India made the world news today, on October 2nd - Gandhi's brithday, a special day for India - by submitting its ratification of the Paris climate agreement to the United Nations. With India formally joining the agreement, it not only accepts its obligations under the agreement, but also brings the agreement one step further towards entry into force. Ratification by India signals a new, more active role, in international climate policy, building on progress achieved at the domestic level. The coming years will be crucial to confirm India's development path in a greener and more sustainable direction. Partnerships with countries like Germany will be essential to enable this transformation.
Global decarbonisation will stem from a wide array of policy instruments: regulatory frameworks, long-term low-carbon strategies, technology development and transfer and fiscal and market incentives. As long as the prices of established fossil fuel technologies remain far below their true cost to society, it will be difficult to push them out of the market. A coordinated effort to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and establish carbon pricing schemes and domestic floor prices throughout the G20 would be a major step forward.
China is the host of this year's G20 summit. This more active role of China in global governance is a reflection of a changing world. The Hangzhou summit also reflects another significant change: Climate action and sustainable development are no longer considered side discussions, but are centrally on the G20 agenda. The G20, traditionally a forum to discuss financial stability and economic policy, are beginning to reflect the fact that unsustainable development and unmitigated climate change are huge risks to a stable and prosperous world economy.
Representing two-thirds of global population, four-fifth of world GDP and more than three-quarters of total greenhouse gas emissions, the G20 – group of the leading industrialized countries and largest emerging economies is a central platform for the implementation of the Paris agreement. When G20 leaders meet at the Hangzhou summit from September 4th to 5th, climate change and decarbonisation have to rank high on the agenda. For the Paris Agreement to enter into force, it has to be signed by at least 55 countries representing no less than 55% of global GHG emissions.
The Nansen Initiative, which ended in 2015, developed a comprehensive "Protection Agenda” over the course of 3 years, which to date has been endorsed by over 100 countries. Although not producing new legal regulations, the initiative was pioneering in that it was the first intergovernmental process to work on protecting people displaced across borders by disasters and in the context of climate change. Its focus on exploring existing political instruments in order to close the protection gap has made for a solid foundation for further work. Now next steps are to be taken.
In this blog Lisa Junghans, Policy Advisor for Climate Change, Adaptation & Urban Transformation, discusses the opportunities for cities under the GCF, and how achieving a paradigm shift needs bundled power from all sides.
Within two generations our entire energy system needs to be carbon free for the world to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change. This transformation needs to happen first in developed countries then in all countries soon afterwards. With the majority of the world’s population residing in urban areas releasing more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the necessity for cities to take centre stage in addressing climate change is without doubt. Cities are often hotspots of climate vulnerability, hosting masses of marginalised and poor people that have little to resist floods, cyclones, and storms. Experts often talk about the need for an urban transformation towards low carbon and climate resilient development. In practical terms, such a transformation requires a significant makeover and adjustment of urban structures, its organisation, and its residents’ lifestyles.
The Paris climate summit was a remarkable success of climate diplomacy. Vulnerable countries achieved to anchor adaptation, resilience making and addressing loss and damage squarely on the international climate policy agenda of the coming years. This includes among others the creation of a long-term adaptation goal, the linkage of adaptation commitments to manifesting temperature pathways, the inclusion of adaptation in the Paris ratcheting architecture, the strengthening of 'good' adaptation principles, and specific commitments of countries to support, undertake and internationally disclose adaptation actions.
Lisa Junghans, Policy Advisor – Climate Change, Adaptation and Urban Transformation at Germanwatch talks at the Climate & Development Knowledge Network- Website about a recent CDKN-supported publication on financing climate compatible development in cities. The publication is an output of CDKN supported project.
Over December 5-6 at the Palais du Congress, the 3rd Annual Global Landscapes Forum (#GLFCOP21) was the largest other meeting in Paris during COP21, attracting close to 3,500 participants, exhibitors and speakers from across disciplines and sectors. Instead of focusing on national climate commitments, the GLF explored alternative ‘un-siloed’ approaches to land use in a warming world, and perhaps equally important, how to finance them.