Climate change is speeding up. Our response needs to be even faster

Climate Change UN News 2018

FAO/L. Dematteis Climate change has serious implications for agriculture and food security.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Christiana Figueres, Convenor, Mission 2020

The race is on. This northern summer’s deadly, record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires leave us in no doubt that the impacts of global warming are accelerating, in many cases much faster than scientists predicted.

One of the most important, but least understood, aspects of the Paris Agreement is that it legally obliges every country to deepen its emission reduction targets every five years. I call this five-yearly cycle the Agreement’s beating heart, because it provides the life force for achieving the temperature goals that will keep the worst impacts of global warming at bay.

In 2015, we all knew that the initial round of commitments was not deep enough to get us on track for a safer climate future. So we created a first ‘heartbeat moment’ in 2020 for countries to renew or update their targets, reflecting their highest possible national ambition.

The work starts now to ensure that the Paris Agreement’s first heartbeat is loud and strong. In September, California is hosting leaders from India, China and all over the world at the Global Climate Action Summit. The massive gathering will showcase the cutting edge of local and regional climate action, and offer a platform for new commitments that accelerate the low-carbon transformation that is well underway. In doing so, regions, cities and companies will show national leaders how much space and opportunity there is for deeper national targets.

We know that for smaller countries still grappling with the technical and administrative task of analyzing their economic sectors and measuring emissions, increasing ambition will not be easy. Financial and practical assistance for the development of climate action plans remains essential to help these countries leapfrog fossil fuels to power their growth with clean energy.

For the bigger, more affluent countries, the obstacles are often more political than practical. But, when reviewing progress and new opportunities for rapid decarbonization, many will find that despite some political headwinds, profound shifts in the real economy have them well ahead of where they thought they would be when they set their targets in 2015. In particular, some of the solutions, such as renewable energy, are rapidly becoming cheaper than the polluting alternatives, and their deployment is growing exponentially – in many cases much faster than economists predicted.

With renewable energy production predicted to be cheaper than fossil fuels in all markets by 2020 (something that was unimaginable in 2015), investors are very quickly decarbonizing their portfolios. In 2017, new global investments in clean energy ($333 billion) greatly outstripped new fossil fuel investments ($144 billion). The momentum is irreversible and unstoppable.

The political response has been encouraging. In April, a group of seven EU countries called for the EU to deepen its 2030 emissions target, while the declaration from the Macron-Merkel summit in June proposed early 2020 as the timeline for doing so.

We have also heard that both China and India are tracking well ahead of their Paris targets. This leaves space for possible announcements of bigger, bolder goals by President Xi and Prime Minister Modi at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2019. This will build on progress made in San Francisco this September, and will be a critical signal for the success of the Paris heartbeat in 2020.

China, India and the EU account for more than 40% of global emissions. Working together, they could help convince other big and mid-sized economies, such as those in Asia and Latin America, that they have ample room and economic incentives to accelerate. For example, Chile’s recent decision to phase out coal will see it well ahead of its Paris target as we move into the next decade.

Time is of the essence. As we have been rudely reminded this summer, there is no more room in the atmosphere for our carbon pollution. Going forward from 2020, annual global greenhouse gas emissions need to be half of what they were in the preceding decade. The good news is that countries and leaders who understand the need for speed are accelerating their climate action and also accelerating their growth.

A new industrial revolution is upon us, one that puts economic development and environmental protection on a level playing field. One that understands that ecological health and balance is intrinsic to long term well-being and prosperity.

Those who embrace this change will ultimately win the race.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

World is closer than ever to seeing polio disappear for good

Ending the era of dirty textiles

Sassoli to EU governments: Rise to the challenge. Find new shared ways to finance our recovery

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

How the institutional response to COVID-19 can prepare us for climate change

Here’s how community lending could help refugees find their feet

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Humanitarian Aid: €64 million for most vulnerable in Southern Africa

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

Medical students: The need for emigration

Charlotte in Ghana

Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

UN Mission in Afghanistan gravely concerned about ill-treatment of prisoners by Taliban, following first-hand testimony

COP25: UN climate change conference, 5 things you need to know

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

This is why AI has a gender problem

Financial stability: Commission addresses risks of Libor cessation

Tigray conflict: EU humanitarian support to Ethiopian refugees reaching Sudan

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

What will it take for the world’s third-largest economy to empower women?

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Humanitarian aid: €24.5 million in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

Economic growth ‘exceeds expectations’ but trade tensions are rising: UN report

Parliament elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community: Commission adopts second Action Programme for 2020

These 5 countries plan to slash their CO2 emissions. But how will they do it?

There are 3 barriers blocking good menstrual hygiene for all women. Here’s how we overcome them

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

ECB indicates south Europeans can endure more austerity

Let’s Learn

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

World ‘off track’ to meet most Sustainable Development Goals on hunger, food security and nutrition

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s