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Year-End Global Climate Deadline: Over Three Quarters of Countries Committing to New Targets

Year-End Global Climate Deadline: Over Three Quarters of Countries Committing to New Targets

The Effects of Typhoon Goni in the Philippines, October 2020

Judgefloro - Own work, CC0, The Effects of Typhoon Goni in the Philippines, October 2020

    • Over 150 countries including 120 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic committed to make stronger Paris Agreement targets in 2020, suggesting countries understand the importance of ‘building back better’, a CVF tracker tool shows ahead key international deadline 

    DHAKA, Bangladesh – 17 November 2020: Over three quarters of the worlds countries have formally committed to strengthen, by the end of this year, their 2030 national targets to combat the climate emergency, new analysis by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) shows. The development reflects widespread support for the Paris Agreement and its implementation that has been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the 31 December UN deadline for all countries to improve on their own climate action pledges under the landmark 2015 accord.

    The CVF’s Climate Survival Leadership Barometer, launched today, shows countries that have and have not formally committed to submit enhanced 2030 climate targets under the Paris Agreement (called Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) and where any commitments were made. The “Barometer” also shows which countries have already submitted their NDCs, and provides an assessment of the strength of each NDC, the collective ambition of all NDCs being a matter of survival for vulnerable countries.

    To date, 151 countries have confirmed, through a series of recent and official resolutions and announcements, their intention to submit stronger NDCs before midnight on 31 December, including the membership of the CVF, as well as the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States, and the Least Developed Countries, among others. 

    Launching the Climate Survival Leadership Barometer, HE Md. Shahab Uddin, Hon’able Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Bangladesh, which holds the CVF presidency, said:

    “The lion’s share of nations have committed to deliver on Paris Agreement obligations this year, with stronger 2030 climate targets — but we are not still sure of their delivery, strength and effort. Weak ambition has turned up the planet’s pressure cooker to the limit and threatens our very right to survival. Only the boldest efforts right now can save us and the 1.5°C goal.”

    Minister Uddin highlighted that vulnerable countries are working hard to deliver new 2030 climate commitments by the end of this year. He called on richer nations, especially those most responsible for climate change, to play their part, adding that the CVF’s new “Barometer” would shine a light on countries that are committed and delivering effectively, and those that are not. 

    Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 120 countries have joined commitments to submit stronger NDCs, suggesting they understand the importance of ‘building back better’ post-COVID. In apparent indifference, though, to the urgency of constant and even existential threats facing most vulnerable groups, some 40 nations have yet to even signal plans to deliver enhanced Paris NDCs just 1,000 hours counting down to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change deadline at the end of this year. 

    The Paris Agreement calls all signatory countries to submit stronger climate targets, or NDCs, every 5 years. In-line with the Paris Agreement, all countries’ first updated NDC is due in 2020, by midnight on 31 December. The NDCs state what each country will do at a national level to reduce emissions, enhance their resilience to climate threats, and help finance climate action. So far, though, only 13 countries have actually submitted enhanced NDCs to the UNFCCC. 

    The publication of the Climate Survival Leadership Barometer furthers the “Midnight Survival Deadline for the Climate” initiative announced by the CVF at a UN Leaders’ event last month where some 30 heads of state and government or their ministers joined the call for all nations to deliver enhanced Paris NDCs before midnight of 31 December 2020. The Bangladesh CVF Presidency encouraged strong engagement with the Midnight Survival initiative from organizations, the public and nations alike. 

    The Barometer’s release also follows the US election and President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge for the US to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day of office, while the Biden Climate Plan aims to eliminate all US power sector emissions by 2035 alongside a comprehensive array of further climate measures. 

    Upon the release of the new analysis, high-level CVF member representatives commented: 

    HE Christopher Loeak, Hon’able Minister-in-Assistance to the President and Minister of Environment of the Marshall Islands, said:

    “5 years ago we celebrated the universal agreement reached at Paris precisely because of its promise to save the vulnerable nations like the Marshall Islands and, in fact, the world. With the Paris Agreement’s 5th Anniversary next month, the accord faces its first real test: countries have to show more ambition than what they put on the table in the run up to Paris back in 2015 by midnight on 31 December of this year. The CVF’s 2020 Climate Survival Leadership Barometer provides much needed transparency on how each country contributes to passing this crucial test for all the planet.”

    “In a climate emergency, with all governments prioritizing this and the averting of the next pandemic-scale crisis, nothing should be more important than working for new public health and climate ambition. As the convenor of the High Ambition Coalition that helped to forge the Paris Agreement, we are as committed to ensuring promises of ambition be kept. We’ll maintain our vigilance or-in Marshallese- “jumemmej” through to the last hours of 2020. Our survival depends on it.”

    HE Andrea Meza, Hon’able Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, said:

    “As countries plan to regenerate from the economic and sanitary crises of this year, we should focus on a green, blue and orange recovery. The updated NDC is a brilliant opportunity to reflect this sustainable recovery. If countries make good on their pledges to submit NDCs before the end of 2020, it would inject significant impetus to international efforts to combat climate change by moving decisively towards a resilient and net-zero economy.”

    HE Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Hon’able Minister of Environment of the Maldives, said: 

    “Climate change poses an existential threat to the Maldives. We take our responsibilities under the Paris Agreement seriously. As President Solih recently announced, we will submit a strengthened, updated NDC before midnight on 31 December, and we call on all other signatories to the Paris Agreement to do the same. We’ve run out of time on climate change. Everyone needs to act right now.”

    HE Wera Mori, Hon’able Minister for Environment, Conservation & Climate Change of Papua New Guinea, said: 

    “The importance of tackling the impacts of climate change cannot be understated and we are raising our ambition to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the land use and forest sectors through our revised NDC in 2020. We need action and we need that now to avoid catastrophic climatic impacts.” 

    Deputy Speaker, HE Loren Legarda, Philippines, and CVF Thematic Ambassador for Parliaments, said:

    “Although we are hardest hit, least responsible, and even doubly vulnerable during this global pandemic, we are finding the courage, the resources and the commitment to raise the level of our ambition in delivering on the obligations we took up under the Paris Agreement, delivering a strong updated NDC this year. Our message is simple: we call on all nations to deliver by midnight 31 December of 2020, the same ambition, or even greater, when they are most responsible, most capable, and least affected. It is our people’s lives and futures that are first and foremost on the line.”

    HE Prof. Dr. Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia, said:

    “Ethiopia’s commitment is unwavering in the global fight against climate change, among others, by submitting its enhanced Paris Agreement NDC. We need bold climate actions alongside the concerted efforts to address the covid 19 pandemic which should not be a reason for not submitting ambitious NDCs. Both challenges can be addressed in a green recovery way. Besides, delayed response is going to be expensive and irreversible. We call on all parties to the Paris agreement to submit their most ambitious NDCs before Midnight on 31 December, 2020 not miss a small window of opportunity we have to limit the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

    Dr. Henry Kokofu, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana, said:

    “Ghana is doing our homework and is on track for our updated and enhanced NDC for this year. Just like so many of our brother and sister countries in the Climate Vulnerable Forum around the globe. As we are making this effort, we certainly expect all countries to do their part. There is no time to wait. The urgency of the climate crisis is already painfully evident in lives lost and many other challenges. We need to build a brighter future working together and the time to act is now.”

    Speaking at the launch of the Barometer, Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, and Managing Partner of Support to the CVF commented:

    “The GCA is proud to have worked with the CVF on the first tracker of global climate action that puts the adaptation commitments of countries under the Paris accord on a level footing with their emissions pledges. The concerning news from the OECD last week that only 24% of public climate finance targets adaptation shows just how much work remains to be done. The CVF’s new Climate Survival Leadership Barometer gives us clear-cut transparency by highlighting which countries are committing to expanded new efforts at home to adapt to the climate emergency facing all nations today, and so to truly build forward better.”

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