Climate progress is being made but WWF urges countries to “step up and enhance their climate plans”. In a year marked by extreme weather disasters there is a clear paradox between what is being done and what needs to be done. Greatly encouraging in the face of the US president’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, has been the coming together of more than 100 prominent leaders from US state and local governments, private sector and academia to show US commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “We are still in” is their rallying cry.
COP23 puts a strong focus on ambition, even as countries defer immediate action
BY WWF | 17 NOVEMBER 2017
As the UN climate talks end later today, WWF recognizes the progress made on laying the groundwork for increasing climate ambition up to 2020 and beyond, but notes that 2018 will be key for countries to clearly signal their intention to step up and enhance their climate plans. In the hours remaining, WWF urges parties to resolve the issues still pending.
A year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, negotiations over the past two weeks have seen countries come to agreement on critical issues of pre-2020 action and support, and the role of gender, local communities and indigenous peoples in climate action. However,much remains to be done to ensure we seize the small window of opportunity we have to achieve the objectives of this landmark climate accord. Governments must strengthen urgent action, finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook and decide collectively to review and strengthen ambition of post-2020 climate commitments urgently.
“From the onset, the paradoxes at this COP have been many. Negotiators have gathered in Bonn under a Fiji Presidency and, as states deliberate on future action, cities, regions, businesses and communities have stepped up their efforts toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also saw that despite the momentum seen in the corridors in Bonn, domestically countries are still falling behind” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, head of WWF’s global climate and energy programme. “In a year marked by extreme weather disasters and potentially the first increase in carbon emissions in four years, the paradox between what we are doing and need to be delivering is clear: countries must act with greater climate ambition, and soon, to put us on a path to a 1.5°C future.”
By raising the profile of pre-2020 action in the UNFCCC process, and agreeing on the design of a process to review and increase ambition through the Talanoa Dialogue, COP23 has provided important building blocks to move the spirit of the Paris Agreement forward. But success is far from guaranteed. The Polish presidency must complement, and aim to bolster, Fiji’s efforts to accelerate progress towards finalizing the Rulebook that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement and ensure scaled up, predictable finance for developing countries, including for loss and damage.
Jaco du Toit, representing WWF South Africa at the COP23 negotiations, said: “As South Africa is battered on the one side by droughts and the other by floods we are constantly reminded of the urgency of dealing with climate change. South Africa, and the Africa Group, championed the urgency of more climate change action and the case for financial support for vulnerable developing countries. As our negotiating team returns home we hope to see the same resolve to act ambitiously on climate change in our own national policies.”
“Two years ago, countries around the world were entrusted with an important mandate in Paris. Today, they are making progress but with the impacts of climate change accelerating, the pace and scale of the response is still insufficient. It is time to show bolder vision, innovation, and urgent action – domestically and on the international front – and build on the clear momentum we are seeing in our societies and economies already. We look to Poland to continue Fiji’s legacy to translate the ambition and vision of the Paris Agreement into reality,” added Pulgar-Vidal.
Countries are not the only ones taking action. Through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, efforts underway by states and non-State actors – including cities, regions, business, investors, and civil society – to galvanize climate action were in the spotlight at COP23 in Bonn. The WWF ‘PandaHub’ Pavilion hosted a full programme of dialogues and events to showcase the value of collaboration and innovation to create a sustainable, resilient future for all.
In addition, the U.S. Climate Action Center brought together over 100 prominent leaders from U.S. state and local governments, private sector and academia showing the U.S.’ commitment to remaining a global frontrunner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WWF is one of many organizations supporting the new generation of climate leaders who comprise the “We Are Still In” movement, the largest U.S. coalition ever assembled in support of climate action. “Never before has a coalition of American business, state and local leaders come together under a common banner to drive climate action,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s senior vice president of climate change and energy. “By working together, they can ensure that the United States meets its commitment under the Paris Agreement while creating new jobs and creating a safer future for communities in America and around the world.”