-year cycles. But on the other, it’s against synchronising commitment periods with these 5-year cycles, and has no 2025 target.

Now, a review cycle that is not linked to a decision-making moment lacks credibility and becomes a weak mechanism to increase ambition. All cyclists know that if you want to move up a gear, you need momentum and a mechanism that works.

Common and regular target end dates create political moments. To see that others are zooming forward can drive countries to go further on new updated targets. Without 2025 targets, the EU risks locking in low ambition. A deal in Paris won’t increase ambition over time if it’s based on cycles with missing parts. Just like a bicycle without pedals, a cycle without a mechanism that obliges countries to go faster won’t accelerate decarbonisation!

Some EU leaders supported a phase-out goal at the G7 and the Petersberg Dialogue. This goal has to go in tandem with meaningful short-term cycles – particularly because the goal they have set requires faster progress down the global path to becoming 100% fossil free and phasing-in 100% renewables. In that context, 5 year commitment periods make a 2050 goal mean something.

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What is an encyclical?

“Laudato Si” or “Praised be You” is the title of the much anticipated encyclical from Pope Francis, which will be somewhat longer than ECO and just as devoted to the future of our planet and people.   It will talk not only about climate but broadly of the environment and human development. Anticipated for release on the 18th of June, it will explore the relationship between care for creation and concern for the poor. It will help Catholics and all people, Heads of States and governments to rediscover the spiritual roots of ecology, and it will remind us all of our common moral imperative to act and have an ambitious long-term goal to reducing emissions.

The encyclical is being released ahead of both of the key UN negotiations on sustainable development and climate. In his message to COP20 in Lima, Pope Francis noted the “clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.” In the event, the outcome of COP20 fell short of ECO’s expectations. Pope Francis too described the results as “nothing great” and showing a distinct lack of “political will”.

Integral ecology, as the basis for justice and development in the world, requires a new global solidarity, one in which everyone has a part to play and every action, no matter how small, can make a difference. This will be Pope Francis’ message to world leaders. He will challenge them to be courageous and to take decisions that go beyond technical and economic considerations, and instead prioritise solidarity and the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities. He will call on them to put the needs of the poorest before blind protection of any economic system. Dear negotiators, are you up for the challenge?

Civil society is certainly ready to take up the challenge. On 28 June there will be a multi-faith/civil society march from Rome to St. Peter´s Square in the Vatican to show support for the Pope´s climate change advocacy and his encyclical. Mini-marches are also planned from peoples of faith and activists everywhere in the world.

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