Advancing Global Climate Action in a Year Without a UN Climate Conference - sierraclub

With the COVID-19 crisis raging across the world, 2020 will be the first time in a quarter century that the world’s governments will not meet to coordinate climate action. The postponement of the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is widely seen as a lost opportunity in the effort to advance the global response to the climate crisis. After all, this was supposed to be the year that countries acted on the increasingly dire warning from scientists and upped their Paris Agreement pledges. Given the urgency of the challenge, even a relatively short delay feels like a significant setback.

 

Now more than ever, it is clear that we need smart, aggressive, globally coordinated action to contain the unfolding damage of a rapidly warming world. With the work under the Paris Agreement largely on pause, it is worth paying closer attention to the actions that must be taken outside of the agreement to ensure its success.

 

No doubt, the Paris Agreement provides the indispensable framework for organizing global collaboration. But the Paris Agreement cannot do all the work on its own. To keep the worst effects of the climate crisis within tolerable limits, countries must do a lot more than they have agreed to do so far.  One reason countries have not committed to do more is that the agreement creates only weak incentives for them to do so. To generate the much deeper cuts to carbon pollution that scientists say are necessary, additional incentives must come from outside the agreement.  

 

The key question, then, is how the international community can create those incentives to supplement the agreement. Today, the Sierra Club is releasing a new report that proposes three ways. First, the international community should prioritize helping countries to capture “socially beneficial” mitigation opportunities that are in their interest, even before climate impacts are considered. Second, countries should work to establish “climate protection” norms that set global expectations for responsible behavior. Third, countries should treat the climate crisis like other threats to their vital interests and use diplomatic “sticks” and “carrots” to encourage others to cooperate.  

 

The first step is to encourage countries to grow their economies, create jobs, and increase public health and welfare in just ways that also reduce emissions. There are numerous ways to do this, including reducing energy waste, investing in clean energy, and building better planned cities. Really, these are just smart policies and sound investments; the climate benefits are a bonus.

 

As countries focus on containing the pandemic and reinvigorating their economies, the immediate priority is to ensure that national recovery and international support packages are designed to seize these opportunities. The EU, for example, is making a “Green Deal” package of climate initiatives a central pillar of its €750 billion ($825 billion) recovery fund. And the World Bank has developed a “Green Stimulus Framework” to ensure that its recovery assistance also helps countries capture the benefits of decarbonization.  

 

Here in the US, a recent Sierra Club study has found that a thoughtful stimulus package focused on green investments could create good jobs for over 9 million people every year for the next 10 years, while cleaning our air and water, increasing wages, improving community health, and fostering equity. It would  also put us on pace to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030, the amount scientists say is necessary to avert the worst climate impacts.

 

Even so, simply encouraging countries to do what is in their own interests is unlikely to be sufficient—countries must also have stronger incentives to act in the global interest. One way to create those incentives is through climate protection norms. Norms are the standards of acceptable conduct that the international community expects countries to follow. They can have powerful effects on countries’ behavior, even when they are not legally enforced. Human rights are the classic example: Countries closely monitor each other’s human rights records, and countries that violate basic standards risk condemnation, sanctions, and even isolation. Similarly, international norms that define minimum expectations for acceptable climate behavior could be an important lever for raising ambition.  

 

What might such norms look like? Three emerging possibilities are worth exploring. First, a norm could take the form of a long-term goal that all countries would be expected to meet. There is a growing expectation that countries will adopt strategies to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, in line with the IPCC’s 1.5°C (2.7° F)  model pathways. Almost 80 countries have adopted such plans or committed to do so. And some, like the United Kingdom and Sweden, have integrated this commitment into domestic law. A second approach would be to establish norms that proscribe the most destructive practices. For instance, U.N. Secretary General Guterres has called for a moratorium on new coal plants, and the Powering Past Coal Alliance has sought to establish an expectation that countries will move quickly to close their existing coal power plants. A third kind of climate norm would give content to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and define a fair, implementable standard for determining the adequacy of each country’s actions.

 

Read more...

 

Go back

Partners News

31/01/2023: Out now: Corruption Perceptions Index 2022

Today, Transparency International released the latest results of our annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The index ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A blue map of the world against dark background with symbols of conflict, oppression, corruption, justice and people power

[Newsletter] Adaptation Fund: Caps Accomplished Year with Eye to Promising 2023 - Adaptation-Fund

The Adaptation Fund capped off another successful year, providing tangible results on the ground for climate-vulnerable countries and raising more than US$ 230 million in new pledges and contributions in 2022 at the United Nations COP27 climate change conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

Plastic Treaty progress puts spotlight on circular economy - UNEP

When the gavel came down on the resolution to end plastic pollution at the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi last March, there were hugs and tears among the delegates. The emotion reflected the importance of this historic milestone: a legally binding global instrument toward ending plastic pollution.

2023: The year of implementation for climate, nature and pollution reduction - UNEP

Speech delivered by: Inger Andersen. For: 160th Resumed meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives. Location: Nairobi, Kenya....The last time we spoke, I was in Montreal at the negotiations of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. My connection with you was, unfortunately, cut short due to technical gremlins. My apologies for that, and my thanks to Sonja for delivering my remarks....

New environmental education guide for Latin America, Caribbean region on action for nature, climate and pollution - UNEP

Quito, 27 January 2023 – A new tool aimed at reinforcing environmental education and was launched today by The Environmental Education Network, an intergovernmental platform of environmental education in Latin America. The Environmental Education Resources Guide  is launched as part of Ecuador’s Environmental Education Week, organized by its Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition and the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Global growth forecast to slow to 1.9% in 2023, warn UN economists - UN

Senior UN economists warned on Wednesday that intersecting crises are likely to add further damage to the global economy, with growth set to slow from three per cent in 2022 to 1.9 per cent this year. This will be one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades, apart from during the 2007-8 financial crisis and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

African Development Bank Group team meet Swiss envoys from West Africa to discuss Africa’s development agenda

Swiss ambassadors meeting in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan invited a senior management team from the African Development Bank Group to exchange views on development and cooperation.The envoys held a working luncheon, hosted by the Swiss assistant state secretary for Sub-Saharan Africa, Siri Walt, on Friday 20 January. Ambassador Walt is the head of the Africa Division at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

Working group meets to discuss AU-AfDB study on driving inclusive growth in Africa - AFDB

The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank Group have a concluded a technical session on how to conduct an upcoming joint study on driving development in Africa. The goal of the study, titled Key Actions to Drive Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa, is to identify key actions that will allow Africa to rise and remain at a growth level of 7% GDP.

2022 AEC: Accessing clean, affordable energy in Africa is key as the world moves towards energy transition: panelists - AFDB

As the world moves toward energy transition, it is important that Africa’s ongoing challenges with access to clean, affordable and inclusive energy be addressed for the continent to achieve a fair and just energy transition, panelists said during the 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC).

New ambitions on sustainable cooling for COP28 - UN

Abu Dhabi, 16 January 2023 – As the Earth warms at a dangerous pace, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-led Cool Coalition, with the United Arab Emirates’ incoming presidency of COP28, announced the development of a Global Cooling Pledge and a “Cool COP Menu of Actions” that will feature prominently at COP28.  The Menu will be defined over the coming months in close collaboration with partners including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

EU agrees to block beef or soya linked to deforestation - AGRILAND

A new law will ensure that a set of key goods placed on the EU market, such as cattle, beef or soya, will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world. Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of these commodities, this step will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and biodiversity loss, according to the commission. This major agreement comes just before the start of the Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) which is set to define protection goals for nature for decades to come.

Forest Trends Impact Report 2022

Forest Trends was founded with the mission of putting an economic engine behind nature conservation – the idea being that our economy, our society, and our wellbeing all depend in very real and material ways on healthy natural ecosystems. That idea’s time has come. The world is looking to “nature-based solutions” to combat climate change, mitigate water risks, prevent pandemics, protect biodiversity, support food insecurity, and so on. Forest Trends is fielding many new opportunities at a totally different scale than in the past, and at a much more systemic level.

Fern - New report outlining options for partnerships to accompany the new EU regulation on deforestation-free products

23 January 2023, Fern is launching a report which outlines options for partnerships to accompany the new EU Regulation on deforestation-free products. Partnerships will be an essential part of maximising the Regulation’s impact in decreasing deforestation on the ground. They will also help mitigate risks linked to the Regulation: that it would cause “leakage” of unsustainable production to other consumer markets, or that smallholders would bear the cost of implementation.

Call for inputs from non-Party stakeholders - Global Stocktake and Mitigation Work Programme

Call for inputs for the global Stocktake in 2023 In the run-up to the conclusion of the first global stocktake in COP 28, submissions on views on the approach to the consideration of the outputs component of the first global Stocktake are open until 15 February 2023. Also, submissions for the third technical dialogue, scheduled to be held during the June SB session, are open until 6 March.

One Forest Summit: March 1, 2023

At COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Emmanuel Macron and President Ali Bongo announced that a One Forest Summit would be held in Libreville, Gabon, on 1st and 2nd of March, 2023. Tropical forests provide an invaluable service both to local populations and to humanity by offering many resources but also by sequestering carbon and hosting biodiversity hotspots.

Global Synthesis Report on Climate Action 2022

Of previous editions, the Global Synthesis Report is composed of stand-alone analyses that can be read independently, for a more thematic or sectoral reading. Discover in the report: infographics on the evolution indicators of emissions and activities, the existing and emerging trends in the strategies of actors, signals of change in the various sectors, and case studies of exemplary initiatives.

Africa's large palm oil plantation must come to a halt -GREENPEACEAFRICA

Protect the Campo Ma’an national park and stop Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert) from destroying Indigenious Bagyeli people’s and ancestral lands! More than 28 communities call the Campo Ma’an area home. Now, a palm oil company, Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert), has started clear-cutting these ancestral lands about seven times the size of Dakar illegally.

Bridging the Financing Gap Between Developing Countries and Financiers – NDCPARTNERSHIP

In the aftermath of COP27, where global leaders have gathered for over two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, those of us who regularly engage directly with developing countries know that the path forward is clear. Developing countries are committed to climate-compatible development and ready to implement. However, driving climate action on the ground requires unprecedented finance.  

UN Secretary-General to Convene “Climate Ambition Summit” in 2023 - IISD

UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced he will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023, to generate “new, tangible and credible climate action” to “accelerate action at the mid-way point” of the SDGs. Going forward, he said he will push for a Climate Solidarity Pact, for all big emitters to “make an extra effort” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the 1.5°C goal and provide support for those who need it.

COP 15 Events Focus on Sustainable Ocean Management, NbS for Climate Action – IISD

The Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI), a capacity-building programme established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, provides support, advice, and guidance to countries in their efforts to achieve global biodiversity targets in marine and coastal areas. The Initiative, the subject of an event held during the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15), achieves these aims through such activities as the SOI Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies and the SOI Training of Trainers programme.

Development Co-operation Partnership Commits to be “Fit” for 2030 Agenda – IISD

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) convened a three-day summit to take stock of the progress in implementing the Principles of Effective Development Co-operation since their endorsement in 2011, and to discuss the future of work. Stakeholders agreed to build on past commitments, achievements, and experiences and to address the “unfinished business of the aid effectiveness agenda.”

Ten criteria for understanding the recognition of and respect for community rights –CIFOR

Seven safeguard principles for REDD+ were adopted at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun in 2010. Two of these principles address participation and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs) directly. These principles are meant to be “interpreted” by REDD+ countries using their national legal frameworks, to decide, for example, who is recognized as an IP or LC, and what is meant by “respect” or their “participation”.

WWF and ICRAF announce partnership to restore nature through food systems transformation – CIFOR

Partners call on CBD negotiations to commit to increasing agroecological food production practices. As environmental ministers at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (UNCBD COP15) negotiate an agreement to tackle catastrophic degradation of our planet, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) have announced a partnership to accelerate implementation of food-based actions that will help restore nature and limit climate change. The two organisations will partner on major initiatives that support farmers in utilizing the power of natural ecosystems to build healthy and productive food systems that provide enough healthy and nutritious food within planetary boundaries.

Aligning Chad’s Nationally Determined Contribution and National Action Plan to Advance Climate Action – NDCPARTNERSHIP

Chad is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Because its economy is based mainly on the primary sector, Chad’s reliance on natural resources makes it particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Take for example the case of Lake Chad, where the water volume has decreased by 90% since the 1960s due to climate change and over-exploitation. Chad’s vulnerability to climate change is further exacerbated by the country’s relatively low level of preparedness when it comes to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

2023 - What will it mean for EU work on forests?

In December 2022, the European Union (EU) finally agreed on the text of its long-awaited Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR). For the first time companies selling certain products on the EU market will be punished if they are found to have contributed towards deforestation. This was the final stage in a long and often tortuous journey, in which forests were thrust centre-stage of EU policymaking. 2023 will be another crucial year for the EU and forests, especially since it will be followed by the EU’s ‘cooling off’ period, when no new policies are initiated, in the run-up to the 2024 European elections.

Countries making risky bet on forests and soils to reach net zero - PHYS

New research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) highlights the risks of countries relying on nature-based solutions to achieve net zero. The article summarizes the findings of the study. For example, the study found that once the bulk of emissions have been reduced, countries plan to "cancel out" the leftover difficult-to-decarbonize emissions, such as those from agriculture, by using forests and soils to remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, this may prove risky because forests and soils are also threatened by a range of impacts, such as fire, disease, changes in farming practices, and deforestation.

Stop burning trees to make energy, say 650 scientists before Cop15 biodiversity summit - theguardian

More than 650 scientists are urging world leaders to stop burning trees to make energy because it destroys valuable habitats for wildlife. Bioenergy has “wrongly been deemed ‘carbon neutral’” and many countries are increasingly relying on forest biomass to meet net zero goals, according to the letter, addressed to world leaders including Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. “The best thing for the climate and biodiversity is to leave forests standing – and biomass energy does the opposite,” it says.

New analysis finds pandemic didn't dampen deforestation - PHYS

This article is giving an introduction to the paper "Has global deforestation accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic?". Analysis of tree cover loss over time was used to determine whether deforestation observed in 2020 deviated from expected trajectories after the first COVID-19 cases were reported; both at the regional level for the Americas, Africa and Asia and at the country level for Brazil, Colombia, Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia.

How Forests Benefit Cities' Water, Health, Climate and Biodiversity - WRI

A growing body of research shows that even forests located far away from urban centers provide tremendous benefits in regulating the global climate, water and biodiversity systems that are essential to people’s health and quality of life. New research led by WRI and Pilot Projects through the Cities4Forests initiative synthesizes the benefits that forests at three scales — inner, nearby and faraway — offer cities. The report provides the scientific imperative for city-led policies, incentives and investments that help conserve, restore and sustainably manage forests at each of these scales. The article outlines the many benefits across four categories that forests provide to cities from the report.

Nature tech can play a vital role in tackling nature loss - weforum

Nature is a vital resource, necessary for our health, livelihoods and well-being. It also accounts for $44 trillion of economic value generation. In addition, nature-based solutions can provide more than one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep climate goals in reach. Nature tech will be vital in helping facilitate and accelerate these solutions, making them valuable tools in tackling climate change.

Controversy over the lifting of the moratorium in the DRC, when Bazaiba throws a spanner in the works

The statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Eve Bazaiba, at the press briefing on Monday 28 November, on the lifting of the moratorium has raised the roof. Like a shockwave, the affirmation of the lifting of the moratorium established by the DRC's sovereignty over its forests in 2002 has provoked strong reactions in public opinion.

SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality, 1-2 December 2022 at NOUBOU International Hotel Douala, Cameroon

The SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality seeks to identify effective approaches, concrete actions, and actors to be mobilised to make timber value chains, especially those focused on the domestic market, a lever for a forest sector with high environmental, economic and social added value.

Analysis of rights and REDD+ safeguards – CIFOR

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). However, not all REDD+ countries have legal systems that build on UNDRIP and few, especially in Africa, have ratified other relevant agreements such as the International Labour Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.

New study finds logged tropical forests are surprisingly vibrant and need protection - Phys

Logging affects many of the world's tropical forests, and such forests are often considered degraded because they have lost vegetation structure, biomass and carbon stocks. But there has rarely been analysis of whether the ecological health and functionality of these ecosystems are similarly degraded. A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford, finds that logged rainforests are treasure-troves of healthy ecological function and should not be written off for oil palm plantations. This article gives some insights into the newly published paper.