A #StepUp for Ambition Means a Giant Leap for Humankind

3 December 2019

Here at the “People’s COP” it is the people’s position that all Parties should be shooting for the stars by at the very least signalling their intention to increase ambition to their fair share, in line with 1.5ºC. With developed countries taking the lead. 

The scientific reality lit up the sky over Katowice last year with the IPCC’s special report on the impacts of 1.5ºC detailing the task ahead for reducing emissions. That task has become even more clear in 2019, with publications such as the 2019 UNEP Emissions Gap Report and The Production Gap Report detailing specific goals to meet, and actions to take. 

And what are those goals and actions? Next year, we must begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 7.6% per year through 2030, reaching 25 GtCO2e. In 2030, global fossil fuel production, especially coal, must be at least 120% less than the amount governments are currently planning to extract and burn.

It’s time to shoot for the moon on ambition instead of burying ourselves deeper into the ground with fossil fuels. Submitting revised and enhanced Nationally-Determined Contributions by 15 September 2020 at the latest is the most effective way to blast off. Governments should develop enhanced NDCs that reflect their fair share of a 1.5ºC trajectory, and do so through transparent and participatory processes that respond directly to people’s demands for social and economic justice. Policies should accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuel production, including phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels. These policies must provide participatory processes and platforms for communities and workers on the frontlines of the fossil fuel economy to determine how their governments can best assist their transition with dignity. For developed countries, enhanced NDCs must also specify adequate support to be made available for others. And remember, even adaptation actions can be transformative!

So, who is on the launch pad, ready to achieve one of the greatest achievements in human history? ClimateWatch lists 68 countries that have stated their intention to enhance ambition or action in an NDC, but only a few of those are actively advocating for enhancement. And, of course, only the Marshall Islands has submitted a new, enhanced NDC – even though many countries stated their intention to do so at the UNSG Climate Action Summit a few months ago.

On Monday morning ECO heard a few Heads of State/Heads of Government make strong statements. Week one offers opportunities such as the SBSTA-IPCC Special Event and pre-2020 Stocktake. Parties should extend the Marrakech Partnership/Global Climate Action Agenda to ensure that non-state actors are integrated into ambition-raising. And finally, a strong and fair Article 6 should be adopted that ensures actual emission reductions, not just a reshuffling of existing emissions. 

It may seem like a “moonshot” but we sent humans to the moon, didn’t we?

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