City, Business, Faith, Trade and Civil Society Leaders Call on Countries to Step Up in 2018 To Strengthen Their National Climate Plans

BONN, GERMANY (November 17, 2017)— As the conclusion of the COP23 climate talks near, the key ingredients are coming together for 2018 to galvanize stronger climate action under the Paris Agreement. Based on extensive consultations with Parties, last night the Fiji Presidency released a draft roadmap for the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long process aimed at taking stock of climate action that should set the stage for countries to send clear signals by COP24 that they will enhance their national climate plans by 2020.  

Following are statements from senior representatives from cities, business, faith, trade and civil society and a government minister on the importance of prioritizing enhanced ambition during these final hours of COP23: 

Andrew Steer, CEO, World Resources Institute 
“Two years ago in Paris, countries made a promise to scale up their national climate efforts every five years. To live up to that promise and secure significant economic and social benefits, countries need to deliver on their current climate commitments and define how to strengthen their national climate plans by 2020. We have entered a decisive window to rapidly bend the emissions curve downward to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Encouragingly, the evidence shows that smart climate policies will promote greater resource efficiency, new technology, more investment and better jobs. Leaders need to learn from this success and step up their climate efforts.” 
 

Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network  
“In order for governments to have confidence in strengthening their climate targets in 2020, they need to see that exceeding their current targets is urgent, achievable, and desirable.   And this is where we see the Talanoa Dialogue playing a role.  It will allow countries to better understand that businesses, cities, and communities around the world are stepping up ahead of them.  They will understand that their national climate plans have been surpassed by the real economy and its time to catch up.”
 

Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation
“The Paris Agreement was a historic achievement and we should be proud of it. But there is no time to rest on our laurels, we are not on track. If we are serious about tackling climate change, everyone will need to step up and put forward ambitious climate commitments between now and 2020.”
 

Marcelo Mena Carrasco, Environment Minister of Chile
"When you deny climate action, you deny your citizens cleaner, cheaper energy.  Since we’ve introduced carbon taxes, and begun to change our energy system, we’ve seen the renewable energy sector grow fivefold. And while we projected renewable energy from solar and wind to be 20 percent of our energy sources by 2025, we reached this goal last month --eight years early.  Our NDC was written in 2013 and is already outdated.  So I think for the future, to enhance ambition, we need to have very flexible action plans so we can capture the low-carbon transformation as it happens."  

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

“Growing jobs on a liveable planet is an imperative for all of us. This requires a sense of urgency combined with ambition, a commitment to Just Transition measures for the workforce and a capacity to reinvest in vulnerable communities. Governments should not hide behind those who do not want to make progress.  They put at risk the benefits of investments in jobs and economic growth and they put at risk the planet.” 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Head of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Programme
"The planet is at a crossroads. We have within our reach an unprecedented opportunity following the Paris Agreement - one that can and must change the future. The decisions we make today set the foundation for 2018 and beyond. Countries must increase their ambition to put us on a path to a 1.5C future." 

Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition 
“The message from the business community is that if governments want to attract investment and create competitive industrial policies, then having bold long-term climate policies really helps lower the costs of capital, and lower the risk of investment.  It is much easier if countries step up and set more ambitious climate policies.  But the opposite is true as well.  The more businesses send very strong signals to policymakers and to the market that they are raising their ambition because they see economic opportunity through bold climate action, then the more you will see governments raise their ambitions.” 

Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI
"The 2018 Talanoa Dialogue must produce stronger NDCs that set us on the right path to staying well below 2°C of global temperature rise. Local and other subnational governments are ready to step up and to contribute through their own commitments to bringing down climate-altering emissions as rapidly and decidedly as needed. The over 1,000 cities and regions reporting to the carbonn Climate Registry have the potential to reduce their emissions by a compound 5.6 GtCO2e by 2020. Climate change can only be a collective effort of all actors and in 2018 we have to accelerate. We cannot miss this opportunity."

Tomás Insua, Executive Director, Global Catholic Climate Movement 
"We need to bend the arc of greenhouse gas emissions downward by 2020. The wheels of government turn slowly and an ambitious public commitment in 2018 is the first step.  As people of faith, we protect the people and places we love, and our vulnerable sisters and brothers most of all.  All we ask is that government do the same--and do it quickly." 

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists 
"From hurricanes and typhoons to heat waves and wildfires, the signal is clear: climate change is underway, and time is running out to head off truly devastating impacts.  We have the cost-effective clean energy solutions needed to meet this challenge; what there hasn't been enough of is political will.   Countries must come to next December's climate summit in Poland prepared to take bold actions to safeguard the climate for their citizens and future generations."

Sven Harmeling, Global Lead on Climate Change Advocacy, CARE International Climate Change & Resilience Platform
"The 1.5 degrees limit which governments agreed on in the Paris Agreement, is the promise for a world in which people and countries can survive and thrive because major climate change impacts can be avoided. The Talanoa Dialogue must guide governments towards stepping up their climate efforts between 2018 and 2020, as time is running out to shift the world to a low-emission pathway quickly enough to keep the 1.5C limit within reach."

Nick Mabey, CEO, E3G
“COP is not a gathering of idealists with their heads in the clouds: it is a gathering of practical individuals who are determined to get things done. Countries must now step up and make good on what they promised to do when the Paris Agreement was drawn up and get us to annual global temperature increases of well below 2°C.”

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CONTACTS  

World Resources Institute:
Rhys Gerholdt (in Bonn), rgerholdt@wri.org,  +1 202 341-1323
Beth Elliott (in Bonn), beth.elliott@wri.org, +1 301-357-0981  

Climate Action Network International:
Dharini Parthasarathy, dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org
Hala Kilani, hkilani@climatenetwork.org

For more information on expectations for climate action in 2018, watch a recording of the “2018 Year to Step Up” press conference.