New York-Climate Action Summit 2019: more ambitions are needed
Ahead of the 74 session of the United Nations General Assembly, an United Nations Climate Action Summit opened with anger ““Nature is angry,” said Antonio Guterres. Youth activist Greta Thunberg told leaders “How dare you gamble with our future and continue talking about fairytales of eternal economic growth?”
COP 25 to be held in December and subsequently the UK Presidency of COP26, must ensure that governments deliver the adequate response to the emergency and ambition that puts the world on a 1.5C degrees trajectory, said Climate Action Network International. To the view of the International Policy Advisor of CAN, Lucile Dufour, strong policies to reach ambitious targets are needed : “France, as well as other developed countries, should be reminded that true climate leadership means concrete and urgent actions at home, not shiny speeches in front of world leaders.”
For Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead, Christian Aid, leaders clearly failed : “the few actions that have been announced are far from world changing and that is what is required”.
What are the ongoing commitments?
Over 100 business leaders delivered actions to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition from the grey to green economy, including asset-owners holding over $2 trillion in assets and leading companies with combined value also over $2 trillion.
Many countries and over 100 cities – including many of the world’s largest – announced significant and concrete new steps to combat the climate crisis.
77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so.
Many smaller countries, including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, were among those who made the biggest pledges, despite the fact the they have contributed the least to the problem.
A few small island states and developing countries, as well as businesses, stepped up and committed to enhancing their targets based on science. Others, like Sweden, Luxembourg and Denmark pledged to double their contribution to the Green Climate Fund. These countries demonstrated much-needed leadership and underscored the feasibility of climate action and ambition. They showed that the energy transition is ongoing and irreversible.
Although, companies and governments boosted climate action momentum, and demonstrated growing recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated, some governments continue to ignore science and fail to present ambitious climate commitments.
Despite the alarm of climate change, fossil fuel producers are still allowed to brazenly continue business as usual and generate profits at the expense of people’s lives and livelihoods, said Climate International Network . They get no push back by government, especially those with whom they hold close alliances. As a result oil and gas chief executives sees no problem with convening meetings on the sidelines of the Summit in New York, prompting activists to continue staging protests.
In light of general disappointment, civil society turns to the upcoming climate conference in Chile (COP25) and its Presidency to push countries to deliver an emergency package that includes ambitious commitments in climate finance – including for loss and damage, strong targets, and rules on trading emissions between countries.
By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache