Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous parallels have been drawn between this health crisis and the climate crisis. Science plays an important role in advising decision makers on how to ensure sustainable crisis management and a precautionary approach to avoid harmful repercussions, particularly where we do not yet know all the consequences of our actions. [...]
Solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis need to be aligned to those of the climate crisis for a global transformation towards more sustainability, resilience, equity, and justice. Climate diplomacy has the tools to achieve these objectives simultaneously.
The former lead climate negotiator for the UK and the EU, Peter Betts, welcomes the decision to move COP26 to 2021 and discusses what is needed from the postponed climate summit.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.
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.
As we step into 2020, time has come to implement the Paris Agreement and raise climate ambition, but the geopolitical tide seems to be against it. The best way forward at this crucial juncture might be to forge a ‘climate coalition of the willing’ – recognising and streamlining actions of all actors at all levels.
If you have even a passing familiarity with the climate and security literature, you undoubtedly have come across the phrase “threat multiplier.” The phrase conveys the idea that climate change intersects with other factors to contribute to security problems. It’s used as short-hand to avoid the charge of environmental determinism, that climate change somehow on its own causes negative security outcomes.
The latest climate talks unravelled when parties failed to reach consensus on the global carbon market mandated by the Paris Agreement. The carbon market controversy emerged amidst new tensions between a growing grassroots climate movement and the climate sceptic agenda of populist leaders. The ball is now in the court of the climate laggards, but they can only halt global climate action for so long.
This year’s annual UN climate conference, COP25 in Madrid, became the longest on record when it concluded after lunch on Sunday, following more than two weeks of fraught negotiations. It had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday.
Climate action is best achieved through multilateral efforts involving an array of actors and stakeholders. The news coming out of climate talks can also be as wide and varied. To keep you posted on the latest happenings surrounding COP25 we'd like to share with you 10 of our favourite Twitter accounts.
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 encourage 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.
Even as the US officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement earlier this week, it might be too soon to lose hope on the country's long-term commitments to climate action. If a Democrat wins the upcoming presidential elections, which are set for November 2020, a reaccession process could begin shortly after the withdrawal is complete. In the meantime, however, the effect on trade policy could be significant.
A group of five small countries have announced that they will launch negotiations on a new Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability, which, if successful, would constitute the first international trade agreement focused solely on climate change and sustainable development. The initiative also breaks new ground by aiming to simultaneously remove barriers for trade in environmental goods and services and crafting binding rules to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Small countries can pioneer the development of new trade rules that can help achieve climate goals, but making credible commitments, attracting additional participants, and ensuring transparency will be essential ingredients for long-term success.
Ten years after committing to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, G20 countries still subsidise coal, oil and gas to the tune of around USD 150 billion annually. The process to try to move the G20 forward on this issue has been via peer review of fossil fuel subsidies, but these reviews need to be followed by action. Subsidy reforms could free up resources that could be channeled back into government programmes, which would be necessary to mitigate the impacts of rising energy prices on vulnerable populations and to help smooth reforms, and could also be spent on accelerating a clean energy transition.
Adapting to climate change and strengthening resilience are becoming priorities for the international community – however, they require greater ambition in climate policy. 107 governments and numerous international organisations have endorsed a call for action on raising ambition at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on 23rd September 2019. Following the summit, the Global Commission on Adaptation will begin its Year of Action to meet the climate challenges ahead. The Year of Action is here to accelerate climate adaptation around the world, to improve human well-being and to drive more sustainable economic development and security.