United Nations Climate Summit
The UN Climate Change Conference from November 6 to 17 had 27,000 attendees, and
170 Parties ratified the Paris Accord. French president Emmanuel Macron: “We will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. Don’t be mistaken on climate: there is no plan B because there is no planet B.” Macron promised to replace the $2 million annual donation withdrawn by
the US from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
● A Global Partnership scaled up an initiative started by the G7 in 2015 to increase the resilience of developing countries against the impacts of climate change by 2020, known as 'InsuResilience.'
● A Gender Action Plan highlights an increased role of women in climate action. New commitments and partnerships by States and non-State actors began in energy, water, forests, agriculture, oceans & coastal areas, human settlements, transportation & industry.
● More than 20 countries including Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom launched a new global coal alliance to rapidly phase out traditional coal power; a moratorium was placed on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.
● The 19 Member countries of the Biofuture Platform, including Brazil, China, Egypt, France, India, Morocco, and Mozambique announced formal agreement on developing targets for biofuels, and an action plan to achieve them.
Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, the UN climate body’s
special envoy for cities, said in Bonn that non-state actors had already taken the US “halfway” to meeting the national carbon-cutting pledge made under former President Barack Obama–a 26-28% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2025. “This coalition represents more than half of the US economy,” he said. “If this group were a country, we would have the world’s third largest economy. Citizens, states and businesses who
remain committed to the Paris Agreement represent a bigger economy than any country in the world, outside the US and China. We should have a seat at the table and the ability to work with our peers in other nations. That is the aim of our pavilion.” A spokesman for Bloomberg Philanthropies confirmed that “the table” meant international negotiations and the reporting of climate action. Doing so would allow a US interlocutor to be held accountable for US progress in meeting its existing national contribution to the Paris climate deal, despite President Donald Trump’s intention to quit the pact.
Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change executive secretary, welcomed the
coalition launch as a “special moment” and said she would take it into the formal negotiations. “While this remains a country-driven process, we do require the participation of all people to meet our climate challenge,” she said. “The climate change agenda and our sustainable development goals agenda cannot be delivered by governments alone.”
Governors, mayors, & business leaders will drive U.S. climate action from the bottom up. As of October 1, 2017, twenty U.S. states and 110 U.S. cities have enacted quantified GHG reduction targets. Some of these targets (such as those of larger states like California and New York) are as ambitious as the most ambitious NDCs submitted by parties to the Paris Agreement. In addition, 1,300 businesses with U.S. operations, representing $25 trillion in market capitalization and accounting for 0.9 Gt CO2e ¹ of GHG emissions per year have voluntarily adopted GHG targets. Many states, cities, and businesses have enacted policies and
actions to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon mobility, and other climate actions. Falling clean technology prices, emerging innovations, and actions by states, cities, and businesses have reduced U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions by 11.5% between 2005 and 2015, while the economy grew by 15% over that period. Zero-emission vehicles, building efficiency upgrades, renewable energy generation, and many low-carbon technologies are embraced. Cleaner energy and electric transportation are not only emissions eaders, but cost leaders—costs of solar power and vehicle batteries have both dropped 80% since 2010. The Department of Energy announced in August 2017 that its “SunShot” target to make solar power cost effective with conventional forms of energy had been met three years early. The America’s Pledge initiative will analyze the potential range of incremental, not yet committed, actions by states, cities, and businesses, and compare that potential against a 26-28% hort-term goal for 2025. Federal engagement is vitally necessary to achieve the deep decarbonization goals the U.S. must undertake after 2025. Adoption of zero-emission vehicles, improving the energy performance of buildings, increased use of renewable energy and fuels, improvements in the carbon intensity of manufacturing, and deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO₂, like hydrofluorocarbons and methane, must be pursued aggressively. Action to restore our forests and agricultural sector to help remove and store carbon from the atmosphere is required.
China, India policies improve global warming outlook , by Li Jing in Bonn —Climate Action Tracker expects 3.4C warming by 2100 compared to a 3.6C prediction in 2016, based on the sum of national policies. The outlook for curbing global warming has improved since 2016 as a result of policy moves in China and India, analysts said on Nov 15, 2017. China’s carbon
emissions grew by 110% from 2000-2010, but growth significantly slowed to 16% between 2010 and 2015. The report did not take into account preliminary data for 2017 , which shows global emissions rising after a three-year plateau, driven by an uptick in China. Many are now actively moving away from coal with increasingly cheaper renewable energy. Electric mobility is also gaining momentum. The report predicts global carbon emissions will increase by 9-13% between 2020 and 2030, driven by Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia; inadequate policies of Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada; and US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. A notable gap exists between carbon-cutting efforts and what is needed to meet the 2C temperature limit or lower. The annual assessment covers 32 countries, which emit around 80% of global greenhouse gases.
COP23 took place one year after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, adopted by 196 Parties in December 2015. It calls on countries to combat climate change by limiting the rise of global temperature below 2⁰ Celsius and strive not to exceed 1.5⁰. A series of summits and conferences on climate change are scheduled ahead of COP25 in 2019 hosted by Brazil, including the 'One Planet summit' to be convened by France in December 2017 with non-State actors to focus on financing; COP24 will be in Katowice, Poland in December 2018.
¹ gigatons (Gt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)