Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Publication: Catalytic Climate ACtion for A new decade

‘Climate Ambition and Sustainable Development for a New Decade: A Catalytic Framework’.

A new study by 26 leading experts evaluates the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA) and discusses options to improve it in order to strengthen sub‐ & non‐state engagement in challenging times.

The transition from the pre‐2020 to a post‐2020 agenda provides a political opportunity to recalibrate the design of a catalytic framework. A more collaborative, comprehensive, evaluative and catalytic Action Agenda will exemplify a new avenue of cooperation between governments and sub‐ and non‐state actors and should help to accelerate implementation, raise NDCs’ ambition and inform ambitious long-term strategies.

An improved GCAA should encourage engagement at lower levels of governance through collaboration with regional & national processes. Moreover, collaboration between orchestrators of climate and sustainable development action can improve reflexivity and deliberativeness in climate governance.

Read the open access study here.

New Publication: a framework to assess progress, implementation and impact of sub- and non-state climate action

Information on progress and impacts is essential for credible sub- & nonstate Climate Action. Today a team of scholars & practitioners present an assessment framework for credible climate action. The framework can be tailored for climate mitigation and adaptation.

The rising importance of cities, states and regions, firms, investors, and other subnational and non-state actors in global and national responses to climate change raises a critical question: to what extent does this climate action deliver results? This article introduces a conceptual framework that researchers and practitioners can use as a template to assess the progress, implementation, and impact of climate action by sub- and non-state actors. This framework is used to review existing studies that track progress, implementation, and achievement of such climate action between 2014 and mid-2019. While researchers have made important advances in assessing the scope and future potential of sub- and non-state climate action, we find knowledge gaps around ex-post achievement of results, indirect impacts, and climate action beyond the realm of greenhouse gas reductions.

Key policy insights

  • While we increasingly understand the scale, scope, and potential of climate action by sub- and non-state actors, we lack rigorous evidence regarding the results achieved and their broader impacts.
  • More information on progress and impact is essential for the credibility of sub- and non-state climate action. Policymakers need to understand which approaches are working and which are not, promoting the diffusion of best practice and creating conditions for stronger action in the future.
  • The proposed conceptual framework can be tailored and applied to a wide range of initiatives that target mitigation, adaptation, and other spheres of climate action. By providing a template to identify key elements of progress tracking and evaluation, the framework can help align both research and practitioner communities around the data and metrics required to understand the overall impact of climate action.

To read, follow this link to the Climate Policy article.

Thomas N. Hale, Sander Chan, Angel Hsu, Andrew Clapper, Cynthia Elliott, Pedro Faria, Takeshi Kuramochi, Shannon McDaniel, Milimer Morgado, Mark Roelfsema, Mayra Santaella, Neelam Singh, Ian Tout, Chris Weber, Amy Weinfurter & Oscar Widerberg (2020) Sub- and non-state climate action: a framework to assess progress, implementation and impact, Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1828796

Climate Action and the SDGs, Managing Synergies and Tradeoffs – Lecture at Yale-nus college

In February, I had the great pleasure to visit Data-Driven Lab, and to share some of my work with students from Yale-NUS College (Singapore), focusing on the interlinkages between climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The following is a transcript of my presentation.

Climate action is not only about reducing emissions, but also sustainable development. There has recently been a reversal in progress towards some of the SDGs, such as world hunger, which is worsening and very likely caused by climate change. More sustainable development achievements are expected to be reversed as a result of climate change. We must therefore move away from thinking of climate action as purely a matter of environmental action.

Read further by clicking here.

Shell is unfit to lead Climate Action

Great #ClimateAction journalism! Malcom Harris ( ‘undercover in plain sight’ at a Shell scenario workshop:

“Maybe it’ll even make some incidental progress along the way, depending on where the subsidies are, but there’s no comprehensive vision for a livable future here, no ethical imagination, no morality to speak of. It is unfit to lead.”

High time to invest in social sciences on climate change

We always hear that the science is clear, climate change is a political and social problem. Yet natural and technical sciences receive 770% more climate change research funding than social sciences, according to new research by Indra Overland (Center for Energy Research, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI]) and Ben Sovacool (Energy policy, Science Policy Research Unit [SPRU], University of Sussex).

After Greta: will climate action follow climate mobilisation?

In 2019, climate strikes filled the streets worldwide. Time is running out, and after the catharsis of the protests, governments and industries must change tack. Radically so.

If we have learned anything from the recent UN climate conference in Madrid (COP25) it is that governments don’t have our backs. By themselves, governments are not going to save us from dangerous climate change. The outcome of the conference is very far from an adequate response to the urgency of climate change, and seems to make a joke of the conference’s slogan “Time for action”. At least some governments thought it was “Time for Delay“. Major topics were largely kicked down the road, to be discussed again next year when the UN climate conference lands in Glasgow in 2020, including devising rules to govern carbon trading, securing mid- and long-term climate finance, and responding to questions about whether and how to compensate loss and damage due to climate change impacts.

For full text read:

2019 UN Climate Action Summit: World leaders’ inaction incurs wrath of growing climate movement

On 23 September, the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres, convened the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, where government leaders and representatives from youth, business, cities, and finance focused on increasing ambitions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience. In advance of the Summit a whole slew of reports was released; each showing the growing urgency of climate change, a widening gap between climate targets and commitments to action, and the growing impacts of already occurring climate change. Gathered world leaders, however, are not impressed, as few raise their ambition.

Leading climate science organizations published the “United in Science” synthesis report with the worrying headline message that climate change impacts are “hitting harder and sooner” than previously forecasted. The IPCC Report on land-use highlighted worrying trends that both aggravate climate change and put sustainable development at risk. Deteriorating soil fertility threatens food security and affects capacity to store carbon, further exacerbating global warming. A leaked IPCC report on oceans and the cryosphere further warned that more than a quarter billion people could be displaced when global warming hits 2°C.

Despite mounting evidence, and worse than expected trends, the world’s response has been far from adequate. According to the Global Climate Adaptation report, by 2030 the world may see a 100 million more poor; severe water shortages; and unprecedented mass migrations. Trillion-dollar investments are inevitable, but inaction will prove much costlier. Although, climate change calls for the tripling of ‘nationally determined contributions’, according to a joint report by UNDP and UNFCCC, most governments – particularly industrial countries – have not yet adjusted their ambitions.

Against the backdrop of worsening climate change and dwindling governmental climate targets, the Climate Action Summit is the latest in a series of international efforts to mobilize large-scale initiatives to combat climate change and to abate its negative impacts. In 2014, then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened the first UN Climate Summit. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown of California hosted the Global Climate Action Summit. In the context of the UNFCCC, the main UN climate process, continuous efforts are made to showcase and encourage a multitude of actions by a broad range of actors. Contrary to previous efforts, which emphasized the role of non-state and local actors, such as businesses, cities and regions and civil society organizations, the Climate Action Summit also provided a platform for governments to announce plans to reduce emissions and to help people to respond to the climate crisis.

The Summit saw the launch of 28 collaborative initiatives across nine thematic areas, including climate finance, Industry transition, mitigation, resilience and adaptation and nature-based solutions. Some of the more eye-catching initiatives include a new coalition of pension funds and insurance providers, managing US$2.3 trillion, which aims to shift investments away from carbon intensive industries with the goal to limit the increase in average temperatures to 1.5°C. Members of the coalition engage with high-carbon companies to help them adopt more sustainable business practices, while divestment from highly polluting industries is on the table as an ultimate measure. To catalyze its impact, the coalition calls on other large asset owners and sovereign wealth funds to join and also align their investment portfolios. In another large initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the World Bank, the European Commission, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany, made a US$790 million commitment to support research and innovations that help assist smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods and increase their resilience to climate change impacts.

Despite these striking initiatives by businesses, finance, cities, regions, and other stakeholders, governments have not adequately stepped up. Although the Summit tried to establish stronger links between ambitious actions between non-state and local actions and governments, it yielded few new governmental commitments. A few countries (South Korea, the UK, Germany and France) have pledged to double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund and other climate financing programs, but none of the major economies have acted on the call to raise their climate targets or presented concrete plans. Sadly, the Summit does not seem to have significantly rallied higher government ambitions.

Given the disappointing yield of new governmental commitments, the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit may be most remembered for the powerful speech delivered by sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. In her impassioned speech, she blasted world leaders’ inaction and accused them of failing young people and betraying future generations.

“you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. (…) You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”

Governments will get another chance to raise their pledges at the UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile, later this year. But time for credible climate commitments by governments is running out, and their inaction is increasingly incurring the wrath of a growing movement of concerned youth, as well as older generations.

Stem vandaag Groenlinks

Als iemand die dag in dag uit bezig is met klimaat en duurzaamheid, roep ik op vandaag toch vooral te gaan stemmen.

Dit zijn de laatste Europese verkiezingen waarop we nog kunnen voorkomen dat de aarde met meer dan 1,5C gemiddeld opwarmt. De verschillen tussen 1,5 en 2C zijn volgens het laatste rapport van de VN (IPCC) dramatisch.

Het zijn ook cruciale politieke tijden. Het spook van nationalisme waart weer door Europa, juist op het moment dat internationale samenwerking meer nodig is dan ooit. Nederland zal grensoverschrijdende problemen als de ophitting van de aarde en het verdwijnen van planten en dieren alleen niet kunnen oplossen. Europese samenwerking is nodig. Mensen die alleen spreken van meer of minder Europa moesten meer over de inhoud praten.

Tegelijkertijd moeten we ook erkennen dat een andere internationale samenwerking nodig is. Eén die niet alleen aanzet to grotere ongelijkheid, één die niet voornamelijk rijken en multinationale ondernemingen voortrekt.

Als ik verkozen word in het parlement zal ik mij vol inzetten voor een versnelling van de groene transformatie die we nodig hebben. Ik zal mij verzetten tegen elk handelsakkoord dat niet past bij de duurzaamheids- en klimaatdoelen waar alle landen in de wereld zich aan gecommitteerd hebben.

Daarnaast heb ik een groot hart voor de mensen wiens stem minder luid is; seksuele, ethnische, religieuze minderheden, de allerarmsten die de meest hevige effecten van falend milieu- en sociaal beleid ondervinden. Ik wil ervoor zorgen dat we de stem en de rol van deze minderheden erkennen in het verduurzamen van Europa.
In tegenstelling tot wat Trouw’s Duurzame 100 zou doen geloven zijn er wél duurzame kampioenen onder niet-witte en praktisch opgeleide mensen. Zonder deze kampioenen is er geen duurzame toekomst voor iedereen.