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2021-12 21
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Greece introduces new climate targets after COP26

Date:2021-12

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Greece is already seeing the dramatic effects of global warming, from the latest floods, to the unprecedented events of last summer's wildfires. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis opened his speech at the COP26 summit in Glasgow last month with a plea for urgent change, showing just how important the issue of climate change is for Greece. "We are running out of time, and we need to act now," he told world leaders last month.  Although Greece has a relatively small carbon footprint, it's taking big steps towards a green transition, such as closing coal-fired power stations and a net-zero carbon emissions goal the government said aims "to change the way people live." Source:CGTN Author:CGTN Date:December 21, 2021

2021-12 16
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COP26 Launched a Decade of Action for Climate Empowerment

Date:2021-12

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Credit: Pexels, Karolina Grabowska UN Climate Change News, 16 December 2021 – At last month’s UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, governments adopted the 10-year Glasgow work programme to further strengthen the implementation of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), which has six elements: climate education and public awareness, training, public access to information, public participation, and international cooperation on these matters. Through the Glasgow work programme, countries and companies are for example to be put in a better position to build an appropriately skilled workforce for the just transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies and societies and university graduates are to be enabled to understand how their chosen profession can contribute to the cause of and solutions to the climate crisis. In addition, the voting public can evaluate the soundness of government climate policy decisions; media outlets are empowered to provide reliable, science- and fact-based information on climate change; and consumers of that information can readily distinguish facts from falsehoods. Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “The strengthened Glasgow work programme on ACE reflects a growing understanding that to keep the Paris Agreement goals of holding global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5°C within reach, everyone, across all walks of life, needs to understand the causes and impacts of climate change, and be educated and empowered to contribute to the solutions.” Activities under the work programme are focused on four priority areas that aim to address gaps and challenges in implementing the six elements of ACE and to create opportunities to accelerate implementation. In 2022, countries will further elaborate on these priority areas by identifying immediate and time-bound activities within each priority area. The four priority areas are: Policy coherence, to strengthen coordination of ACE work at the international and national level; Coordinated action, to build partnerships that bring together different expertise, resources and knowledge to accelerate ACE implementation; Tools and support, to enhance access to tools and support for building capacity and raising awareness among various stakeholders regarding ACE; Monitoring, evaluating and reporting, to strengthen monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the implementation of all six ACE elements. The Glasgow work programme reconfirms the key role that a broad range of stakeholders, such as national and sub-national governments, educational and cultural institutions, the private sector, international and non-governmental organizations, and the media, play in implementing ACE, and promotes cooperation, collaboration and partnerships among the diverse stakeholders. For instance, the ‘Action for Climate Empowerment Hub’, financially supported by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia, is due to commence on 1 January 2022 and will provide capacity building, tools and knowledge to governments and a broad range of other stakeholders across the world, so that they can better engage the public, including young people, in climate action. This initiative follows on from the ACEAT initiative that aims to rethink and reorganise ACE to empower all members of society to engage in climate action. The Glasgow work programme recognises the critical role of youth, as well as their right to engage in decisions and action on climate change. Countries are encouraged to build the capacity of youth to embark on and lead ACE implementation, and to promote youth participation in relevant climate processes at the national and international levels. In 2022, the annual ACE dialogue will focus on the engagement of children and youth in implementing the Glasgow work programme. Source:UN Author:UN Date:December 16, 2021

2021-11 24
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4 Key Achievements of COP26

Date:2021-11

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Credit: UN Climate Change - Kiara Worth UN Climate Change News, 24 November 2021 –  In a keynote address today during the Ministerial Dialogue at the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) Energy Week, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, outlined four key achievements made at this month’s UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, which represent “significant progress” in global efforts to tackle climate change. “I believe that at COP26, Parties built a bridge between good intentions and measurable actions to lower emissions, increase resilience and provide much-needed finance,” she said. The first notable accomplishment highlighted by the UN Climate Chief relates to adaptation to the impacts of climate change, which is now deemed to be equally important as reducing emissions. Following COP26, a work programme exists to define the global goal on adaptation, which will help address the climate impacts already happening in all regions of the world. At the same time, there is now enhanced technical support for countries to address loss and damage related to climate change that will strengthen global efforts towards resilience. Secondly, on the critical issue of finance, governments at COP26 agreed on the need for much greater support to developing countries. "All Parties agreed that much more support needs to be provided to developing countries. They recognized that the most vulnerable cannot be ignored — that much more finance for adaptation is needed — and that it must be predictable," she said. Ms. Espinosa acknowledged the fact that developed countries have yet to live up to the Paris Agreement pledge of $100 billion annually in support to developing countries and underlined the urgency of initiating the process for defining the new global goal on finance as soon as possible. Thirdly, on the urgent issue of bringing down emissions, Ms. Espinosa welcomed the collective agreement by governments to explore ways of increasing actions to close the current emissions gap, which she called a “significant area of focus as we move forward.” "The good news is that proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already exist. Some renewables are now the cheapest option to produce electricity in many parts of the world, but their deployment needs to be accelerated. For their part, governments must lead the way in planning and promoting the required clean energy infrastructure investment, including in matters of transmission and distribution," she said.  The fourth significant achievement outlined by the UN's top climate change official include the finalization of guidelines for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement; the compromise reached on Article Six relating to carbon markets, which will ensure a level playing field for everyone; and the finalization of negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework, which allows countries to continue building trust. The UN Climate Chief pointed out that despite the accomplishments in Glasgow, the world is still far off track to stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees and urged further and immediate international collaboration to get the world back on track to achieving this goal. See full speech below. It’s a pleasure to be here and to speak about our recently completed negotiations in Glasgow and what they mean for all of us moving forward. Negotiations around a topic as complex as climate change are difficult. Reaching agreements even more so. Such is the nature of consensus building and inclusive multilateralism. I am encouraged however, that we left Glasgow with clarity on the work we need to undertake to reach the 1.5-degree goal. In that vein, I would like to highlight four accomplishments coming out of COP26 that represent significant progress in the world’s efforts against climate change. First is the matter of adaptation which has been central in all our conversations at this COP. And the texts adopted recognize this relevance. It also speaks to the fact that people recognize just how important adaptation is. For so long, the focus has been on mitigation. Mitigation, of course, is extremely important. However, I think this COP really showed that adaptation will no longer be a “secondary” topic, but one of equal importance to mitigation. After COP26, we now have a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation. This will allow us to identify the collective needs and solutions for the climate impacts already happening now in all regions of the world. And the Santiago Network, a network that is about providing technical support for countries to address and manage loss and damage related to climate change, has now been enhanced. This will strengthen global efforts towards resilience. The second matter is finance. All Parties agreed that much more support needs to be provided to developing countries. They recognized that the most vulnerable cannot be ignored — that much more finance for adaptation is needed — and that it must be predictable. And while we also welcome the call to at least double finance for adaptation - the actual needs are still very much beyond what is currently available. Parties must continue to focus on this issue. Parties did not, however, resolve the Paris Agreement pledge that would see $100 billion mobilized from developed nations to developing. This is disappointing and I told all Parties they must make this a reality by next year. After all, this is not just about the $100 billion. It is critical that we initiate the process for the definition of the new global goal on finance as soon as possible. On another front we came into COP26 knowing we had a significant emissions gap. To address it, Parties collectively agreed to look for ways to increase actions to closing that gap. There can be no doubting the urgency of this task. This will be a significant area of focus as we move forward. And lastly COP26 also saw the finalization of guidelines for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. For those of you who follow our process closely, you will know that this is a very significant accomplishment. After six years of intense negotiations, we have reached a compromise on the pending issue of Article Six. Operationalizing Article Six will allow Parties to scale up their cooperation, mobilize additional finance and private sector engagement and ensure that the rules are the same for everyone. This may not be a headline issue for the public, but it is a major step forward. Another significant step forward was the finalization of negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework. This will allow all Parties to continue building trust, which is absolutely crucial as we move forward. There were several more accomplishments in many different areas — we also saw significant announcements in the non-process part of the COP — including announcements related to finance, forestry, ending coal and work specific to cities and communities. I believe that at COP26, Parties built a bridge between good intentions and measurable actions to lower emissions, increase resilience and provide much-needed finance. A bridge leading to the historic transformation we must make to achieve rapid reductions this decade and ultimately towards the 1.5C goal. The energy sector, of course, will play a crucial role in that transformation. It is no exaggeration to say that energy is at the heart of the climate change emergency, and it must be at the heart of its solution. And if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, nations must commit to a deep and lasting transformation of how they create, use, and distribute energy. Indeed – it is only through a deep-decarbonization pathway that we significantly reduce emissions this decade and ultimately get to net zero emissions by 2050. There is no separate path, there is no alternate universe, there is no Plan B.  This is simply what we must do. But our work is cut out for us. It’s not enough to pick the low-hanging fruit of replacing one energy polluting activity with a slightly less climate-damaging alternative. Shifting to less carbon-intensive energy sources remains important of course, but that alone does not get us to our climate goals. The good news is that proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already exist. Some renewables are now the cheapest option to produce electricity in many parts of the world.  But their deployment must be accelerated.  For their part, governments must lead the way in planning and promoting the required clean energy infrastructure investment, including in matters of transmission and distribution.  But we don’t have a moment to lose. The climate stakes couldn’t be any higher. I will leave it to my IRENA colleague (Francesco La Camera, Director General) to perhaps speak in more detail about energy solutions for a green future. Let me conclude by saying that despite our accomplishments in Glasgow, we are still far off the trajectory of stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5-degrees. We must see more climate action this decade to achieve it. I want to thank you for your valuable contributions in this very challenging two years leading up to COP26. But our work did not end in Glasgow. Time still remains short. The climate emergency still is with us. Our work together therefore begins immediately. Thank you. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 24, 2021

2021-11 23
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COP26 Strengthens Role of Indigenous Experts and Stewardship of Nature

Date:2021-11

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Credit: UN Climate Change - Kiara Worth UN Climate Change News, 23 November 2021 – At the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in November, direct and unprecedented engagement between indigenous peoples, local communities and governments helped unlock sustainable and resilient ways to achieve the Paris Agreement commitments and reverse biodiversity decline. For the first time in the history of the UNFCCC, twenty-eight indigenous peoples were nominated from each of the seven UN indigenous socio-cultural regions, to engage directly as knowledge holders and share experiences as indigenous experts with governments. Indigenous peoples and local communities have knowledge and values oriented towards nature and amassed through generations. Indigenous peoples steward over 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. In their main decision adopted at the end of the meeting, governments recognized “the important role of civil society, including youth and indigenous peoples, in addressing and responding to climate change, and highlighting the urgent need for action”. Rodion Sulyandziga, member of the UNFCCC’s Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform Facilitative Working Group, said: “This is a strong achievement and historic progress under the UNFCCC, to bring the indigenous knowledge holders to the table to voice solutions and humanize the impacts of climate change.” Governments recognized “the global interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the critical role of nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches in delivering benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation”. The decision further recognized “the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring ecosystems to deliver crucial services, including acting as net carbon sinks, reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts and supporting sustainable livelihoods, including for indigenous peoples and local communities” and emphasized the important role that indigenous peoples knowledge and experience can play in effective action on climate change, and urged “Parties to actively involve indigenous peoples in implementing climate action and to engage with the second three-year workplan of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform for 2022–2024”. These decisions mark a reorientation of policy towards nature to stabilize the global climate system, through engaging with the expertise of indigenous peoples, local communities and their diverse knowledge systems. Dr. Victoria Qutuuq Buschman, an Inuit knowledge holder from the Arctic, stated: “Indigenous communities are actively engaged in managing and caring for our communities.” She added: “This sustainable management of biodiversity will be passed on to our young people, who will be doing this for a very long time.” Jhanira Dorisa Sensu Tunki, a Shuar knowledge holder from Ecuador, also echoed the importance of indigenous knowledge in meeting the Paris Agreement goals. She explained: "Indigenous knowledge is very important, the Paris Agreement and the Convention of Biodiversity have shown us the importance of diverse knowledge systems to fight against climate change and preserve biodiversity." The annual gathering of knowledge holders at COP26 also brought forward a new and important focus on perspectives of indigenous youth. Chris Honahnie, an indigenous youth knowledge holder from North America, echoed this, stating: “The voices of our indigenous youth needs be at the forefront of any climate change solutions and discussions on how we adapt to climate change.” During COP 26 in Glasgow, Parties adopted the second three-year workplan of the LCIPP which mandates that these events under the LCIPP continue throughout the next three years. Following COP 26, the platform will continue this work in facilitating increased engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities in climate policy and action. Get Engaged with the LCIPP Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 23, 2021

2021-11 13
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COP26 Reaches Consensus on Key Actions to Address Climate Change

Date:2021-11

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Adaptation, mitigation and finance are all strengthened in a complex and delicate balance supported by all Parties. After six years of strenuous negotiations, pending items that prevented the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on carbon markets and transparency have finally been approved. Deliberations under the current session of the COP, CMP and CMA came to an end this Saturday in Glasgow, one day after their scheduled conclusion. The wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that constitute the outcome of COP26 is the fruit of intense negotiations over the past two weeks, strenuous formal and informal work over many months, and constant engagement both in-person and virtually for nearly two years. The package adopted today is a global compromise that reflects a delicate balance between the interests and aspirations of nearly the 200 Parties to the core instruments on the international regime that governs global efforts against climate change. Under the UK presidency and with the support of the UNFCCC Secretariat, delegates forged agreements that strengthen ambition in the three pillars of collective climate action. Adaptation was the object of particular emphasis during the deliberations. Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries. The Santiago Network was further strengthened by elaborating its functions in support of countries to address and manage loss and damage. And the CMA approved the two registries for NDCs and Adaptation Communications, which serve as channels for information flowing towards the Global Stocktake that is to take place every five years starting in 2023. Finance was extensively discussed throughout the session and there was consensus in the need to continue increasing support to developing countries. The call to at least double finance for adaptation was welcomed by the Parties. The duty to fulfill the pledge of providing 100 billion dollars annually from developed to developing countries was also reaffirmed. And a process to define the new global goal on finance was launched. On mitigation, the persistent gap in emissions has been clearly identified and Parties collectively agreed to work to reduce that gap and to ensure that the world continues to advance during the present decade, so that the rise in the average temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees. Parties are encouraged to strengthen their emissions reductions and to align their national climate action pledges with the Paris Agreement. In addition, a key outcome is the conclusion of the so-called Paris rulebook. An agreement was reached on the fundamental norms related to Article 6 on carbon markets, which will make the Paris Agreement fully operational.  This will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigation as well as adaptation. And the negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework were also concluded, providing for agreed tables and formats to account and report for targets and emissions. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said: “I thank the Presidency and all Ministers for their tireless efforts throughout the conference and I congratulate all Parties on finalizing the rulebook. This is an excellent achievement! It means that the Paris Agreement can now function fully for the benefit of all, now and in the future.”  Alok Sharma, UK President of COP26 said: “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.” The Heads of State and Government and the delegates who participated in COP26 brought to the conference a keen awareness of the severity of the climate crisis that the world faces and of the need to live up to the historic responsibility of setting the world on the path to address this existential challenge. They leave Glasgow with clarity on the work that needs to be done, more robust and effective instruments to achieve it, and a heightened commitment to promote climate action —and to do so more quickly— in every area. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 13, 2021