Governments have been urged to use the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) holding in December 2019 in Madrid, Spain to build political momentum towards stronger climate targets in 2020, deliver on financial support for the most vulnerable and ensure that a funding facility is operational under the Warsaw International Mechanism for climate-related loss and damage.
Countries were also told that they must agree on a deal with robust rules on carbon markets that deliver on overall ambition.
These notions formed part of the outcomes of an online press briefing organised by Climate Action Network (CAN) on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.
The briefing aimed to set expectations for COP25 and unpack some of the main issues that will be high on the agenda of the COP, holding from December 2 to 13. This includes addressing the issue of finance for loss and damage under the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism and ironing out the rules on the carbon market mechanisms, an outstanding item on the Paris Agreement Rulebook from last year.
As deadly impacts escalate and all signs point towards unabated and rising greenhouse gas emissions as evident in the UN Emissions Gap Report released today, the pressure seems to be high on governments to take radical action to avert climate catastrophe.
Participants opined that the UN climate talks would be a key moment for countries to demonstrate their willingness to heed the demands of people who have come out in the millions all over the world demanding a stronger response from world leaders.
CAN called on all countries to submit ambitious near-term climate targets by early next year that match the reality of the climate crisis the world is facing and is in line with the science, to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “The climate emergency is now upon us, as countries around the world experience torrential floods, out-of-control wildfires, powerful storms, heatwaves and other climate-related extreme events. Some countries, states, cities and companies are responding with the urgency required, but the world’s largest emitting countries are missing in action.
“For several years, we’ve been warning that we are running out of time. But now is the time to radically change the path we’re on. The latest United Nations emissions gap report shows that global emissions continue to rise and will need to be cut at a rate of 7.6 percent each year for the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.
“We are sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe and need to wake up and take urgent action. The outcomes of COP25 must respond to the clear urgency of the science and the demands of people around the world for transformational actions to address both the climate crisis and the crisis of economic inequality and social exclusion. We’ll be doing our best to ensure that they do.”
Alejandro Aleman, Coordinator, Climate Action Network Latin America: “Although the COP25 venue has changed from Santiago de Chile in Chile to Madrid in Spain, we expect that this will still remain a Latin American COP and raise issues pertinent to the region including funding under the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage and mobilising finance for climate action in countries in Latin America. We urge the Chilean government to sign the Escazú agreement and honor the rights of environmental defenders.”
Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney, Climate and Energy Program, Centre for International Environmental Law: “We are in the middle of a climate crisis and it is imperative that the rules for market mechanisms under Article 6 ensure that they deliver on the overall reduction of emissions, help to raise rather than undermine domestic ambition, and ensure that the rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples are respected and that they are not harmed by carbon market activities.
“At COP25 we need robust and detailed rules to avoid double counting and ensure transparent accounting when emissions are transferred. Appropriate social, environmental safeguards that protect local communities and indigenous people’s rights – including mandatory local stakeholder participation throughout the project design and life cycle – is critical. Anything less than robust rules from the outset before the markets are in place will risk undermining the Paris Agreement and countries nationally determined contributions.”
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Leader on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE: “Climate change loss and damage is impacting the poorest countries most significantly, as they lack the economic and financial capacity to rebuild and recover as quickly as developed countries. It creates a daily climate emergency for millions of people, particularly women and girls. Developed countries must urgently ramp up finance to reduce climate impacts and recover from those avoided.
“COP25 must become the moment where rich countries shift the scales of justice towards the climate harmed people. Climate Action Network calls for a funding facility under the Warsaw International Mechanism that can provide innovative sources of funding to compensate for loss and damage. This lies at the heart of climate justice.”
Angelica Beltran: Asociacion Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia: “We are facing the twin crises on climate and biodiversity. The recent IPCC report on land and climate and IPBES report have shown the huge role that nature plays in the solutions to the climate emergency. Nature can provide around a third of the solutions to limit global warming to 1.5C by 2030. However, we need to make sure that these nature-based solutions are not simply offsets into the future but go together with far-reaching and transformational policies to stop fossil fuel use and fossil fuel subsidies.
“It makes no sense to scale up nature-based solutions if these solutions undermine the rights of indigenous communities, their land, their culture and food sovereignty. Latin America is witnessing rising human rights violations and environmental leaders are being threatened and killed. A genuine approach to the climate crisis includes the protection of people’s rights. We need a clear interpretation from governments on nature-based solutions constitute and under no circumstances must include such solutions like monoculture plantations.”