Request for IPCC 1.5C Special Report addition (2 sentences) to the Political Declaration
18 June 2019
We respectfully urge the addition of crucial facts of the climate change science to the 2030 SDG Agenda, which were not available at the time of drafting the SDG documents. We ask that these, which are in the 2018 IPCC 1.5°C Special Report and which specifically address sustainable development in 1.5ºC climate change mitigation, be included in the Political Declaration. There is now universal agreement on the long term 1.5°C limit. Note the IPCC 1.5C Report (title) specifies sustainable development as a purpose, that runs through the Report. We are asking that the two sentences in red from the IPCC 1.5C Report be added to the draft Political Declaration. These have been approved by all nations, through the IPCC 1.5C Report report and are being urged on nations by the UN Secretary General.
Draft 10 June 2019 Political Declaration
Item 10. We remain determined to rise to the climate challenge with urgent and enhanced and in ambition to preserve our planet taking into account the special needs and special circumstances of developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. To do so we resolve to limit long term global warming to 1.5°C, to work for the global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from 2020, to decline global CO2 emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 towards net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, with global CO2 emissions declining from 2020, in keeping with the IPCC 1.5°C Report. To do so we resolve to unconditionally terminate fossil fuel subsidies on immediate time-frame, and to put a full costed price on carbon (fossil fuel pollution). We commit to conserve and sustainably use of planets resources to reverse the trends of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss and promote resilience and disaster risk reduction.
The -50% CO2 emissions by 2030, reform of fossil fuel subsidies and the indispensable pricing of carbon are in the IPCC 1.5C Report, which has been approved (line by line)by all governments, so we think it should be feasible to include them. The -50% CO2 emissions 2030 was given widespread media coverage.
In general we ask that the following on global climate change be considered as essential to SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
These have also been urged by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and as civil society stakeholders we strongly endorse these.
The IPCC 1.5C Report science makes it certain that the priority for the SDGs in general that CO2 emissions must fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and that global CO2 emissions decline from 2020. We think that (the universally recommended) ceasing of fossil fuel subsides would achieve that. Fossil fuel subsidies increased in 2018 (International Energy Agency).
These points are:
• Global CO2 emissions decline rapidly from 2020 for both the 1.5C (IPCC 1.5°C Report Figure SPM 1 ) and 2C limit (UNEP 2018 GAP Report)
• CO2 emissions fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 (IPCC 1.5ºC Report Headline Statement C.1)
• CO2 emissions reach “net zero” by 2050 (IPCC 1.5ºC Report Headline Statement C.1)
• Fossil fuel subsidies terminated within an immediate timeframe
• Subsidies to high-emitting, unsustainable agriculture ended
• The full-cost price of carbon charged to large central emitters (fossil fuel corporations)
• The global climate (and oceans) emergency be acknowledged.
These are also in keeping with the 2012 Rio+20 re-affirmed Rio agreements.
We point out that for limiting both 1.5°C and for 2°C global emissions decline from 2020.
We strongly endorse the following statements made by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres (with many other statements in the UN appendix to this document). (These are taken from the UN site).
UN Sec. General says climate change is an existential threat to most life on the planet, including and especially humankind, UN chief warns global summit (15 May 2018, Austria World Summit).
UN Secretary-General Guterres warns If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us (11 September 2018, UN New York).
U.N. Secretary-General Warns of 'Total Disaster' If Global Warming Isn't Stopped. The alternative to global transformation “would mean ‘a catastrophic situation for the whole world’ Sec General Guterres said he will ask leaders to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. He said he wants countries to build no new coal power plants after 2020. He wants them to put a price on the use of carbon. He wants net zero carbon by 2050 (8 May 2019, UN New York) … we must address the global climate emergency. We are in a race against time — and we are losing the race (7 June 2019, Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Saint Petersburg).
Crucial quotes from the 2018 IPCC 1.5ºC Special Report (in italics)
Since the IPCC 1.5ºC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, the global climate emergency has been widely recognized. Hence the IPCC 1.5ºC Report is the most recent, authoritative report regarding sustainable development.
Key to avoiding catastrophic global climate change are the IPCC conclusions in the Summary for Policy Makers for 1.5ºC mitigation, which has been scrutinized and approved by all world governments through the IPCC consensus process.
Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems … Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. …Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society (INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 8 Oct 2018, IPCC 1.5°C Report press release).
In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. For limiting global warming to below 2°C, CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 20% by 2030. Non-CO2 emissions in pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C show deep reductions that are similar to those in pathways limiting warming to 2°C (Headline statements C1.).
Future climate-related risks depend on the rate, peak and duration of warming. Some impacts may be long-lasting or irreversible…. (SPM A. 3.2).
CO2 emissions decline from 2020 to reach net zero in 2055 or 2040 (text Figure SPM.1).
Pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot show clear emission reductions by 2030 … a 40–50% reduction from 2010 levels. Pathways reflecting current nationally stated mitigation ambition until 2030 are broadly consistent with cost-effective pathways that result in a global warming of about 3°C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards. SPM. D.1.1.
In addition, the phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies encourages less wasteful energy consumption (IPCC 1.5ºC Sustainable development (Chapter 5 Report Table 5.2)
Enabling this investment requires the mobilization and better integration of a range of policy instruments that include the reduction of socially inefficient fossil fuel subsidy regimes and innovative price and non-price national and international policy instruments.… Estimated at 650 billion USD in 2015 these subsidies represent 25–30% of government expenditures in forty (mostly developing) countries.… Reducing these subsidies would contribute to reaching 1.5°C-consistent pathways…. Explicit carbon prices remain a necessary condition of ambitious climate policies (Chapter 4 Enabling Rapid and Far-Reaching Change).
APPENDIX: List of official statements by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in 2018 and 2019
UN Sec. General says climate change is an existential threat to most life on the planet, including and especially humankind, UN chief warns global summit (15 May 2018 Austrian World Summit).
UN Secretary-General Guterres warns If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us (11 September 2018 UN New York).
U.N. Secretary-General Warns of 'Total Disaster' If Global Warming Isn't Stopped. The alternative to global transformation “would mean "a catastrophic situation for the whole world” Sec General Guterres said he will ask leaders to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. He said he wants countries to build no new coal power plants after 2020. He wants them to put a price on the use of carbon. He wants net zero carbon by 2050 (8 May 2019, UN New York) … we must address the global climate emergency. We are in a race against time — and we are losing the race (7 June 2019 Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum).
We need to tax pollution, not people, and to end subsidies for fossil fuels. The story of subsidies for fossil fuels is not usually well-described. Many people still think that to give fossil fuels subsidies is a way to improve living conditions of people. There is nothing more wrong than that. What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money — which means our money — to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word — to destroy the world (28 May 2019 R20 Austrian Word Summit).
First, we must shift taxes from salaries to carbon. We need to tax pollution, not people. Second, we must stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Taxpayer money should not be used to boost hurricanes, spread drought and heatwaves, melt glaciers and bleach corals. Third, we must stop building new coal plants by 2020 (18 May 2019 Port Vila, Vanuatu).
These plans must show how we can reduce greenhouse‑gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade and get to net zero emissions globally by 2050 through strong mitigation and adaptation measures. And this is why I have been asking leaders around the world to adopt carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of emissions,… but also to end subsidies on fossil fuels, and not to start construction of new coal plants beyond 2020 (27 April 2019 Round Table Promoting Green and Sustainable Development to Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Beijing).
Climate change is happening now and to all of us. Every week brings a new example of climate-related devastation. No country or community is immune. And, as is always the case, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit. It is clear that climate change threatens decades of development progress and places in jeopardy all our plans for inclusive and sustainable development. From increased poverty and food insecurity, to growing water stress and accelerated environmental damage, climate change is a clear and present threat. But, we must set radical change in motion.… This means ending subsidies for fossil fuels and high-emitting, unsustainable agriculture and shifting towards renewable energy, electric vehicles and climate-smart practices. It means carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of emissions, from climate risk to the health hazards of air pollution.… And it means accelerating the closure of coal plants, halting the construction of new ones and replacing those jobs with healthier alternatives for the people there employed, so the transformation is just, inclusive and profitable (28 March 2019 General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development, New York).
We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change. Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late. For many people, regions, even countries, this is already a matter of life and death. Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years. The concentration of carbon dioxide is the highest it has been in 3 million years. Emissions are now growing again. The recent special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that warming could reach 1.5 degrees [Celsius] as soon as 2030, with devastating impacts. The latest United Nations Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report tells us that the current Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement will lead to global warming of about 3 degrees [Celsius] by the end of the century…. Emissions must decline by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and be net zero by 2050…. Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement would reduce air pollution, saving more than a million lives each year by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. According to the recent New Climate Economy report, ambitious climate action could yield 65 million jobs and a direct economic gain of $26 trillion compared to business as usual over the next 12 years (3 December 2018 Secretary-General's remarks at the opening of the COP 24, Katowice, Poland).
We are experiencing record‑breaking temperatures around the world. Heat waves, fires, storms and floods are leaving a trail of death and devastation. If we do not change course in the next two years, we risk runaway climate change. We need urgent and unprecedented climate action in all areas (28 November 2018 Global Goals Summit for Heads of State and Government, Copenhagen).
Every new scientific report confirms that climate change is the greatest threat to human security and sustainable development, and that climate change is still running faster than we are.… The recent Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it very clear: We have little time remaining to limit global temperature rise to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. If we miss the window, we face runaway climate change with irreversible impacts. The UN Environment Emissions Gap Report finds that most G20 economies are not on track to fulfill their Paris pledges on time. And even if they hit their targets, the world will still heat up by 3 degrees Celsius before the end of the century (1 December 2018 Remarks to G20 session on Climate and Sustainable Development, Buenos Aires).
We need to put a meaningful price on carbon and end fossil fuel subsidies, which today amount to $373 billion a year. Carbon pricing and ending fossil fuel subsidies can promote the low-carbon and climate-resilient growth we need. But, this coverage [carbon pricing] amounts to only one fifth of total global emissions. According to the 2018 New Climate Economy report, carbon pricing and ending subsidies could generate nearly $3 trillion in Government revenues or savings by 2030 (13 October 2018 Climate Finance Ministerial Meeting, Bali, Indonesia).
If we do not reverse the current trend of emissions by 2020, it may be impossible to meet the 1.5ºC goal. And that is what leaders committed to do in Paris. The effects of climate change are already upon us, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain life in the planet.… This means ending subsidies for fossil fuels and high-emitting agricultural practices [….] And it needs carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of carbon emissions — from climate risk to the health hazards of air pollution.… We must halt deforestation and address the growing impact of climate change on our oceans.… The time is long gone when we could afford delay. Each day brings further evidence of the mounting existential threat of climate change to the planet. Every day that we fail to act is a day that we step a little closer towards a fate that none of us wants — a fate that will resonate through generations in the damage done to humankind and to life on Earth (26 September 2018 UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the high‑level leaders dialogue on climate change, New York).
If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.… As climate change intensifies, we will find it harder to feed ourselves.… But scientists tell us that we are far off track. According to a United Nations study, the commitments made so far by parties to the Paris Agreement represent just one third of what is needed…. I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net‑zero emissions by mid‑century.… We are careening towards the edge of the abyss. It is not too late to shift course, but every day that passes means the world heats up a little more and the cost of our inaction mounts. Every day we fail to act is a day that we step a little closer towards a fate that none of us wants — a fate that will resonate through generations in the damage done to humankind and life on Earth (10 September 2018 Secretary-General's remarks on Climate Change, UN New York).
Every day, I am faced with the challenges of our troubled and complex world. But none of them loom so large as climate change. If we fail to meet the challenge, all our other challenges will just become greater and threaten to swallow us. Climate change is, quite simply, an existential threat for most life on the planet — including, and especially, the life of humankind (UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks to the R20 Austrian World Summit, Vienna, 15 May 2018)