The latest climate change news from WWF

(16 April 2021) - The Leaders’ Summit on Climate, a meeting being hosted by US President Biden, kicks off both the ‘decade of delivery’ for climate, nature and development and a crunch year for climate action. The two-day meeting starts on Earth Day, 22 April. Many leaders from the world’s biggest economies and from some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, will convene virtually to discuss how to unlock the transformative change required to tackle the climate crisis. The expected announcement by the US of its revised climate emission targets and the anticipated announcements by leaders attending, is a chance for the Summit to accelerate the political momentum needed to ensure a successful outcome at COP26, so lay the foundations for effective delivery in the years to come. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: “The overriding quest by leaders attending this summit must be to catalyse efforts that keep the 1.5°C goal within reach. They must announce tangible actions that accelerate the transformational change needed to halve global emissions by 2030. “We won’t meet this goal if we don’t unlock the political will needed to ensure a successful outcome at COP26, and put the elements on the table - like climate finance - necessary to implement plans. We are waiting anxiously for the world’s richest countries - including the United States - to lead by example with the greatest ambition, putting promises into action,” he said. Pulgar-Vidal said the commitments made by cities, business and other sub-national organizations must also be reflected in national climate plans, which need to be backed-up with conducive policy environments. “Very specifically, leaders must include concrete policies and actions to scale up nature-based solutions and phase out harmful subsidies, starting with eliminating all fossil fuel subsidies.” He further encouraged leaders to sign up to the Leaders Pledge for Nature, and to speed up the implementation of those commitments. The overarching focus of the summit is increasing climate ambition. This is most evident in the national climate plans (or Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) which countries are required to submit to the UN as part of their Paris Agreement commitments and in long-term strategies. Cutting through these are critical issues of adaptation and resilience and climate finance. WWF believes the following are crucial to these: A strong whole-of-society approach: Push to ground all long-term strategy net zero commitments and ambitious NDCs in immediate, transformative decarbonization actions across sectors of the economy. While it should be no substitute for national action, leaders’ statements should embrace the critical role that businesses, cities, states, other sub-national institutions will play in implementation and their commitment to back-up their progressive action with conducive national policy. Bring greater emphasis and action to nature-based solutions: Encourage country commitments to be inclusive of quality nature-based solutions as part of their plan to both reduce emissions and build resilience. This should include: Additional support of the Leaders Pledge for Nature, as well as a commitment to nature to 30% of international climate finance and an overall increase in climate finance. A commitment to end deforestation and habitat conversion. Ecosystem-based adaptation opportunities in all countries.Economic stimulus and recovery packages that are climate and nature-positive. Scale up public and private finance: Increase and encourage core finance commitments to bring the support needed to the Green Climate Fund, the Global Environment Facility, and other such public finance mechanisms while harnessing the power of private finance to mobilize investors, including through TCFD and TNFD. This should also include a firm commitment to eliminate harmful subsidies, beginning with a firm deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies by G20 later this year. Notes to Editors: Find out more about WWF’s recommendations for how the Biden administration should act on climate going into the summit here. Additional WWF materials related to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate here (statements, op-eds, events). WWF is hosting the following key events during the US Climate Action Week: The Political Legacy of 2021: Reflections from Past COP Presidents & Climate Leaders.Join Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, (WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy and COP20 President) and his guests Laurent Fabius (COP21 President, President of the Constitutional Council of France); Carolina Schmidt (COP25 President, Chilean Minister of Environment), Dr Jonathan Pershing (Senior Advisor to US Presidential Envoy on Climate) and Helen Mountford (Vice President, Climate & Economics, WRI) in a conversation about possible elements for the legacy of the 2021 momentum to multilateralism, with a focus on COP26. It takes place on Tuesday 20 April at 8am EDT. Register here to join. Scaling Business Action for Climate and Nature: A CEO Dialogue Join WWF-US CEO Carter Roberts and corporate leaders for a dialogue about making corporate climate leadership a reality on Wednesday 21 April at 3 pm ET. Register here to join. All In For Climate: How a Whole-of-Society Approach Can Accelerate the Race to Zero Join Alliances for Climate Action and the UNFCCC Race to Zero Campaign for a conversation with leading subnational and non-state actors to discuss the opportunities that a “whole-of-society” approach to the climate crisis offers. It takes place on Wednesday 21 April at 8 am ET. Register here to join. Our Planet: Too Big To Fail Join WWF and the British Embassy for a virtual screening of the film: Our Planet: Too Big To Fail. The fill will be followed by a panel discussion with some cast members and special guests on how we can transform the global financial system to deliver a sustainable, net-zero future. It takes place on Wednesday, April 21 at 9am ET. Register here to join. Our experts are available for interviews/comments/analysis before, during and after the Summit: Spokespersons Topic/Theme Contact WWF International Manuel Pulgar-Vidal WWF Global Lead, Climate & Energy Climate narrative Global expectations for the Summit Implications for COP26 Political assessment Mandy Jean Woods +49 1511 885 4162 Karen Richards +44 775 552 59 Vanessa Perez-Cirera WWF Deputy Global Lead, Climate & Energy Climate narrative International policy Nature-based solutions Sectoral transformation Margaret Kuhlow WWF Global Lead, Finance Climate finance Public, private sector, multilateral financing Key initiatives in the finance sector contributing to climate action momentum (like TCFD, TNFD) WWF-US Carter Roberts WWF-US CEO WWF-US Key priorities, initiatives US policy Private sector engagement Evan Carlson +1 202 495-4756 Marcene Mitchell WWF-US SVP for Climate Change WWF-US climate change initiatives US Policy Mariana Panuncio-Feldman WWF US Senior Director, Climate Policy Action Alliances for Climate Action America Is All In Role of non-state actors in galvanizing climate action Genevieve Maricle WWF US Director, US Climate Policy Action America Is All US Policy
Posted: April 16, 2021, 12:00 am
(17 March 2021) - Six major emerging economies - China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - could collectively cut emissions by up to 96% from key urban sectors (buildings, transport, materials use, and waste) by 2050, leading to $12 trillion in economic returns based on cost savings alone, as well as delivering millions of new jobs, according to a new report published today by the Coalition for Urban Transitions. The report, Seizing the Urban Opportunity, highlights the vital role of cities as engines of national economies and livelihoods. It comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people live in cities, underscoring that this is the time to rethink cities’ roles and invest in their recovery. The pandemic exposed economies and communities around the world to economic, social and climate challenges, with cities and the urban poor particularly hard-hit. The report makes clear that cities cannot do this on their own—national governments hold the key to urban transformation, given their scale, access to resources, and control over many policy realms. According to past research by the Coalition, local governments have primary responsibility for less than one-third of urban emissions reduction potential and national or other higher-tier governments have primary authority over the measures required to achieve two-thirds of the global urban emissions reduction potential. Commenting on the findings of the report, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader, Climate & Energy, WWF International and Coalition Senior Ambassador, said: “The opportunity for cities to be a meaningful part of tackling the climate crisis cannot be understated. This new report, inspired by best in class examples from six countries, shows how national governments everywhere can significantly enhance to their economic and climate goals by investing in low-carbon, resilient and inclusive cities. Ahead of COP26, this must be an urgent call to for governments to ensure cities are included in their national climate plans and long-term strategies.” Across the six countries studied, implementation of the report’s solutions, using currently available measures, could collectively support: Climate benefits, including cutting annual emissions from key urban sectors (buildings, transport, materials use and waste) by 87–96% by 2050 beyond their initial NDC commitments under the Paris Agreement. Economic benefits including economic returns with a net present value of over $12 trillion by 2050, based on energy and material cost savings alone. Development benefits including potentially supporting millions of new jobs in 2030: 15.2 million in China, 8.2 million in India, 2.3 million in Indonesia, 4.5 million in Brazil, 650,000 in South Africa, and 500,000 in Mexico. Nick Godfrey, Director of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, said: “Cities need national governments to lead the way by including them in stimulus spending and enacting national policies that make them more resilient. Looking at six major economies, we find it is possible to not only accelerate the required shift to net-zero emissions by focusing on cities, but also to drive shared prosperity.” Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said: “National governments can work with urban leaders to unlock the enormous potential in cities and in the urbanization process. Greater national support for urban action is essential to cut carbon pollution in key sectors including energy, transport, construction and land use.” Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action COP26, said: “The run-up to COP26 in Glasgow represents a critical period for the world to put itself on track for a more prosperous and resilient future. Cities can deliver 58% of the energy-related emission reductions needed to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5°C, so they are a vital piece of the climate action puzzle.” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said: “National governments must prioritize sustainable urban infrastructure now to create millions of decent jobs in the near and long term as we recover from the pandemic.” The report highlights opportunities in each of the six countries and offers recommendations tailored to each nation’s specific context. For example: China’s economic success story is built on cities, which are home to three-fifths of its population and produce 90% of GDP. While Beijing has taken major steps to build resilience and reduce air, water, and land pollution, its cities still struggle with congestion, pollution, sprawl, and severe climate impacts. Successful implementation of the report’s solutions could result in an 89% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from China’s cities by 2050, economic returns of $7.7 trillion by 2050, and 15.2 million new jobs in 2030. The report’s recommendations include helping smaller cities become more climate resilient and putting sustainable cities at the heart of implementing the nation’s recently announced 14th Five-Year Plan. Almost 58 million Indonesians live in low-lying coastal zones, 82% of them in urban or quasi-urban areas. While efforts are being made in several cities to work with local residents to manage flood risks, protect ecosystems, and build capacity for climate adaptation and mitigation, many residents still lack basic services and flood risks remain an urgent concern. Successful implementation of the report’s solutions could result in a 96% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from Indonesia’s cities by 2050, economic returns of $2.7 trillion by 2050, and 2.3 million new jobs in 2030. The recommendations include restoring and protecting ecosystems such as mangroves and coastal peatlands, which could both reduce land subsidence and flood risks and avoid large amounts of emissions and pollution from fires. Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics said: “By 2030 nearly a billion people will be added to the global urban population—and trillions of dollars will be invested in urban infrastructure—in the decade where global CO2 emissions must be reduced by around half for the target of holding temperature increase to 1.5˚C. Focusing on compact, connected, and clean cities—where it is easier to move, breathe and work productively and greenhouse gas emissions can be far lower than in existing urban structures—will be at the heart of achieving climate ambitions and finding a new path to strong, sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth.” For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: March 17, 2021, 12:00 am
(26 February 2021) - UN Climate Change today released the first of two reports reviewing the level of ambition to reduce global emissions made by countries who are Parties to the global Paris Agreement. The findings of the NDC Synthesis Report show that while individual countries have by and large increased their ambition, overall, it falls far short of science says we need to do, and will keep the world on a global warming trajectory beyond 1.5°C which is necessary to avoid devastating climate impacts. According to scientists, global emissions should be halved by 2030 and be net zero by mid-century. Countries must submit revised - and more ambitious - national climate targets and actions in their climate plans (called Nationally Determined Contributions in negotiating parlance, or just NDCs) well before COP26. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, COP26 was postponed from 2020 to November this year. The report only reflects NDCs received by 31 December 2020. This process of updating NDCs is part of the cycle of renewing climate targets and commitments set out in the Paris Agreement every five years. Responding to the report’s findings, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: “The Synthesis Report, released today, is a welcome opportunity to reflect on the state of the world’s real intentions to tackle the climate crisis. Only 45 submissions have been received by the end of the last year, representing about 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of the countries who signed the Paris Agreement. “While the report finds that individual countries have, by and large, increased their ambition, overall, it falls far short of science says we need to do and of what people - many who experience devastating climate impacts frequently - are demanding of their governments. “What is inexcusable is the fact that the world’s richest countries, who represent 75% of global emissions, have not done their fair share. The world’s biggest emitters - China, India and the US among them - have not yet submitted their national climate plans. We have heard some promising signals from the US and China, but the proof of this will only be in their formal submission to the UN.” Countries like Norway, UK and EU have raised their ambition but could be doing even more. The plans submitted by Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico and Brazil show no increased ambition. Due to methodological issues, plans from Brazil and Mexico could even result in additional emissions. “It is imperative that all countries submit their national climate plans well in advance of COP26, and that those countries who have already submitted insufficient plans, should commit to review them.COP26 should be a moment both to celebrate enhanced ambition that puts us on a 1.5°C pathway, and to lay out a roadmap to allow countries to further cooperate to close the multiple gaps on ambition, action and finance in the next five years,” he said. “We are in a planetary emergency. Human activities are destabilizing our climate and food systems, and destroying the natural ecosystems we depend on faster than they can replenish themselves. The growing threat of reaching irreversible climate tipping points must compel political and economic action on global emissions, say scientists. It will take an unprecedented, coordinated and urgent effort by all countries to change the trajectory we are on and to reach net zero emissions by no later than mid-century,” he said. Notes to Editors Some key statistics from the report: The world is far off-track to meeting the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, namely to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C by the end of this century. The Synthesis shows that 45 national climate plans (representing 75 Parties as the EU countries as one Party) submitted new or updated plans by 30 December 2020. These plans account for about 40% of the Parties to the Paris Agreement and about 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Of the plans submitted, the majority increased their individual levels of ambition (to reduce emissions), putting them on a path to achieve only around 1% reduction in global emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. (The IPCC’s Special Report on Warming at 1.5°C says emission reduction ranges to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal should be around 45% lower.) G20 countries account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Only nine of the G20 countries had submitted national climate plans (or NDCs in negotiations parlance) by December 2020. The plans submitted by Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil and Mexico show no increased ambition. [NOTE: The G20 is the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies. Its members account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the population of the planet. Source:] Countries representing more than 70% of global emissions still have to submit their plans. This has to be done well before COP26, scheduled for November 2021. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: February 26, 2021, 1:01 pm
(25 February 2021) – The idea of a Global Commission on the Economy and Nature was given a huge boost today when Colombian President Ivan Duque voiced his support. He made the comments at an event with Professor Partha Dasgupta, lead author of the on the recently published Dasgupta Review, an independent, global review on the Economics of Biodiversity, commissioned by the UK Government. Responding to the news, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: "Colombian President Duque today voiced his support for the establishment of a Global Commission on the Economy and Nature. This is great news because this year, the world will make ambitious commitments on nature. “But we will not reverse nature-loss if we don’t create a permanent space – at global, regional and national levels - to continue developing the narrative that connects the economy and nature.” WWF-UK is also advocating for this, indicating in their response to the Dasgupta Review that the UK government should voice their support for this concept at the G7 Leader’s Summit which they are hosting in June. Notes to Editors · The Dasgupta Review was commissioned by the UK Government in 2019 and published on 2 February this year. It was led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge. · The headline messages from the report are here. For more information, contact: Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: February 25, 2021, 12:00 am
20 January 2021 - While the world needs to rapidly ramp up efforts to cut emissions, countries also need to urgently accelerate efforts to adapt to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. This is the key focus of the first global Climate Adaptation Summit, being held on 25 -26 January, highlighting the urgency for countries to develop effective climate adaptation plans. Adaptation – reducing countries’, communities’ and ecosystems' vulnerability to the climate crisis by increasing their resilience – is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement requires countries to implement adaptation measures as part of their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) outlined through National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). For example, NAPs could include climate information systems, early warning, measures to reduce disaster or drought risk, investments in a green future, among other things. These are some elements necessary for robust adaptation strategies, underscoring the urgent need for immediate investment in ambitious initiatives to build resilience to the increasingly destructive impacts of the climate crisis. The virtual Summit will convene global leaders such former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson; French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many others to discuss adaptation issues. The Summit will launch an ‘action-propelling’ global Adaptation Action Agenda, aiming to accelerate climate adaptation action over the next decade. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF global lead for climate and energy, said: “This meeting is timeous, necessary and the urgency has never been greater. Sadly, as we start to witness the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, countries also have to accelerate efforts to adapt as well as mitigate. “The most vulnerable communities all over the world are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis, and ecosystems that they depend upon are under pressure from extreme floods, droughts, wildfires and rising seas, and these impacts are only going to get worse.” Sandeep Chamling Rai, WWF senior advisor for global adaptation policy, said: “This year, we need to see global urgency and ambition in adaptation and building climate resilience. The Summit must pave the way for the journey ahead.” Vanessa Perez-Cirera, WWF deputy global lead for climate and energy, said: “Climate adaptation is not only about technology and infrastructure, but also about the role nature can play in building climate adaptation and resilience. The potential of Nature-based Solutions for climate change - one of the most integral and cost-effective adaptation tools - has yet to be unleashed. Nature can help countries be more resilient to climate change - but if we don't protect it and help it adapt, it can't help us in turn.” Investing in sustainable adaptation solutions can help the world to tackle twin global crises: climate change and nature loss. WWF is working across the globe to build more climate resilient societies and ecosystems, including through Nature-based Solutions and innovative financial solutions. For example, WWF and partners are collaborating on the ambitious Resilient Asian Deltas initiative to help stop the deltas from sinking and shrinking and keep them above the rising seas. WWF is also co-managing the game-changing Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, which uses public funds to leverage new private finance into bankable projects that build climate resilience. Stuart Orr, WWF global lead for freshwater said: “Rapidly increasing investment in healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands will be critical to global efforts to adapt to climate change since its impacts will most immediately and acutely be felt through water. “Public funds will never fill the adaptation gap. Innovative financial approaches – such as WWF’s Bankable Nature Solutions – can help channel billions in new private investment into sustainable bankable projects that enhance the health of freshwater ecosystems, which will boost adaptation, water security and freshwater biodiversity". WWF works with a variety of partners to: Elevate the role of Nature-based Solutions for climate adaptation and the need for increased public and blended finance to reach the most vulnerable communities; Work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to develop and pilot standards for Nature-based Solutions; Provide practical guidance for countries to include Nature-based Solutions in their national climate plans (or Nationally Determined Contributions - NDCs); Propose ways to align concepts, measures and safeguards between the United Nations Framework for Climate Change and the Post-2020 Framework for the Convention on Biological Diversity; Develop science-based guidance for synergistic interventions; Identify policy, governance and financial solutions to sustainably fund and scale projects; Work with local communities and indigenous groups to design and develop best in class projects that benefit climate, nature and people. Channel investment into climate-smart agriculture, forest and wetland restoration, resilient coral reefs to help communities adapt to climate change. ​Notes for Editors A recent report by the UN Environmental Programme noted that 72% of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, while a further 9% are developing one. Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans and including adaptation actions in their updated NDCs. But finance for these plans falls far short of what is needed to ensure implementation. Join these WWF events at the Summit - remember you have to register to get access to the events. Launch of the Race to Resilience campaign by UN Climate Change and the Climate Champions at 4pm CET, right after the opening event. This is a partner campaign with the Race to Zero. The Resilient Asian Deltas initiative will be featured in the Water Action Track. WWF co-hosted an event in Viet Nam with the governments of Viet Nam and the Netherlands, World Bank and Delta Alliance and that recording will also be featured during the Summit. The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (co-managed by WWF Green Finance Unit) will showcase how public funds can leverage huge amounts of new private finance into Bankable Nature Solutions to build resilient societies, economies and ecosystems. Launch of joint WWF & Dutch government report on Water as Leverage as part of a side session in the Water Action Track on the importance of water and freshwater ecosystems to effective climate adaptation. The event involves Dutch government, WWF’s Stuart Orr (FW Practice Lead), World Bank, OECD, Valuing Water Initiative and Water Youth Network. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods or Richard Lee
Posted: January 22, 2021, 12:00 am
14 January 2021 – While the world’s attention is necessarily focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to not lose sight of the need to step up adaptation action now. Failure to do so could have catastrophic economic and societal impacts, according to a new UN report published today. Reflecting on the UN Environment Programme’s Adaptation Gap 2020 report, WWF senior advisor for global adaptation policy Sandeep Chamling Rai said, “The climate impacts that we are experiencing now are just the tip of the iceberg. These impacts are only going to get worse over time. It is vital that countries move to faster implementation of their National Adaptation action Plans, and that globally, there is greater investment to support building climate resilience.” Adaptation – reducing countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate change by increasing their ability to adapt to impacts – is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement requires its signatories to implement adaptation measures through national plans, climate information systems, early warning, protective measures and investments in a green future. Key findings from the report show that almost three-quarters of nations have some adaptation plans in place, but financing and implementation fall far short of what is needed; financing for adaptation is only 5% of tracked climate funds (around US$30 billion per year); and Nature-based Solutions is critical for adaptation and needs to receive more attention. Nature-based Solutions provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems. Chamling Rai said, “In the adaptation context, Nature-based Solutions are a low-cost option that reduces climate risks, restores and protects biodiversity and brings benefits for communities and economies. It is a triple win for people, planet and nature.” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said, “As the UN Secretary-General has said, we need a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation in the next year. This will allow a huge step up in adaptation – in everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources to nature-based solutions.” Chamling Rai said: “2021 must be the year for scaling up adaptation efforts and uniting together for global ambition on adaptation implementation. Rich countries have a moral responsibility to ensure there are sufficient resources allocated to poor countries to implement adaptation plans. Poor countries are, after all, least responsible for climate change, but are most at risk.” WWF is working across the globe to build more climate resilient societies and ecosystems, including through Nature-based Solutions and innovative financial solutions. For example, WWF and partners are collaborating on the ambitious Resilient Asian Deltas initiative to help stop the deltas from sinking and shrinking and keep them above the rising seas. WWF is also co-managing the game-changing Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, which uses public funds to leverage new private finance into bankable projects that build climate resilience. Notes for Editors: Useful facts from the UNEP Adaptation Gap 2020 report: Adaptation planning is growing, but funding and implementation is lagging. 72% of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument. Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). Since 2006, close to 400 adaptation projects financed by multilateral funds serving the Paris Agreement have taken place in developing countries. But of over 1,700 adaptation initiatives surveyed, only 3% had already reported real reductions to climate risks posed to the communities where the projects were being implemented. The Green Climate Fund has allocated 40% of its total portfolio to adaptation and is increasingly crowding-in private sector investment. An analysis of four major climate and development funds (Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and International Climate Initiative) show that only US$ 12 billion was spent on Nature-based Solutions, while cumulative investment for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects under the four funds stood at USD 94 billion. For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: January 14, 2021, 12:00 am
(11 January) – World leaders today highlighted the destruction of nature as increasing the risk of future pandemics at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity, kick-starting action on biodiversity ahead of critical environment talks later in the year. Key announcements from the Summit included the UK and French governments agreeing to earmark 30% of their overseas public climate funding for nature-based solutions. Additionally, Norway and Germany announced new financial commitments, and the launch of the first global initiative to help prevent the next pandemic through collaborative research and reducing pressures on biodiversity. More than US$14 billion in current and new funding was also committed for Africa's Great Green Wall. The Summit’s outcomes provide important global momentum on nature ahead of the adoption of a new global biodiversity agreement in Kunming, China, and critical climate talks in Glasgow, UK, both due to take place later this year. But at the same time, concern is growing that governments are not acting at pace with the widely acknowledged interconnected biodiversity, climate and health crises. Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF-International, said a step change in both ambition and urgency is still needed if we are to secure a sustainable future for both people and the planet. “Science tells us that our broken relationship with nature is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, threatening our economies, and undermining our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Never has the need for urgent action been clearer, but world leaders are yet to demonstrate that they have grasped the scale of the crisis at hand. We urge them to take the necessary steps to deliver a transformative biodiversity agreement in Kunming that secures a nature-positive world this decade while supporting climate action.” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF International global lead for climate and energy said:"We welcome the announcements made today at the One Planet Summit to allocate at least 30% of overseas public climate funding to nature. Nature-based solutions represent up to a third of the mitigation action needed to tackle climate change while having a key impact on job creation, people’s climate resilience, and the protection of biodiversity. “These announcements represent a clear signal that countries want to ensure Nature-based Solutions is strongly represented in the 2021 agenda. This must include further quantifying the private and public benefits of Nature-based Solutions; strengthening the connections between climate and nature, for example through enhanced national climate plans; and going beyond to identify Nature-based Solutions contributions to halting desertification. “We must recognize that current climate finance is wholly insufficient to ensure meeting the goals of the Paris accord. So we urge all countries to announce new and additional public finance commitments for Nature-based Solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency which do not diminish development investments but rather magnify their synergies. To ensure systemic impact, additional finance could come from redirecting perverse subsidies in fossil fuels and unsustainable agriculture which drive nature-loss and climate change.” Human activities are currently causing a catastrophic loss of nature. A WWF report published in September revealed that on average vertebrate populations have declined by two-thirds since 1970 - with the factors believed to increase the planet’s vulnerability to pandemics - including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife - some of the main drivers of the decline. Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature and People said the announcement of the first global initiative to help prevent the next pandemic through collaborative research and by reducing pressures on nature was welcome. “Linking the health of people, animals and our shared environment under a One Health approach can drive governments to take stronger and more urgent action for wildlife, and to tackle the ongoing loss of nature through unsustainable agriculture. While the world is still within the grip of the worst pandemic in a century, never has it been more important that we do everything we can to prevent the next one.” At the Summit, a High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People was launched at which 50 countries committed to protecting 30% of their lands and water by 2030, and advocating for this goal at a global level. But, in realising this goal, indigenous peoples and local communities’ rights must be respected and secured and that they benefit from these conservation efforts. It is clear that spatial targets alone will not be sufficient unless all countries raise their ambition and accelerated action to transform the sectors that drive nature loss, most notably the agriculture and land-use sectors, as well as align international finance. So the resolve of governments to remove deforestation from their supply chains, efforts to drive disclosure around nature loss and the finance system, and other initiatives announced at the Summit are also welcome steps. The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature commits endorsers to reversing nature loss by 2030, and is a powerful tool for galvanising global ambition and action in the run up to Kunming and beyond. The announcement today that 83 world leaders have now endorsed the pledge - up from 65 at launch - is hugely encouraging. Now words must now be translated into action by all endorsers. For further information contact Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: January 11, 2021, 12:00 am
Brasília, BRAZIL (11 December 2020) - Signatory countries are expected to present new or updated national climate plans (called Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) before the end of this year, the first since the global climate Paris Agreement was adopted by 197 countries in 2015. These NDCs should include enhanced emissions reduction commitments and other contributions necessary to combat climate change. But the Brazilian Government, who presented their new NDC this week, failed to show any commitment to improve its climate actions, or to demonstrate leadership on the international stage. In the period since the Paris Agreement was adopted, important studies have pointed to the need for countries to increase their ambition to meet the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. In recent months, many countries have indicated they will revise their NDCs and some of the world's major economies have already announced significant increases in their commitments and targets. Brazil is again going in the opposite direction, isolating itself even more on the international stage. The NDC submitted by the Brazilian government this week presents several problems of content, form and process. Instead of showing increased ambition, Brazil is weakening commitments already made, and tries to use procedural and legal manoeuvres to cover up its backsliding, while violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the Paris Agreement. It holds out the possibility of an indicative long term target. But, despite being one of the 10 largest economies in the world, makes it (and perhaps the entire NDC) conditional on the payment of US$10 billion a year, with no explanation of the basis for this amount or how the funds would be used. At a time when Brazil requires economic recovery strategies due to the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, the new NDC should point the way to a low carbon recovery and catalyse investments and international financial support, especially expanding social protection actions for most vulnerable populations. Instead, the new Brazilian NDC will raise red flags, concern and loss of credibility on the international stage, undermine investor interest and further reduce the possibility of new trade agreements. 1. Level of Ambition Brazil’s new NDC has no increase in ambition compared to the first Interim NDC (INDC), presented in 2015 before the publication of alarming new scientific evidence, such as that reflected in the IPCC's Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. The mitigation target in the new NDC will allow significantly more emissions in 2025 and 2030 than previously. This is obscured because, unlike the INDC, the new one does not show the absolute emission targets in tonnes. The new NDC maintains only the percentage reduction for 2025 (reduction of 37% in relation to 2005) and converts what was in the previous NDC an indicative target for 2030 (reduction of 43% in relation to 2005) into its new official 2030 target. The emission levels in the base year, 2005, were considered to be 2.1 GtCO2e in the INDC, but increased to 2.8 GtCO2e because of methodological changes in the emissions inventory. In other words, the previous absolute target levels of net emissions of 1.3 GtCO2e in 2025 and 1.2 GtCO2e in 2030 increase to 1.8 GtCO2e in 2025 and 1.6 GtCO2e in 2030.This means that NDC is only compatible with a temperature limit of well above 2°C of pre-industrial levels, while the Paris Agreement calls for holding the temperature increase to 1,5°C. Brazilian civil society's NDC proposal prepared through the Climate Observatory, the country's net emissions in 2030 should be 0.4 GtCO2e to be compatible with the 1.5°C temperature increase limit. 2. 2060 call sign and financial conditionality Contrary to what Brazil's Minister of EnvironmentRicardo Sallessaid during the announcement of the new NDC, emissions neutrality in 2060 is not a commitment, but only a potential indicative objective under consideration. The official text contains only a vague reference to an indicative objective of neutrality in 2060. The new NDC omitted an important element from the INDC: “The implementation of Brazil’s INDC is not contingent upon international support”. This unconditionality was an important element of Brazil’s INDC, which earned Brazil a privileged status as a mature country serious about combatting climate change and able to stand on its own feet.In omitting this statement, the new NDC leaves open whether the commitments in it for 2025 and 2030 are conditional or not on international support and agreement on carbon market rules. Some elements of the new NDC appear to establish such conditionality. For example, by indicating that meeting the targets depends on agreement on carbon market rules, the requirement to receive US$10 billion / year to meet its various challenges including protection of native vegetation – which will be essential to meetings its 2025 and 2030 targets. If such a conditionality exists in the current NDC, it would constitute a clear case of backsliding, which would be a serious violation of the rules and spirit of the Paris Agreement, which make clear that each new NDC must be a progression from the last one. In order to circumvent this principle, the Brazilian Government indicated that the new NDC should be considered by UN Climate Change as a new version of Brazil’s INDC, rather than as the second NDC. The latter would make more sense since it covers a different time frame than the INDC. This appears to be a manoeuvre to avoid the accusation of backsliding from one NDC to the next, in light of a reduction in ambition in relation to the commitments already made. 3. Confusing and lacking specifics Achieving the targets depends, among other things, on the establishment and implementation of public policies in the economic sectors with significant emissions. The omission of measures to reduce deforestation, fossil fuel emissions and subsidies, and to encourage forest restoration actions and the adoption of integrated crop-livestock-forest systems, among other areas (which were included in the INDC) make the new NDC a vague and unfocused proposal compared to the previous one. Likewise, the new NDC makes only a brief mention of the National Climate Change Policy. It does not mention that the government will fail to meet the goal established by this policy of reaching a level of deforestation in the Amazon by less than 3,925 km² in 2020 (currently it is over 11 thousand km²). Clarity in communicating sectoral goals and the respective measures are fundamental for the engagement of the various actors necessary for their implementation and improvement. By presenting a NDC that is confused in its commitments and diffuse in the way it will implement them, the Brazilian government is creating obstacles to the engagement and financial or institutional support of other countries. 4. Adaptation and the social issue Although the government notes Brazil's position as a developing country, citing the social dimension as strategic, the new NDC does not include adaptation actions to protect Brazilian society from climate change impacts and to build resilience, which was included in the INDC. The lack of adaptation actions affects several important sectors of the economy, including agriculture. It is worth remembering that the World Meteorological Organization pointed out in its State of the Global Climate 2020 report that the estimated loss this year for agriculture is almost US$16 billion in Brazil alone. 5. Social Participation The emissions reductions requires a collective effort by various actors in the interest of society, which is why the preparation of NDC’s must be a participatory process, open to academia, civil society, the private sector and all other stakeholders. In several sectors, it would be possible to increase the level of ambition established in 2015, which would also provide economic, environmental and social benefits. The new NDC mentions some institutional arrangements for the participation of society, such as the Interministerial Committee on Climate Change, the Brazilian Climate Change Forum (FBMC), Articles 5, 231 and 232 of the Federal Constitution on the rights and guarantees of citizens, especially women and Indigenous Peoples, and the International Labour Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous Peoples. But in practice, these spaces were not used to foster dialogue and participation by society in the review of the NDC. FBMC members were not even consulted about the proposal. For further information contact: Karina Yamamoto - or (WWF-Brazil) Mandy Jean Woods (WWF International Climate & Energy)
Posted: December 11, 2020, 12:00 am
(4 December 2020) - Last week, the Colombian Government announced that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 compared to the projected baseline, setting off the promise of accelerated sustainable and resilient development. The target will be included in Colombia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). NDCs brings together the goals, actions and measures that each country set and will carry out to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects. The 196 countries who approved the global climate Paris Agreement in 2015, of which Colombia was one, are required to submit their enhanced NDCs to the UN by the end of this year. The Paris Agreement’s goal is to keep the Earth’s average surface temperatures to 1.5˚C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The goal to reduce emissions is the starting point from which the rest of the NDC components branch, since the measures and actions that it must take to achieve it, will depend on how ambitious the country is in this regard, as well as the means with which it will implement them. With its announcement, Colombia joins a growing number of countries who have indicated they would revise their NDCs. To date, 17 countries have submitted NDCs to the UN, and many more are expected to submit their NDCs by the end of this year. Of these, Colombia is one of the countries which has enhanced their NDC. Ximena Barrera, Director of government affairs and international relations for WWF Colombia said the announcement was enabled by a robust domestic review process of the first five years of implementation of national commitments. “A process, coordinated by the Colombian Government, to define new goals and concrete plans to tackle the climate crisis involved key sectors of the Colombian economy with the greatest emissions and need to adapt: Agriculture and Rural Development; Commerce, Industry and Tourism; Transportation; Housing; Energy and Mining; and Health and Social Protection,” she said. The 2030 goal has more than 30 mitigation measures and 29 adaptation measures to accomplish it. The 51% target is aligned with Colombia’s Long Term Strategy to be net-zero by 2050. “But perhaps, the most positive aspect is that the definition of the 51% goal was a collective and participatory process in which different sectors of the government were engaged. “The process included the engagement of various other actors; a targeted survey for environmental experts; a public consultation in which any citizen could read the NDC update and make contributions; spaces for dialogue with community actors; and workshops with the members of the nine Regional Climate Change Nodes in the country,” she said. “It is worth noting that Colombia’s progressive move of establishing regional climate change nodes throughout the territories were invaluable in being able to pin-point the areas where we could reduce emissions.” In Colombia, greenhouse gas emissions predominantly come from seven activities or sectors, and deforestation is the main driver of emissions (16.68% of total emissions in Colombia). Last year alone, an area of ​​forest equivalent to 26 soccer fields was deforested every hour in the country. So controlling and modifying the causes associated with this practice that has great impacts on the environment and human well-being is urgent, and should be reflected in the updated NDC, said Barrera. “We congratulate the Colombian Government for their laser-focus on ensuring an ambitious national response to addressing the climate crisis. We are feeling very positive that, with the support and commitment of all sectors and actors involved, the new NDC will be successfully implemented over the next decade,” Barrera said. Notes to Editors In support of the Colombian Government’s ambitious climate commitments, WWF-Colombia has worked with the national Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the World Bank on participation and communications strategy for updating the NDC. Colombia will submit its NDC to the UN before the end of this year, in line with the obligations set out in the Paris Agreement. WWF provided experts to engage and support climate change actors in the territories, ethnic and peasant communities, and Colombians in general, ensuring that the updating of the NDC were truly consultative and inclusive of all views. The mitigation and adaptation actions that Colombia will carry out to meet its goal, as well as the means of implementation through which it would achieve it, will only be achieved if everyone plays their part. Climate change causes are directly related to the way humans produce and consume. Every time we burn fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas, among others) to move around, transport goods, produce or consume electrical energy, for example, we generate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming. Disasters like those that Hurricane Iota caused in recent days in San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina -Colombia’s main islands- anticipate how the coming years will be if we are not ambitious with climate action.
Posted: December 4, 2020, 12:00 am
(4 December 2020) – The Scottish Government announced it will publish its own indicative Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in the ‘spirit of the Paris Agreement’ and a ‘clear commitment to joining and leading the international effort on tackling climate change’. NDCs (or national climate plans and emissions targets) are a centrepiece of the Paris Agreement and countries are required to update their NDCs every five years, starting with this year. Previously, Scotland and the UK were part of a joint EU NDC, which set an EU-wide emissions target. The UK Government are developing a UK-wide NDC to submit ahead of COP26. Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “While we are part of the UK, Scotland cannot formally submit an NDC. However, the Scottish Government is determined to engage with and raise global climate ambition ahead of welcoming the world to Glasgow next year. We will publish ‘Scotland’s contribution to the Paris Agreement – an indicative NDC’. It will focus on Scotland’s world-leading target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.” The Scottish indicative NDC will follow the Government’s update to its 2018 Climate Change Plan, to be published this month, and which will set out further action to tackle the global climate crisis.” In response, WWF-Scotland director Lang Banks said, “We welcome the announcement from Scottish Government that they will publish an indicative NDC before hosting COP in Glasgow in 2021. By doing so, Scotland is showing real commitment to doing its part in keeping us below a catastrophic2˚C global temperature rises. Voices from across civil society in Scotland have been calling on Scottish Government to make this commitment, and we’re delighted that by doing so they are helping create an international ‘race to the top’ on ambitious climate action.” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF global lead for climate and energy, welcomed the statement saying, Scotland, where COP26 will take place in November 2021, continues to show what other governments could be doing to set the pace on climate ambition. “For the world to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as scientists say we must if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need a collective effort and fearless leadership. Scotland is uniquely positioned to take innovative climate action and to influence others to do the same. Scotland’s efforts will, no doubt, rally Scottish cities, businesses, investors and citizens to take their own ambitious action to reduce emissions,” he said. Notes to Editors: Scotland is one of the original signatories to the Climate Ambition Alliance, launched in December 2019 at COP25. Scotland is 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. Glasgow will host COP26 from 1-12 November 2021. For further information, contact: Lexi Parfitt Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: December 4, 2020, 12:00 am