The landmark Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030 provide a new framework for transitioning to a GHG-neutral and climate-resilient future, and towards truly sustainable development. The G20 as a forum of the leading industrial nations and emerging economies provides a platform for joint action towards achieving these global goals. Shifting global investment towards green finance, sustainable infrastructure and the global transition to renewable energy is one of the most urgent tasks ahead, and can only be reached by international cooperation.
On November 30th, the eve of the German G20 Presidency, Germanwatch and Stiftung Mercator hosted an expert dialogue on climate and energy policy priorities for the G20. The outgoing Chinese Presidency had put the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Treaty on the G20 agenda, emphasizing green finance and infrastructure investment. International experts and 60 guests from politics, business and civil society discussed what the German G20 presidency can and should do to counter the global climate crisis against the background of the current changes in the political landscape.
Today, the Regional Court Essen dismissed the civil suit of Peruvian mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya against RWE. The legal process is likely to continue: Attorney Verheyen announced that her client will “most likely” present an appeal at the Higher Regional Court Hamm.
In the “climate suit” of Peruvian mountain guide and small farmer Saúl Luciano Lliuya against RWE, the regional court in Essen has announced that it will decide on December 15 whether the suit will proceed to the evidentiary phase. Thus it remains unclear whether, for the first time, a German civil court will probe in detail the question to what extent big contributors to climate change must pay for the costs of preventative measures against the risks that others face in the course of global climate change. The claimant Saúl Luciano Lliuya and his attorney Dr. Roda Verheyen (Hamburg) are optimistic. “In an open proceeding, we laid out why our claims are valid and legitimate, and why this is a matter that the regional court must consider”, says attorney Roda Verheyen.
With the historic Paris Agreement having recently entered into force, this year’s Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2017 confirms a boost for renewable energy and positive developments in energy efficiency. While these encouraging trends are happening on a global scale, the necessary energy revolution is still happening too slowly. Jan Burck, Germanwatch, key author of the CCPI comments: "The conditions for a global energy revolution have never been better. Due to the falling costs of renewable energy and efficiency technologies, national governments have no more excuses not to enshrine the Paris Agreement into national law."
Under the Paris Agreement, climate action was anchored in the context of international law. This requires countries to make their own unique contribution to the prevention of dangerous climate change. The next crucial step to follow this agreement is the rapid implementation by the signing parties of concrete measures to make their individual contributions to the global goal. For the past 12 years, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) has been keeping track of countries’ efforts in combating climate change. The varying initial positions, interests and strategies of the numerous countries make it difficult to distinguish their strengths and weaknesses and the CCPI has been an important tool in contributing to a clearer understanding of national and international climate policy.
The Climate Change Performance Index is an instrument designed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. Its aim is to put political and social pressure on those countries which have, up until now, failed to take ambitious action on climate protection. It also aims to highlight those countries with best prac-tice climate policies.
More than 40 major businesses and trade associations are demanding more climate ambition and a bold implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement in Germany. The companies, from a large variety of sectors, are encouraging the German government to adopt a long-term Decarbonisation Plan with a climate target at the upper end of the current target range of an 80 to 95 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. Businesses need interim sector targets for the power, buildings, industry, transport and agriculture sectors, write the signatories, amongst them the construction major Hochtief, the electricity producer EnBW, the retailer Metro and Commerzbank. The declaration was coordinated by the business associations Foundation 2° and B.A.U.M. as well as the development and environment NGO Germanwatch.
Africa is the continent that was hit hardest by extreme weather events in 2015. According to the 12th edition of the Global Climate Risk Index, four out of the ten most impacted countries globally are African: Mozambique (Rank 1), Malawi (Rank 3), Ghana and Madagascar (both Rank 8). "Especially flooding affected the hosting continent of this year's climate summit", says Germanwatch's Sönke Kreft, main author of the Index. Heat waves claimed most lives last year. More than 4,300 deaths in India and more than 3,300 deaths in France show that both developing and developed countries are impacted by extraordinary temperatures. Kreft: "Increases in heavy precipitation, flooding and heatwaves are to be expected in a warming world."
Since the 2015 adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the success of the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it has become clear that “business as usual” is no longer an option for neither industrialized countries nor the developing world. Both the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement (PA) entail substantial consequences for the world financial system. Mobilizing the massive investment required for climate resilient, low-carbon infrastructure and development, transforming the world economy and hedging the climate-related risk to the financial system form formidable challenges to the public and the private sector alike.