We want you to panic – this is a climate emergency

17 June 2019

Dear Delegates,

Some of you might have read the famous Harry Potter books and may remember thinking: “How implausible to create a story where a bunch of children have to show up at the government ministry to warn adults about the dangers threatening the very existence of their world!”

Well… it’s 2019 and much has happened since 16-year-old Greta Thunberg spoke at COP24. Last month, 1.5 million young people took to the streets of 120 countries, refusing to accept inaction on climate change. The climate emergency is here – and young people are telling us it’s time to act!

ECO is glad many of you want to contribute to climate action at SB50 and – you would have never guessed – we have some great advice for you. From now on, no meeting of governments on climate can be business as usual. SB50 takes place just before a series of international meetings –  MoCA, G20 Summit, the Abu Dhabi meeting, and the G7. Keeping these events in mind and working towards the UNSG Summit, the GCF replenishment meeting and COP25, ECO wishes to see many informal and formal conversations on expectations and plans to deliver political progress in three key areas: Support, Climate Impacts, and Ambition.

All countries, especially big emitters, need to commit to an enhanced ambition that will catalyze the transformational change required to set the world on a 1.5°C pathway. Contributor countries must close the gap in finance and provide predictable, transparent and sufficient finance: $100 billion by 2020 and act to ensure that contributions are doubled at the GCF replenishment conference. Contributor countries also need to provide adequate technology and capacity building support.

Regarding support, ECO thinks you have an excellent opportunity in Bonn to indicate increased GCF contributions, to support a replenishment that goes significantly beyond doubling the initial resource mobilization. The Long-term Finance workshop is a great place to build trust in the replenishment process and to discuss a transparent, science-based, and inclusive negotiation process for the post-2025 financial goal. But you can also use SB50 to advance work to ensure that both the Paris Committee on Capacity Building and the Consultative Group of Experts effectively support Parties in implementing the Paris Agreement. 

What’s more, we cannot forget the devastating impacts of climate change and how to increase support for loss and damage at SB50. Cyclone Kenneth recently killed more than 1,000 people in Mozambique and forced the world’s sixth poorest country to take on an extra US$118 million of debt. COP25 must operationalize the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM), by putting in place a finance arm and by agreeing on new sources of finance. We know you have read this before. But in Bonn, it is finally time to agree on the terms of reference for the review of the WIM, and ensure at last that it will be adequately resourced.

On top of the extreme events, a 10 million years record-high atmospheric CO2 concentration of 415ppm reached in May is a sign that we urgently need to work on ambition at SB50.
There is the unfinished business from COP24 to deliver ambition: Robust guidelines for Article 6 that deliver overall reduction of global emissions, prevent any form of double counting and include social, environmental, and human rights safeguards. Secondly, 5-year common timeframes allow to far better respond to the emergency we are facing. ECO heard it’s just a few Parties who are preventing agreement on this matter. 

And, of course, NDC enhancement: ECO suggests making the best use of agenda items that provide room for discussing ambition raising and enhancing NDCs, such as SBSTA item 6 to assess progress towards alignment with a 1.5°C pathway, or the Multilateral Assessment and the Facilitative Sharing of Views that can serve to identify areas for NDC enhancement, and gaps to 1.5°C compatible pathways.

Last but certainly not least, ECO expects Parties and the incoming Presidency to consult on and share expectations for a political outcome on NDC enhancement at COP25. The incoming Presidency should use SB50 to consult with Parties on what they are going to announce at the UNSG Climate Action Summit with regards to enhancing NDCs by 2020 and on how to create a political space at COP25 to ensure that commitments made in New York are carried forward and reflected in the process and work plan for next year.

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