Game-Changers in the Paris Climate Deal: What is needed to ensure a new agreement helps those on the front lines of climate change | Climate Change Mitigation | Renewable Energy

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There is likely to be a climate deal in Paris. The emission pledges that more than 150 governments have put on the table this year show that global climate ambition is increasing. But much more is needed, as it’s a deal that could still lead to around 3°C of warming. New Oxfam-commissioned research estimates that compared with 2°C, developing countries could be faced with an additional $600bn per year in economic losses by 2050, and see their adaptation finance needs raised by almost $300bn per year by the same date. But there is still scope for a stronger deal. In this media briefing Oxfam looks at potential game-changers on finance and mitigation ambition that could avert these costs for the world’s poorest people. These are the issues that will determine whether the Paris deal reflects the power of the biggest fossil fuel emitters and elites, or is a turning point which starts to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable.
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    OXFAM MEDIA BRIEFING 25 November 2015 Game-changers in the Paris climate deal: What is needed to ensure a new agreement helps those on the front lines of climate change Summary There is likely to be a climate deal in Paris. The emission pledges that more than 150 governments have put on the table this year show that global climate ambition is increasing. But much more is needed, as it’s a deal that could still lead to around 3°C of warming. New Oxfam-commissioned research estimates that compared with 2°C, developing countries could be faced with an additional $600bn per year in economic losses by 2050, and see their adaptation finance needs raised by almost $300bn per year by the same date. But there is still scope for a stronger deal. In this briefing Oxfam looks at potential game-changers on finance and mitigation ambition that could avert these costs for the world’s poorest people. These are the issues that over the next two weeks will determine whether the Paris deal reflects the power of the biggest fossil fuel emitters and elites, or is a turning point which starts to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. What is at stake in Paris?   Every year of delay in tackling climate change costs lives. It is already making the daily struggles of the world’s poorest women, men and children harder, and it is the single biggest threat to winning the fight against hunger. Left unchecked, climate change could reverse decades of development in the world’s poorest countries. The science is unambiguous: climate change must be tackled. Action in the next 10–15 years to significantly reduce emissions will be critical, alongside efforts to ramp up support for adaptation to unavoidable climate impacts. Those who have most at stake at the Paris climate conference are the 3.5 billion poorest people around the world. They are the least able to cope with increased risk of floods, droughts, hunger and disease, and are also least responsible for the emissions that have caused the problem. For them, the Paris agreement must ensure that the goal of keeping  2   global temperature rises below 1.5°C, or even 2°C, stays within reach. And it must increase financial support to help them cope with an already changing climate. Earlier this year, world leaders endorsed momentous goals to end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. 1  When US President Obama, Indian Prime Minister Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and other leaders meet again at COP21 in Paris, their commitment to a world with ‘zero hunger’ that ‘leaves no one behind’ must be reflected in their determination to agree a zero emissions future and ensure that the poorest get the support they need. Governments must not squander the opportunity to avert runaway climate change and instead build humanity’s capacity to secure safe and dignified lives for all. Box 1: Climate-related shocks are increasing The consequences of climate change are a reality for an increasing number of people: from the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa, to Hurricane Sandy that struck the United States in 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan which battered the Philippines in 2013. 2  This year, Super Cyclone Pam ravaged Vanuatu with wind speeds of up to 250kph and gusts of 320kph. More than 13,000 homes were damaged and 180,000 people were affected. Cyclones are likely to become stronger as a result of climate change. Shirley Laban is one of the Pacific’s key voices on climate change: a campaigner and co-ordinator of climate adaptation programmes on many of Vanuatu’s islands. ‘Climate change is our number one challenge: it threatens our agriculture and food security, and it threatens our livelihoods,’ says Shirley. ‘It’s good to think about reducing our carbon emissions: we think this is important, very important. But we need an equal importance, or prioritization of, financial resources for adaptation.’ Shirley Laban, Vanuatu, September 2015. Photo: Arlene Bax/Oxfam  3   Six years on from Copenhagen – what has changed?   Unlike Copenhagen, COP21 in Paris is not being hailed as the silver bullet that will save the climate. The lessons of the ‘failed’ Copenhagen summit six years ago have been learned and Paris is being conceived as a turning point towards increased ambition over time. Expectations for Paris are much lower than they were for Copenhagen, increasing the likelihood of a deal, but raising alarm that it will fall far short of what is needed. The low-carbon transition is well underway… Recent years have seen spectacular growth in solar and wind power and a huge shift in the economics of renewables. 3  Renewables are now the world’s second largest source of electricity (behind coal) and cost-competitive in a growing number of countries. 4  Significantly, 2014 saw emissions in the energy sector stall for the first time even as the global economy continued to grow. 5  But coal and other fossil fuel use continues to rise at an alarming rate in spite of this progress, 6  and fossil fuels continue to receive more than nine times more finance than renewable energy from the world’s major banks. 7    A shifting political climate… In many respects the pre-COP context is more favourable than ever before. The past 18 months have seen unprecedented engagement by leading global players: the US/China joint declaration on commitments for Paris last year; G7 leaders’ agreement in June 2015 to phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century; new commitments from the private sector to set science-based emissions cuts and source 100 percent renewable energy; 8  and more than 150 countries already submitting emissions targets for Paris, the most ambitious of which have come from developing countries. 9  There have also been interventions by key figures – from the UN Secretary-General, to Pope Francis’ encyclical and the Muslim Leaders’ declaration – all highlighting the moral imperative of ambition in Paris to protect the most vulnerable from climate extremes. The diplomatic stalemate between China and the US marred progress in Copenhagen. But over the past year the world’s superpowers have made historic joint announcements on reducing emissions and found common cause on many key issues. This breakthrough signals that collapse in Paris is unlikely. But with convergence on a softer, weaker global climate framework between the US, China and other key players, it risks being a deal that is not commensurate with the challenge of avoiding dangerous climate change. Developing country voices have become stronger this year, backed by their unprecedented pledges of national action, but in Paris they need to be even louder. Under the robust leadership of South Africa’s Ambassador Diseko, the 134-strong G77+China group of developing countries is now more united and assertive. 10  Leaders of small island developing states, including Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, have voiced stark warnings that their future is under threat unless an ambitious deal is reached. 11  And establishment of the ‘Vulnerable Twenty’ (V20) group, calling for major mobilization of finance, is also significant. The continued resolve of the Africa Group, Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States not to accept a weak deal will be decisive in Paris.  4   Targets are on the table… Unlike Copenhagen, countries have tabled their emissions reductions pledges before Paris in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). While that’s welcome, it’s clear these targets will not keep temperature rises below 2°C, much less 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – which more than 100 countries say is needed and is recognized as an option for the Paris agreement. Even if all countries meet their INDC commitments, the world is likely to warm by a devastating 3°C or more, with a significant likelihood of tipping the global climate into catastrophic runaway warming. 12   A recent civil society review of INDCs shows that the ambition of all big developed countries falls well short of their fair share. 13  Meanwhile most developing country INDCs meet or exceed their fair share. The emissions reduction gap must be closed, and it must be closed fairly: the onus is on rich countries to move fastest and furthest. Money has been slow coming… In Copenhagen, the commitment to mobilize $100bn per year by 2020, combined with a Fast Start Finance pledge of $30bn, saved the summit from being a complete disaster. There has been some progress towards meeting the $100bn commitment in recent months, with Germany, France, the UK and others making new pledges up to 2020. 14  But overall, the money has been slow in coming, and adaptation finance has consistently been neglected. Oxfam estimates that public climate finance provided by developed countries was around $20bn on average in 2013–14. 15  Of that, adaptation’s share was only around $3–5bn – woefully less than 50 percent, which Oxfam says must be a minimum. 16  Developing countries are also contributing significant amounts through their own domestic budgets, and in the case of Ethiopia, Tanzania and others this amounts to more than they are receiving from international support. 17  
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