Climate change is no longer a matter of governments alone, as local authorities, investors, businesses and other social groups increasingly act on, and to adapt to climate change. Transnational actions could further narrow the emissions gap, demonstrate to governments what is possible, and – in so doing – they create pressure for higher ambitions. However, to become effective complements to the international climate regime, climate actions also need to be taken on a global scale. This raises the question about the geographic distribution of transnational action – and more broadly whether the transnational dimension of the post-Paris climate governance architecture will deliver in an equitable manner. In contrast to ‘traditional’ international climate politics, the gap between developing and developed countries is much less questioned when it comes to the transnational dimension of global climate change. This is remarkable, given the great potential of transnational climate actions questions such as ‘where will the benefits of these actions accrue’ and ‘who are the beneficiaries’ should loom large. Imbalances in the transnational governance realm may soon undermine the legitimacy of transnational engagement in the UNFCCC process. This would not only be a political problem; it would possibly lead to a less effective global climate regime.
High-Level Climate Action Champions Minister Hakima El Haité and Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, in their recently released reflection note, emphasize the importance of Global Climate Action by businesses, investors, cities and regions, and other stakeholders, to simultaneously deliver on the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The note further points out the important role the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General plays in mobilizing the UN system, convening all sectors of society, while ensuring linkages with the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development.
Although not explicitly mentioned, the strong emphasis on sustainable development is good news for developing countries. The Champions intend to broaden Global Climate Action beyond initiatives with high mitigation potential, but also initiatives that deliver climate resilience and sustainable development. In a next step, more details should be given on how the Global Climate Action Agenda would support and encourage action in developing countries.
For priorities to ensure effective and inclusive Global Climate Action, see previous post:
The Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions network has been discussing how the Global Climate Action Agenda should look like; how it could contribute to closing the global emissions gap; and how it can safeguard credibility and effectiveness of non-Party actions.
I would like to point out three things to ensure an effective and inclusive Global Climate Action Agenda.