EU gets homework to scale up action at home
The COP23 UN climate summit slowly comes to an end in Bonn, Germany today, with countries expected to adopt a roadmap for the Talanoa Dialogue - a process which should ultimately result in scaling up countries’ 2030 climate pledges following the next UN Climate Summit in 2018.
In addition to the commitment to discuss how to scale up climate action, countries made modest progress in developing a negotiating text for “the Paris Rulebook” comprising the guidelines needed for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Much work remains to be done as the rules are due to be finalised next year in time for adoption at the next COP in 2018.
Limited progress has been made on the tangible issues related to climate finance and how to deal with the catastrophic impacts of climate change, such as those that a number of vulnerable countries have witnessed in the previous months. Agreements only cover the process to further discuss these issues and adequate action has again been delayed.
In reaction to progress of the talks, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“The Talanoa Dialogue roadmap should help countries bridge the gap between what they have committed to do and what is needed to keep temperature rise to safe levels. The EU needs to step up to the mark and make the most use of this opportunity by getting everything set for raising its 2030 climate target. The immediate next step is to put forward a higher climate target through the development of the new 2050 zero-carbon strategy. We need to go much further and faster, the current snail’s pace of the talks does not match the urgency of climate action nor the speed of the renewable energy transition on the ground.”
CAN Europe members made the following statements wrapping up COP23:
Urszula Stefanowicz, expert at the Polish Climate Coalition: “The Polish Presidency, hosting the next UN climate summit in 2018, has to work in partnership with the current Fijian Presidency to make sure it ends in success and results in all countries committing to higher climate targets. As the host of the next year’s COP24 climate summit, the Polish government cannot allow short-termism and vested interest to guide its stance in the negotiations.”
Eamon O’Hara, Executive Director, ECOLISE: “There are many thousands of grassroots, community-led initiatives on climate action, in Europe and globally, but they feel disconnected from the formal processes and are operating in a kind of policy vacuum. Governments and policy makers need to engage with and support this bottom-up action in order to help inject pace into the entire process.”
Mauro Albrizio, European Affairs Director, Legambiente: “Now it’s time for Europe to walk the talk and start immediately implementing the roadmap. The 2030 climate and energy package is the first opportunity for Europe to show real leadership adopting more ambitious targets for renewables and energy efficiency in coherence with the Paris Agreement. We welcome the Italian proposal to host COP26. It’s a good opportunity to prove with concrete action that Italy and Europe are prepared to lead by example scaling up their ambition at home”.
Giulia Bondi, Climate Justice and Energy Officer, CIDSE: “What we need to solve the current climate crisis is a real transformational change, only achievable through a strong political commitment, including from the EU. Two years after the Paris Agreement, some good progress has been made here at COP23 in advancing in the work programme and with the set-up of the Talanoa Dialogue to design a pathway towards increased ambition. Nonetheless, important questions such as climate finance and loss and damage are still being sidelined and this is alarming as people who are vulnerable to climate change urgently need actions: their very future is at stake.”
Francisco Ferreira, President, ZERO: “The consequences of climate change are dramatic worldwide including Europe, where more vulnerable countries like Portugal are suffering from large forest fires and severe drought. More ambition is required from Europe towards a fast decarbonisation to fulfil the Paris Agreement goals.”
David Howell, SEO/BirdLife: “We knew it already, but COP23 has reconfirmed it: rapid transformational changes in the world economy, especially the economies of the wealthy and developing nations, must begin in the next few years, with commitments and action under way when COP24 begins. With these parties doing more, especially on pre2020 decarbonization and finance, a clearer path will emerge which will create greater confidence amongst UNFCCC parties. Spain must do its part, and SEO/BirdLife calls on President Rajoy, his Ministers and autonomous governments to go beyond existing 2020 commitments to reduce emissions across the economy, and to achieve this quickly.”
Anne Barre, Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) International: “The GAP is essential because there is still so much to do to bridge the “gender gap” and have more efficient climate policies! For example in climate finance, according to the OECD 2017 report, less than 5% of climate funds have gender as a main objective. Thus women’s priorities are being totally neglected, and women have no direct access to climate funding. And yet, many innovative solutions on the ground exist today that should be upscaled with direct access to the Green Climate Fund. In turning the patriarchal system upside down, we will be able to reach the goal of the Paris Agreement.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch said: “This COP sends a powerful message to the German coalition negotiations: We expect that Germany implements its climate targets for 2020 and 2030. Key issues are a socially acceptable phase out of coal, a transformation of the transportation and agricultural sector. This COP stressed that in the coming three years, rich countries need to do more to meet their existing commitments. Countries also need to step up next year and develop strategies to increase their ambition up to 2030. Those are clear tasks for the next German government. We are disappointed in the limited progress this conference has made to address the need for finance to help the most vulnerable people cope with the impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Rich countries need also step up to support the poorest and most vulnerable people. The next opportunity is the summit hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France on 12 December.”