The latest climate change news from WWF

(26 July 2021) - The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today opened its first ever virtual meeting to approve its next report - Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science. The reports are used by governments at all levels to inform their climate policies. The report of Working Group I is the first of four contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). It will provide the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science and multiple lines of evidence. There will be a greater focus on regional information that can be used for climate risk assessments, according to the IPCC. The report runs to several thousand pages. So, subject to the decisions of the Panel, a summary of the report will be approved line by line during the meeting, and be released on 9 August at 10am CEST. The remaining three parts of the AR6 report will be finalized in 2022. The latest IPCC report will show us what lies ahead if we don’t take urgent action on runaway climate change, said WWF’s Stephen Cornelius. “To limit climate change risks, we must rapidly and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, get out of coal, oil and gas, and protect and restore natural carbon sinks. While the previous IPCC Assessment Reports sounded the alarm on climate change, the warnings from this report will hopefully be a megaphone that amplifies the alarm even louder.” WWF expects decision-makers at G20 and COP 26 can make use of the information and take stronger action to reverse climate impacts. Notes to Editors: Read WWF’s blog setting the scene for the IPCC Working Group I report here. Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2013-2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement. The last (synthesis) report of the Six Assessment Report will be published in late 2022. The first-order draft of the IPCC Working Group I report received 23,462 review comments from 750 expert reviewers’ the second-order draft received 51,387 review comments from governments and 1,279 experts; and the final government distribution of the Summary for Policymakers that ended on 20 June received over 3,000 comments from 47 governments. Over 14,000 scientific papers are referenced in the Working Group I report. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: July 26, 2021, 12:00 am
Your Excellencies, I would like to congratulate the COP26 UK Presidency for their initiative of bringing a representative group of ministers together to discuss expectations for Glasgow, the shape and substance of the potential outcome and to provide guidance on outstanding issues such as keeping 1.5 alive, scaling up adaptation, loss and damage, Article 6 and mobilizing finance. It is essential that the COP 26 outcomes capture, reflect and build upon the intense momentum and unprecedented developments on the political climate agenda in 2021, such as the US-led Leaders Summit on Climate, the G7 Leaders Communiqué and a potentially supportive result from efforts through the G20 process. We consider the July Ministerial a key opportunity to mobilize political will and determination around some central issues in the climate negotiations this year. Moreover, it could also be a moment to focus not only on what this COP should deliver but what could be a legacy in terms of formal and informal steps needed to provide clarity for future COPs and ensure the Paris Agreement lives up to its promise through effective implementation in the critical subsequent five years. In a spirit of collaboration, I would like to offer my views on the discussion questions posed in the COP President's open letter to all Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in the text that immediately follows, and share WWF’s COP26 Expectations Paper with you. Another key reference is the Five-Point Plan for Solidarity, Fairness and Prosperity, by developing country leaders and civil society organizations. My team and I wish you enormous success in the Ministerial and in COP26, and stand ready to support you in achieving the goals we all hold dear. Sincerely, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy Former Minister of Environment, Peru COP20 President Responses to questions Scaling up adaptation What outcomes are needed on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) at COP26? How can we ensure an effective assessment of collective progress towards the GGA ahead of the Global Stocktake? COP 26 needs to adopt a decision on operationalizing the GGA and identifying a clear process to set out to measure progress, defining parameters and/or a matrix (e.g: National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation, NAP Implementation, national development policies integrating climate risks, vulnerability assessments based on different temperature rise scenarios, finance received by countries for adaptation implementation at national level). The UNFCCC needs to help develop methodologies to translate the GGA to national frameworks in terms of the parameters and/or matrix to allow national governments to understand and report on their path of achieving the GGA for the Global Stocktake. Countries must do the reporting based on the agreed parameters/matrix. What can be done to improve the quantity, quality, and predictability of finance for adaptation, including improving the accessibility of finance for locally-led action? A share of proceeds (SOP) applied to both Articles 6.2 and 6.4 of the Paris Agreement should be adopted and allocated to the Adaptation Fund. Concluding the review of the Adaptation Fund as soon as possible, indicating new pathways and a possible replenishment process not to depend exclusively on a SOP from carbon markets, would also be very important. At least 50% of international public climate finance should be allocated to climate change adaptation in developing countries. Capacity building at the national level is key for countries to write quality proposals for the different International financial Institutions. Loss & Damage What does the Santiago Network on Loss & Damage need to deliver for countries most at risk of loss and damage? How can the process led by the presidencies ensure that this can be achieved? By the Glasgow COP, the Santiago Network on Loss & Damage (SNLD) needs to be fully operationalized through a COP decision. It must become an effective platform for countries to get technical support that helps in averting, minimizing and addressing Loss and Damage, and not become a forum purely for debate and discussion. To do this, the SNLD should fulfil at least the following key functions: Information gathering, management, and sharing, to increase knowledge and expertise on Loss & Damage. Broker technical support and capacity building between parties and organizations. Provide technical support and tools for the Loss & Damage assessment, design, and implementation of projects. Provide assistance with accessing finance, technology, and capacity building. Technical support for bringing Loss & Damage issues to global platforms (UNFCCC, Convention on Biological Diversity, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and other global processes). Beyond the Santiago Network, how can assistance and support from within andoutside the UNFCCC enable enhanced action to avert, minimize and address Loss & Damage? There is still no clarity on Loss and Damage finance in terms of sources, scale, and institutions. It is important that, at COP26, Parties take bold decisions on the topic of Loss and Damage finance, its institutional arrangements, sources, and scale. COP26 should decide to: Establish a Loss and Damage finance facility to address the needs of vulnerable developing countries. It could be a combination of the existing UNFCCC financial instruments (GCF, GEF, Adaptation Fund, etc) and beyond (Global Disaster Risk Reduction Fund, etc). For emergency responses (e.g. responding to climate-induced disasters), the disbursement of funds needs to be fast, easy and with simplified procedures for prompt access. Agree on sources of new and additional Loss & Damage finance, which can include both the public and private sectors. The fund should provide financing in the form of grants with direct access. Ensure the inclusion of Loss & Damage finance in the discussions on the new finance goal to come into effect from 2025, with new and additional sources and levels of finance for averting, minimizing, and addressing it. Periodically present a Loss & Damage finance gap report for discussion at the UNFCCC COPs. Cutting emissions to keep 1.5°C within reach What do Parties consider to be the critical steps that we must collectively take to deliver on the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement to keep 1.5°C within reach? Parties should be urged to deliver enhanced NDCs aligned to 1.5˚C before COP 26. The ones who have already presented updated insufficient NDCs should aim to resubmit them. Short-term and long-term plans should reflect commitments to phase out fossil fuels, redirect perverse subsidies and realize the full potential of nature-based solutions. Net-zero commitments by 2050 by countries should be backed up by strong Long-Term Strategies that connect to their NDCs. How should these steps be reflected through outcomes at COP26, and which other issues might need to be captured beyond those listed above? As a political response to the fact that the sum of 2020 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) might not put us on track to 1.5˚C, COP26 should call on parties to review and strengthen their 2030 targets in the next ratchet cycle, following the first Global Stocktake. A key issue not listed above but of utmost importance is common time frames. The outcome most compatible with an effective Paris ratchet mechanism and ambitious NDCs is agreement on five-year common time frames or implementation periods for future NDCs. The next round of NDCs submitted by 2025 must have targets for the period to 2035 - 5 years after the current 2030 targets (which should also be revised, as stated above). The alternatives, either 2040 targets or a mix of 2035 and 2040 targets, could lock in low ambition and be an obstacle to achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050, and so contribute to a failure to limit warming to 1.5°C. As a legacy, COP26 should set out a clear, time-bound and actionable agenda for the next five years of the climate regime. That could be a program of action/process that responds to the lack of ambition in 2021 by providing clarity about the timeline for responding to existing mandates, and greater confidence that the multilateral climate regime and real economy initiatives can converge to respond to the challenge of the climate crisis. A key component of such a program of action/process could be a focus on sector-specific decarbonization through alignment of goals and collaboration between Parties and other actors, with the active participation of ministries responsible for the respective sectors. Mobilizing finance How can confidence be built that the $100 billion a year goal will be delivered through to 2025? After presenting one road map to the US$100 billion back in 2016, and missing the goal in 2020, developed countries have a clear task: deliver on the goal by COP26. This should involve new announcements of increased finance reflecting each country’s fair share, with clear and unambiguous commitments on: Meeting the goal for the 2020 to 2025 period (with more US$600 billion mobilized during this period) and going beyond US$100 billion in future years to make up for any shortfall in 2020 and 2021, as well as ensure an upward trend to enable more ambitious actions in developing countries on adaptation and emissions reduction throughout the decade. Establishing a trend towards greater provision of grants as opposed to loans, especially for adaptation measures, as well as avoidance of reliance on the available loopholes in the accounting methods such as accounting for loans, even non-concessional loans as if they were grants, and including entire project financing where only a part is climate related, combined with robust transparency of support system, would also help to build trust and encourage greater ambition. What key questions do Ministers consider need to be addressed in Parties' deliberations on the new collective quantified (post-2025) goal, and what should the key components of the process to be agreed at COP26 be? Questions that need to be addressed to successfully kick off the negotiations over the new post 2025 goal: Deadline for agreeing on the new goal - a strong case can be made for finalizing it by 2023, so developing countries will have a better idea of the level of financial support available when finalizing their next round of NDCs by 2025. Agreement on parameters for the scope and scale of the new quantified goal, which should have a specific goal for public finance that will lead to a substantial increase over the current US$100 billion goal. How to ensure a constructive discussion of the contentious question of who pays, in the context of differing levels of responsibility and capacity, and recognizing that developed countries have the primary obligation to provide predictable finance. How to ensure adequate finance for adaptation, including the possibility of a specific quantitative goal. How to ensure new and additional finance for Loss & Damage, on top of the increased amount for adaptation and mitigation. Read WWF's COP26 Expectations Paper.
Posted: July 23, 2021, 12:00 am
(23 July 2021) - Ahead of the city of Glasgow hosting the global COP26 climate conference in November, the Scottish Government has published its national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as its contribution to the global efforts to address the climate crisis. Scotland’s mitigation targets are aligned to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2045 and are 1.5°C compatible. Under the Paris Agreement, Parties should submit climate plans - called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - that include targets, policies, measures and contributions to global climate action. Previously, the UK, including Scotland, were part of a joint EU 2015 Indicative NDC, which set an EU-wide emissions target. On 12 December 2020, the UK, including Scotland, submitted its NDC to the UN, committing to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Central to the NDC approach is the principle of national determination. Scotland, as a devolved nation of the UK, has jurisdiction over many of the areas related to climate change, including environment; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; tourism and economic development; many aspects of transport; and housing. With these powers, the Scottish government has legislated for its own climate change ambition, targets and delivery, set out in a number of areas, not least the Climate Change Plan 2018 and Climate Change Plan update 2020 and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2045. While not a Party to the Paris Agreement - and therefore not obliged to publish an NDC - the Scottish Government has adopted the NDC approach. In developing and publishing its sub-national NDC, the Scottish Government responded to a call from WWF and others to demonstrate leadership that will inspire ambitious climate action globally and champion climate justice in advance of COP26 being held in Glasgow. WWF is assessing all NDCs in line with its #NDCsWeWant Checklist. This aims to highlight all kinds of progress, encourage best practices, identify key challenges and call out laggards, with the goal of increasing the overall ambition of the NDC process. While demonstrating “a comprehensive approach to tackling and adapting to climate change with high ambition,” WWF's overall assessment of the Scottish indicative NDC concluded that it has a ‘Short Way to Go’ to become an ‘NDC We Want’. The assessment praised Scotland’s mitigation targets for 2030 and 2045 as showing “genuine global leadership in aligning to the 1.5°C ambition” and the publication of an indicative NDC as “a strong example of Scotland’s participatory and just transition policy-making in practice.” However, following three years of missed targets, the assessment highlighted that “current levels of implementation indicate that a step change is needed to ensure these targets are credibly aligned with implementation.” Responding to the assessment, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “The Scottish Government is to be commended for having demonstrated its commitment to tackling the climate and nature crises through the development of its indicative NDC. And while an NDC might not be appropriate for every sub-national, we hope it inspires other actors to set out clear action plans of their own. “However, as the WWF assessment makes clear, actions to deliver on targets is what the world desperately needs now if we are to keep the 1.5°C ambition alive. That is why we now look to Scottish Government to show how its climate action will be reset to match its high ambition, especially around financing those pledges.” Notes: Scotland is one of the original signatories to the Climate Ambition Alliance, launched in December 2019 at COP25. It is also a leading member of the Under 2 Coalition of states and regions committed to keeping warming to below 2˚C while striving for 1.5˚C. It has committed to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2045. Glasgow will host COP26 from 31 October - 12 November 2021. For further information, contact Lexi Parfitt, Head of Communications WWF Scotland. LParfitt@wwfscotland.org.uk
Posted: July 22, 2021, 11:01 pm
This meeting will be critical to defining expectations and norms for a new era as we begin to rebuild from the global pandemic, even as we continue to fight it around the world. This is a point of inflection for the world, and G20 leaders have the power to chart a new course. To prevent future global pandemics, to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, and to address core inequities, we must put ourselves on a path toward an equitable, nature positive, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions world. Our economies depend on nature (44% of global GDP is directly reliant on nature) and the simple cost of inaction is already too high - global GDP could lose USD 10 trillion by 2050 in a business as usual scenario due to reduced availability of key ecosystem services. With 60% of global population, 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and an important role to play in determining the extent of nature loss we will face, G20 countries have an outsized voice in setting the terms for how we respond globally to this moment of crisis and rebuilding. Domestic action by the G20 countries - with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), commitments and actions on nature, food, and many other issues - will certainly have a broad global impact, but so to will the global issues they tackle and systems they agree to. Investing in a climate and nature-positive economy need not be a zero-sum game - it will create jobs and prosperity for many now and in the longer term. Concerning, the response of G20 economies to the COVID-19 crisis so far has too often been to reinforce negative and harmful investments worsening the current trends in nature and climate. Most G20 governments have chosen not to use economic stimulus to enhance nature or tackle climate change - that is, around 70% of announced stimulus is leading G20 countries away from a low- carbon, nature-positive transition. To have a chance of meeting the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement, and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, we need G20 countries to lead the way. This must go from transforming energy systems based upon sustainable renewable technology, to producing food for the planet in a way that avoids deforestation, grassland conversion, mangrove loss and degradation, fisheries depletion, to setting the proper incentives and frameworks and ensure alignment of financial flows to the objectives of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, nature positive and equitable world. For the world to be better prepared to prevent and/or face the next pandemic as well as to ensure a sustainable development for all, WWF calls on G20 leaders to include tangible actions on climate and nature in their agreements with 4 key efforts: Promote financial instruments and risk disclosures that will lay the groundwork for an equitable, nature and climate-positive world; Secure ambitious climate commitments across the G20 and set an urgent deadline for fossil fuel subsidy phase-out; Rally support for strong and ambitious global commitments to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030; and Take specific actions to address nature and climate across all sectors of the economy, including through nature-positive food systems. Decisions and actions at all levels, from Heads of State and Government providing the direction and mandating relevant ministries, to all sectors of society should ensure policies, actions and financing are aligned with an equitable, nature-positive, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions trajectory. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: July 16, 2021, 12:00 am
NDCs in the Asia Pacific region provide an important snapshot of the progress governments have made in responding to the climate crisis, ahead of the critical COP26 in November. They also serve as examples to the many countries in the region which are yet to submit revised NDCs. As part of our ‘NDCs We Want’ initiative, we have (so far) assessed sixteen of these NDCs in terms of their mitigation ambition, how they enable adaptation, if they present finance estimates and how they contribute to sustainable development and a green recovery, whether they were designed through a participatory process and are inclusive and the extent to which they allow progress to be tracked. None have made WWF’s top #NDCWeWant category. Using this NDC checklist enables WWF to hold countries accountable and to shine a light on the main advances and challenges towards implementation of the Paris Agreement. The checklist is also used to open conversations with governments on how to improve NDCs – to lay foundations for a proper long-term response to the climate crisis. WWF also provides resources to support enhancing NDCs in several areas. This paper brings together WWF's assessments to share the lessons learned and opportunities which can be harnessed for a green recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
Posted: July 7, 2021, 9:00 am
A new report from WWF has found that countries are increasingly recognising the value of nature-based solutions in their efforts to address the climate crisis. Some ninety percent of the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) assessed in the study include nature-based solutions, which harness the power of nature to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Under the Paris Agreement, countries are expected to submit updated, enhanced NDCs to the UN every five years. The third edition of ‘NDCs – a Force for Nature?’ compared the number of inclusions of nature-based solutions in the latest round of NDCs (published before May 1, 2021) to prior submissions by the same governments to mark the shift. Parties to the Paris Agreement assessed in this report include major emitters and G20 nations, including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report found that: Overall, there is a positive trend with 50 of the 55 NDCs assessed clearly referencing nature-based solutions. 34 parties improved the integration of nature-based solutions in their updated NDCs compared to previous versions. There was no change for 8 parties, while 13 declined. The potential of nature to both reduce and capture emissions, and help people and nature adapt to climate impacts, has been recognised. Of the 50 NDCs which included nature-based solutions, 44 NDCs referenced NbS in the context of climate change mitigation, 42 in the context of adaptation plans, and 36 in both mitigation and adaptation. Nature-based solutions featured more strongly in high and upper-middle income nations’ NDCs. This indicates the need for significant technical and financial capacities in revising and enhancing NDCs which many low-income countries lack, and the need for sharing of such capacities by the higher income countries. NDCs are an important platform to formulate governments’ ambitions for strong climate action. WWF's #NDCsWeWant Checklist aims to shine a spotlight on all kinds of progress, encourage best practices, identify key challenges and call out laggards, with the goal of increasing the overall ambition of the NDC process.
Posted: July 1, 2021, 12:00 pm
(21 June 2021) – A UN meeting taking place this week will virtually bring together national ministers and stakeholders in the energy sector for discussions to develop a global roadmap for energy to accelerate access and transition to clean energy by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The report of this meeting is intended to set the groundwork for a large-scale mobilization of commitments, including scaled-ambition, by non-state actors this year. The Ministerial-level Thematic Forums mark another ‘milestone’ on the road to the High-level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021 and, ultimately, COP26. Kaarina Kolle, WWF Senior Europe Beyond Coal Finance & Utility Coordinator says, “WWF welcomes the collective effort to raise the profile of energy before the pivotal climate meeting in November. However, the elected officials are still holding back from translating intent into real world commitments to simultaneously phase-out all fossil fuels and phase in renewable energy”. Assertive conservation efforts and a rapid ramp-up of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, are both pivotal to prevent habitat loss and species extinctions and, to avoid catastrophic climate change. While the aggressive expansion of renewable energy is essential to society and the thriving of biodiversity itself, the way in which this unfolds may pose a threat to global biodiversity. It is already clear that renewable energy can be land-use intensive and is affecting conservation areas. “If nations pursue renewable energy expansion without the needed guardrails, they risk undermining the global mission to avert the biodiversity crisis. Joint strategic planning of the twin desired missions (renewable energy expansion and biodiversity conservation) is essential. It requires political recognition each time energy transition is debated,” she says. WWF Global Energy Lead Dean Cooper says WWF is calling on leaders - who have stepped forward as champions in this process - to demonstrate leadership through ensuring their Nationally Determined Contributions (or national climate plans and targets) have strong and specific energy components and supporting policies. “These must contribute to energy access, a clean, and just energy transition and, nature-compatible and pro-poor energy finance and investment, joining up the climate and nature agendas. Each champion government must show leadership to accelerate the energy transitions towards a net-zero emissions society and a nature-compatible 100% renewable energy system by 2050 at the latest,” he says. Notes to Editors: WWF’s expectations for each thematic area are here. A high level summary of these are: Energy compacts: non-state actors should align with a 1.5°C and net-zero emissions world and a just energy transition. Energy Access: Attract investment and build markets in remote locations through policies and regulation. Energy Transition: Accelerate and ensure an exit from fossil fuels through phasing out coal power generation by 2030 (EU/OECD)/ 2040 (rest of the world), while expressly starting a rapid decline of the oil & gas sector, including halting exploration for new resources. Just Transition: Integrate inclusively and transparently developed, 1.5-aligned and equitable national and local ‘just energy transition’ strategies into all policies, including long-term strategies and NDCs. Finance & Investment: Eliminate finance to all fossil fuels through public bilateral and multilateral channels, subsidies and private finance, while also addressing finance’s relationship with nature loss. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: June 22, 2021, 12:00 am
(13 June 2021) - A communiqué from leaders of the seven countries with the world’s largest economies and responsible for 27% of the world’s global emissions, brought political momentum to the demand for accelerated climate action, but was disappointingly short of what is needed. Most commitments were not new. Commenting on the G7 climate commitments, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said there was time, before the most important November meeting of the UN climate talks since Paris for the G7 - and other countries - to follow through on the important commitments made, especially keeping the 1.5℃ global goal within reach; achieving net-zero as soon as possible but not later than 2050; committing to increase their 2030 climate targets; ending all international support to coal, and setting a clear date for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. “We expect that by November, the G7 members will have stepped up the climate efforts to match the abyss we are staring into. We need politicians to be single-minded about this unprecedented challenge. “Their announcement on coal is the scale of action we need to see from world leaders. But in the glaring reality of unrelenting climate impacts, affecting mainly the most vulnerable countries and communities, we must be talking about ending exploration and mining of all fossil fuels as well as all fossil fuels subsidies, setting out a bolder date to do so. It must be clear to all now that all fossil fuels subsidies are inefficient. “We expect the G7 to strengthen their call for, and commitments to, cancelling all fossil fuels subsidies much earlier than 2025. We need to see specific plans to repurpose public finance to boldly accelerate the full deployment of renewable energy and nature-based solutions, all in a just transition to a new, climate- and nature-aligned economy. We are calling for leaders to create a Global Commission for Economy and Nature, acknowledging that economic prosperity is dependent on a healthy and diverse planet. “Finally, we are talking about the richest countries shaping our future. These countries must follow through with their commitments and do more to provide desperately needed sustainable public finance and to leverage their collective power to mobilize the trillions. They must align all public finance towards a climate- and nature-positive, equitable global economy and firmly regulate private financial flows to that same direction." See WWF's comments on the G7's nature commitments here. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: June 13, 2021, 12:00 am
(9 June 2021) - The international community is urging Norway to stop expanding its oil industry, as the government today issued 84 new areas for exploration and production of petroleum, and is expected to issue even more in the coming month. Neither the Norwegian minister of oil and energy, Norwegian unions, nor majority state-owned oil company Equinor are planning to slow down. WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, said, “There is no future for fossil fuels in the new-climate aligned economy emerging in the push to have net-zero emissions by 2050. Norway has often been a leader on climate issues and is well-positioned to lead on the energy transition.By standing on the side of fossil fuel interests, Norway risks having stranded assets. Norway’s position will increase the risk of the world reaching fragile climate tipping points, which in turn will cause devastating impacts on the natural world on which we depend. I urge Norwegian leaders to embrace the new world that is coming.” Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-President of The Club of Rome and Initiator of the Planetary Emergency Partnership said, “The Norwegian government and industry cannot ignore science. Norway must follow the IEA’s strong and substantiated warning that there cannot be any new investments in oil, gas, and coal from today if we are to limit the dire consequences of climate breakdown. We look to Norway for leadership and ambition on the energy transition – not complacency and backtracking. Looking the other way will seriously take away from growing global political momentum to shift our energy system from stranded fossil energy assets towards low carbon energy.Shifting our energy system and ensuring systemic low carbon transformation, as outlined in the Planetary Emergency Plan, is a crucial pillar in realizing the goal to halve our global GHG emissions by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.” This week, the Norwegian government will be releasing a white paper on the future wealth creation from Norwegian energy resources (“Stortingsmelding om langsiktig verdiskaping fra norsk energiressurser”). Rather than planning for a managed decline of its oil and gas industry, the plan is expected to facilitate further expansion. The government is also expected to issue new oil licences shortly after. Majority state-owned oil company Equinor is also this week set to publish its new Energy Perspectives, which is expected to be not compatible with the 1.5°C-degree goal. Last week, Eirik Wærness, Equinor's chief economist, admitted to Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen that the energy company does not make investment decisions based on a 1.5 degree goal. Mike Coffin, Carbon Tracker Senior Analyst, said, “Equinor’s goals are insufficient in reflecting the climate crisis. And although we are looking forward to seeing their new energy perspective, the recent signals from the company are worrying. Equinor currently has a number of different goals within its ‘net-zero’ strategy, but it has significant shortcomings. Its ‘absolute greenhouse gas emissions without offsets’' target for product sales in Norway covers only 15 percent of their total emissions, as does its goal to achieve ‘carbon-neutral global operations’ by 2030. Its ‘net carbon intensity’ goal of global product sales has an intensity, rather than absolute approach to reductions towards net-zero, thereby failing to reflect finite climate limits – in fact, emissions could even rise in the short to medium term.The IEA highlighted that a 1.5-degree scenario means no further oil and gas development; given its continuing development of new projects, Equinor’s strategy seems to assume failure of climate goals.” Norway’s plans to further expand oil production come in the wake of the landmark Net Zero report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The authoritative energy organization indicated that to achieve net-zero and keep temperature rises to 1.5°C, there should be “no new oil and gas fields approved for development”. Greg Muttitt, Senior Policy Adviser, International Institute for Sustainable Development said, ‘“Limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires rapid decarbonization. Given the committed emissions from oil and gas extracted over the lifetime of existing fields, there is no room for opening additional fields, as the IEA report confirmed last month. The world needs wealthy countries to take the lead in phasing out their fossil fuel production. A first step must be to end the award of new licences to explore for and extract yet more oil and gas. When in a hole, you have to stop digging.” The Norwegian fossil fuel industry’s position, adopted by some ministers and unions, risks posing a major threat to Norway’s prosperity and jobs, experts warn. As governments and non-state actors accounting for over 50% of global GDP are committed to net-zero, it is increasingly likely that a sudden acceleration in the energy transition will drive oil prices down. The implications for Equinor and Norway’s steady oil revenue stream are substantial: oil and gas projects turning into stranded assets, wasted capital expenditure, potential job loss unmitigated by appropriate just transition policies. While putting in jeopardy its domestic economy, Norway risks also seeing its international leadership being considerably undermined, as the world moves on from oil and gas. Loukina Tille, ayouth climate activist from Switzerland said, “Norway is playing with the future of upcoming generations by proposing false solutions, especially since they are one of the countries best suited to implement a just transition to a renewable economy. Gambling on technical solutions like CCS and blue hydrogen from fossil gas is in the best case a risky path to sustainability and in the worst case an excuse for continued fossil fuels production. It’s a dangerous strategy – with our generation taking the risk”. For further information contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org.
Posted: June 9, 2021, 12:00 am
(30 May 2021) The “State of Finance for Nature” report, released this week, finds that investments in nature-based solutions will have to triple next 2030 from current investments to successfully tackle the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises. This will be possible if COVID-19 economic stimulus packages are made more sustainable, and through repurposing harmful agricultural and fossil fuel subsidies and creating other economic and regulatory incentives. In the wake of COVID-19, nature only accounts for only 2.5% of projected economic stimulus spending. The report also finds that investments in nature-based solutions will have to increase four-fold by 2050 from the current investments (using 2018 as a base year). Investments currently total US$133 billion. In addition to the figures, which are revealing in themselves, it is worth highlighting three overarching elements brought by the report. First, its focus on nature-based solutions (NbS). The report does not intend to make a clear-cut distinction between activities which are conventional nature conservation undertakings and those purposively focused on tackling a societal challenge (e.g. climate change, food and water security, disaster risk reduction, water security) i.e. NbS. Bringing focus underscores the necessary links between the climate, biodiversity and land degradation conventions, and suggests that solving the planetary crisis with limited resources requires systemic thinking around the triple axis challenge of our time: climate change, biodiversity loss and equal prosperity for all. Second, highlighting the role of the public sector beyond a budgetary one. The amount and direction of public spending will continue to be critical in the forthcoming years. Governments have the power and responsibility to align their own spending away from activities that are detrimental to the environment and future prosperity (e.g. all fossil fuels´ subsidies and harmful agricultural subsidies), to de-risk and steer private investments in the needed direction. It has to be one that privileges climate-nature-development synergies and that leaves no-one behind. And third, highlights the need for a system for labelling, tracking and reporting investments in nature-based solutions. Vanessa Perez-Cirera, WWF Global Deputy Lead Climate & Energy said, “We know that we are losing nature faster than it can restore itself. And without urgent action, including sufficient funding, significant harm to people and the planet is inevitable. Funding for nature-based solutions must not come at the expense of other climate, development, and conservation priorities, nor from diverting current climate funding. “The opportunity at hand, raised clearly by this report, is one of detonating and synergistic public investments through the lens that nature-based solutions is able to offer. If this lens is taken seriously, we should be entering a new era of synergistic public commitments, impact investment and restorative private financing which goes well above and beyond a 1.5℃ decarbonization pathway.” Notes for Editors 1. Nature-based solutions – projects that protect, restore and sustainably manage ecosystems such as forests, peatlands, wetlands, savannahs, coral reefs and mangroves to meet biodiversity and societal goals – are key to meeting global climate targets while addressing the crisis in nature and generating crucial societal benefits, especially job creation and climate resilience. 2.The report authors are UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) 3. Read these complementary reports from WWF Beyond Science Based Targets: A Blueprint for Corporates on Climate & Nature Nature Hires: How Nature-based Solutions can Power a Green Jobs Recovery Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change Africa’s Path to a Green and Just Recovery ​Read more about WWF’s work on nature-based solutions here For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: May 30, 2021, 12:00 am