San Francisco’s Global Climate Action Summit ended on 14 September with non-state actors sending a call to action to governments ahead of the crucial COP24 in December, while highlighting their pivotal role in reducing emissions and reaching climate targets.
From 12-14 September, over 4,500 local, regional and business leaders gathered on the east coast of the US for the Global Climate Action Summit convened by California Governor Jerry Brown.
The aim of the summit was to foster bold climate action among non-state actors against the backdrop of national plans that are currently unable to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees. “The climate crisis calls for urgent action. We have seen the human impact on health, disease, famine, conflict, refugee crises, and livelihoods,” the declaration reads. “We have seen thousands of people die each year from worsening storms and floods, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires. These impacts disproportionately affect the poor, disadvantaged, and vulnerable.”
“We dedicate our actions, commitments and determination to give national leaders the confidence and assurance needed to increase their ambition and accelerate climate action by 2020 for the security of our planet, now and for generations to come,” it adds. More than 500 announcements were made at the summit itself, among which six are mentioned in the one-page document:
The summit also included UN special envoy for climate action and former mayor of New-York City Michael Bloomberg and Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate and Energy, launching a new partnership to boost Europe’s clean energy ambitions. The partnership will build on the Commission’s platform for coal regions that find themselves in transition. Launched in December 2017, the tool provides economic and technological support for 41 coal-dependent regions located in 12 European countries. With this new partnership, the Bloomberg Foundation will fund research projects aim to improve the platform’s database and enable more targeted actions.
Regional, local and business leaders, referred to as ‘non-state actors’ in UN jargon, are proving crucial to climate action as UN talks between countries over the definition of a rulebook to apply the Paris Agreement are currently embroiled in technical struggles. They also show that they can overtake unambitious, if not opposing, national governments in meeting the Paris Agreement target as a report presented 13 September by Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg finds. It finds that US cities, states, businesses and market forces are poised to trim carbon emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2025. That compares with the 26% to 28% US commitment under the Paris deal. These stakeholders are part of America’s Pledge, a climate action group with more than 3,000 US cities, states, businesses and other groups attempting to deliver on America’s Paris goal, despite president Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw the US from the agreement. America’s Pledge now claims it is within “striking distance” of fulfilling the US climate commitment. The group is optimistic to gather enough momentum at every level of society to hinder federal efforts to stop progress on reducing emissions.
The call to action will be handed over to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during climate week, which will take place in New York from 24 to 30 September. On Friday, it was handed over to Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa.
[This article originally appeared on euractiv.com]
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.
In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.
Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.
A high-level ministerial conference in Berlin is looking at the impact of climate change on regional security in Central Asia. The aim is to foster stronger regional cooperation, improve the exchange of information and form connections with academia and civil society.