At first glance, the outlook for climate policy in 2017 does not look too promising: Donald Trump has become the president of the US and presented an energy plan that does not even mention climate change but is based on shale gas and coal. In addition, Europe’s often claimed leadership in climate policy is in jeopardy, with Brexit and the potential outcome of elections in the Netherlands and France, where populism and EU scepticism is on the rise.
However, on reflection, this year could be a good starting point for the achievement of new milestones in climate protection. Part and parcel of this less pessimistic outlook are the aims of the G20 and its German presidency. Under the leadership of Angela Merkel there is a good chance for a push towards carbon pricing. This would allow the world to pursue a growth path that protects the environment at the same time as lifting people out of poverty.
The science is clear: To prevent major disruption, the global community must take steps to address climate change. But it is also increasingly clear that efforts to address climate change can have major effects on societies that are not always anticipated.
The G20 is at a crossroads. Since its inception, the exclusive group has had the chief objective of avoiding a new financial crisis. But a looming crisis of a different nature could now threaten international stability just as much: climate change, a risk factor deeply intertwined with other hazards such as slow growth and rising inequality.
The Earth’s front-line defenders are disappearing at an astonishing rate. On average three environmental activists were killed each week in 2015, according to a recent report from the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Global Witness, an international NGO that documents natural resource extraction, corruption, and violence, reports a 59 percent increase in deaths last year compared to 2014. In total, 185 killings of environmental defenders were recorded by Global Witness in 2015.
In December, the leading lights of the climate and security community launched an unprecedented declaration to catalyse action in the field in front of 350 participants at the Planetary Security Conference.
On 19 January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted a G7 roundtable seminar with international experts and country representatives to follow up on the group's efforts to address climate-fragility risks.
“The environment dominates the global risks landscape. Climate change was the number two underlying trend this year. And for the first time, all five environmental risks in the survey were ranked both high-risk and high-likelihood, with extreme weather events emerging as the single most prominent global risk.”
Climate change and violent extremism will be two of the major threats to the stability of states and societies in the next decades. In many African countries climate change has significantly increased instability by over-stretching the already limited capacity of governments to respond. UNDP Team Leader Aliou M. Dia shares his insights from West Africa and argues that one has to ensure that violence and conflict prevention measures are fully integrated in climate change adaptation plans and programmes.
The Climate Diplomacy platform has been dedicated to monitoring and supporting the climate debate, by gathering and promoting stories, which touch on different aspects of climate diplomacy. Thus, to end the year on a positive note and maintain the motivation for 2017, we’ve complied our top ten climate diplomacy stories published on our platform over the past year.
Migration, political and financial crises threaten the European Union’s very existence. But the destabilized political landscape after the US elections is an opportunity for the EU to lead by example and show leadership. Pushing forwards on pan-European energy transition and trade partnerships with China will be key to ensuring implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders, emphasizes that climate change threatens international peace and security and speaks about his personal experience in Northern Mali, where he worked during his term as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of
European Union leaders must heap pressure on Donald Trump over his climate change scepticism because global warming poses a global security threat, a retired US general has told EurActiv.com.
Environmental security? Climate security? How about planetary security. Last week at the venerable Peace Palace in The Hague, more than 300 experts from around the world met for the somewhat dramatically named Planetary Security Conference, a new initiative aimed at bringing together people working on all things related to the environment, climate change, and their security implications.
The ECC editorial team is committed to providing policy-makers, diplomats, practitioners and the interested public with first class articles, background information on current environmental conflicts, in-depth research, opinion pieces, and interactive, thought-provoking content.