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Paris Agreement at 5: Climate leadership key to limit warming to 1.5°C in post-Covid19 era – Campaigners

Ahead of the UN/UK/France hosted Climate Ambition Summit to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2020, civil society representatives from Climate Action Network on Thursday, December 10 reminded all governments, particularly rich countries and major emitters, that the commemoration of the Paris Agreement must honour the promises made five years ago through ambitious new national climate targets by the end of this year.

Paris Agreement
Jubilation greeted the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 in Paris, France. Photo credit: unfccc.int

The “ratchet mechanism”, through updated climate targets every five years, is the heart of the Paris Agreement. As the 2020 deadline looms for countries to submit updated nationally determined contributions, a recent UN report shows that the emissions gap continues to remain dangerously wide. The time for implementing new targets is now, not next year, said the campaigners.

According to them, accelerating efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C must define the post-Covid19 era, with recovery plans aligned with a zero-carbon future. Governments, they added, cannot escape the effects of the coronavirus pandemic by digging the world deeper into the climate crisis.

The largest economies have pledged over $250 billion this year to fossil fuels through their Covid19 economic recovery policies, CAN officials noted, describing it as an alarming trend that must be swiftly reversed to make sure public money goes towards a just and sustainable future.

“While net-zero 2050 pledges offer a promising vision, without detailed and ambitious 2030 climate targets based on fairshare and equity, they risk becoming a smokescreen for inaction. Finance for adaptation and finance Loss and Damage are key pillars for driving climate ambition and building resilience to fight the climate crisis.

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“Efforts to bridge the shortfall in the $100 billion annually promised by 2020 must now be reinforced by developed countries with a post-2025 climate finance plan that meets the needs of the most vulnerable communities,” they added.

Li Shuo, Senior Global Policy Advisor, Greenpeace East Asia, said: “Five years on, the Paris Agreement has demonstrated its resilience. Now it’s up to the countries to fulfil their promise to enhance ambition. The majority of them are nowhere near where they should be. Let the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement serve as a reminder to them of what needs to be done. We have one planet, five years, and countless lives – we need to make this anniversary count.”

Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network Europe: “By Friday EU leaders are expected to reach a deal on the new EU climate target for 2030. The new target needs to be as high as possible to allow the EU to sustain, but more importantly to accelerate its emission reductions in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

“The latest data on EU emissions show that the bloc is following the right path, but now it needs to hit the ground running as science is clear that action in the short term is key to limiting catastrophic climate change impacts. The EU has the chance to regain climate leadership before the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, European leaders must not miss it.”

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Fernanda de Carvalho, Global Policy Manager, WWF International: “After a very difficult year when the pandemic demanded much of the efforts and resources also needed to tackle the climate crisis, this Climate Ambition Summit must pave the way for COP26 to deliver solid outcomes. A “green recovery” should include climate as a priority. The UNEP 2020 Emissions Gap report says the right policies could cut up to 25% from predicted 2030 emissions, keeping the world on a 1.5˚C warming pathway.

“The UK must go beyond inspiring other countries with their recent announcement of reducing emissions by at least 68% in 2030 compared to 1990. The UK Presidency needs to work hard to get long-term strategies and #NDCsWeWant from all countries, especially the big emitters.”

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director, ActionAid USA: “After four years of climate denial, a new US administration that takes climate change seriously is a welcome change. But we cannot afford to go back to the status quo of US engagement in climate efforts. The United States must be more ambitious and willing to do its full fair share of climate action. That means reducing domestic emissions by 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 and massively scaling up international support for developing countries.”

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Yen, Nguyen Thi, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Advisor, CARE International Vietnam: “Gender justice and climate justice are two sides of the same coin. CARE calls on governments to submit new and more ambitious climate plans by the end of 2020. These mitigation and adaptation plans must include the specific needs of women and girls because research shows that disasters affect women and children the hardest and they play a central role in climate vulnerable sectors such as subsistence farming.”

Miriam Talwisa, National Coordinator, Climate Action Network Uganda: “We in Africa urge developed countries to scale up their climate targets to address the two-pronged crises of climate and Covid19. We call for the accelerated delivery of finance to support efforts spearheaded by frontline communities experiencing the intensifying effects of climate change. “The fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement must serve as a reminder that without adequate support, African countries cannot sustain a low-carbon development pathway and also meet the Sustainable Development goals to eradicate poverty, improve health indicators and achieve full food security.”  

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