Press Releases

CAN is an important, critical voice in the international climate policy process. The network’s regular press briefings and commentary help journalists and their audience make sense of what can be a baffling process, even to those who have been covering it for years.

CAN helps coordinate and amplify the communications work of its 850 members around major international climate processes. CAN also provides an important capacity building role for some members interested in boosting their communications efforts.

You can find a range of our latest resources and releases below:

Press Release: ´Immediately shift investments from fossil fuels into renewables and nature protection and restoration,´ civil society said to the World Economic Forum (WEF) participants.

Immediately shift investments from fossil fuels into renewables and nature protection and restoration, civil society said to government, bank and business leaders convening in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Thursday 23 January 2020: For the first time, the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risk Report identifies failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change as the greatest risk the world faces in the short and long term (10 years). 

It took the destruction of forests, farmland, animals and peoples’ livelihoods in Australia and the Amazon and a devastating year of extreme weather events including typhoons and cyclones that killed thousands and ravaged Africa and Southeast Asia for the Forum´s network of business leaders, academics and NGOs to join the chorus in sounding the alarm on the climate emergency.

Yet, key speakers at the meeting came across completely out of tune with the WEF´s main topic this year: ‘Climate change and building a cohesive, inclusive and sustainable economy’. Although the USA is the second largest global emitter of greenhouse gases, President Donald Trump delivered a re-election speech instead of focusing on what his government will do to tackle climate change, the world´s greatest threat.

Additionally, Greenpeace International highlighted in a new report that 24 banks, regularly represented at Davos, have provided US$1.4 trillion to the fossil fuel industry since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 through to the end of 2018. 

The report also looks at how pension funds and insurance companies, whose CEOs go to Davos, have been propping up fossil fuels. In response to President Trump’s speech, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said, “It seems to escape the President that no money can be made on a dead planet - there can be no jobs, no economic growth.”

Against this backdrop, 2019 marked a series of summits that exposed the brazen lack of political will by large emitters to listen to the rising calls from scientists and people to act on the global emergency. These include the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in New York and the UN Conference (COP25) in Madrid.

Despite the highest ever carbon pollution by fossil fuels in 2018 and 2019 and three scientific reports in the last two years, delivered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), highlighting the best and newest science on potentially devastating impacts on nature and people, governments of rich nations try to muddle through. Added to that, millions of people, particularly youth flooded the streets of many cities, demanding climate and social justice to transform the present system. Yet highly polluting and rich governments still failed to deliver commitments to raise climate ambition and action to limit dangerous climate impacts.

While in 2018 the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C stipulated that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all spheres of society, the UN Production Gap report released in December 2019 showed that governments are not committing to what they signed up for in Paris in 2015. They are, in fact, planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 2°C levels and 120% more than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C.

The report makes clear that participants in Davos hold direct responsibility in tackling the climate crisis as it says that the “continued expansion of fossil fuel production is underpinned by ambitious national plans, government subsidies and other forms of public finance.” 

Ironically, in the days leading to this year’s WEF where VIPs, royalty and others flocked in private jets to celebrate the Forum´s 50th anniversary and discuss climate change in Davos, Oxfam released its Time to Care” report. The report makes clear that global wealth is increasingly founded on inequality. It concludes that just over 2,000 individual billionaires control more money than 60 percent of the world’s poorest population. This wealth is generated through the unpaid labor of the poorest women who are also on the front line of climate impacts in vulnerable countries. 

In light of all this, civil society, supported by Greta Thunberg and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, demands that the world´s most influential business and political leaders convening in Davos immediately halt investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, end fossil fuel subsidies and completely divest investment in fossil fuels.

Representatives of banks, companies, governments and other institutions currently participating in the WEF must respond to the emergency they acknowledge and build a cohesive and sustainable economy by investing in the energy transition and supporting the sustainable management of nature to achieve resilience.

The wealth owned by only just over 2,000 people is equivalent to 30 times the global annual investments into renewables. This shows how easy it would be to triple investments in renewables annually and start responding to the emergency. 

Climate Action Network (CAN) Executive Director Tasneem Essop said:

“In what is a first, the WEF Global Risk Report this year identifies climate change as the greatest global risk. This is encouraging, but we would need to see real and meaningful actions to address this risk. This would require the powerful elite; political leaders, CEO’s and other decision makers who gather in Davos, to take actions in line with the science, to heed the UN Production Gap Report, listen to the call of the people and immediately stop all investments in fossil fuel exploration and production. The WEF needs to take a stand and end the social license of the fossil fuel industry or risk losing credibility.”

Members of Climate Action Network (CAN) said:

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org:

"Those most responsible for the climate crisis in the first place were gathered at the World Economic Forum. Because of the power and the money represented at Davos this week, we’ve seen increasingly devastating climate impacts every year. These same wealthy people have stood as a wall separating governments and any real climate action. The climate movement is breaching that wall. It is because of the power of millions of people who took to the streets that these few billionaires are now feeling the urgency of tackling climate breakdown. As we enter the new decade, we need the world to know that the fossil fuel era is over. The financiers and industry leaders would be wise to see the writing on the wall and get out of this toxic industry in their own self-interest, if not in the interest of the planet as a whole."

Gavan McFadzean, Climate Change and Clean Energy Manager, Australian Conservation Foundation:

“Australia is the third largest exporter of fossil fuel emissions, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia. The emissions from these fuels are turbo-charging climate change, which has contributed to our unprecedented bushfire season. If we don’t urgently stop digging up and burning coal, oil and gas, future bushfire seasons will be even worse than this year’s devastating Australian summer.”

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International:

“The climate crisis is a harsh daily reality for hundreds of millions of people, particularly women and girls, a fact which the leaders gathered in Davos must put at the center of their actions. The increasing risk of failure to prevent a complete climate breakdown is a direct threat to us all, but particularly the poorest and most vulnerable. 2020 must become the year where true and meaningful action on emission cuts and climate adaptation substitute lukewarm rhetoric and empty promises.”

Dr Kat Kramer, Global Lead - Climate Change, Christian Aid:

“WEF participants represent those businesses and interests that have brought the world to its knees. Both the climate and biosphere are in a state of crisis and we have failed to tackle poverty. These powerful participants have the choice to break the world through continuing with business-as-usual malevolent practices. Alternatively, they can help to make a new future, one that respects planetary limits and the rights of all to thrive. This visionary future will require a rapid phase out of all fossil fuels – gas included – electrification of the global economy through clean renewable technologies and access to energy for all. It will require the rich to consume less. It will require the conservation of remaining wild places, and restoration of ecosystems that have been destroyed or degraded in rapacious search of profits. The fate of the planet and its people is in the hands of WEF participants. Will they choose to destroy or to create hope?”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International:

"The banks, insurers and pension funds here at Davos are culpable for the climate emergency. These money men say they support the Paris Agreement, but since its signing they have been actively undermining the accord by propping up the fossil fuel industry to the tune of US$1.4 trillion dollars. The finance sector is leading us into another financial crash in the midst of this climate emergency. The regulators must do their jobs before it is too late and financial actors have to start acting now on the scientific and economic warnings."  

Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid:

“Global elites in Davos are trying to disguise their lack of real climate action to reduce emissions and shift away from fossil fuels. They are trumpeting weak and false solutions such as tree planting initiatives and technologies that don’t yet exist.

Meanwhile, across our dangerously warming planet, people are already experiencing the agonising effects of the climate emergency. Bushfires continue to rage in Australia, while 45 million people in Southern Africa are facing severe food insecurity brought on by the worst drought the region has seen in 35 years. 

It’s time for the rich countries and polluting industries that have caused climate change to meet their obligations to those least responsible, but who are suffering the most. We need transformational system change and finance to tackle the crisis, not business as usual and greenwashing.” 

Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director, Corporate Accountability: 

“Impacts of the climate crisis are endured daily by people on the global frontlines -- young people, communities of color, people in the Global South, women, and indigenous people. The global movement to demand climate justice is growing and inescapable — and the latest report from the World Economic Forum in Davos further forces the recognition of the grave societal impacts of the climate crisis.

But, the cheap words and greenwashing ploys that some of the world’s dirtiest corporations have issued are unacceptable. It is high time that the those most responsible for the global climate crisis be held accountable for the devastations they are knowingly driving, and high time for finance that addresses climate impacts and paves the way for real solutions. People around the world are demanding it. And we are resolved to make it a reality.”

Ronan Palmer, Director, Clean Economy, E3G:

“It’s hard to believe how tone deaf and out-of-tune Davos has been this year. It should have been a gathering of leaders to actually lead change and development, cohesion and sustainability. It turns out to be lots of words, that are just not up the scale of the real horror that has unfolded in Australia, or the creeping destruction of habitats and of livelihoods caused by Climate Change. In a year where there was at last a real political space opened up by crowds of people, of voters, of consumers on the streets looking for change, we just got more words. In the year we really need to act to save our economies and standards of living, we got no action. Davos should be better than this. The fact that it isn’t is a serious indictment of world business leaders.”

Sue Willsher, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Change at Tearfund, said:

“The fact that climate change has been highlighted as a key risk facing the world today at Davos is hugely encouraging. But the sheer lack of inaction, disguised in 'green policies' by the businesses, leaders and governments represented there, is astonishing. 

If we are to have any chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees (in line with the Paris Agreement) we need sharp and urgent cuts in emissions from governments and businesses in 2020. This includes an end to investments in fossil fuels and a switch to renewable energy.

Young people hitting the streets in their hundreds of thousands have shown us they want action on climate change and are willing to make changes in their own lifestyles, but as individuals we can only do so much. How will history judge all of us on what we have done to combat climate change?”

#### ENDS ####

Contact:

Hala Kilani

Senior Communications Officer,

Climate Action Network

E-mail: hkilani@climatenetwork.org

Tel: +961 3 567 928

 

People promise to take to the streets as world leaders leave UN climate talks with no plan for climate crisis

15 December 2019, MADRID: The UN climate talks concluded today in Madrid with governments showing no signs of addressing the climate emergency. 

Bogged down by bad faith negotiations that put politics and fossil-fuel interests above people and the planet, many countries — fronted by the United States, Australia and Brazil — once again exposed their apathy to the suffering of millions and a willful rejection of the science. The gap between what people are demanding, what the science says we need for a climate-safe future and what our leaders are willing to do is widening as emissions rise, fossil fuel production expands and impacts escalate. 

Major emitters failed to show how they plan to increase ambition by 2020. Rich countries reneged on the promise to provide finance for loss and damage. With no agreement on carbon market rules, we reiterate that any rules decided next year must secure environmental integrity and protect human rights. Anything less than this is unacceptable.

Earlier this week, hundreds of climate activists engaged in a peaceful but loud protest close to the plenary halls as ministers dragged their feet on negotiations. It is deeply concerning that observer groups faced severe retaliation for demanding climate justice even as lobbyists and fossil fuel representatives roam the UN halls freely.

We now enter a ‘decade of ambition’ that must see transformative policies to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Governments cannot ignore the groundswell of public opinion demanding an urgent response to the climate crisis. We have seen the will of the people, especially the youth, and it will continue to assert itself. In 2020, well ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, we need to see updated and enhanced climate targets from all national capitals that respond to the climate crisis.

Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe, said: “During COP25, the EU has repeatedly said it wants to lead by example. To prove its sincerity and leadership to implement the Paris Agreement, the EU needs to substantially increase its 2030 climate pledge in the first months of 2020. The window of opportunity to achieve the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement is closing rapidly.”

Julie-Anne Richards, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Australia, said: “This is a time of climate emergency back home — with bushfires raging for three months, six people have died, 720 homes have been destroyed, beautiful national parks and their wildlife burnt. Yet still the Australian Government has sought to weaken its climate ambition, and drag the ambition of the whole Paris Agreement down to its level. This is not acceptable to the Australian people, thousands of whom took to the streets this week demanding that the government take climate change seriously. The Government have not heard the last from us, we will persist in demanding climate justice.”

Gavan McFadzean, Climate and Energy Program Manager of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said: “With devastating drought and wildfires raging across Australia, never has there been a wider chasm between what climate damage is inflicting on our planet and the embarrassing lack of urgency shown by the Australian government at these international climate talks. Under Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, Australia was either missing in action or worse, campaigning for special treatment in order to reduce its ambition even further, by being the only country to access Kyoto carryover credits to meet its meagre 2030 Paris target. The backdrop to Minister Taylor’s Madrid visit was the scathing independent assessment of Australia’s performance, scoring zero out of one hundred on climate policy effectiveness and slipping even further down the overall country rankings to 56 out of 61.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said: “Governments need to completely rethink how they do this, because the outcome of COP25 is totally unacceptable. This COP exposed the role of polluters in politics and the youth’s deep distrust of government, while climate blockers like Brazil and Saudi Arabia, enabled by an irresponsibly weak Chilean leadership, peddled carbon deals and steamrolled scientists and civil society. We need systemic change that people can trust, and there have been some early signals from the EU and the most vulnerable countries this week that this is possible. Decision-makers now need to go home, regroup and think about how to move forward as we head into a critical 2020.” 

Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) said, “Inside the halls at COP25 countries seem to have forgotten about the urgency of the climate crisis as they failed to take the necessary steps to raise ambition for greater climate action. The climate crisis is a human rights crisis. Failure to act urgently and place human rights at the core of climate action will be measured in human livelihoods, human rights violations, and human lives. On Article 6, despite the pressure to deliver the only remaining part of the Paris Rulebook at COP25, several Parties refused to trade human rights and environmental integrity for carbon markets in Madrid, resulting in the decision being punted to COP26. This delay was the only responsible way forward today. Now, Parties must ensure that when rules are adopted for the Article 6 activities they safeguard human rights and indigenous peoples' rights, guarantee public participation, and ensure access to justice so as to uphold the integrity of the Paris Agreement at COP26.”  

Chema Vera, Interim Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit has responded with a whisper. Instead of committing to more ambitious cuts in emissions, countries have been arguing over technicalities. Responding to the climate emergency, poorer nations spoke with one voice to demand funds for the loss and damage. Wealthy nations have used every trick in the book to stall progress and avoid paying their fair share. Now more than ever, it is vital that people across the world keep up the pressure on governments to deliver more ambition.” 

Jake Schmidt, Managing Director of the International Program the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “World leaders dithered instead of taking stronger, critical action soon to reduce the global climate threat. They ignored dire scientific reports, worsening evidence of climate destruction and demands from millions of young people to protect their future. In Madrid, the key polluting countries responsible for 80 percent of the world’s climate-wrecking emissions, stood mute, while smaller countries announced they'll work to drive down harmful emissions in the coming year. The mute majority must step up, and ramp up, their commitments to tackle the growing climate crisis well ahead of the COP26 gathering. We will not let them abandon us to a world of endlessly rising seas, vanishing species, civil strife and rampant wildfires, storms and floods.”

 

Mattias Söderberg, Climate advisor at DanChurchAid and Head of Delegation for the ACT Alliance, said: “2019 has been full of calls for climate action. From scientists, from the youth marching on the streets, and from people and communities which have been affected by climate related disasters. It is sad, tragic and extremely disappointing to see how governments, from different parts of the world, have failed to listen. There is a climate emergency and there is no time for further delay of action. It is therefore sad to see how the climate summit in Madrid failed to deliver the success we were hoping for.” 

Nithi Nesadurai, Regional Coordinator, CAN Southeast Asia, said: "Once again most of our government representatives at COP25 have failed us by not treating climate change as the emergency facing humanity. The mediocre outcomes and non outcomes here have not helped the global community confront climate change nor provide an overarching framework which will help us advocate more for climate actions at the national level. In this regard developed countries including the USA which have historically caused the major share of the crisis we face today, must show leadership and responsibility in the coming months by increasing their climate ambition and providing finance to developing countries to revise their nationally determined contributions and implement them. Otherwise we will have to bear the consequences of more devastating climate impacts all over the world, especially by those who have least contributed to the crisis."

Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director with Corporate Accountability said: “By every measure, COP25 failed to rise to the challenge of our times and to deliver for people. It’s clear, now more than ever, who’s at fault. Global North governments, at the behest of polluting industries, are attempting to completely eviscerate the Paris Agreement and the broader UNFCCC. In place of real solutions, this axis of polluters is forcing through dangerous distractions and reneging on all financial commitments and responsibilities. There is no more time for inaction. People have the solutions. The time is now for the UNFCCC and governments around the world to start listening, and for governments on the frontlines of the climate crisis to stand strong. We will not stand idly by as they sell our planet off to the highest bidder and doom millions. We will not be silenced when our words offend those they continue to protect. We will rise and realize the solutions that our world urgently needs.”

Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, said: “COP 25’s failure to deliver a just and ambitious outcome is a reminder of the corrosive influence of Big Oil, Gas, and Coal. But the past two weeks also showcased the indomitable spirit of those fighting for climate justice for decades and the growing resolve of a new generation that will not accept half measures. We are living a climate emergency, and anything short of phasing out fossil fuel production with a just and equitable transition is scandalous. Rich and industrialised governments have once again failed to stand up to polluters, wreaking havoc on billions of lives and livelihoods. As we head into a critical year, we must look to the strength and leadership of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis and fossil fuel extraction. People-powered movements outside these halls have unstoppable momentum, and 1.5ºC is non-negotiable.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice and COP20 President, said: “Despite the efforts of the Chilean Presidency, the lack of commitment to scale up climate action by big emitting countries was too much to overcome. Their position is in stark contrast to science, rising demands from the streets and the harsh impacts already felt in vulnerable countries. We know what has to be done, and we have run out of time for backtracking or debate. 2020 must be different and we will fight even harder for people and nature. Governments will return home to face increasing frustrations from youth movements, citizens and vulnerable communities suffering from the impacts of the climate crisis, and will have to answer to them. Countries still have the chance to show they are committed to tackling the climate crisis by submitting enhanced climate pledges aligned with science as soon as possible in 2020.”

Inge Vianen, Global Leader of CARE International’s Climate Change and Resilience Platform, said: “The outcomes of COP25 are completely disconnected from the demands of people across the world to address the climate emergency. Governments from big polluting countries, like the USA, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Australia, continue down a path of dangerous inaction and are undermining international efforts to prevent the increasingly eminent climate breakdown. Nations like the EU, China, and India must now seize the opportunity to take leadership to ensure all countries cooperate and deliver improved national climate plans. Lack thereof would risk global surrender to the climate crisis and failure to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.”

Gilles Dufrasne, Policy Officer with Carbon Market Watch said: “After two weeks of negotiations, discussions on carbon markets took such a bad turn that seeing no agreement was actually a relief. We came here asking for urgent action and several countries only offered accounting tricks and cover for climate inaction. These loopholes are nothing but a way of cheating the planet and betraying the people.”

Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of Climate Observatory, in Brazil, said: “Once again, the COP has put process before people and the planet. With the effects of the climate crisis worsening all over the world, some governments in Madrid went as far as withdrawing the expression ‘climate emergency’ from the COP decision. In a depressing turnaround from the cooperative spirit that gave us the Paris Agreement, in Madrid the usual suspects were joined by new blockers, like Brazil. The ecocidal politics of the Bolsonaro administration has tainted the Brazilian delegation at COP25 and made a former environment champion into a Trump-like pariah whose engagement in the fight against climate catastrophe risks becoming nothing more than a signature in a global deal.”

May Boeve, Executive Director at 350.org, said: “COP25 was a success for the fossil fuel industry - their interests have won, effectively blocking the process and undermining the end result. As time ran out, the COP looked more and more like a hostage situation inside a burning building - together with most negotiators, people and planet were held captive, as the fossil fuel industry and a few loud governments who have been delivering on their agenda took over the process. In the end, after forcing negotiators to keep at it for three days straight, they got what they wanted - a weakened text that kicks most of the big issues down the road to COP26. The gulf between what we know must be done and what politicians are willing to do has never been wider. There is no excuse for this appalling lack of courage and responsibility, and no rational explanation other than the fossil fuel industry’s toxic grip on our politics.”

Dr. Katherine Kramer, Global Climate Lead of Christian Aid, said: “The UK now has a gargantuan task of overseeing a successful climate summit in Glasgow next year. That meeting is supposed to be the moment the world responds to the climate crisis by strengthening the pledges made in the Paris Agreement. To avoid failure, the UK will need to put its own house in order, in creating and implementing policies to rapidly reduce its own emissions. It will also need to deploy its diplomatic skills to create an outcome that responds to the demands of both science and people.”

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada, said: “You know something is broken when those demanding climate justice are pushed outside of the climate conference and those delaying climate action are allowed to stay inside. These negotiations were supposed to deliver a clear, resounding call for more ambitious emissions targets and financing for climate vulnerable countries already experiencing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Negotiators were supposed to deliver strong rules for carbon markets that would uphold the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement and safeguard human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Instead, big polluters and the countries most historically responsible for the climate crisis have been able to ruthlessly advance the fossil fuel industry’s profit agenda over our collective futures - while those calling for justice have been sidelined and physically removed. On every issue of significance, COP25 has delivered a mediocre or non -outcome that betrays the millions of people around the world calling for real climate action.”

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “I’ve been attending these climate negotiations since they first started in 1991. But never have I seen the almost total disconnect we’ve seen here at COP25 in Madrid between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action. Led by the youth, growing numbers of people around the world are demanding that their leaders take bold, ambitious actions to tackle the climate crisis. Nearly 70 countries—most of them climate vulnerable, developing nations—have risen to the challenge by committing to enhance the ambition of their Paris pledges. But most of the world’s biggest emitting countries are missing in action and resisting calls to raise their ambition. The outcome here in Madrid reflects that resistance, with the absence of any clarion call to action—both on reigning in emissions and on climate finance—in the final decisions. If this stance doesn’t change between now and next year’s climate summit in Glasgow, it will make the task of meeting the well below 2 degrees Celsius temperature limitation goal that leaders agreed to in Paris—much less the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal—almost impossible.”

Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “At a time when the science and the urgent need to address the human toll of climate impacts couldn’t be clearer, the deeply flawed outcome here in Madrid is plainly unjust and immoral. Instead of stepping up to respond to the demands from youth, indigenous people and climate vulnerable communities around the world, major emitters and rich countries have failed them. And despite hearing powerful calls to action from nations fighting for their very existence, the richest countries most responsible for climate change have done little to provide funding to help them in their time of need. We already have at our fingertips many of the technologies needed to sharply reduce global warming emissions and know what it takes to make a rapid and just transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Whether in the United States or in the global south, communities on the frontlines of climate change are already struggling with intensifying hurricanes and wildfires, extreme heat, rising seas and drought, and they urgently need investments in climate resilience. Yet, those in power remain beholden to the very fossil fuel corporations driving this global emergency, much to the detriment of the people they are bound to serve. The people of the world who care about the future of our planet will not give up the fight for bold, transformative climate action. The pressure is on to exert power from the streets to the highest levels of government to secure ambition well ahead of COP26 in Glasgow and beyond.”

Jean Su, Energy Director with the Center for Biological Diversity said: “The global climate talks are a farce if countries continue down this destructive path of inaction. These talks are meant to halt climate devastation on people and the planet, yet  governments have ostracized the very voices of people suffering climate impacts. These outcomes are just another sign that fossil fuel profits continue to drive government decisions, even if that takes us to planetary collapse. We urge world leaders to listen to the millions of people in the streets and act with humanity and courage to turn this climate emergency around.”  

Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate for ActionAid International said: “These talks are ending with a strong sense of déjà vu. The US has once again gotten its way through bullying and tricks. They came here in bad faith, acting only to protect their interests and those of the polluting industries that caused the climate emergency.

"As fires rage and cyclones intensify, rich countries have folded their arms, refusing to offer the new systems and money so urgently needed to help countries forced to pick up the pieces after disasters. 

"Instead, this decision only offers statements of intent, working groups and networks, which should have been in place years ago. This result fails to offer a helping hand to climate survivors in the Global South who did the least to cause the crisis." 

Brice Böhmer, Global Lead on Climate Governance Integrity, Transparency International said: “The fossil fuel industry exerts disproportionate, moneyed influence over climate policy making: this is what happened in Madrid. Climate policy must serve the interests of all people and the planet, not just a few private concerns. We urgently need to shift perspectives and stop corruption and undue influence if we want to win the fight against climate change”    

Ahti Tolvanen, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice: What separates humans from other animals and other life forms is faith. Humans can sometimes lose faith both in each other and in nature and beyond that in life itself. I may not have been the only one who found one’s faith in life and a future for generations to come shaken during COP 25. The faithful witness of CAN colleagues, (even people now outside without access to the meeting), and the perseverance of those coming together after days of sleepless vigil to support an outcome upon which we can yet build a better world was moving.  Faith yet lives and a feeling of gratitude to those many who kept it alive over dark and sleepless nights.

Miriam Talwisa-  National Coordinator CAN-Uganda said: “While the world and especially the most vulnerable-involuntarily located on the frontlines of the climate crisis and now emergency- looked forward to a COP outcome with substantive global actions to address increasingly devastating climate effects-for which they have less contribution; the light now gradually deems as the highest possible ambition  so far reached is in continuous disregard of historical responsibilities”.

Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate, Environmental Defense Fund, said: “The yawning gap between what citizens are demanding on climate action, and what UN negotiations are delivering, is wider than ever. Carbon markets can help fill that gap by promoting international cooperation that allows countries to cut climate pollution faster and deeper than they can on their own. But after negotiators at Madrid failed to agree on guidance for markets, it’s time to move on. Countries that are serious about using carbon markets to increase ambition should move forward to set their own strong rules for high-integrity international emissions trading.  There’s no need to wait — and no time to waste.”

Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch, said: "COP25 shows the strength and weakness of the Paris Agreement: All countries see that the withdrawal from coal, oil and gas is now entering the serious phase. This is why some states such as the USA, Brazil and Australia, which are closely linked to the fossil lobby, are organising a final defensive battle. But the vast majority of states have made it clear at COP25 that they are firmly committed to the Paris Agreement and will improve their national climate plans (NDCs) next year. The European Green Deal is a good basis for the EU to take the lead here and organise international partnerships - for example with China, India and South Africa. In the coming year, the German government must set the decisive course for the socially equitable ecological transformation of industry, agriculture and the energy sector".

Floris Faber, EU representative of ACT Alliance EU said:  “It’s time to step-up and help fill the finance gap! 2020 must be a year of demonstrable effort to reduce emissions and demonstrable provisions of new and additional finance to developing countries, to address loss and damage” 

Leia Achampong, Policy Advisor at ACT Alliance EU said: “The voices of vulnerable and marginalised communities in developing countries, including women, young people, indigenous peoples and transgender communities must be heard. Their calls can no longer go unanswered and their human rights must be upheld” 

Kathy Egland, Environmental and Climate Justice Chair, NAACP National Board of Directors said: “We knew the intent of the United States coming into these negotiations by the official filing of intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. However, we could not have imagined the depth and breadth that the U.S. and a few other countries were willing to undertake to ensure that COP25 was relegated to a quagmire of stagnation, regressiveness and non-productivity. Vulnerable countries are confronted with preservation of their existence. Climate forced migration is escalating. Over a million beneficial species are facing extinction. Vulnerable communities, communities of color, Indigenous populations and the economically disadvantaged have contributed least to climate change, but disproportionately impacted most. The biggest emitters are the same rich, developed countries who blocked any ambitious actions on climate and rejected any substance on loss and damage/finance. The miserable failure of the Parties at COP 25 to act with a sense of urgency and responsibility is reprehensible.

Sanjay Vashist, Director at Climate Action Network South Asia said: “The primary goal of the latest round of climate negotiations in Madrid  was to complete the unfinished tasks of the Paris Agreement rulebook. The rulebook would contain the processes, guidelines and institutions for the implementation of the Paris agreement however developed countries prioritised their national interests over global common good and failed the world in finding a robust way forward that shows the urgency and commitment required to tackle the climate crisis.

USA that has pulled out of the Paris Agreement continued its toxic role in the background to scuttle any ambition to reduce emissions while Brazil tried to legitimise it's deforestation through new market mechanism. The time lost in Madrid will have far reaching impacts and will be detrimental to well being of the planet.”

Mario Caffera-Director Sociedad Amigos del Viento (Uruguay, CAN LatinAmerica) In an environment of weak leadership through the negotiations and ja steady attempt to confine ENGOs testimony, a Big Fossil Deal amongst big polluters lead to that Injustice-as-Usual. Now Glasgow is one year ahead. We have to go faster than ever. After 2020 there will be less chances to repair the Climatic Mess.

Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of USCAN said: “The role of the US in these talks should be a source of embarrassment for all Americans. It is an offense to the millions of Americans who have been displaced by fires and floods that the US spent its time at the negotiations undermining the negotiations over Loss and Damage that would support those most vulnerable who are suffering similar losses.  Nonetheless, for me, the story of this COP is a hopeful one. 

The story of this COP is that after 25 years, civil society groups have declined to be polite and sit in our assigned seats on the sidelines while countries negotiate away our peoples’ lives, livelihoods and future. The people rose up for the first, but not the last time at this COP. For the first time in the history of the UNFCCC, UN security overreacted with unnecessary force, ripping signs out of the hands of indigenous elders and indiscriminately forcing people into the cold winter— many without coats or proper provisions— rather than just letting people say their piece. Indigenous leaders- young people and women- took the brunt of the police force. Their action was heroic and the response from security was brutish. 

 Our people remained nonviolent and resolute throughout. What happened here at the UN is a microcosm of our struggles at home and around the world. The people demand action be taken and those with power try to stop us. The message I want to send from home is that we will not be stopped. We will keep coming back."

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Contact: Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org / whatsapp +918826107830

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

 

COP25: Governments must respond to the urgency of the science and the demands of people around the world for transformational actions

Audio recording of the press briefing available here

26 November 2019: Climate Action Network today organised an online press briefing to set expectations for COP25 and unpack some of the main issues that will be high on the agenda of this COP in Madrid, Spain, from 2-13 December. This includes addressing the issue of finance for loss and damage under the review of the Warsaw International mechanism and ironing out the rules related to the carbon market mechanisms, an outstanding issue on the Paris Agreement Rulebook from last year.

Representatives from civil society were unequivocal in their demand that governments use this COP to build political momentum towards stronger climate targets in 2020, deliver on financial support for the most vulnerable and more specifically ensure that a funding facility is operational under the Warsaw International Mechanism for climate-related loss and damage. As deadly impacts escalate and all signs point towards unabated and rising greenhouse gas emissions as evident in the UN Emissions Gap Report released today, the pressure is high on governments to take radical action to avert climate catastrophe.

The UN climate talks, now moved to Madrid, Spain from Santiago de Chile owing to civil unrest in Chile and growing concerns on human rights violations there, will be a key moment for countries to demonstrate their willingness to heed the demands of people and act on the weight of the scientific evidence. Climate Action Network calls on all countries - led by the major emitters- to submit ambitious near-term climate targets early next year that match the scale of the climate crisis the world is facing.   

Comments from CAN members:

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists
“The climate emergency is now upon us, as countries around the world experience torrential floods, out-of-control wildfires, powerful storms, heatwaves and other climate-related extreme events. Some countries, states, cities and companies are responding with the urgency required, but the world’s largest emitting countries are missing in action.”

“For several years, we’ve been warning that we are running out of time. But it is clear that now is the time to radically change the path we’re on. The latest United Nations emissions gap report shows that global emissions continue to rise and will need to be cut at a rate of 7.6 percent each year for the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.

“We are sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe and need to wake up and take urgent action. The outcomes of COP25 must respond to the clear urgency of the science and the demands of people around the world for transformational actions to address both the climate crisis and the crisis of economic inequality and social exclusion. We’ll be doing our best to ensure that they do.”

Alejandro Aleman: Coordinator, Climate Action Network Latin America
“Although the COP25 venue has changed from Santiago de Chile in Chile to Madrid in Spain, we expect that this will still remain a Latin American COP and raise issues pertinent to the region including funding under the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage and mobilising finance for climate action in countries in Latin America.

We urge Chile to sign the Escazú agreement and honor the rights of environmental defenders.”

Erika Lennon: Senior Attorney in the Climate and Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law
“We are in the middle of a climate crisis and it is imperative that the rules for market mechanisms under Article 6 ensure that they deliver on the overall reduction of emissions, help to raise rather than undermine domestic ambition, and ensure that the rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples are respected and that they are not harmed by carbon market activities.

At COP25 we need robust and detailed rules to avoid double counting and ensure transparent accounting. Appropriate social, environmental safeguards that protect local communities and indigenous people’s rights - including mandatory local stakeholder participation throughout the project design and life cycle- is critical. Anything less than robust rules from the outset before the markets are in place will risk undermining the Paris Agreement and countries nationally determined contributions.”

Sven Harmeling: Global Policy Leader on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE
“Climate change loss and damage is impacting the poorest countries most significantly, as they lack the economic and financial capacity to rebuild and recover as quickly as developed countries. It creates a daily climate emergency for millions of people, particularly women and girls. Developed countries must urgently ramp up finance to reduce climate impacts and recover from those unavoided. COP25 must become the moment where rich countries shift the scales of justice towards the climate harmed people. Climate Action Network calls for a funding facility under the Warsaw International Mechanism that can provide innovative sources of funding to compensate for loss and damage. This lies at the heart of climate justice ”

Angelica Guerrero: Asociacion Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia
“We are facing the twin crises of climate and biodiversity. The recent IPCC on land and climate and IPBES reports have shown the huge role that nature plays in the solutions to the climate emergency. Nature can provide around a third of the solutions to limit global warming to 1.5C by 2030. However, we need to make sure that these nature-based solutions are not simply offsets and go hand-in-hand with far-reaching and transformational policies to stop fossil fuel use and fossil fuel subsidies.

It makes no sense to scale up nature based solutions if these solutions undermine the rights of  indigenous communities, their land, their culture and food sovereignty. Latin America is witnessing rising human rights violations and environmental leaders are being threatened and killed. A genuine approach to the climate crisis includes the protection of people’s rights. We need a clear interpretation from governments on nature-based solutions constitute and under no circumstances must such solutions include monoculture plantations.” 

#### ENDS ####

Contact: Dharini Parsarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN dparsarathy@climatenetwork.org +918826107830

 

 

CAN Board Appoints Tasneem Essop as New Executive Director

04 November 2019: The Board of the Climate Action Network International (CAN) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Tasneem Essop as the new Executive Director of CAN, effective from December 1, 2019.

This follows a thorough selection process managed by the Board. Ms Essop brings significant experience in the climate and environment sectors, having worked on these issues in  government and civil society for many years. 

Ms. Essop said: "I am deeply honoured to have been appointed as the new Executive Director for CAN International. I am also excited to be given the opportunity to continue the work we have started in terms of the transformation of the Network and the Secretariat. This transformation is urgent in this critical time when we are facing a climate crisis. I want to thank the Board and the Network for having the confidence in me to steer this ship. I also want to thank the staff for their continued dedication and hard work. They have never slowed down. Our responsibility to make this Network the best it can be, to help unlock its power has never been more urgent. I look forward to helping with this". 

CAN International Board co-chair Wendel Trio said: “Ms. Essop has convinced the Board of her vision, motivation and capacity to further strengthen the CAN Network and the climate movement as a whole. We strongly appreciate her dedication to building a bottom up approach to the work implemented by CAN, especially through responding to the needs of national and regional nodes and strengthening their role. The Board is pleased by how Ms Essop has been leading CAN as Interim Executive Director since February 2019 and how she successfully guided and transitioned the Secretariat and the Network.” 

South African born and based, Ms. Essop has significant experience in the climate movement. She has held various senior government positions in South Africa. She was a global climate policy and strategy leader for environmental NGO WWF International. Most recently, she was the founding director of an NGO in South Africa, focusing on energy democracy. Her vast management and leadership experience includes convening and building consensus around common goals amongst stakeholders from government, labour, business and communities, building collaborative partnerships, working in virtual teams across cultures, and building strong organisational governance, with an emphasis on finance.

For further information contact:

Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Officer, emaill: hkilani@climatenetwork.org, WhatsApp: +9613567928, Or
Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, WhatsApp: +918826107830 

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1300 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

Open Letter By Climate Action Network to the Government of Chile

30 October 2019

H.E. Mr. Sebastián Piñera      

President of the Government of Chile,
La Moneda Palace,
Calle Moneda,
8320000 Santiago
Chile                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

Dear Mr. President,

Climate Action Network (CAN), a network of more than 1400 civil society organisations present in over 130 countries, expresses its deepest concern at the recent heavy-handed response of the Chilean government against the widespread displays of discontent by citizens in the country. We take note that the President has announced that Chile will not be hosting the UNFCCC COP, as well as that the State of Emergency is being revoked. Notwithstanding these developments, we remain concerned with reports of continued intimidation and threats against civilians and we will remain vigilant about the actions of government even in the absence of the COP. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who have been denied their right to demonstrate peacefully, been threatened, jailed, abused and lost their lives during this time of crisis.

The demand for climate justice and solidarity is fundamentally about the protection of human rights and a demand for a better quality of life for all.

The repressive actions by the government, not only goes against all obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Human Rights Treaties such as the right to freedom of assembly, but is also alarming since Chile has signed the Geneva Pledge on Human Rights and Climate Action and, in addition, also the Presidency for COP25. The preamble of the Paris Agreement states that “Parties, should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights.”  The government’s reaction towards the recent social protests put into question the credibility of the Chilean government to act in accordance with global agreements it has signed and does not inspire confidence in the Chilean government’s ability to provide leadership on this as the COP Presidency.

CAN urges the government of Chile to take immediate, meaningful and sustained measures to ensure that human rights are respected, people are protected and are able to execute their right to assembly and express their grievances without threat. 

In addition, we call on the government of Chile to release all people who have been unjustly arrested during the protests and to establish an independent investigation into the loss of lives during this period with the view to hold all those responsible to account and take legal measures accordingly. Furthermore, we suggest that the government should find a meaningful and peaceful resolution in the interest of all citizens in Chile through a genuine, participatory and inclusive process.  

Over the last 30 years, CAN has actively participated in and contributed to the work of the UNFCCC, promoting climate action and ambition. We recognise that Chile is vulnerable to climate impacts and is particularly affected by droughts, while at the same time the economy of the country is driven by extractive industries to the detriment of social and environmental justice. As an international network of environmental NGO’s, we would want to be reassured that in its implementation of climate action, the Chilean government will respect the call in the preamble of the Paris Agreement as outlined above. We believe that respect for human rights and justice is an important foundation for climate ambition. 

While the COP will no longer be held in Chile, we understand that the government will continue to hold the COP Presidency, and so we expect exemplary climate and social leadership from you. In this regard we call on you to do the following:

  • Immediately sign the Escazú Agreement and submit the Agreement to the National Congress as a matter of urgency, as a clear signal of wanting to protect the rights of environmental defenders and social activists.
  • Respond positively to the new social pact by engaging all citizens, civil society, workers and other stakeholders in key policy making and planning processes, to achieve a socially, environmentally and economically just transition.
  • As a first step this can include announcing the closure of the coal power plants currently operating in highly polluted areas and the termination of the “sacrifice zones” as also recognised by the national congress and the Supreme Court.
  • Advance social justice by ensuring access to clean drinking water, especially in response to the drought.
  • Commit to implementing the recommendations of the 1.5 IPCC report in the links between sustainable development and climate change that can ensure social justice and environmental sustainability.

We trust that the crisis in Chile will end imminently and that the necessary steps are taken to transition towards a more socially and environmentally just society and economy. 

CAN wants to place on record its deep commitment to the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Human Rights Treaties and will throw its full weight behind ensuring these principles are manifested fully within the UNFCCC process and by all Parties who are signatories to this Convention. 

Climate Action Network

Climate Action Network reacts to the decision by Chile to withdraw as host of COP25

[ In Spanish below ]

30 October 2019: Climate Action Network (CAN) has noted the decision by the Chilean government not to host the UN Climate Summit COP25 that was scheduled to take place between 2 and 13 December in Santiago de Chile.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Chile in their ongoing pursuit to hold their government accountable and to improve the lives of all and not just a few. Social justice is at the core of fighting the climate and ecological crisis. We support the Chilean Civil Society for Climate Action (SCAC) who wish to keep a space open to advance dialogue and progress on environmental issues in Chile.

“The mobilizations that we are seeing in Chile and other countries in Latin America are clear evidence of the need to implement transformational changes of the current development paradigm towards a new model of development based on social justice and environmental sustainability which can be clearly achieved by implementing the proposals of the IPCC 1.5°C Report," said Alejandro Aleman, Climate Change officer, Centro Humbold, Nicaragua and Coordinator for Climate Action Network Latin America.

CAN has been deeply concerned by the heavy-handed response of the Chilean government towards civil discontent and protests in recent weeks and the deployment of force in suppressing the free movement and assembly of people. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who have been denied their right to demonstrate peacefully, been threatened, abused and lost their lives during this crisis. 

The network is concerned that by not hosting this COP, this could open the way for continued or escalated repression of the Chilean people. We urge the government instead to use this opportunity to build a peaceful and inclusive resolution to the crisis as the foundation for a new social pact.

"Irrespective of where and when COP25 takes place, we will continue to pay close attention to the situation in Chile to ensure that the overarching principles of social justice and human rights are protected, especially also in the COP,” said Tasneem Essop Interim Executive Director of Climate Action Network International.  

Social injustice and the climate crisis have a common root cause and climate justice and solidarity is fundamentally about the protection of human rights and a better quality of life for all.

This decision to reschedule COP25 must not detract from the political urgency to address the climate crisis and the need for countries to substantially increase their ambition by 2020 on all fronts- from accelerating emission cuts and the shift away from fossil fuels to 100% sustainable renewable energies, to addressing harmful climate impacts including through increasing financial support to vulnerable communities. These are essential ingredients for climate justice. Postponing the COP must not be used as an excuse to delay this. We urge the UNFCCC Secretariat and the new COP25 host country to ensure that COP25 is accessible and inclusive in all aspects.

Also read the open letter to the President of Chile

---------

Spanish version

Climate Action Network reacciona a la decisión del gobierno de Chile de suspender la COP25

Octubre 30, 2019: Climate Action Network (CAN) ha tomado nota de la decisión del gobierno chileno de no hospedar la Cumbre de las Naciones Unidas COP25, que estaba programada para tener lugar del 2 al 13 de diciembre en Santiago de Chile.

Nos solidarizamos con el pueblo de Chile en su búsqueda constante para que su gobierno rinda cuentas y mejore las condiciones de vida de todas y todos y no únicamente las de unos pocos. La justicia social está en el centro de la lucha por el clima y por la crisis ecológica. Apoyamos a la Sociedad Civil Chilena para la Acción Climática (SCAC) que desea mantener un espacio abierto para avanzar en el diálogo y el progreso en temas ambientales en Chile.

"Las movilizaciones que estamos viendo en Chile y otros países de América Latina son una clara evidencia de la necesidad de implementar cambios transformadores del actual paradigma de desarrollo, de forma tal que transitemos hacia un nuevo modelo basado en la justicia social y la sustentabilidad ambiental, lo que puede lograrse claramente mediante la implementación de las propuestas del Informe 1.5°C del IPCC", dijo Alejandro Alemán, oficial de Cambio Climático del Centro Humboldt de Nicaragua y Coordinador de Climate Action Network en América Latina.

En CAN, hemos estado profundamente preocupados por respuesta del gobierno chileno ante el descontento civil y las protestas de las últimas semanas, así como por el despliegue de la fuerza para reprimir la libre circulación y reunión de personas. Extendemos nuestro más sentido pésame a las familias, amigos y colegas de aquellos a quienes se les ha negado el derecho a manifestarse pacíficamente, a quienes han sido amenazados, abusados y perdido sus vidas durante esta crisis.

A la red le preocupa que, al no ser Chile el país anfitrión de esta COP, se continúe o empeore la represión contra el pueblo chileno. Instamos al gobierno a que aproveche esta oportunidad para construir una solución pacífica e inclusiva a la crisis como base para un nuevo pacto social. 

“Independientemente de dónde y cuándo se lleve a cabo la COP 25, continuaremos haciendo seguimiento a la situación en Chile para asegurarnos que los principios generales de la justicia social y derechos humanos son protegidos, especialmente en la COP,” comentó Tasneem Essop, Directora Ejecutiva interina de Climate Action Network International.

La injusticia social y la crisis climática tienen una causa común, así mismo, la justicia y la solidaridad climáticas tienen que ver fundamentalmente con la protección de los derechos humanos y una mejor calidad de vida para todos.

La decisión de reprogramar la COP25 no debe desmerecer la urgencia política de abordar la crisis climática y la necesidad de que los países aumenten sustancialmente sus niveles de ambición para 2020 en todos los frentes, desde acelerar la reducción de las emisiones y el paso de los combustibles fósiles a energías renovables 100% sostenibles, hasta abordar los efectos nocivos del cambio climático; incluso, mediante un mayor apoyo financiero a las comunidades vulnerables. Estos son ingredientes esenciales para la justicia climática. El aplazamiento de la COP no debe utilizarse como excusa para retrasar este proceso. Instamos a la Secretaría de la CMNUCC y al posible nuevo país anfitrión de la COP25 a que garanticen que la COP25 sea accesible e inclusiva en todos los aspectos.

-----------------ENDS---------------------

Contact:

Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN,  dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org / whatsapp +918826107830 

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

Green Climate Fund pledging summit: Civil society groups react to outcome

Pledges now add up to $US 9.7 billion but countries must continue to fill the coffers through the replenishment period to meet the needs of vulnerable people and for global efforts to tackle climate crisis

25 October, Paris: The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Pledging Conference concluded here today with pledges now totaling US$9.7 billion.
By doubling on their initial contributions to the GCF, a handful of developed countries signaled they are ready to take responsibility in tackling the climate emergency but the vast majority of contributor countries should have come to the table with much more.

In particular: Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerand, New Zealand, Austria and Belgium failed to deliver their fair-share and must bridge this shortfall as a matter of urgency. They must use the UN climate meeting COP25 in Santiago in Chile this December as an opportunity to do so.

By their decision to withhold funding to the GCF, the governments of the United States and Australia have turned their backs on the world’s poorest and have once again isolated themselves in global efforts to respond to the climate emergency.

This US$9.7 billion for the next four years will allow the GCF to continue pursuing its mandate by funding adaptation and mitigation projects in developing countries to support the most vulnerable communities.

Millions of people, particularly in the developing world, are already facing the limits of adaptation. While the overall funding needed to transform our societies to avert climate and ecological breakdown runs into trillions of dollars, every dollar matters in the worsening climate emergency. We urge countries to continue to generously fill the Fund through the entire replenishment period.

As we enter a milestone year in implementing the Paris Agreement in 2020, we must renew global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
Fair, transparent and predictable finance is hardwired into principles of equity and is critical to unlock conditionalities in national climate plans and ramp up climate targets in 2020.   

Quotes from CAN members and civil society partners

Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe:
“Several European countries set the bar high and threw real money on the table. This is a good start but in no way adequate to meet the needs on the ground. Countries who pledged below their fair share and failed to live up to their obligations must urgently top up their contributions. All European countries who have not pledged so far need to put money on the table as soon as possible, to help the poorest countries scale up their climate targets in 2020.”

Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and GCF Active Observer for Developing Countries:
“We need to remind many governments we are in a climate emergency. We know it, we live it, and many in the South barely survive the devastating impacts of the crisis we did not create. While we welcome this new set of contributions to the Green Climate Fund, we would like to remind developed countries of the US$ 100 billion annual target they have committed to. The amount pledged as of today is very far from the $100 billion and much much farther away from what is actually needed to finance urgent climate actions in developing countries that are needed not only by people of the South but by the whole world.

For years, we as CSO Active Observers in the GCF, have been calling developed country governments to meet their obligations, raise their ambitions and scale up their contributions. They should at least double their pledges at the GCF Replenishment process. It is outrageous and unjust that some governments, like the US and Australia, refuse to acknowledge their fair share of obligations and pledge to the Green Climate Fund. In stark contrast, they continue to be heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.  They are even asking developing countries to contribute, shifting  the responsibility to those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis."

Armelle Le Comte, Oxfam International:
“The pledges made today send an important signal that wealthy countries should help the developing world face the growing perils of climate change. It is particularly encouraging that a range of countries including Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK or France will double their contributions compared with the previous financing phase. This allows the fund to continue its important mission to assist developing countries in adapting to worsening climate impacts.

“However, it is appalling that Australia and the US have failed to provide any funding at all, and many other nations have announced pledges well below their fair share. Millions of people around the world are already facing hunger, homelessness and extreme poverty because of the climate crisis. Oxfam urges wealthy countries that have not pledged anything or remain far below their fair share to increase their contributions ahead of the COP25 climate summit in December.”

Liane Schalatek, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Washington, DC and GCF CSO Active Observer for Developed Countries:
While the Paris pledging conference in 2019 delivered slightly more than the Berlin pledging conference four years ago during the initial resource mobilization just weeks before the COP21 delivered Paris Agreement, it is probably not enough to give developing countries the confidence to significantly raise their ambition in revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for COP26. Granted, mostly European countries had to try to make up for the absence of the United States and Australia this time around, and some countries like Sweden or Norway contributed commensurate with a fair share. But financial ambition to match the ambition in climate action needed looks different.
With more than US$ 15 billion in project proposals waiting in the GCF pipeline, a doubling of the overall IRM available funds should have been possible -- and maybe it still is. It is therefore important for those countries that have sat the Paris meeting out, or that have disappointingly under-pledged (such as Canada, Portugal or the Netherlands) to realize that they have the responsibility and opportunity to come back, and to come back bigger, during the first replenishment period until the end of 2023, and to also invite new, first time contributors. The Paris pledging conference must be only the starting point, and not the stopping point. 

A consideration of what is a fair share pledge by developed countries for financial inputs for GCF-1 must be matched by equity and fairness considerations in discussion about who should benefit most from the mobilized GCF finance. Equity must complement impact, scale, quality and efficiency as guiding benchmarks for programming under GCF-1. Therefore, a four-year strategic plan for the GCF must commit to pursue best practices for human-rights centered, inclusive, gender-responsive climate investment approaches that pursue multiple benefits combining climate and development objectives.

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International:
“The 10 billion USD pledged today at the Green Climate Fund Replenishment Conference will provide substantial support to the most vulnerable countries and can help advance gender justice. This is urgently needed in light of the growing harm caused by the climate crisis. However, this amount needs to be increased to at least USD 15 billion so that developing countries can address the climate impacts caused by the inaction of the rich. Countries who have failed to double their previous contributions must step up now. And countries, like the US, Australia, and Russia, who remain silent, must no longer neglect their responsibility and commit to help poor countries address the climate emergency.”

Eddy Pérez, Climate Action Network Canada:
“The Green Climate Fund today has been able to achieve, without the help of the US and Australia and with a little help from countries like Canada, an important outcome by getting rich contributor countries to pledge 10 billion USD for the GCF’s first replenishment. These funds are essential to help developing countries enhance their NDCs and shift economies in order to limit global warming to 1.5oC. Canada’s recent elected government has committed itself to acting to respond to the climate emergency and that it will be its main priority in the coming months. Canada should use COP25 to announce that it intends to revise its contribution to GCF and at least double it.” 

Lucile Dufour, International Policy Advisor, Climate Action Network France:
“Thanks to the USD 9.7 billion committed today, the Green Climate Fund will keep playing its key role in supporting the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. A few contributor countries, including France, lived up to the challenge by doubling their promise to the fund. But with growing impacts of climate change all over the world, we still expect every single contributor country do its fair share by supporting the transition towards 0 carbon and resilient societies in developing countries. Ahead of COP25 and by 2020, we urge them to scale up their finance commitments in order to meet the USD100 billion target. These efforts will be critical to unlock ambition at the scale needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director, ActionAid USA:
“The USD 9.7 billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund will allow the fund to continue its important work but is nowhere near the level of ambition that is needed. Although several countries doubled their previous contributions, many others did not step up. The United States and Australia, in particular, are falling short on their obligations to provide climate finance to developing countries.  

With scores of people dead from massive flooding in South Asia and from devastating cyclones in Mozambique and Southern Africa – this year’s climate disasters are the new normal in vulnerable countries. These countries need immediate support from the international community, at an order of magnitude greater than what is currently on the table. We are in a climate emergency and these funds are desperately needed to cope and recover from the impacts that are already happening, and to transition to just, climate-friendly economies.”

Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL):
"The $9.7 billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund today as part of the first replenishment process was an important step; however, it is far below the amount needed to address the climate crisis. While several countries demonstrated their commitment to the Fund by pledging more than they did four years ago, even many of these are far from their fair share.  And then you have real laggards like the United States and Australia that have completely shirked their responsibility by refusing to pledge any money at all. The climate crisis demands urgent, ambitious action and the funding necessary to undertake it. Today’s pledging conference was merely the first moment in the replenishment process, and countries should take every opportunity, including at COP25, to make a pledge or to increase the ones made today.”

-----------------ENDS---------------------

Contact:
Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org / whatsapp +918826107830

About CAN
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

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IPCC Report: Timely, ambitious and enduring political action needed to halt devastating impacts of climate crisis on oceans and ice systems

Scale of threat to these ecosystems and communities dependent on them requires rapid and unprecedented action to stop emissions and to help people adapt  

25 September, Monaco: The latest IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and the Cryosphere (SROCC) lays out the full extent to which the world’s marine life, oceans, glaciers, mountains, polar ecosystems are being disrupted by the climate crisis. These changes, happening at an unprecedented pace and scale, are impacting hundreds of millions of people who are being pushed to dangerous limits of adaptation and suffering the consequences of loss and damage.

The report shows that rising sea levels, rapidly melting ice sheets and the drastic warming of the oceans come with a steep ecological and social price- one that will increase with delayed action and will demand difficult choices with complicated trade-offs to protect people and our natural world. It reaffirms the main findings of the IPCC 1.5C Report on Global Warming.

Coming close on the heels of the UN Climate Action Summit, which specifically called on governments to ‘unite behind the science’, this report once again draws attention to the grim climate facts that world leaders cannot ignore.
It is the third major IPCC Special Report in less than a year sounding the alarm bell for fast and far-reaching decarbonisation to halve global emissions in the next decade, to support adaptation and to protect and restore nature.

Political will must match scientific reality. It is time for timely, ambitious and concerted international cooperation that responds to the millions of global climate strikers who are demanding a better future and refuse to take no for an answer. This report must spur stronger finance commitments for adaptation and loss and damage for those already experiencing the worst of the climate crisis.

Quotes from CAN members 

Fernanda Carvalho, global policy manager, WWF Climate and Energy practice, said:
The three recently launched IPCC reports - on global warming of 1.5°C, land, and oceans and the world’s frozen places - eliminate any doubts about the intensity of the climate crisis and the need for an urgent and ambitious political response by countries. Besides the impacts to the oceans and cryosphere, this report stresses that there will be limits to adaptation for those systems and related livelihoods. This will demand more international and regional cooperation, new governance arrangements and enhanced financial support for building resilience and addressing damages.

Taehyun Park, global climate political advisor, Greenpeace East Asia, said:
“The science is both chilling and compelling. The impacts of human-made carbon emissions on our oceans are on a much larger scale and happening way faster than predicted. It will require unprecedented political action to prevent the most severe consequences to our planet. 

 “Climate action and building the resilience of our oceans need to go hand in hand and governments and industry know the solutions. They must take decisive steps to ditch fossil fuels and submit their national plans to stay below 1.5℃ by next year, when they will also need to deliver a strong Global Ocean Treaty capable of  protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans as marine sanctuaries.” 

Chris Thorne, Oceans campaigner, Greenpeace UK, said:
“World leaders at the UNSG Climate Action Summit this week pretended to care, but unless words translate into more ambitious commitments to address the climate emergency and forge a strong Global Ocean Treaty, they are failing the millions of climate strikers around the world who came out onto the streets demanding radical change.”

“The IPCC report is another wake-up call for those governments who continue to sleepwalk through the climate crisis. The decisions that world leaders choose to make in the next few years will have profound consequences for the future of mankind in the coming centuries.”

Marko Reinikainen, AirClim, Sweden, said:
The alarming contents of the report cannot make anyone happy. Nevertheless, I am glad that the report is being published, and that thanks to tremendous efforts by the authors, the effects of global warming already at 1.5 degrees (and even at current levels) become visible. It is at the same time regrettable that not all countries have a readiness to listen to the scientists, and that the publication of the Summary for Policy Makers for this report became a lengthy ordeal for the authors at the meeting in Monaco. 

Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, said:
“Our oceans have absorbed the vast majority of extra heat added to the planet by heat-trapping gases emitted by humans. As the latest IPCC report shows, the consequences for the health of our oceans and the safety of coastal communities are already grave and will worsen as the planet continues to heat up. 

“The report details how glaciers and ice sheets around the world are rapidly shrinking in response to human-caused warming. This loss of land-based ice will further accelerate rising seas levels, which will have stark implications for communities whose cultures, livelihoods or water supplies are glacier-dependent, as well for coastal communities across the globe more broadly.

“To meet the goal of the Paris Agreement and stave off the most dangerous climate impacts on our oceans, glaciers, ice sheets and the communities dependent on them, all nations need to step up their ambition. This includes developing concrete plans to achieve net-zero global warming emissions by 2050 and ensuring wealthier nations provide greater financial and technological support for developing countries as they transition to cleaner economies. While limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius—in line with the Paris Agreement—is still possible, time to create a better, safer world is quickly running out.”

Stephan Singer, Senior Advisor, Climate Action Network International
"The projected climate impacts on and by warming oceans and ever faster melting ice will be dire to nature and people. In addition to phasing out fossil fuels and primarily coal before mid century and halting all deforestation before 2030, CAN urges nations and international climate finance to significantly upscale their support for resilience building and adaptation. In addition the assessed „limits to adaptation“ require an international Loss And Damage mechanism supporting climate disaster victims in poor countries.“   

Mahir Ilgaz, 350.org
"Continuing our fossil fuel addiction is akin to literally drowning ourselves. Unless we start substantially reducing fossil fuel use now and go completely fossil free by 2050 at the latest, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced due to rising sea levels. Our marine ecosystems, already under stress from pollution and overfishing, will not be able to cope with unchecked climate change. We are not only damaging our life-giving oceans but we are also destroying their capacity as a carbon sink, risking even more runaway climate change. It’s time to stop this madness and preserve what we have. This means enacting radical policies to protect marine ecosystems, stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure, and phase out existing ones.”.

Sven Harmeling, global policy lead on climate change and resilience, CARE International:
“The new IPCC report is another clarion call to urgently ramp up climate action. Much greater adaptation and mitigation efforts, and financial support from developed countries and big polluters is needed to ensure affected people in developing countries can protect themselves from glacial melting, more destructive storms and rising sea-levels. As the climate crisis continues to escalate, vulnerable communities in the Global South, particularly in coastal and mountain regions, must not be left behind.” 

Lisa Speer, Director, International Oceans at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
“All life on Earth depends on our oceans.  There’s no time to dwell on the grim news in this report:  the time to act is now. We need immediate, coordinated action in the U.S. and abroad on three fronts:  reducing fossil fuel emissions, fully protecting at least 30% of the global ocean from damaging human activities by 2030, and shifting people and economic development away from our most vulnerable coastlines. Only prompt, decisive action can help stave off the dramatic changes this report forecasts and ensure a viable future for our ocean and humanity.”

Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change, ActionAid, said:
“Millions living in low lying coastal areas and along riverbanks will be forced to flee, as their homes and land are washed away or swallowed up."Fresh water resources will be contaminated, crops and farmlands destroyed and this may lead to conflicts over scarce resources. The world must unite and act urgently or face total chaos.
“Rich countries have a bigger responsibility to dramatically cut their carbon pollution and to help the most vulnerable people prepare for the possible climate catastrophe.”

Speak to CAN members
If you would like to interview CAN members on the IPCC SROCC who are in Monaco,  please contact
Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN International at dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org / +918826107830
 
About CAN
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1300 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org Twitter: @CANIntl

Major Emitters Failed People at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Civil Society said

Major Emitters Failed People at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Civil Society said.

The Climate Action Network calls out rich major emitters that failed to commit to ambitious climate action at the UN Climate Action Summit

Monday 23 September 2019

New York- The UN Climate Action Summit in New York opened with anger. “Nature is angry,” said

Antonio Guterres. Youth activist Greta Thunberg told leaders “How dare you gamble with our future and continue talking about fairytales of eternal economic growth?”

Although keynote speakers reaffirmed that our house is on fire with impacts becoming more intense and frequent across the world, country speeches which ensued showed that governments are still fueling the fire. They continue to ignore the science and fail to present ambitious climate commitments. In the end, the urgency and the emergency did not transpire in leaders’ speeches.

The world did not hear many announcements on enhanced targets or phase out of polluting fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. The world did not see rich countries bear their historic responsibility by

committing finance to poorer countries that are struggling with impacts, loss, damage and displacement or those with the political will, but with no resources to mitigate climate change.

This is deeply irresponsible. As the youth said, governments are gambling with people’s safety and lives.

Based on the latest science, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres went to great lengths to prompt leaders to present concrete commitments that deliver transformative action over the next decade. Overall, his calls and the voices on the streets, which have been rising every Friday since last year, demanding climate ambition and action and culminating in 4 million people taking to the streets on the eve of the Summit, fell on deaf ears. This as yet another damning scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detailing the alarming impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and the cryosphere is being released in Monaco.

Leaders are shamefully absconding their responsibility to solve climate change, leaving the problem to the youth. Failing to listen and respond to the emergency forces the youth to continue striking and

sacrificing their childhood and education. A few small island states and developing countries, as well as businesses, stepped up and committed to enhancing their targets based on science. Others, like Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg pledged to double their contribution to the Green Climate Fund. These countries demonstrated much-needed leadership and underscored the feasibility of climate action and ambition. They showed that the energy transition is ongoing and irreversible. Soon enough, they will reap the benefits of their choices with more prosperous economies, healthier populations and re-election.

On the other hand, rich countries and large emitters failed to build on the historic opportunity provided by the UN chief to show they stand on the right side of history. Absentees like the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, which snubbed the Summit, have emerged as those that should be held most accountable for sealing our fate. History will judge them harshly and so will the next generations who will soon be marching to the ballot box.

The Summit drew a line in the sand between leaders who united behind the science and those ignoring it and the voice of the people on the streets - siding instead with the narrow interests of fossil fuel corporations.

Despite the alarm of climate change, fossil fuel producers are still allowed to brazenly continue business as usual and generate profits at the expense of people’s lives and livelihoods. They get no push back by government, especially those with whom they hold close alliances. As a result, oil and gas chief executives see no problem with convening meetings on the sidelines of the Summit in New York, prompting activists to continue staging protests.

In light of general disappointment, civil society turns to the upcoming climate conference in Chile (COP25) and its Presidency to push countries to deliver an emergency package that includes ambitious commitments in climate finance - including for loss and damage, strong targets, and rules on trading emissions between countries.

The Chilean and subsequently the UK Presidency of COP26, must ensure that governments deliver the

adequate response to the emergency and ambition that puts the world on a 1.5C degrees trajectory.

COP26 is the deadline. But countries should not wait until 2020. They should start now by stopping coal and other fossil fuels, and investing in a just transition to renewable energy and climate resilience. The pressure in the streets and by civil society will continue until inaction is converted to action and ambition. We will be watching.

QUOTES:

Plans for a Carbon Neutral World

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director for Greenpeace International, said:

“This is a moment unlike anything we have ever seen before in the climate movement, and it’s just the beginning.

Despite Greta’s raw, unvarnished opening plea, and millions of people in the streets on Friday, world leaders did not deliver what was needed in New York. It’s time to address corporate power and the hold it has over politics, challenge the suffocating omnipresence of the fossil fuel industry and demand they take responsibility for the human rights impacts of the climate crisis. This summit is a springboard for 2020, when all countries signed on to the Paris Agreement must pledge to increase the ambition in their nationally determined contribution. It was leaders that agreed to that, and leaders that commissioned the latest science for the IPCC. The difference is, now millions of people are watching to make sure they follow through. We will not stop, and we will keep going, until we see a sustainable 1.5 pathway and a just transition to a cleaner and fairer future for us all.”

Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead, Christian Aid, said:

“Despite this being called the Climate Action Summit, the concrete outcomes we saw here did not match up with the demands made by science and the schoolchildren who went on strike around the world on

Friday. “The UN Secretary General was right to call it but world leaders clearly failed to live up to the platform he gave them. The few actions that have been announced are far from world changing and that is what is required. As Greta Thunberg told them in her opening speech, how dare they. “Time is running out for countries to drastically strengthen their commitments to reduce emissions and provide the needed finance for poor countries to adapt to the impacts of this climate crisis. Currently they are failing us.”

Harjeet Singh, ActionAid’s Global Lead on Climate Change, said:

"Young people have exposed the shameless lack of leadership from heads of state, who have looked the other way for decades, as the climate crisis has escalated and the planet burned.

"This Summit was supposed to be a turning point. But we have seen an exceptional lack of commitment from the biggest and richest polluting countries that continue to take trivial measures toward solving a life or death crisis.

"Rich countries need to take greater responsibility for the mess they have made. "The UN Secretary General urged world leaders to rise to the challenge and take bold action to ensure a safe future. But the countries that have responded with the most concrete actions are the ones most vulnerable to climate impacts. "At this late stage when the window of opportunity is shrinking, we need leaders to show courage, not cowardice."

Lucile Dufour, International Policy Advisor, Climate Action Network France, said:

“As many leaders arrived empty-handed at the UN Climate Action Summit, French President Macron announced his support to a 55 % emission reduction target by 2030 in the European Union and confirmed that France would double its pledge to the GCF with 80 % of the contribution in the form of grants. These international commitments are welcome, but President Macron forgot to mention the very inconvenient reality of national climate policies: in 2018, France exceeded its carbon budget by 4,5 % and still provides more than EUR 11bn in fossil fuel subsidies. Ambitious targets won’t have any impact if they are not backed up with bold policies to reach them. France, as well as other developed countries, should be reminded that true climate leadership means concrete and urgent actions at home, not shiny speeches in front of world leaders.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Practice, said:

Secretary-General Gueterres was courageous in holding the bar high for the Summit. And some important transformational announcements were made, on long-term decarbonisation, and sectoral transformation in the finance, food and cooling sectors. These are exemplary commitments. However, if heavy emitters don’t come on board, the needle will not move. The Summit has been critically important in forcing the world to become laser-focused on the climate crisis. Clearly though, we are yet to see the scale of change and commitment needed to address it. This is the message that must now travel to COP25 and COP26 by which time countries must deliver the ambition we need to ensure the Paris Agreement succeeds.

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, Deputy Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Practice, said:

Nature-based climate solutions emerged as one of the most promising strands of work moving forward from the Summit. We need to see 3% of climate investment going to nature-based climate solutions to rapidly scale and focus on the most vulnerable people and the ecosystems that sustain their livelihoods.

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists, said:

“In her blunt and powerful speech at the Climate Action Summit this morning, Greta Thunberg laid down a clear line in the sand, separating those countries and leaders who are united behind the science from those who continue to place the profits of fossil fuel polluters above the safety of their citizens. Sadly, most leaders from the world’s largest emitting countries failed this litmus test, dodging their responsibility to step up action as is essential to address the climate emergency we now face.“In sharp contrast, many vulnerable nations on the frontlines of climate change joined a growing number of state and local governments, business leaders, investors and others—both in the United States and around the world—by announcing transformational commitments to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050, shift investments from dirty to clean energy, get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources and boost support for climate action by developing countries. “While these announcements are welcome, their collective impact on global emissions falls well short of what is needed. The science is clear: staving off the worst impacts of climate change requires All countries to implement bold actions across all economic sectors to urgently reduce emissions of heattrapping gases, including by immediately halting the construction of new coal plants and eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual subsidies for production and consumption of fossil fuels.

“History has demonstrated that such a transformation can happen quickly, if there is sufficient political will. It is long past time for so-called ‘world leaders’ to lead—or make room for those who will.”

Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director in the Climate and Energy Program and Lead Economist, Union of Concerned Scientists, said:

“More intense hurricanes and wildfires, rising seas, worsening drought, and record-breaking heat—every day the world’s youth wake up to more evidence that the climate crisis is already here and is having a disproportionate impact on those who have the least resources to cope. This week, led by the youth, more than 4 million people took to the streets to challenge the poor decisions being made by older generations that have left them angry and fearful of their future.

“In New York City today, we saw glimmers of ambition in the announcements made by vulnerable nations, states, cities, investors and businesses, including efforts to stop building new coal plants by 2020 and transition to renewable energy, ramp up energy efficiency, and conserve 30 percent of the Earth’s lands and oceans by 2030. Notably, the Climate Investment Platform will seek to directly mobilize $1 trillion in clean energy investment by 2025 in 20 least developed countries. However, the true test will be whether these promises will be followed by swift action at the scale the world needs. “Despite this ever-present crisis and the clear warning issued by world scientists in the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees, global warming emissions have risen for the second year in a row and nations still rely heavily on and even promote fossil fuels. The world’s largest emitters continue to act at odds with what the science shows is needed to avert even worse and more costly climate impacts, and many policymakers remain beholden to fossil fuel interests. It’s time for world leaders to heed the clarion call of those that will inherit this Earth when they are gone by taking urgent actions to rapidly transition towards a clean, renewable and climate-resilient future.”

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International, said:

“The UN Secretary General’s call for countries to come bearing ambitious, new plans was largely ignored. While we welcome a handful of strong commitments delivered at the Summit, countries absent and repackaging old commitments as new did not go unnoticed. Political leaders seem to think the protesters and public outcry is a phase that will run out of steam, but the climate crisis is only gaining pace, and public demands will too, until bold actions are taken. To prevent a rise above 1.5C, we must put pressure on the biggest causers of the climate crisis. Decisionmakers can no longer pass the torch to address the climate crisis. We cannot say next time, at the next meeting, leaders will do better. Flashy speeches will no longer be praised and leaders who fail their people are being held accountable.”

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada, said:

Most leaders completely failed to meet the bar for ambitious climate action set by Greta Thunberg and Secretary General Guterres in New York today. What is more telling is that many of those who failed clearly thought they were bringing something worthwhile to the stage. This is the challenge we are faced with: more government and private sector leaders than ever are conscious of the need to respond to the demands for climate action coming from millions of young people and citizens around the world, but they, and the institutions behind them, have no experience mustering the level of conviction this challenge requires. They are used to rolling along with a status quo economy mired in fossil fuel addiction and status quo politics that kowtow to the interests of the fossil fuel industry.

Leadership is a muscle and when it comes to climate action, many world governments - particularly G20 governments - are wildly out of shape. Fortunately, many of the world’s most vulnerable nations, communities, and Indigenous peoples on the frontlines of climate change have a workout plan rich governments can use to get in shape fast, before it's too late.

Jake Schmidt, Managing Director, International Program, Natural Resources Defense Councilsaid:

“With climate damages and global temperatures escalating, world leaders failed to show they fully understand the crisis and that they stand with young people around the world demanding stronger climate action right now. Their words must be followed by deeds. This moment demands much greater ambition in the fight to avert a full-blown climate catastrophe.”

Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute, said:

“While countries were expected to come to the Summit to announce that they would enhance their climate ambition, most of the major economies fell woefully short. Their lack of ambition stands in sharp contrast with the growing demand for action around the world. Many businesses and investors are ramping up their efforts, which should increase momentum. Similarly, smaller nations, especially the most vulnerable countries, are pushing ahead. But we need far greater national leadership on climate action– and we need it now. The Summit must be a springboard for action not the end of the road. “The Summit did produce inspiring signs of progress, especially with the emergence of dynamic partnerships and coalitions. In many cases, the private sector and subnational actors are moving faster than national governments. For example, 87 businesses have signed onto to ambitious 1.5 degree C targets across their operations and value chains. More than 100 cities committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Gates Foundation, the World Bank and several governments announced $790 million to enhance resilience of over 300 million small-holder farmers. More than 130 banks, with $47 trillion in assets, signed onto new climate principles. Fifteen governments and 10 companies committed to accelerate energy efficiency by 3% per year, and others have joined a new initiative to support of zerocarbon buildings. Other commitments ranged from expanding natural solutions and protecting the ocean to investors incorporating climate-risks into their portfolios. “Last week, we saw the largest climate demonstrations in history, with young people leading the way. This is the generation who will face the brunt of climate change. All leaders need to step up their ambition. We can still get ahead of the climate crisis, but we need world leaders to act now.”

Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch, said:

"This summit is a special moment in the big struggle to implement a new global social contract based on Paris, human rights, and Sustainable Development Goals. GretaThunberg and Fridays for Future are fighting hard for youth future generations.”

Olga Boiko, Regional Coordinator of the CAN Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, said:

“NGOs in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region welcome the decision of the Russian government to ratify the Paris Agreement. Russia already feels the negative consequences on itself. Recent fires in Siberia, the drying up of rivers and the melting of permafrost are not only an environmental disaster, but also an economic disaster. We hope that Russia will begin to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and most importantly, it will cease to produce and export fossil fuels to other countries. It’s time for Russia to get off the oil needle and stop holding others on it.”

Arshak Makichyan, Eco-activist, Representative of the International Environmental Movement Fridays for Future in Russia, said:

“We have long been waiting for the moment when Russia ratifies the Paris agreements, finally this moment has come, but what next? An environmental crisis is taking place in Russia now and we do not see any real action on the part of the government. And plans to build infrastructure for oil production in the Arctic scare me. Is Russia really going to switch to renewable energy sources or does ratification of the Paris Agreements mean nothing and everything will remain as it was? We urgently need to declare a climate emergency and stop hiding the truth about the climate crisis in the media.”

Jennifer Tollmann, Policy Advisor for Climate Diplomacy, Risk and Security, E3G - Third Generation Environmentalism, said:

“This summit has shown that major emitters-particularly the EU and China- still believe delay is politically and diplomatically sustainable. That the backlash from high-carbon interests will be more dangerous than the backlash from the people on the streets. With COP26 on the horizon as the first Paris Agreement litmus test and impacts across the world already significantly worse than expected – their window to gamble with their citizens safety is closing.” “Europe and its largest member state Germany delivered deeply underwhelming contributions to the UN Climate Action Summit. Flying in the face of mounting climate impacts, even in Europe, and the vocal support of their own citizens and youth activists. With Chancellor Merkel taking on the EU presidency in 2020, she will need to make good on rumours of outreach in support of a joint EU-China ambition announcement. As well as moving the foot from the brake to the accelerator of the European drive for ambition in 2030.”

Alejandro Aleman, Climate Change Officer, Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua and CAN Latin America Coordinator, said:

“We heard speeches from 10 countries from Latin America. Some were definitely more encouraging than others. Hearing about the carbon neutrality and the moratorium of fossil fuels are good as headlines but we need sustain actions for a resilient future more than tabloids. There was a vast recognition from leaders about the richness of the region: we have the sources to keep wellbeing in our own territories; glaciers, forest, badland, corals and we are rich in renewable energy sources. So, what is missing them? An accountable system, will, transparency, and a clear understanding that by protecting nature you are also ensuring human rights, nowadays disregarded in many countries from LAC. And, as Greta Thunberg rightly pointed out, we have to be brave and abandon paradigms that were hidden under the absolute truth´s clothes and we must take the risk of looking at our people, our culture and build our own wellbeing. We won't accept otherwise.”

Iain Keith, Avaaz Campaign Director, said:

“Climate courage is on the rise. Millions of kids bravely walking out of school, a UN that challenges its members, and indigenous people’s fighting fires in the Amazon. Everyone in the world wants action on climate change NOW. But it takes courage to take the first step down a new path, and leaders of major polluters need to find it, or be pushed by 15 years olds.”

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia:

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement today to increase India’s renewable energy target from 175 GW by 2022 to 450 GW post-2022 indicates India’s political will to accept the challenge from the UN for more ambitious targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But to turn words into action, India will need both financial and technological support from developed countries to speed up its intake of renewable energy currently in the range of 70 to 80 GW. India also can and must demonstrate climate leadership to assist other south Asian countries in their bid to increase their renewable energy targets.”

Climate Finance

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International, said:

“There will be no climate justice without greater financial support from developed countries to countries most impacted by the climate crisis. CARE welcomes those who have made a range of new pledges to the Green Climate Fund, particularly Sweden. Yet, some major donors, such as Japan and Australia, still have not stepped up. We are disappointed by the complete lack of attention to innovative public finance sources, such as levies on the aviation sector and fossil fuel exploration. Such sources are necessary to raise truly additional money in the order of tens of billions of USD to support poor communities facing climate impacts.”

Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC, and CSO Active Observer for Developed Countries for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), said:

“Developed countries collectively failed to show that with the climate crisis growing so must their solidarity with developing countries, especially SIDS and LDCs, and their moral commitment to right a polluting wrong by providing adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources. While we welcome the additional commitments to the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, as well as new pledges for the LDCF and the Adaptation Fund, few developed countries, with the exception of Sweden or Luxembourg, have provided the kind of ambitious funding support on a per capita basis that would match rich countries’ expectation for developing countries to upgrade their NDCs in 2020. More generous public grant financing support, and especially increased financing for adaptation is needed to take responsibility and provide climate justice.”

Brandon Wu, Director of Policy and Campaigns, ActionAid USA, said:

“We welcome the doubling of pledges to the Green Climate Fund from some European countries, though many of the wealthy countries have been conspicuously silent. Yet we echo Greta Thunberg, who said that nothing would be announced today on the right scale to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. “Indeed, the finance that rich countries are putting on the table is nowhere near what is actually needed. Looking at the numbers, the inescapable conclusion is that rich country governments do not take this crisis seriously.”

Eddy Pérez, International Policy Analyst, Climate Action Network Canada, said:

The Secretary-General asked leaders to come to the UN Climate Action Summit with concrete plans for a climate-neutral future by 2050. This transition has a cost, particularly when major emitters are still giving up to 5.2 trillion to the oil industry. Vulnerable countries already bear the brunt of the climate crisis. Asking them to also cover all costs for this transition represents a major injustice. We welcome pledges from countries doubling their contribution to the Green Climate Fund and look forward to future contributions from Japan, Australia and other nations at the upcoming pledging conference in France. We also welcome the announcement from the UN-backed asset owner alliance to drive portfolio companies to carbon neutrality by 2050. But we are concerned that finance for adaptation continues to be almost ignored by rich leaders, while adaptation needs are increasing rapidly. Rich, industrialized economies, particularly those absent today, must fulfil their obligation and help vulnerable countries accelerate their transition towards a more just, equitable and climate-neutral world.

Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate, Environmental Defense Fund, said:

“Millions of students and young people around the world took to the streets on Friday to demand climate action. But while there were promising steps taken in areas like shipping and nature-based solutions, on the whole the Summit failed to deliver the increased ambition we need to see from countries. With the signs of a hotter planet becoming ever more apparent, it’s long past time that leaders in Washington, D.C., and capitals around the world took action. In the United States, that means legislation in Congress that puts us on a path to a 100% clean economy -- producing no more climate pollution than we can remove by 2050 at the latest.” Unlocking the Potential of Nature in Climate Action

Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Coordinator, ActionAid International, said:

"That statement by dairy giant Danone was an eye-opener. When even the big food corporations admit that their approach to farming is killing the planet, then you know the jig is up for big industrial agriculture. This admission comes when their destructive practices are finally in the climate spotlight. But they should have shown this honesty decades ago. “When they have been part of the problem for so long, they now want to be part of the solution. The question is, can we really trust them to get their house in order quickly enough? Instead of looking to the same damaging corporations for solutions, governments must set policies to ensure a profound change in the way food is produced. “We need policy makers to be courageous. They need to stand up to powerful agribusiness corporations, and make sure that food systems work with nature instead of destroying it."

Genevieve Jiva, Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, said:

Throughout the UNSG Climate Action Summit, the Marshall Islands, Fiji and Palau showed the ambitious and continued leadership of Pacific large ocean states. Through the High Ambition Coalition statement “Uniting Behind the Science to Step Up Ambition by 2020”, the Marshall Islands called for all countries to sign the statement and commit to stronger ambition and action. Fiji showed that they are leading by example, highlighting specific actions including a revised NDC,issuing a Green Bond, relocating vulnerable communities and committing to achieve 100% renewable by 2030. Palau emphasized the importance of partnerships and that we can all be part of the solution. We look forward to seeing this in action when Palau hosts the Our Oceans Conference in 2020. In the lead up to the Climate Summit, the UN held a Youth Summit which was attended by a number of Pacific Youth representatives, climate warriors who brought the voices of their communities to the international arena. Young leaders are calling on all of us to work together to address the climate crisis.

Save the Pacific, save the world.

Towards a Resilient Future

Sriram Madhusoodanan, Corporate Accountability, said:

Billed as a moment to reboot ambition on climate action, the most abiding outcome of the U.N. Secretary-

General’s climate summit is that it has provided yet another greenwashing opportunity for industries that are fueling and exacerbating the climate crisis and the Global North countries failing to live up to their obligations. Let’s not kid ourselves: If we are to rise to the challenge of this historical moment, then governments must embrace the solutions led by communities on the global frontlines and reject the profiteering agenda of the fossil fuel industry and other polluting industries that have enriched themselves while fueling the climate criss. Youth have pointed out something that global movements for climate justice have been saying for decades -- governments that are part of the UN climate policymaking process-- particularly those most historically responsible-- have been more concerned about “money” than about the lives of people impacted by the crisis today. Friday’s strike and Sunday and Monday’s protests demanding an end to fossil fuel industry interference exposed just how deep the divide is between what people want and what actions politicians are willing to take.

Enough press conferences and corporate sideshows. It’s time to kick Big Polluters and make them pay for real solutions.

For further information contact:

Hala Kilani (Ms)

Senior Communications Officer

Climate Action Network International

Mobile: +961 3 567928

Email: hkilani@climatenetwork.org

 

François Rogers

Head of Communications

Climate Action Network International

Mobile and WhatsApp: +44 7 585 707 220

Email: frogers@climatenetwork.org

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1,300 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

Press Release: The UN Climate Action Summit Must Be A Game Changer for Climate

Civil society expects world leaders to come with stronger emission targets, processes to build resilience and tackle climate impacts, and commitments to shift the trillions that will enable poor countries to cope with loss and damage and set forth the energy transition

Thursday 19 September 2019 

Tele-press briefing recording:

https://climateactionnetwork.zoom.us/recording/share/xU4AV5pNO1aGcopxEGP...

New York - Our house is on fire. Hurricanes, fires, cyclones and other impacts are hitting hard in every corner of the world. Countries must extinguish the fire sparked by global warming through bolder targets, support for impacted people and doubling finance to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to enable poor communities to cope with climate change and transition to clean renewable energy.

The UN Climate Action Summit in New York is an important stop in the journey to crucial zero carbon economies. CAN members expect it to be a stepping stone to transformational change. Governments must demonstrate that they are responding adequately to the climate emergency. The UN Climate Summit is an important moment to honor multilateralism and the calls made by Secretary General Antonio Guterres for stronger ambition.

Consecutive scientific reports are sounding the alarm. The window to act is closing. Current targets take us to 3o C or 4o C warming, which ends any chance for human and other species’ survival. We are seeing deadly impacts at only 1o C . All countries must half emissions by 2030 to keep warming below 1.5o C and they have a year to develop the policy tools to operationalize decarbonization.

Vulnerable people, especially women and girls, are paying the heaviest price for a crisis caused by polluting economies. Rich countries hold the moral responsibility to support those affected by 2 impacts through innovative sources of finance and commitments in the order of at least USD50 billion per year by 2022.”

Climate finance is key to achieving justice. The trillions must shift from financing dirty fossil fuels to energy transition implemented at minimal social costs to workers. Wealthy countries must double their contributions to the GCF and drive progress to meet the finance goal of US$100 billion per year by 2020.

Governments have been lending their ears to powerful corporations in the fossil fuel industry. It is time they listen to the young people rising and striking in the streets demanding the end of coal, oil and gas, the energy sources fueling the climate emergency. They are demanding effective action that secures a safe and prosperous future for everyone.

Voices will continue to rise loudly if governments don’t deliver in New York what the Secretary General and people in the streets asked for in line with the science.

Quotes

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International

“The UN Secretary-General’s asks are clear, and he has set the bar where it must be at this moment in time - high. There’s still time to be surprised by what is delivered on Monday, but unfortunately there are countries actively trying to slow down progress, while others are claiming to be climate leaders but not showing any signs of following through. Multilateralism is never futile -- to fix the climate crisis, we need everyone -- but the people and youth are increasingly showing the unity, positivity and leadership that is missing at the negotiating table. We’re entering a new era of activism and a new era of accountability for weak governments and the toxic power of the fossil fuel industry. If leaders do fail to deliver at the Summit, they will have to answer to the hundreds of thousands of youth in the streets.”

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy and Climate Lead Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International

“There will be no climate justice and no success at the UN Climate Summit without greater ambition in tackling the climate emergency. Climate impacts are already causing widespread suffering and damage, from the hurricane-hit Caribbean to drought-stricken East Africa and the rising sea level submerging the Pacific islands. The inaction of some is costing us all. At the Summit, governments must commit to pursuing new sources of finance which can generate truly additional money for addressing loss and damage in the order of at least USD50 billion per year by 2022. This is a matter of survival.”

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director, Action Aid USA

“Rich countries need to commit to much greater financial support for climate action around the world, starting with a doubling of contributions to the Green Climate Fund. Without climate finance, there will not be enough support for people suffering from climate impacts, especially in poorer countries. Without climate finance, there will be no just transition to a sustainable economy. Without climate finance, there will be no climate justice.”

May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org

“The Global Climate Strike begins on September 20th, the politicians gathering in New York at the UN Summit must listen to the children in the streets and start acting like adults in the room. The meeting couldn’t be more important. Its title is “climate action” - what action looks like is increasingly clear it means countries will need to finally talk about the source of the flames engulfing our planet: fossil fuels. What are their plans for phase out coal, oil, and gas production? When are their deadlines and how will they fund the transition so it's fair? Abolishing fossil fuels has become an increasingly central demand for the global climate movement. It’s what the Global Climate Strikes from September 20-27 will be demanding with actions in over 117 countries.

Tasneem Essop, Interim Executive Director, Climate Action Network

“We are in the fight of our lives. Human survival is at stake. Climate change is a human rights issue. Despite the fact that many governments are tone deaf to the science or actively obstructive against what it’s warning about, they cannot ignore the voices of the people. These voices are growing louder by the day. Civil society across the world are not tolerating inaction. CAN International has set benchmarks for what governments, especially major emitters, will need to put on the table in response to the UN Secretary General’s call for ambitious climate action. The level of ambition must include clear commitments to phase out fossil fuels, especially coal; generate enough money to address loss and damage caused by impacts and to shift the trillions away from dirty and polluting industries towards clean and sustainable sectors. Anything less will not be acceptable. We will hold governments accountable and will continue to keep up the pressure and mobilise until our demands for climate justice, in line with the science, are met.”

Contact: Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Officer, CAN hkilani@climatenetwork.org / whatsapp +961 3 567928

About CAN Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on www.climatenetwork.org

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