09 December 2019, Madrid, Spain: As the second week of COP25 commences, Climate Action Network today organized a press briefing to give a context and updates on where things stand as issues become more political and expose the fault lines on where and how the countries are undermining climate ambition. Representatives of NGOs called on governments to take concrete steps to address the climate emergency by stopping fossil fuel extraction and fossil fuel subsidies, committing to loss and damage finance and agreeing on robust rules on future carbon markets.
Reactions from CAN speakers:
Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada:
For twenty-five years, these meetings have focused on the symptoms of climate change – greenhouse gas emissions – but ignored the root cause of the crisis. But a major shift has happened here at COP25 – after decades of tiptoeing around them, delegates are finally saying the F words – fossil fuels. We saw the release of the UNEP Production Gap Report in the lead up to the COP. It’s the first annual assessment of the gap between the targets in the Paris agreement and countries’ planned production of coal, oil and gas. Its findings were startling – governments are planning to produce 120% more fossil fuels in 2030 than is consistent to limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.
We also just saw the release of the oil and gas and climate report which examines the oil and gas industry’s expansion plan for the next five years. The sector plans to invest US$1.4 trillion into new extraction projects between 2020 and 2024 which would lock in 148 gigatons equivalent to 1,200 coal plants of CO2 emissions between now and then. 85% of that planned expansion is happening in Canada and the US. Other countries with the largest expansion plans include Argentina, China, Norway and Australia. COP25 marks a sea change in the dynamic in this institution – there’s no going back. From now on, the need to constrain production and supply of fossil fuels must be a necessary and growing piece of international climate talks.
2020 in the year of ambition and countries will be expected to present improved NDCs. We must see that those plans to reduce emissions are paired with commitments to phase-out production of fossil fuels while developing just transition plans making sure that no one is left behind.
Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid International:
Millions in Africa at this moment are facing food shortage and the number is going to touch 45 million in the next 6 months and they suffer from a food crisis right now as we speak in these conference rooms. This process was designed to deliver global justice. This is a place where Tuvalu is as powerful as the European Union or the United States. But the constant bullying of these big countries is making this process worse than useless. Their bullying has not stopped, they’re not letting us make any progress in this space. There is no substitute for action and what rich countries are doing is creating an illusion of actions by just talking. When we demand action, they offer reports. When we demand money, they offer workshops. That is not going to help people who are suffering right now.
In this process, we agreed to create a system that should help people. And that demand was raised 28 years ago by Vanuatu that we need to create that system. And it took us 22 years to even create that system in 2013. We believed in rich countries’ words that we are going to see money coming in to help these people on ground. That bullying did not let us create that system in the last six years under Warsaw International Mechanism. We created that mechanism but the money that should have started flowing in has not seen the light of day. They did not even allow a discussion on how money is going to be mobilized and we are talking about impacts and damage that is reaching $300 billion per year by 2030 and US$1.2 trillion by 2060.
Li Shuo, Senior Global Policy Advisor (Climate, Biodiversity, and Ocean)
Greenpeace East Asia:
Over the first week, the Chilean Presidency has proposed a set of some of the most important decisions to be adopted by the end of this COP. These decisions in our view represents the most important outcome at COP and should send a very clear and strong signal to the rest of the world that all the countries here are still committed to high ambition and the principles enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
On Article 6: the first week on the negotiations we have seen some of the lengthy debates in the future carbon market. We understand things haven’t moved that much on that issue in the first week. There’s a lot of complexity in the carbon market discussion. We want to set it straight – it is nonsense if the rules that we set for ourselves to allow countries to count the same emissions reductions twice. It also doesn’t make sense if some of the emissions that have already been achieved in the past 10 years are allowed to be carried over to post-2020. It is absurd to even have those debates over the first week. We have no time and luxury for future carbon offsets – we are in a climate emergency and carbon markets should not distract us away from the very important decisions of the second week which should be about ambition.
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Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN