7 November 2016, Bonn: On the second day of the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, speakers at the Climate Action Network press briefing welcomed a positive early announcement of funding, encouraged China to fully assume the leadership role it's been signalling, and again stressed the urgency for beginning a process to set out clear and effective rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement by the end of this COP.
Li Shuo, Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer, Greenpeace East Asia, said that China is making real progress on climate action and signalling its intent to take a newly active role in climate diplomacy. “We see that many in Beijing see that America's difficulty is actually China's opportunity. China has made it very clear that it will honour its Paris Agreement [commitments], and in fact is on a trajectory to overachieve both the 2020 and 2030 climate targets. Over the past few months, we are also seeing very bold actions from China, and a transformation of China's approach when it comes to international climate diplomacy.”
Li pointed to China's embrace of renewables and phasing down of coal-powered generation, its establishment of the Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action alongside the European Union and Canada, and the strong message emerging from its 19th party congress, in which it for the first time described itself as wishing to be a leader in international climate governance.
Jan Kowalzig, Senior Policy Adviser Climate Change, Oxfam Germany, began by welcoming his country's announcement that it will give 50 million euros for the Adaptation Fund and a further 50 million for the Least Developed Countries Fund. “The announcement of new finance so early in the conference is an invitation to other developed countries to follow suit,” but Kowalzig stressed that these amounts are not nearly enough.
“We need to make sure that these welcome pledges are not used to cover up what's going on: Germany is currently not on track to meet its mitigation targets. It's going to miss them by a wide margin. The German government has pulled the brake on renewable energy expansion over the past four years. It has not done anything to address emissions in the transport sector. In fact, Germany is one of those that constantly opposed ambitious fuel emissions standards in Brussels. And it has missed the opportunity to start the phase out of coal.”
He expressed concern that talks in Berlin over forming a coalition government currently include three parties who are opposed to Germany meeting its Paris Agreement commitments.
“In many countries governments or ministers are not acting as they should be. We need a complete phase out of fossil fuels and as soon as possible. As I said, Germany is sometimes still portrayed as a climate leader, as a country that's ambitiously engaging in climate action and turning its energy systems to renewable energy... but this is not the case.
And it's not the case in many other countries, and that makes it even more important that we engage much more also in movement building with citizens.”
Non-state actors must drive progress
Yamide Dagnet, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute, agreed that action is needed from players other than national governments.
“It's not just government acting, it's acting together also with non-state actors. So business has a role to play; at the subnational level, cities and provinces also have also a role to play. And I think we're going to see over the next two weeks, how we can actually leverage opportunities that we have missed in the past two years. What is really important is to seize opportunities to really capitalise on what can be done in including the changes in technology.”For Dagnet, the key elements to be resolved by these talks include: agreeing on the modalities of reporting; agreeing on how to ensure this reporting is credible to build trust; agreement on the accounting rules; and how to take stock of our collective effort.
“On the Talanoa dialogue, I think there's two contextual issues to bear in mind. First of all, we're here in the aftermath of unprecedented climate disasters over the past month. We're only a day from the fourth anniversary of anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan.
“We can only stress that we have just two years left according to science, two years to really prevent irreversible impacts
which would result in loss and damage so severe that even the best solidarity package, the best support would fail to get us where we need to be or to effectively support the most vulnerable countries.
“This makes mitigation a kind of down payment, for loss and damage and therefore the mitigation and the means of implementation to get the right pace, to accelerate reduced emissions is focus of dialogue.”
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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