Today we know that extreme weather events are accelerating rapidly in both severity and frequency leading to disastrous consequences for communities around the world. We have been experiencing and reaping the destructive consequences and devastating impacts of the warmest years and decades on record. Humanity is rapidly approaching a number of the most damaging tipping points including in key ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest and in the Arctic tundra.
Countries in the Global South, where the basic needs of billions of people are currently not being met, are expected to suffer the greatest loss of life, property and economic activity due to climate change despite being least responsible for the problem.
The recent UN Production Gap report found that countries around the world are currently on track to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels by 2030 than is consistent with the agreed 1.5°C limit.
It is the wealthy, industrialised nations that are disproportionately responsible for climate change due to the fossil fuel intensity of their economic development. The emissions associated with the richest ten percent of humanity accounted for over half (52%) of emissions between 1990 and 2015 and the richest 1% account for greater emissions than the poorest 66% according to a recent Oxfam report. These nations must therefore provide financial resources to address Loss and Damages and they must act now to support other countries to transition rapidly to a fossil free future. These same nations have a duty to drive international progress towards the SDGs and achieve the 2030 targets.
Meanwhile, the cost of renewables has continued to decline and they are now the most cost effective means of producing electricity and meeting humanity’s energy needs. There is no longer any need to invest in new fossil fuel facilities or infrastructure and in fact, the continuing use of fossil fuels is making it difficult if not impossible to achieve any of the SDGs. There is no reason that the world could not proceed towards a 100% renewable energy economy in the near future.
It is now critical that governments deliver on key commitments, including:
1.Ensure Civil Society Groups are heard
Throughout the many years of climate negotiations, civil society voices have been essential to enabling expertise and grounded knowledge from communities to be included in the key frameworks. We call on governments to continue to enable participation of civil society and ensure their safety for engaging at all levels of negotiation and implementation.
a) National level engagement
Recognising that countries are now encouraged to provide regular progress updates on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as regular reporting on the achievement of the wider 2030 Agenda in their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). We call for a joined up approach at the national level to set out clear pathways for implementation and integration into national development plans. We specifically call for clear joint plans to connect VNR and NDC commitments in country strategies.
b) Regional exchange
Furthermore, we encourage greater exchange of good practices and methodologies between countries in each region. We call for greater collaboration, such as the recent Environment Ministers meeting for LAC countries, and call for regular regional meetings to enable peer learning and technical exchange. This exchange should be carried out alongside the Regional Sustainable Development Forums which take place in Feb-April each year.
c) Global participation
Finally, in line with the UNmute Civil Society campaign, we insist that civil society voices must continue to be heard at all relevant global forums. This must include guaranteeing their access to and safety at Conference of the Parties (COPs), and includes continuing the good practice at COPs of a Civil Society plenary session and also including diverse stakeholder speakers in each main panel, self selected through the existing CSO platforms .
2. Adopt a New Deal on Climate Finance
If we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, emerging and developing countries need in excess of USD 2.4 trillion of annual investment in climate action by 2030. Efforts must be undertaken to ensure that this level of funding will be available well before then.
We urge all governments to commit to new funds for climate, in particular:
a) Public finance that does not increase debt.
Developed countries’ must fulfill unmet commitments of $100billion to provide public climate finance. This should include re-allocation of Special Drawing Rights and increased direct support through the Green Climate Fund.
It is essential that we agree on and adopt principles for a new financial framework that can deliver the net zero transition in an inclusive way for all countries and communities, covering adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage.
b) Supporting civil society efforts and a community based transition
Means must be developed to fund a massive increase in community-led renewable energy production, along with funding for adaptation and loss and damages. We call for a shift in subsidies to electrified public transport and a shift to 100% renewable energy capacity by 2030. The investment in renewables should include building enabling infrastructure for community scale solar, wind, geothermal and hydro-electric power. Decentralised energy capacity will truly put power in people’s hands!
c) A new Loss and Damage Fund to cover the complete spectrum of loss and damage
It should initially be capitalised at $100 billion each year. It must be sufficient to cover all damages and all costs incurred and to include all preventative steps needed to ensure that such losses and damages do not occur again.
A complete package must be developed with multiple means of finance that will ensure a flow of new, additional, predictable, equitable finance to the Fund. We support the Least Developed Countries (LDC) vision of a Fund with three windows —one for early response, one for rehabilitation and recovery and one for ongoing effects of slow onset process.
We further call for a small grants window — that would allow communities, civil society organisations, and sub-national governments to directly access the Loss and Damage Fund with minimal bureaucracy — to ensure that support reaches those on the frontlines of the climate crisis based on human rights principles.
d) Specific funding for adaptation
We urge developed countries to ensure that the goal of doubling adaptation finance by 2025 is on track, as agreed at COP26, and call on multilateral development banks (MDBs) and development finance institutions (DFIs) to continue putting a stronger emphasis on scaling adaptation finance.
3. Phase out production & use of fossil fuels
We call on all world leaders to commit to phase out and stop burning coal, oil and gas such as is called for by more than 80 countries. Despite consistent warnings from climate scientists and civil society that emissions must fall dramatically to limit temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, there is currently enough coal, oil and gas under production to take global heating well beyond this figure.15
The most recent estimates are that, for a 50 percent probability of staying below 1.5°C, approximately 40 percent of developed reserves must remain in the ground. Rather than addressing this challenge, the UN Production Gap report found that governments around the world are expected to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels by 2030 than is consistent with the 1.5°C limit.17
The international framework required to align efforts to achieve the SDGs with ending the era of fossil fuels must thus include a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Cop28 must deliver more than words – it should initiate a process to craft the new global fossil fuel treaty, filling the gap left by the Paris agreement.
We call for a just and equitable transition that addresses challenges with a human rights based approach, including achieving universal energy access, enabling infrastructure development, reforming policies, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
This approach should be complemented by a massive increase in community-led renewable energy production. We call for a shift in subsidies to electrified public transport and a shift to 100% renewable energy capacity by 2030. The investment in renewables should include building enabling infrastructure for community scale solar, wind and hydro-electric power.
4. Adopt a Global Framework on Adaptation
All countries need to support the adoption of a comprehensive and robust framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation. For adaptation in particular, this finance should be provided as grants, not loans.
There must be a joint commitment to a gender-just transition and recognition given to the importance of direct access to climate financing for women and girls.
It is time to approve a framework to operationalise the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation (GGA) to climate threats by enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability, and thus ensuring an adequate adaptation response and contributing to sustainable development. Address transboundary climate risks across the adaptation cycle and in adaptation support, along with risks arising at the local and national levels.
Recognise that countries face climate risks not only at the local and national levels, but also – through shared resources, trade, and the movement of people and finance – at the regional and global scales, and enhanced dialogue and cooperation are needed to ensure effective adaptation that is equitable and inclusive and protects the most vulnerable people.
Developed countries must stop trying to avoid their obligations and historical responsibility for the climate crisis by trying to move away from the critical principles enshrined in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement —Equity, the Polluter Pays, and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).
A new deal for people and planet which delivers global justice!