5 years after the Paris Agreement, in the midst of the pandemic, faith, youth and science urge governments to act decisively on new ambitious climate goals.
A new video, featuring footage from the online event “Faith, Science and Youth: A call for an ambitious climate summit” (9 December 2020) highlights this radical call for climate action now because, like the webinar’s moderator Sandrine Dixson-Declève said at the closing of the event, “Our mission is a mission to save this home that we call planet earth”.
Where do we stand today at the beginning of 2021 in the fight against climate change?
In the fight against climate change, 2021 is expected to be a crucial year to enact transformational climate policies, business practices and sustainable behaviours on the ground without any further delay. Parties will meet in Glasgow from 1-12 Nov 2021 (COP26) to raise their ambition further; the upcoming months are therefore going to be crucial and any further delays can have a more devastating effect.
In order to keep global warming well below 1.5°C in accordance with science, the Paris Agreement mandates all countries to provide new or updated national pledges (or Nationally Determined Contributions, also known as NDCs) covering the 2030 objectives before COP26 in Glasgow. At the end of the UN Climate Ambition summit, held last December, 190 parties had submitted their first NDCs, while only 8 have submitted their second NDCs to date; these are Argentina, Grenada, Marshall Islands, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Tonga and the United Arab Emirates. The EU has agreed to a binding target of a net domestic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. However, the current global NDCs are not ambitious enough and lack the long-term plans toward net-zero emissions since they signed the Paris agreement in 2015. The pandemic has had a disruptive effect on the process of planning and preparation, according to the latest survey research. For instance, some countries? saw this moment as an ideal opportunity to push forward the low-carbon transition, with strong green stimulus, while others were severely restricted in their policy options and need support.
CIDSE believes that, despite the current challenges due to the pandemic, all discussions and plans to build a just and sustainable recovery are an incredible opportunity to avoid going back to ‘normal’ – because normal was the problem and the cause of environmental degradation – and to build a new economic system where people and planet come before profit and elite interests of a few.
More specifically, according to CIDSE, all parties should:
- Not wait until the next NDC update in 2025 to demonstrate ambition.
- Develop actual national implementation strategies to restructure the global economy and drastically cut emissions by committing to phase out fossil fuels and speed up a just transition to low-carbon development powered by renewable energy sources, to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
- Richer countries like the EU should drastically reduce their emissions by at least 65% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2040.
- Build climate resilience and adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable and marginalised people, and effectively and equitably address the losses and damages where successful adaptation is no longer possible.
- Scale up and consistently deliver the $100 billion climate finance support target with long term recovery plans for poorer countries and communities, and setting a new target for 2025.
- Ensure that climate responses protect and restore biodiversity, food nutrition and livelihoods of the marginalised and most vulnerable people.
- Keep human rights at the core of climate responses and advance the implementation and ambition of Gender Action Plans (GAPs) that promote gender equality.
Photo cover: “Greenland ice sheet lost a record 1m tonnes of ice per minute in 2019”.
Credit: Michaela King