Two events in August 2019 underlined the complexity of paving the way to a climate-neutral world: the publishing of the new IPCC report and the Amazon fires. Both events demand that climate diplomats move beyond a narrowed focus on energy in decarbonisation debates.
First, the IPCC landmark report stresses that it will not be possible to keep global warming at safe levels unless there is a transformation in food production and land management, given that agriculture, forestry and other land use account for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Among the action areas are the restoration of peat lands and the need for drastic reductions of meat consumption. Secondly, the political disputes between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and the EU regarding the Amazon further underline the need for better climate diplomacy, and quite literally looking at what is actually on the plate.
The Amazon forest fires and their (mis)management by the Brazilian government have sparked intense debate about the treatment of the world's largest rainforest. This discussion also reached the negotiation tables of the G7 summit as well as the EU trade negotiations with Mercosur. According to EU's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service the forest fires already emitted nearly 25 megatons of CO2 by mid-August – in addition to all the other negative impacts on the environment and societies.
In this edition of our newsletter, Adriana Abdenur, Coordinator of the Peace & Security Division at the Igarapé Institute, examines the potential of the EU-Mercosur trade deal for ensuring sustainable trade – and highlights a need to extend the EU’s climate diplomacy tool-box. One of her recommendations is to encourage the EU to decide what it accepts to be on its plates and what it does not. In other words, the EU must reassert its leadership role in paving the way for global decarbonisation.
One of the world’s lowest-lying countries invited international experts to discuss the security challenges related to climate change.
Nepal and Afghanistan face a number of serious climate-fragility risks, so adelphi brought together regional government officials and NGO experts for a training in Kathmandu on 9 November 2019.
At a briefing ahead of the COP25, foreign minister Heiko Maas called for higher ambition for the European Union, which should act as a role-model to incentivate other states to boost their commitments to climate action. He further reiterated the importance of supporting multilateralism and an international climate regime that is able to withstand setbacks, such as the US withdrawal of the Paris Agreement.
Climate change is increasingly challenging global security and undermining peacebuilding efforts. UN Environment and the European Union have joined forces to address these challenges. With the support of adelphi, they have developed a toolkit on ‘Addressing climate-fragility risks’. This toolkit facilitates the development and implementation of strategies, policies, and projects that seek to build resilience by linking climate change adaptation, peacebuilding, and sustainable livelihoods, focusing on the pilot countries Sudan and Nepal.