With ambition in jeopardy, ministers need to step up in Paris

8 December 2015

After the first official day of high-level ministerial discussions, the French presidency and many ministers praised the progress and collaborative attitude. However, it is up to ministers to deliver on leaders' statements by laying aside political posturing and working to create an ambitious deal, one that lays out a roadmap to quickly get a climate that is livable for everyone. 
There is a clear momentum behind the inclusion of a 1.5 degree temperature limit. However, the limit will only be achieved if we also get a long-term goal and a process to revise commitments upward. There is also growing convergence on the importance of a global stocktaking, although the critical issues of when it begins and whether it rules out winding back commitments still remain unresolved. 

On the ground in Paris, CAN members made the following comments: 

“Many leaders say they support a 1.5 degree temperature limit, and we’re heartened to hear that, but that doesn’t change anything if you don’t have a map and a car to get to that destination. We feel that this map is in serious jeopardy. We need a long-term goal that shows us where to go, and we need an ambition mechanism that accelerates action over time. If we rule out the ability to revisit our commitments before 2020, there is no chance to get to 1.5 degrees. We don’t think everything is lost, but we are concerned. The ministers are holding the pen. Those of us who have watched for a long time see a new spirit of cooperation, but this cooperation has to result in something real and meaningful.”
-Ruth Davis, Greenpeace
“Addressing loss and damage is a life and death issue, not a bargaining chip. Negotiators need to take the politics out of this topic. All the talk we heard from leaders—about solidarity and standing with vulnerable countries—has to become real. All ministers, particularly of the US, now have to show flexibility, and leave the politics behind, for the sake of the vulnerable people.”
-Harjeet Singh, ActionAid

"Right now, in the Arab Group, there is no peer pressure, there are no champions, so Saudi Arabia has been allowed to act as a blocker for much of the climate talks. Arab countries are standing silent and letting Saudi Arabia talk on their behalf. Morocco and Egypt have strong climate action plans and Jordan has the largest wind farm in the region, but due to their silence, their climate action and their reputations are being undermined. Will they keep hiding behind Saudi Arabia’s obstruction, or will they step out and represent the will for climate action in the region?" 

-Safa' Al Jayoussi, IndyACT
Webcast: The press conference was webcast live and is available on demand here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-12-08-11-00-climate-action-network-latest-developments-at-cop21

CAN will be holding a press briefing Wednesday, December 9, at 11:00 CEST. For a one-to-one interview with our spokespeople, please contact Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org 

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