CAN Position: Climate Change and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, April 2014


Key Points

Climate Action Network (CAN) thinks that the Sustainable Development (SDGs) frameworks should include a goal on addressing climate change as well as mainstreaming climate action across all other relevant goals. Only then will action on climate change get the visibility that it deserves due to its importance, relevance and urgency.

CAN further believes that bringing the post-2015 development process and the UNFCCC process into alignment can help deliver the scale of ambitions needed to achieve the aims of both processes, namely preventing dangerous anthropogenic climate change whilst eradicating poverty, and achieving sustainable development.

For CAN, climate action in this context means that all countries, respective to their differentiated responsibilities and capabilities, ensure the transition to low/zero-carbon development with a view to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, build adaptive capacities and resilience to environmental shocks and stresses, especially of poor and vulnerable communities.

BACKGROUND: Two processes, one important year

2015 is an important year: it is the year in which intergovernmental negotiators will agree the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as priorities of the next international development framework, as well as a new, global, legally-binding climate agreement. There is much at stake as together these two agreements will shape the future of the planet and all who live on it, for generations to come.

Politically, the post-2015 and UNFCCC process are discrete processes; however, the decisions taken within one will have critical implications for the other. The agreement reached under the UNFCCC will, for example, influence whether post-2015 development will be implemented in a two, three, four (or more) degree world, and the SDGs will influence not only how resilient and well adapted to the effects of climate change poor and vulnerable communities will be, but also the pace and carbon intensity of development in all countries.

Countries acknowledged the centrality of climate change to the post-2015 development agenda reaffirming ‘that climate change is a cross-cutting and persistent crisis’ and ‘the scale and gravity of the negative impacts of climate change affect all countries and undermine the ability of all countries, in particular, developing countries, to achieve sustainable development [...] and threaten the viability and survival of nations. Therefore [countries] underscore that combating climate change requires urgent and ambitious action’.