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:

Glaring vacuum on political leadership threatens to undermine ability to address climate crisis

Bonn, 24 June 2019: Today at the UN climate talks in Bonn, civil society voiced its concerns that the political will and ambition needed to tackle the climate emergency is nowhere in sight.

Solving the climate crisis requires political leadership, particularly from the big emitters, who must step up and commit to enhancing their national climate targets by 2020 in order to cut global emissions by half by 2030 and meet the Paris Agreement goal to dangerous keep heating below 1.5C degrees.
Rich countries must pledge climate finance on a scale that will allow countries already suffering the consequences of climate change to deal with impacts and adapt quickly to survive.

Speakers at a press conference by Climate Action Network said the very weak signals coming from developed countries on enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and on delivering finance, raises concerns that the Bonn climate talks are not responding to the climate emergency, even as a full-fledged heatwave is to sweep Europe this week and bring home the reality of climate change.

Quotes:

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

“It’s very clear what we want out of this process, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made it crystal clear. We need three things: ambition, ambition and ambition. We need of the ambition to close the emissions gap and have a chance to stay at the 1.5 C degree level. We need ambition on impacts because even if we manage to hold temperature increases globally to no more than 1.5C degrees, the horrific impacts we are already seeing across the world are going to continue and intensify over the next several decades. So we need more progress, more support on adaptation and loss and damage and we need ambition on finance, technology and capacity building, support for developing country actions.”

“It’s kind of a tale of two cities. We’re seeing very smooth progress here in Bonn on the technical issues at play… but on the political level, it’s a very different picture. There is a vacuum of leadership from major countries on ambition across all these fronts. If you see the countries that are committing in public to enhance the ambition of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), it is almost entirely developing countries and most of them are small or mid-size emitters. You don’t see the G20 countries on that list. You don’t see the countries that collectively represent about 80% of global emissions providing any certainty about what they plan to do on ambition.”

“At the end of this week, Japan will be chairing the meeting of the G20 leaders in Osaka. We’re very concerned that Japan is not building on the momentum generated by Germany and Argentina over the last two G20 meetings to fully implement Paris, decarbonize the global economy and ramp up support for developing country ambition and action. As a matter of fact, we hear concerns that Japan is talking about cutting its next pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in half from the USD 1.5 billion that they pledged in the first round, not doubling its pledge as Germany and other countries are committing to do.”

“We have a lot of work to do in front of us over the next six months and most of what we need can be solved with political ambition from the major countries and we are calling for that leadership coming forward out of this meeting in Bonn.”

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

“We all know that the world is starting to wake up to the fact that we’re in the midst of a climate emergency. Even though, this issue is getting the public’s attention, leaders are avoiding to take responsibility and address it effectively. It’s quite shameful that at a time when we have a climate emergency, these leaders are relegating the very important climate ambition that is required to a footnote. That’s what happened with the European Union but it is also happening with G20 with Japan totally avoiding including in the G20 agenda the need to be able to actually enhance ambition.”

“The conversation around loss and damage is limited to negotiating the terms of reference for the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) and in there the very important element of finance for loss and damage isn’t getting a lot of support particularly from the biggest polluters.”

“Look at the cruel irony. Those countries that are most vulnerable to climate change that are suffering the impacts of climate change who have contributed the least are the ones who are leading from the front. If these poor, vulnerable, most impacted communities can, I believe so can all the other big polluters. We need them to actually step up and provide the kind of support that is required. We’re looking at clarity on the 100 billion and the delivery of that political pledge but also the replenishment of the GCF. We need to see political signals coming through that the rich world is actually going to deliver the kind of support that is going to help the world transition to a pathway that is safe.”

“Biggest polluters need to commit to enhance their ambition. We need countries to step forward and actually revise and enhance their NDCs. In the absence of revision and updating of NDCs, it’s unlikely that we will be able to catalyze the transformational change that will put the world on a 1.5C degrees pathway. We also need them to commit and deliver their 2050 net-zero strategies so we have clarity around their development pathway. The third thing is the phase out of coal the biggest source of pollution in energy. We can’t have a conference as important as the UNSG Summit coming forward without countries taking concrete steps in terms of actually stepping away from coal towards renewables. We have abundant renewable energy resources across the world and that potential needs to be tapped to set the world on a safe pathway.”

“Get your grip on addressing impacts because it’s actually affecting people’s lives, mobilize adequate support so that we can bridge the financial gap and catalyze transformative changes. Then, increase your ambition in mitigation to get the world on a safe pathway.”

Ulriikka Aarnio, International Climate Policy Coordinator, Climate Action Network Europe, said:

 “The UNSG Climate Summit in New York is the key focus point this year and currently as it stands, the EU would be going there all empty handed and it’s very unlikely that the EU would be willing to do that. Historically, the EU has always been at the forefront pushing forward international global climate ambition, Kyoto, Paris and at every crunch point and this time, the climate is much higher on the Europeans agenda than it has ever been. It’s a top priority for many European citizens in many European countries. It was felt by the European elections results that showed that strong climate policies get you elected.”

“CAN thinks that the EU’s target by 2030 should be at least 65% reduction in emissions.”

“In one week, Finland takes over the EU’s rotating Presidency and climate emergency is a key issue in Finland now for the fins and for the Finnish government to the extent that climate change are the two first words of the current government’s programme for the next four years. We’re happy that in the next six months we have a serious EU Presidency and we hope that Finland will use all its diplomatic skills and other means to make sure that the EU will align its 2030 target with the Paris Agreement. The time is now. If you decide not to revise the NDCs now, we have to see it as a conscious decision to abandon the 1.5C degrees target. The time is now and the Europeans also want that.”

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

“Increased support not only helps developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and implement their climate plans, it also has the potential to unlock the ambition and NDC enhancement that we urgently need.”

“Parties need to build on the rules decided in Katowice and design the tools that will help enhance the transparency of climate finance. We’re at early stages of this process, but parties need to make sure from the beginning that the tool that they are going to design is going to provide complete, comparable, and traceable information on the finance flowing from developing to developed countries. It is key to maintain the trust between parties and also build confidence in the new climate regime.”

“Last week, we saw some tensions emerging on who and how to govern the adaptation fund.

This is extremely concerning because the adaptation fund and the sustainability of funds over time is still a question that is not solved. In the context of growing climate impacts, adaptation and adaptation finance must remain at the center of the talks. Parties need to make sure that the adaptation fund will get increasing and sustainable funds because the adaptation fund works well and is well designed and actually delivers concrete results to help the most vulnerable communities on the ground.”

“We expect parties to demonstrate progress on the commitment they made to mobilize USD 100 billion a year by 2020 and they should do so by improving and achieving a balance between adaptation and mitigation finance. One of the biggest signals they need to send is about the GCF because it will hold its replenishment conference by the end of the year.

In light of the achievements of the fund that funded more than 100 projects with USD 5 billion over the past six years, we expect all the contributor countries especially the bigger ones such as Japan, Canada and the European countries to make new and ambitious pledges to the fund, we need at least doubling of the financial efforts. Any backsliding would be completely unacceptable in the current context.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Officer, CAN

For Follow up in Bonn, 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

Updates from week one of the Bonn climate meeting: uneven progress on technical issues

Bonn, 22 June 2019: Mid-way through the intersessional UN climate negotiations in Bonn, CAN members say progress has been sluggish on countries’ cooperation to meet their Paris commitments or Article 6, on loss and damage and the implementation cycle of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), known as common timeframes.

Civil society set clear expectations for decisions and final texts in Bonn that reflect the needs on the ground to address impacts with adequate finance and support and to heed the calls by youth from around the world for elevated and more rapid climate ambition, commitments and action. Countries need to step up to their moral obligation to solve the climate crisis and prevent passing the burden to future generations in line with inter-generational equity and justice. Currently, what is happening outside the UNFCCC process doesn’t match the inside.

The metrics of success in these negotiations for Article 6, which allows countries to cooperate to meet their NDCs through international transfers of mitigation outcomes, is a text that narrows options on key issues. These include prevention of double counting, a good direction on the transition of the Kyoto protocol mechanisms, and clear safeguards to prevent human rights abuses.

The review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on loss and damage and discussions on common timeframes to implement NDCs are not yet complete with both areas of convergence and disagreements between parties still playing out.

Quotes:

Brad Schallert, Deputy Director, International Climate Cooperation, WWF said:

“There is a little bit of a difference in terms of the tone and the cooperative spirit of what’s happening in the Article 6 room because there is such political pressure to come up with solutions, all parties are feeling that. There seems to be real desire to not just restate positions but to try to signal that they are ready to bridge gaps. There is some hostage-taking where some countries are saying if we don’t like how this turns out in the end we might revert back to our original positions but there seems to be real desire to come up with a new text at some point.”

Leia Achampong, Policy Officer, Climate Justice, Act Alliance EU, said:

“What is particularly concerning that when attending some of the informal open sessions on the WIM review process and development of the terms of reference, some delegates are saying that they don’t expect the outcomes of the review that will take place in COP25 to be taken forward until the executive committee of the WIM on loss and damage has its own review next year, which means there would be a year of inaction. Climate impacts are taken place now and having repercussions on agriculture, on global food trade, causing climate-induced displacement. What we need to see in reaction to the urgency of climate change is that there isn’t a year of inaction taking place. The outcomes and recommendations of the review that takes place in COP25 actually need to be implemented as soon as the COP is over, it can’t be that there is time period of wait up until COP26 when then the executive committee takes into account these recommendations.”

 “As CAN, we would urge that those outcomes are immediately taken into account and that the third pillar of the WIM on loss and damage is immediately operationalized to ensure that there is support in the form of capacity building, finance and technology transfer.”

Jeffrey Qi, Policy Analyst & Coordinator, Climate Change, BC Council for International Cooperation, said:

“We need to have a single five-year common time frame. A five-year common time frame will avoid locking in low ambition in NDCs, it will harness rapidly evolving real-world opportunities like economic, social, political and scientific technological progress. It will incentivize early action instead of delayed action on climate mitigation and lastly aligns better with the whole Paris climate regime with NDCs being communicated every five years and the global stock-take taking place every five years.”

“This single five-year common timeframe will match the ambition cycle. It is very crucial to ensure that the Paris Agreement serves its purpose and is able to deliver this ambitious action that the world urgently needs.”

“There is general consensus amongst parties at this session, that NDCs will be communicated in 2025 (for actions post 2031) that means there will be a domestic planning period between 2025 and 2031. Since we have this consensus, it is very important to have the textual guidance in the final decision to avoid any ambiguity or confusion, any misunderstanding regarding this domestic planning period.”

“Parties must leave Bonn with a deadline to have a decision on common time frames because we can’t let these negotiations go all the way until 2022 and 2023 because there are some parties that are planning for their 2025 NDCs beginning 2020 and need this guidance to understand the length of the time frame they are planning for.”

Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Climate Adaption Policy, WWF Singapore

“It’s great to see how the youth is mobilizing around the world. These marches are going on a massive scale…the message they are giving is loud and clear… we as civil society engaged in the UNFCCC process need to take into account those messages and how that can replicate in the UNFCCC process.”

“We see banners and posters calling strongly for climate action now and the UNFCCC needs to hear that clear message and try to add that in an educate manner in this period. We as adults mostly from developed as well as developing countries have created this mess. We need to resolve this mess we have created within our lifetime. Let’s not let our children and future generations take that burden because that’s not equity and justice.”

“All countries need to raise ambition… and more action on adaptation is critical. It is the moral obligation of developed countries to provide support.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Officer, CAN

For follow up in Bonn, 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

World Refugee Day: We need solidarity and strong international mandates to assist those displaced by climate impacts

 

Civil society calls on negotiators in Bonn to set strong terms of reference for the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism in COP25
 

Bonn, 20 June 2019: As the climate emergency unfolds and drives people out of their homes, civil society of Climate Action Network demand that negotiators meeting for the Bonn climate talks respond more rapidly to impacts hitting developing countries.

On World Refugee Day, speakers said that rising climate impacts are destroying lives and livelihoods, rendering people homeless and displacing millions. The climate crisis threatens to exacerbate poverty and push people to the limits of adaptation, suffering the consequences of loss and damage.

People at the frontline of climate impacts need more rapid response to deal with migration, homelessness, impoverishment and violence, including sexual violence. Rich countries, which caused climate change must step up to their moral obligations and responsibility, raise ambition and provide financial support to help people in developing countries cope with the devastating situation poor people face on the ground.

Quotes:

Nouhad Awwad, Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network, Arab World, said:

“In the Arab world we are facing the adverse effects of climate change from sea level rise, to high temperatures, to intrusion of saltwater in coastal aquifers, to heatwaves and floods. In Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) … the intensified rain that happened in 2009, 2010 and 2011 led to the death of hundreds of people and displacement.”

“The Nabu floods destroyed hundreds of hectares of fruit and other agriculture and displaced people, who are still suffering from these impacts. Morocco became a route transit between climate migrants from West Africa to Europe and it’s hosting the climate migrants of the sub-Saharian region leading to increased tension in coastal areas.”

“All this will be intensified if we don’t see concrete action on the ground. This region facing land grabbing, droughts and food insecurity will face more effects. Here in the UNFCC meetings, we need to focus more on the displacement of people. Developing countries need funds and need support to face the impacts of climate change and the waves of climate immigrants. let us work now to save humanity.”

Sunil Acharya, Regional Advisor, Climate and Resilience, Practical Action, said:

“Ice in the mountain region is melting twice as fast in the last few years. We have already seen loss of one third of ice in the last 40 years. It’s the source of freshwater for billions of people living downstream in Nepal, India and Bangladesh and imagine the situation if they don’t have water to drink.”

“Water springs in the trans-Himalayan region and mid hills of countries like Nepal and Bhutan depleting so fast that people are migrating in throngs. Every other day people have to migrate because there is no water to drink and it will require days just to get a gallon of water.”

“You might have heard about the recent event of Tornado, which is the first ever tornado in the recorded history of Nepal. Unexpected things have been a reality to our region. I have personally seen people in the western region of Nepal displaced by floods three times in the last five years. They don’t have any support required, no safety nets to prepare and deal with those kinds of events.”

“It is the moral obligation of developed countries and those who created this problem to support these vulnerable people. The impacts we are seeing now are just the tip of the iceberg and in a few years’ time if there is no real action, we can see a much more complicated situation.”

“We are now talking only about internal displacement and migration, imagine the situation when the cross-border migration starts. We don’t know how to deal with that as of now. We call on developed countries to heed to the needs of the people impacted by climate change and come up with real solutions.”

Gbemisola Titi Akosa, 21st Century in Nigeria, said:

“Climate induced drying of water bodies and desertification are forcing a lot of herders to move away from where they are to find food and fodder for their animals and once they go down south of Nigeria they encroach on a lot of farms and we have terrible conflict that has displaced a lot of people and taken them out of their houses.”

“In 2018 alone, 1.9 million people were displaced as a result of climate-induced flooding, 82,000 homes were destroyed. As we speak today a lot of people don’t have homes to go back to, they don’t have farmlands to go back to and don’t have businesses to support their livelihoods. This is the kind of situation we’re facing on the ground, some of them are leaving schools and public buildings where the conditions are so deplorable.”

“Some, in internally displaced camps, are experiencing violence, rape and there is no solution in sight. We need audient climate finance. When some of these disasters strike, we need people to have new houses quickly to get themselves together. We need audient response finance to help people manage the situation as it happens.”

“As we continue to negotiate, let us remember that people’s humanity matters… We should remember that we need to show a lot of empathy to those who have been affected. It’s up to us here to give good solutions that rapidly respond to the impacts of climate change so that people don’t continue to die without support.”

Harjeet Singh, Global Climate Change Lead, ActionAid International, said:

“There are 70 million people who are living as refugees today, it is highest in the last 70 years in the history of the UN system for refugees. While there is a lot of human cry in the rich world, the fact is that 84% of these refuges are hosted by developing countries while they struggle with little resources. Now climate emergency is unfolding and putting a lot more pressure on again the same set of developing countries that have little resources to cope with climate impacts.”

“The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center says that 18.8 million people were displaced by natural disasters in 2017, 80% affected by cyclones and floods. These are new displacements added to mounting numbers. This is the scenario we are living in. The scale of impacts is massive and actions are not matching the reality on the ground.”

“While refugees’ rights are still recognized at the UN level, climate migrants have no legal protection either at national or international levels. Their migration is seen as economic migration which is not a reality.”

“It’s about finance support and legal protection required by climate migrants at different levels. As a global community we need to understand that developing countries are facing this twin crisis of conflict and climate impacts so we need to show solidarity and provide them with the necessary support to deal with the problem.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN

For follow up in Bonn, 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

Call for EU to commit to stronger climate ambition ahead of EU Council meeting

Bonn, 19 June 2019: The EU can demonstrate genuine climate leadership by announcing at the European Council meetings tomorrow that they will enhance their 2030 targets and mobilize support for developing countries to implement climate plans to keep warming below 1.5°C.

EU countries must clearly state that they will heed the calls for concrete climate action by youth on the streets and an electorate, which brought green parties to power, by declaring that they will go to the UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit in September with plans not speeches.

The EU is also expected to agree tomorrow to the long-term target of net zero-emissions by 2050. The time is ripe for such a decision now that people’s mobilizations and calls for action placed climate on top of the political agenda.

Quotes:

Fernanda Viana de Carvalho, Policy Manager, Climate & energy, WWF, Brazil, said:

“We know we face a big challenge and the 1.5°C report launched by the IPCC last year put it in very stark terms that we have until 2030 to halve emissions if we want to stay below 1.5°C which is our guiding star. So we look at 1.5C and this what everybody should think about when we talk about climate ambition.”

“It’s not only a climate urgency but a climate emergency that we are calling for, the youth is calling for. Some countries already declared it so it is a time when we need countries to put out plans not speeches sand that’s what we expect from countries in the UNSG summit, which is one of the big moments leading to 2020.”

 “2020 is a key year … it is very important for countries to come up with plans to update and enhance their NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions.)”

“We heard in march this year that about 10 African countries will enhance their NDCs so If Africa can do it so must the biggest emitters and we have high hopes for those.”

“We also heard from the UNSG staff that there are 80 countries that will enhance their NDCs and this is very key if we want to keep the Paris spirit alive and if we stand a chance to stay below 1.5C global warming… it’s not only a environmental questions, it speaks directly to development and poverty.”

“When we talk about NDC enhancement, it’s not only about mitigation targets, we are also thinking about impacts, adaptation and resilience. We’re most importantly thinking of support. Countries need financial support to enhance their NDCs, developing countries of the world.”

Ulriikka Aarnio, International Climate Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe said:

 “Tomorrow the European heads of states are meeting in Brussels at the European Council to discuss the future of the EU’s climate policies. Feeling the pressure from the youth and people on the streets, they are getting closer to an agreement to increase the EU’s long-term target and they’re also looking at the EU’s 2030 target and how to revise that.”

“Climate change and in particular how countries are responding to the climate crisis is very high on the European agenda and it’s been demonstrated over the winter and spring with hundreds of people on the streets especially the youth. This made climate change a key topic in the European elections. this resulted in parties across the political spectrum committed to stronger climate action. Green victories in many countries gave the push to EU leaders to really think that now is the time to act.”

“What is getting more and more likely now is that tomorrow the EU will be able to agree on the net zero target long-term target for 2050. This decision seems now very right to be taken.

In the last 10 days the support for net zero has been growing. In the last few days four new countries came in support for this. It is very remarkable that 3 of them – Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria – have been usually more reluctant to increase EU’s ambition and are now coming forward and supporting it.”

“What we expect from the EU is first to agree on the net-zero by 2050 but then at minimum commit to revising the 2030 NDC in the months to come. Near term ambition is what the world is waiting for, what the Secretary General of the UN is waiting for. Near term ambition is the scientific non-negotiable imperative. But this is also what the Europeans want.”

Jennifer Tollmann, Policy Advisor, E3G, said:

“On behalf of CAN International, I would like to welcome the joint bid by the UK and Italy to host COP26. We see this agreement as a milestone in European diplomacy and cooperation also post Brexit and we call on New York to confirm a Presidency as soon as possible.”

“2020 internationally is the litmus year for the Paris Agreement and this is certainly what the Presidency will have to live up to. As it is most likely to be a European COP, they would have to respond to the clear mandate given by European citizens both on the streets and in the European elections to increase ambition and work with partners internationally to do so.”

“When looking at 2020, the priorities are clearly on near-term action that needs to be the response to the climate crisis and the IPCC 1.5°C evaluations around NDC enhancement will be front and center.”

“We do also expect the Presidency to deliver a package around long-term strategies but also progress on adaptation, resilience and the support necessary for those most vulnerable to actually implement ambition and respond to the impacts they are feeling.”

“We also expect the UK to support Chile and the UNSG Presidency in the run up to both the UNSG Summit and COP25 but also starting to plan around how they can facilitate major economy follow-up during their joint G7/G20 presidencies in 2021. We see this as a pathway to implementation and to action.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN

 
For follow up in Bonn, 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

We risk devastating warming of 3 or 4 degrees Celsius if renewables are not more aggressively and rapidly deployed and energy efficiency enhanced in all sectors

CAN urges all governments to act faster and more vigourously to respond to the climate emergency, based on findings of the REN21 Renewables Global 2019 Status Report.

 

18 June 2019 - We are still banking on a dangerous fossil fuel world and governments are not maximizing the benefits of transitioning to clean renewables, according to the Renewables 2019 Global Status report released today by the leading renewable energy authority REN21.
Polluting fossil fuels, which threaten the future of humanity, are still dominating the energy scene and contributing to higher emissions, a  growth of 2% in 2018 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This is the highest record of CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use ever.
 
The report shows that for the fourth consecutive year, the share of renewables in the power sector has grown and now supplies more than a quarter (26%) of global electricity production. However, the Climate Action Network (CAN) considers this as small progress for climate and sustainable development as the electricity sector consumes a minor portion of total energy use, only 17% of all energy used.  The IPCC Special report on 1.5°C clearly stated that deep and large scale decarbonization in all sectors is needed to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals and keep warming at safe levels below 1.5°C. This means according to the IPCC that countries must increase by six folds their investments in renewables and energy efficiency each year to put the world on a path of a clean, healthy and prosperous future. The REN21 report shows that we are far from this potential reality.
 
The larger energy-using sectors Transport (32%) and Heat and Cooling (51%) use only 3% and 10% renewables, respectively. The growth rates for solar heating are flattening. Excluding traditional biomass, all renewables provide only around 11% of all final energy use.
 
Countries are still paying heavy subsidies to expensive and detrimental fossil fuels. REN21 estimates that global subsidies for fossil fuel consumption amounted to USD 300 billion in 2017, an 11% increase from 2016 with at least 73 countries providing subsidies of over USD 100 million each. New analysis by the IEA  suggests fossil fuel subsidies of USD 400 billion in 2018, which are higher than all investments in renewables.
 
With dwindling prices of renewables compared to fossil fuels and the enormous economic (11 million jobs in 2018 as per the International Renewable Energy Agency) and health benefits they increasingly provide, the REN21 findings prove that governments are not acting in the best interests of their people.
 
CAN urges countries to boldly hasten the just and fair transition to renewable energy and triple efforts in energy efficiency in all economic sectors aiming for zero emissions and 100% clean energy by mid-century. Countries must phase out coal by 2030 latest and immediately stop financing and building new coal plants worldwide. They are also expected to enhance their climate targets by 2020 with strong renewable goals resulting in at least 40% renewables and enhanced energy efficiency in all economic sectors by 2030 and switch all investments from fossil fuels to clean energy.
 

For further information, please refer to the thorough analysis of the REN21 report available in annex.
 
Quotes:
 
Stephan Singer Global Energy Advisor, Climate Action Network, said:
“Governments have an unprecedented opportunity to prove that they have the best interest of their electorate at mind. They either grab the chance to drive economies on a path to prosperity and safety through an accelerated, transformative and just transition to renewable energy, retiring coal and keeping oil and gas in the ground and stopping all investment in and subsidies for polluting fuels or take us all to disasters. Science offers no other choices. Will they chose to listen to the rising calls of future generations or will they favor short-term personal gains?”
 
Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director, said: 
“This research further proves the enormous potential of renewable energy, and the opportunity we have before us to transform our economy to one that is cleaner, fairer and more sustainable.'
Currently, the challenges we face in this people-powered transition are political not technological, with policy decisions that are erratic and lacking in ambition. 
This is madness when the climate emergency we are in demands we immediately stop propping up the doomed and dirty fossil fuel industry and urgently switch to renewables. Change is coming -- for the fourth year in a row, more renewable power capacity was installed than fossil fuel and nuclear power combined -- but it needs to come faster.”
 
Jean Su, Energy Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said:
"Powering our world with 100 percent clean energy is no longer an issue of technological feasibility, but rather of sheer political will," said Jean Su, energy director at the Center. "In the face of the climate emergency, it's past time for our leaders to put the needs of the people over the interests of the fossil fuel industry. We urge all governments to be courageous and bold to undertake the urgently needed renewable energy revolution."
 
Ashton Berry, Global Climate Change Coordinator, BirdLife International, said:
“To meet the goals and targets of the Paris Agreement, and the recent findings from the IPBES report calling for transformational change in energy production and consumption in order to protect species from extinction, we need increased investment in energy efficiency and strategic planning to ensure the renewable energy mix is not only wildlife friendly, but country context relevant”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice said:“Renewables are at the forefront of the world’s battle plan to tackle the climate crisis. REN21’s Renewables 2019 Global Status Report brings good and bad news. Good news in that renewables continue to shape the global energy transition; and bad news in that an uncertain policy environment in many countries is undermining the impact on emissions reductions that renewables can – and should – have. Governments must reassess their energy policies and regulations in light of the review of nationally determined contributions by 2020. There will never be a more opportune time to do.”

 

For more information, contact:

Hala Kilani
Senior Communications Officer
CAN International
Email: hkilani@climatenetwork.org or WhatsApp/call on +961 3 567 928

About Climate Action Network: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1300 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

 

‘Protecting primary forests and allowing them to grow is vital to tackling the climate and ecological crisis’

Nature-based solutions must be among first line of options to cut emissions and strengthen revised NDCs, due in 2020  
 

Bonn, 18 June 2019: In the face of the twin emergencies we are facing - of rapid loss of species and biodiversity  and climate change, protecting our natural heritage is the best route to a healthy and prosperous future for people and planet, according to the Climate Action Network panelists at the UN intersessional climate talks here in Bonn.

Speakers referred to two important reports: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 1.5°C and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) both of which had startling messages on the crises we are contending with, including the loss of one million species and the potential to spiral into climate breakdown if emissions are not rapidly slashed in a decade.

As we face a dual crisis, we need solutions that integrate biodiversity and climate because of the intimate linkages between the two.

Empowering indigenous communities and protecting their land rights is key to ensuring the integrity of ecosystems and delivering both biodiversity and climate outcomes.

Countries must include nature-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation in their 2020 revised and enhanced climate plans.

Protecting primary forests in both developing and developed countries and allowing them to grow is one of the most important elements of nature-based solutions.

Quotes:

William Moomaw, Emeritus Professor, Tufts University, USA, and IPCC Lead Author, said:

“We have to act rapidly… when we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a significant portion of it, maybe a quarter is still there a thousand years from now and the temperatures will remain very high for that length of time as well. Whatever peak temperature we hit, if we don’t actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that temperature will prevail for a thousand years or more.”

“If you look at our total emissions from fossil fuels and land use change it’s about 10.9 billion tons a year and yet only 4.7 billion tons appears as an increase every year. Who is helping us out so well? It’s natural systems, it’s forests, it’s wetlands, it’s grasslands, it’s the ocean.”

“If we just let secondary forests continue growing we can remove another 2.8 billion tons a year, remember the gap is 4.7 so we’re down to 2 or 1.9. If we stopped land use change, we’d knock off another 1.7 billion tons. We’re down to less than a 1 billion Ton and we haven’t even reduced our emissions.”

“Forests and grasslands are absorbing half of the carbon of which they are capable… there are half as many trees on the planet as there were before the start of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Imagine If you were operating with half your organs.”

“The way to address (the twin emergency) is through pro-forestation, letting the most important existing, high-carbon, intact forests continue growing and protect large, intact, primary forests that are storing so much carbon for us today. These are the ones that will double, triple or in some cases quadruple the amount of carbon per hectare in the coming decades.”

Angelica Guerrero: Asociacion Ambiente y Sociedad and CLARA, Colombia, said:

“The concept of pro-forestation and irreversibility of damages has been part of indigenous and local community practices since they began to exist. Indigenous and local communities play an important role in effective conservation of intact forests. They have a very clear idea of how holistic these ecosystems are and the link that now exists between the biodiversity and climate crisis, the biggest risks we face as humans.”

“We need the recognition and respect of communities and for it to be reflected in the national planning processes for economic development. The biggest drivers of deforestation that act on community lands are external and are related to roads or oil exploitation.”

“Nature-based solutions with indigenous people and local communities not only make sense in terms of CO2 reduction or biodiversity protection but also in economic terms.”

Virginia Young, Griffith University and Australian Rainforest Conservation Society, said:

“The trajectory we are currently on, which is ongoing damage to natural ecosystems, loss of primary ecosystems, have an impact on climate as it releases greenhouse gas emissions so we are spiraling down at the moment. We can choose to spiral up by supporting indigenous communities in their struggle to protect their primary forests. We in the developed world have primary forests but they need better protection and they can be expanded. We can buffer, reconnect and rebuild ecosystem integrity across forests in Russia, Canada, the US, Australia and even Europe, which still has some old forests for resilient and stable climate outcomes.”

“Operating in silos in no longer reasonable. It’s no longer reasonable to treat biodiversity as a potential co-benefit of climate action in land and forests.”

“The conversation has started about the need to integrate the work of the biodiversity convention, the work of the UNFCCC, the World Heritage Convention, the UN Convention on desertification…that is something that we need to encourage as it is a critical part of delivering solutions for life on earth so we have healthy people on a healthy planet.”

Peg Putt, co-coordinator Climate Action Network, Ecosystems Working Group, said:

“The IPBES report says that natural solutions can provide 37% of mitigation. But clearly this is not being recognized at the moment in the actions that are being taken by parties or even by the narrative that is coming out of the UNFCCC and its meetings.”

“The Paris Agreement talks about supporting human rights, protecting biodiversity and ensuring ecosystem integrity. Parties need to include natural solutions in revised and enhanced NDCs (nationally determined contributions), these should appear as mitigation and adaptation actions.”

“This is vital to be activated in developed countries across the world in their forests and in their carbon-rich ecosystems. A huge proportion of forested land in the world is actually in developed countries who felt very comfortable pointing fingers at developing countries and telling them what they should do.”

“Forests of the US in South Carolina are being slaughtered and sent all over the world to be burned for biomass for energy production, that is actually equally emissive as burning coal.

Burning forests instead of keeping them to grow on and deliver the benefits of pulling that carbon out of the atmosphere is madness. It’s an opportunity cost that we cannot afford.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN

For follow up in Bonn, 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

Civil society calls on climate negotiators in Bonn to respond to the climate emergency

Bonn, 17 June 2019: On the first day of the Bonn climate meeting, SB50, Climate Action Network (CAN) members said negotiators must advance discussions on loss and damage, finance and climate ambition to adequately respond to the climate emergency that is affecting people.

To respond effectively to increasing climate impacts, this Bonn session must set strong terms of reference for the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) due to happen later this year. The WIM was established in 2013 to address loss and damage incurred from climate impacts.

Negotiators must also deliver a finance package to help countries adapt to the fast-changing climate, deal with loss and damage caused by mounting impacts and provide support for developing countries to enhance their national targets by 2020.

Quotes:

Harjeet Singh, Global Climate Change Lead from ActionAid International said:

 “While developing countries are working towards climate proofing their economies or exploring new sectors that climate change opens for them, for developing countries and poor people it’s a fight for their survival and that’s why we are here.”

“Mozambique that was battered by two cyclones one after the other saw hundreds of people dying, millions of people rendered homeless and as we speak Mozambique is struggling to raise money, their need is around 3.2 billion USD, they are organizing pledging conferences but they are not getting enough support.”

“Coming from Delhi, it’s 48 degrees, Rajasthan state crossed 50 degrees. In the last 24 hours, 45 people have lost their lives to heatwaves. That’s the reality we are facing and it’s just 1 degree of warming causing this kind of havoc.”

On the WIM, Singh said it was mandated to generate finance for communities who are facing harsh realities so that they can be provided relief after facing impacts and helped to rebuild their lives:

“The fact is in the last six years, no system has been set to deliver support…Here in 2019 the institution (WIM) is up for review and in this session the terms of reference for this review need to be finalized.”

“We have now an opportunity to make sure that this institution is fit for purpose, it responds to realities people are facing on the ground…. The terms of reference need to be robust, comprehensive and forward-looking and that finance remains central.”

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

“Climate finance is an obligation, we know that currently there are very big gaps concerning adaptation finance and how this finance is actually helping vulnerable countries respond to climate change.”

“There will not be implementation of NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) if there is no support because developing countries need that support to prepare and implement climate plans domestically.”

“At this moment where climate breakdown is more and more felt in every region, we need to see what outcomes will be delivered at these UNFCCC processes that will channel and mobilize sufficient funds for developing countries.”

“We need to make sure that finance remains at the top of the political agenda and not just a technical discussion within these rooms for that we need to look at this as a finance package.”

“We are one year away from the 2020 deadline where developed countries must say how they were able to mobilize USD 100 billion for adaptation and mitigation resources in a way that it respects the principles of the Paris Agreement.”

“At this SB50, we want to see contributor countries to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) say how they intend to scale up and provide resources to the GCF so by this fall in the replenishment summit we see an increase of funds to continue helping developing countries implement their NDCs”

“We have seen some signs from Germany and Norway to double their contribution, it’s time for other countries to step up and say how they intend to go beyond doubling their contribution to the Green Climate Fund.”

Yamide Dagnet, Director, UNFCCC, Climate Program World Resources Institute said:

“In such a context of climate emergency and ecological crisis, as our youth around the world keep reminding us every Friday, as my 10-year-old son reminds me every time I tell him goodbye to spend two weeks in climate negotiations, we need ambition, ambition, ambition.”

“The UN Secretary-General told heads of states from all countries to come prepared with concrete actions and plans to do much better than they ever did so far not incrementally but transformationally at scale, to scale up actions to reduce the temperature gap to avoid the losses and damages of a world of 2 or 3 degrees Celsius, to strengthen our current fragile resilience and align support to do this.”

“I wanted to highlight the notion of leaving no one behind, because for the first time this session is providing space to discuss how to make those efforts more just, taking into account human rights, the role of indigenous people, and how to make climate action more gender responsive… these can make things more transformational.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN

 
For information in Bonn, contact

Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, Climate Action Network, dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org +918826107830

Civil society stands in solidarity with 'Fridays For Future' global student strikes

 

Thursday 14 March, 2019 - Decades of dependence on a carbon-based economy has produced grave injustices on a global scale. Our children, grandchildren and the many vulnerable communities and species on the planet now have to carry the burden of a crisis that they have not caused. The youth are forced to act like grown-ups. Faced with government inaction despite the stark warnings from scientists to act, young people chose to leave school to confront a system that failed us all, but particularly those with the least power.

Years of empty promises to address the climate emergency have created intergenerational mistrust. Our children and grandchildren don’t trust us as adults, citizens, business people and politicians. Around the world, young people are taking to the streets to reclaim a safe future. They are not alone in this fight. They have inspired us to join them in saying: no, our future is not for sale and governments must ensure that fossil fuels are kept in the ground. We will exert all efforts to guarantee their victory.

This newly generated grassroots power is putting the last nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry and advocating for true, rights- and evidence-based solutions to climate change. It is essential that governments act on climate and work with vulnerable communities to protect them from dangerous warming while we ensure ecosystems can thrive and restore. The science is clear we must move faster to avoid catastrophe by decarbonizing the economy, cutting emissions by half by 2030 to reach zero emissions by 2050.

We, the members of civil society, stand in solidarity with students worldwide demanding climate justice. We shall relentlessly support their effort until they meet the success of their struggle through concrete government action to resolve the climate emergency.

Quotes:

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said:

“We should all be showing solidarity with the inspiring actions being taken by young people all over the world. Whether it is the school strikes and street marches demanding climate action, or young people who are suing their governments over climate change, the youth are demanding that we stop stealing their future. As Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg said at COP24, 'we are running out of time. Change is coming whether you like it or not.' It is young people like her that are challenging us to show that change is possible, and we must rise to the challenge.”

May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org said:

“The thing with the climate crisis, that these children know is: it’s not going anywhere. Change is coming whether we like it or not, so we have to face up to the choices we can make in order to avoid the worst case scenarios of climate change. We can shape those changes to benefit our communities and humanity as a whole. The time to do so is now. We should not have needed our children to take to the streets to realise that. But it has come to that. So right now, we need to join these young people. The real impact begins when we (adults) use our power, join in and don’t just applaud from the sidelines.”

Josianne Gauthier, Secretary General, CIDSE – Together for Global Justice said:

“As leaders within civil society, used to speaking with decision-makers, we need to stand by and march along with the young people who have taken to the streets. It’s a matter of coherence, intergenerational justice, and legitimacy. We must allow ourselves to be swept up in the real emotion of their impatience and their hope. They are reminding us that talk is not enough, and that action, and sometimes reaction is required. The change is here and they are leading it. For once, we just need to listen and do what is right.”

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action said:

“Kids shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have a safe and productive world when they grow up. Yet decades of inexcusable political intransigence and cynical pursuit of profit from the adults in the room have left them no choice. In the age of climate change, we can add our children’s innocence to the laundry list of sacrifices offered on the altar of greed. The moral clarity if these courageous children is a gift. When few others are, they are leading with energy, creativity, and hope, and they deserve our full support. Their actions honor God the Creator, they honor their neighbors hard hit by climate impacts, and they honor themselves and generations to come. May our leaders have the courage to see them and to respond. May we all have the courage to see them and to respond.”

Bridget Burns, Director, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, said:

“WEDO stands in solidarity with the thousands of inspiring young people, in all their diversity and from all over the world, as they continue their unwavering quest for environmental justice. The current state of the climate crisis and its impacts are a clear threat to the future of humanity and our planet, and as advocates for environmental integrity, we proudly join these fearless, powerful voices - including many amazing young women leaders - as they continue to push for real action from governments and decision-makers at the frontlines. We must continue to collectively rise up across all generations, and vigorously fight for change.”

Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director for CARE International, said:

“The worsening impacts of climate change threaten us all, especially the next generation. Will leaders act now or continue to ignore the climate crisis as youth protests and school walkouts ripple across the globe? CARE joins their fight and Greta Thunberg’s criticism of leaders’ inaction on climate change. Our children have made climate action a priority, and we must heed their call.”

Sanjeev Kumar, CEO & Founder of Change Partnership, said:

“Young people around the world are highlighting the grave injustice of inadequate action and empty rhetoric which has blighted meaningful action on climate change for decades. We stand with them in the struggle to stop polluters polluting and defending the rights of victims everywhere.”

Nouhad Awwad, National Coordinator, Arab Youth Climate Movement-Lebanon, said:

“AYCM as a grassroots movement run by youth urge policymakers to take immediate actions to raise climate ambitions. We will be protesting in Lebanon on the 15th of March to say that our children in schools deserve a better future.  School strikes are an awareness tool for our fellow people and an alert for leaders to go in line with the Paris Agreement. Greta Thunberg said “We will have to go for a very, very long time, I think” and we are ready to go with her in the climate action road.”

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said:  

“The strikes make it clear to leaders that they need to take ambitious and immediate action. EU leaders meeting next week simply cannot ignore this powerful call to address the climate crisis. They need to work towards taking a decision on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero as soon as possible, and massively scaling up emission cuts by 2030. If leaders harness the momentum for more climate action that the youth create, we will still be able to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

Carroll Muffett, President, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), said:

“Children around the world are standing up and speaking out on climate change because they must. Their rights, their lives and their future are at stake—as are the rights, lives, and future of all of us. While the US President tweets climate denial, the Speaker of the House dismisses the Green New Deal as a dream, and the countries and companies most responsible for climate change embrace inertia over ambition, children around the world are taking action.They are leaving classrooms, entering courtrooms, and taking to the streets. That is where they belong until the world takes the urgent and meaningful climate action that is needed. It’s where we all belong. CIEL is proud to stand in solidarity with their efforts and follow their leadership. We urge those in office—or seeking office—to do the same.”

Hannah Mowat, Campaigns Coordinator, Fern, said:

"Today Fern’s offices are closed in solidarity with the tens of thousands of young people who are taking to the streets to protest against politicians’ frightening lack of action on climate change. Their demand is simple: governments must act on the irrefutable science, and that science is clear: without forest protection and restoration, climate change will be impossible to stop."

Nick Mabey, CEO, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), said:

“Politicians have a duty to represent everyone’s interests not just those who vote for them. They must listen to the unprecedented voice of young people who are striking so that for their future has its rightful place at the decision-making table. Politicians should also realise that they and their parties are now under scrutiny by the next generation of voters, who will remember who stood up for their rights and their safety in this critical time.”

Floris Faber, Director, ACT Alliance Advocacy to the European Union, said:

"Youth are leading the way, and the world should follow suit. Climate change is a devastating threat to us all. This is especially true for poor and vulnerable communities, who are already facing the effects of climate change. Severe droughts, floods and destructive hurricanes are jeopardizing the development we all want to see. The multilateral response on climate change must include both transition towards a green and sustainable economy, and urgent support for adaptation, to increase communities' resilience. There is no time to waste!"

David Howell, Climate and Energy lead at SEO/BirdLife in Spain, said:

“Our youth are our future, and their protests are showing us the path we need to follow to guarantee them their future, in what is their century. Across Spain the number of planned student protests has increased tenfold in two weeks, and we expect more in the coming weeks and months. Their message is crystal clear and should be at the forefront of the thinking of any serious politician in a key election year for Spain. In purely selfish terms, a political party which wants the support of younger voters must have a clear, coherent and ambitious programme for the future of the economy in the fight against climate change.”

Jagoda Munic, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“The young people on strike today speak with the authenticity of those whose lives will be dominated by climate breakdown, a crisis they did not cause. Climate change still feels distant to many – but it is close to home for the youth taking action today. Their demands for real, massive and immediate action for a fossil-free society must be heard. Friends of the Earth gives them our full support. “If decision makers were to act in line with youth climate strikers’ demands, they would be tripling our renewable energy goals, shutting off trade deals with climate deniers, and switching finance off fossil fuels to the fossil-free future we need.”

Øyvind Eggen, Director for Rainforest Foundation Norway, said:

“All parent generations have called for the younger generations to take responsibility, and history tells us they do. We are in a unique moment in history when the young ones not only take responsibility for their own time and their future, but also struggle to compensate for several previous generations’ wrongdoing. It is sad for the elder generations that they have to, but extremely encouraging to see that they are picking up the fight. And it is a very strong message to our generation: To make it possible at all for the young to take responsibility for the world, we must stop emissions now and save the remaining rainforests, so we have something to hand over to them.”

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

“We stand in solidarity with student climate strikers around the world, and support their demand that our political leaders address the climate crisis with the urgency and focused action that the science so clearly requires. We are inspired by their moral clarity, and are hopeful that their actions will help drive the transformational changes that are needed to come to grips with the climate crisis.”

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia, said:

“Future leaders of this world refuse to watch the destruction of planet. Climate change today threatens the sustainable needs of the present and future generations. These needs should be dealt with urgency, but leaders today are driven by vested interests and have failed in decision making. Strikes by school students is among the most effective ways to demand for a secure future for the next generation that can only be ensured by today's leaders.”

Nithi Nesadurai, Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network Southeast Asia, said:

“We fully empathise with the strike actions of school students. They have been completely let down by our political leaders, at the global and national levels, entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding their future against climate change. As current leaders have wholly failed in their duty and still do not display any sign of urgency this crisis demands, it is only natural that students fill the vacuum created by seizing the leadership on addressing climate change which forecasts a bleak future for them in particular. We salute the students’ vision and determination and hope their actions are finally able to break the impasse and lethargy displayed by current leaders and bring about the dynamic changes required to tackle the climate crisis head-on.”

Message from the Board of Directors of Climate Action Network International

13 February 2019

The CAN International Board of Directors (the Board) is very pleased to announce its appointment of Ms Tasneem Essop as the Interim Executive Director for CAN International (the Secretariat).

Her appointment is for six months, effective from 1 February 2019. During this time the Board will initiate an open and transparent process that will lead to the appointment of new leadership for CAN. Ms Essop’s primary focus during this transitional period will be to lead the Secretariat, implement specific recommendations of the workplace investigation report, and work in close cooperation with the Board on key aspects of strengthening the CAN organisation.

South African born and based, Ms Essop has significant experience in the climate movement. She has held various senior government positions in South Africa; was a global climate policy and strategy leader for environmental NGO WWF International; and most recently was the founding director of an NGO in South Africa, focusing on energy democracy. Her vast management experience includes an emphasis on finance, working in virtual teams across cultures, and convening stakeholders from government, business and communities to align around common goals.

The CAN Board would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to Dr Stephan Singer, CAN International’s Senior Advisor on Global Energy Policy who, at short notice, agreed to take on the additional responsibility of leading the CAN International Secretariat through the period of the workplace investigation between mid-November, 2018 and end of January, 2019.

A brief biography of Ms Essop may be found here

Issued on behalf of the CAN International Board of Directors

Message from the Board of Directors of Climate Action Network International

18 January 2018

As the Board of Directors of Climate Action Network (CAN) International, we recognize that CAN must stand for and practice the values that the global climate movement espouses: equity, respect, and protection of those suffering most from the climate crisis, who are disproportionately women. The Board is committed to practicing these values of our climate movement in our own network, where bullying, harassment, and any other forms of abusive treatment and violence against women should not be tolerated.

Mindful of these values, the Board of Directors of CAN International has terminated the contract with its Executive Director, Wael Hmaidan with immediate effect. The Board’s decision is based on the outcomes of a six week long, independent workplace investigation that reviewed complaints about Mr. Hmaidan’s actions and treatment of others, particularly the CAN International Secretariat staff. As part of the investigation, Mr. Hmaidan had an opportunity to respond to allegations. The investigation found a preponderance of evidence that Mr. Hmaidan violated CAN’s anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, through engaging in the following behaviour: bullying, objectification of women, misuse of power, inequitable treatment of women, inappropriate touching and unwelcome advances and propositions, and behaviour generally unbecoming of an organisational leader. 

The Board wishes to express its sincere apologies on behalf of Climate Action Network International to those who have personally experienced harassment, bullying, and other forms of unacceptable behaviour. CAN should be an organisation with a respectful, safe and healthy work environment which does not tolerate any forms of bullying and sexual and other types of harassment. We regret that this was not the experience for all staff members of CAN International, and that appropriate mechanisms and actions to address inappropriate behaviour had not sufficiently been put in place previously. For this, we are truly sorry. 

The Board wants to thank those individuals who participated in the investigation and voluntarily came forward to share their experiences. We understand how difficult this is and applaud them for their courage, strength, and commitment to improving our network. The majority of people who participated in the investigation asked for their input to remain confidential, and some asked for no further communication. The Board respects their wishes. 

The Board is taking immediate and necessary steps to identify new leadership for CAN International as well as review the overall organisational structure with the intent to ensure a healthy and safe work environment at CAN International. We will take into account recommendations of the investigation in order to be able to identify and address workplace issues. 

In addition, the investigation report also identified areas of concern and provided recommendations in relation to organisational and governance aspects. The Board has decided on a number of initial steps in this regard and will consult with the Secretariat and members on appropriate further steps, drawing on external expertise as needed. 

The Board is determined to give full consideration to the recommendations provided. We will work with the CAN International Secretariat and CAN members to prevent and stop similar misconduct going forward. We aim to emerge from this crisis as a healthier and more professional organisation which protects its staff and other individuals within the Network, giving ourselves the strongest possible basis to fight the climate crisis in light of the growing urgency to act. 

Issued by the CAN International Board of Directors can-intl-board@climate.team

 

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