2020 Will Not Reset the Gap

4 December 2019

Today and tomorrow, COP25 will see some focus on pre-2020 implementation and action in the Stocktake on Pre-2020 Implementation and Ambition, with the technical part today and the high-level part tomorrow. 

According to the concept note for the Stocktake, “all Parties share the view that pre-2020 implementation and ambition are of utmost importance”. We have a hard time believing that you all really feel that way. 

In the pre-2020 period, you, the Parties

have had the chance to get the world on track to avoid catastrophic climate change and the resulting loss and damage to people, particularly in vulnerable countries. 

have invited the IPCC to help us establish sound scientific knowledge on the impacts and risks of climate change, and the need to combat it. 

have seen report after report demonstrating the co-benefits of climate action, including for poverty reduction, equality, pollution, health, and more. Early action would have even been more cost-effective. 

Also in the pre-2020 period, have brought us promises, and speeches. You have not brought the necessary emission reductions and finance. 

What you, the Parties, have not had in the pre-2020 period is the political will and courage matching the challenge we face, to stand up to those who want to continue profiting from climate-destroying practices, and stand up for those vulnerable people facing devastating losses and damages.  

Did you think the issue of lack of action in the pre-2020 period was going to go away at midnight on 31 December? It will not. According to the Stocktake concept note, “enhanced pre-2020 ambition can lay a solid foundation for enhanced post-2020 ambition”. Right now, it’s looking a lot more like lack of pre-2020 action will lay a solid foundation for a larger post-2020 gap. 

Developed country Parties, what you need to remember during this week’s Stocktake, and at midnight on 31 December 2019 as you enter the Year of Climate Ambition, is that the actions you have not taken up to then, must now be done post-2020 – by you. Distributing the responsibility of cutting those emissions among all countries is not an option.

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