As the COP24 climate summit comes to an end, it is clear that governments have failed to adequately respond to the catastrophic impacts of climate change that were highlighted in the landmark IPCC report on 1.5°C. Based on a now widely operational Paris Agreement the next two years need to be used to build far-reaching transformational partnerships and reach the level of ambition science makes clear is necessary.
COP24 failed to deliver a clear commitment to strengthen all countries’ climate pledges by 2020. At the same time, a relatively effective though incomplete rulebook for how to implement the Paris Agreement was finalised. Limited progress was also made with regard to how financial support for poorer countries coping with devastating climate impacts will be provided and accounted for.
The EU has made welcome efforts by building alliances with other countries and finding common ground on sticking points. It has also set a good example when, together with several other members of the High Ambition Coalition, it committed to increase its 2030 climate target by 2020, in light of the warnings of the IPCC report. However, it has failed to convince all other governments to make the same commitment. Germany doubled their support for the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries, but other European countries still have to do the same.
In reaction to the COP24 outcomes, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“The weak outcome of this COP runs contrary to stark warnings of the IPCC report and growing demand for action from citizens. Governments have again delayed adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. The EU needs to push ahead and lead by example, by providing more support to poor countries and increasing its climate pledge before the UN Secretary General Summit in September 2019. It must be a significant increase, even beyond the 55% reduction some Member States and the European Parliament are calling for.”
Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 494 525 738
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.
CAN Europe members made the following statements wrapping up COP23:
Jennifer Tollmann, Climate Diplomacy Researcher, E3G said: “In the end the EU did finally step up as a bridge-builder. But we now need to see whether they can ace the real test. Will they pull their weight in closing the global emissions gap and support their climate vulnerable allies to weather the storm?”
Mattias Söderberg, Climate Advisor, DanChurchAid said: “Poor and vulnerable countries are left behind with the agreement from Katowice. People who face loss and damage due to droughts, flooding and devastating storms are not acknowledged. This puts more burden on those living in poverty who are affected by the worst impacts of climate change, and who in most cases have very few emissions themselves.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director of Germanwatch said: “It’s very clear that the world expects the EU to lead in climate politics. In the end we have seen some attempts of EU countries to play a constructive role in the high ambition coalition. But only far reaching transformational partnerships between EU members and other countries can develop the necessary geopolitical dynamics for transformation.”
Neil Makaroff, European Policy Officer of Reseau Action Climat France said: “The COP24 climate negotiations should be a wakeup call for EU countries: there is no time to waste in childish divisions. The IPCC report clearly highlighted that our home is burning and we have a limited time to save it. Governments should be united in engaging Europe in a more ambitious climate policy, both boosting the energy transition and ensuring that it is socially just, benefiting to all. Europeans have this special responsibility to pave the way and lead climate actions by example.”
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change, CARE International said: “At COP24, a number of powerful countries driven by short-sighted interests pushed to abolish the ambitious 1.5°C limit and throw away the alarming findings on harmful climate impacts of the IPCC Special Report. The most vulnerable countries, civil society and people on the ground have been leading the fight for climate justice. While governments accomplished the task of adopting a rulebook to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the world now requires much faster and stronger climate action at the national level, and support for poor countries to build climate resilience.”
Sebastian Scholz, Head of Climate Policy, NABU/BirdLife Germany said: “Again at this COP civil society made their demand clear to those decide to stay within the limit of 1.5 degrees of global warming. None the less several issues weren't solved by the delegations. Even the alarming findings of the IPCC Special Report weren't properly integrated into the outcome. The EU had a rather weak position on closing loopholes in the accounting guidelines of the rulebook. This won't help to limit emissions, but also incentivise the use of non sustainable biomass for energy supply, and therefore risks a further loss of biodiversity.”
Karin Lexén, Secretary General of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation said: “Two months ago, the scientific community sent an emergency message on the state of the climate crisis. Coming to Katowice, we demanded no less than an emergency response. This was not delivered. Now all countries must urgently pick up the baton, do their homework and get ready to radically scale up climate action at home. In Sweden, we demand a ban on fossil fuels by 2030.”
Otto Bruun, Climate Policy Officer, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation said: “Climate scientists have highlighted a safe option to avert climate chaos. Early retirement of fossil fuels should go hand in hand with the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems. While the governments at the Katowice conference did not produce the rulebook to match the ambition of the Paris treaty, governments must now mind the gap in ambition and increase their efforts at once. The April 2019 general election in Finland looks set be a climate election. Our collective ambition in civil society is to drive through an unforeseen and just policy shift to immediately protect and restore forest and peatland carbon sinks while retiring all fossil fuels altogether within two decades."