A GLOBE delegation led by Board Chairman Graham Stuart MP was received by Speaker Rachid Talbi el-Alami at the Chamber of Representatives of Morocco on 6 June.
GLOBE International announces the dates for its COP22 Legislators Summit in partnership with the Parliament of Morocco. The 2-day summit will be held from 11-12 November in the capital, Rabat, at the Chamber of Representatives of Morocco, by invitation of Moroccan Speaker Rachid Talbi el-Alami.
Preparation for the Summit have been underway and a GLOBE International delegation visited the Chamber of Representatives of Morocco on 6 June.
In the coming weeks the GLOBE Secretariat and the Chamber of Representatives will issue invitations to national GLOBE chapters and Members as appropriate. Please contact the GLOBE Secretariat if you would like to attend the Summit.
GLOBE partner, the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) based in Sweden has published its Annual Report on Global Catastrophic Risk (April 2016) summarizing the state of the world in dealing with catastrophic global risks.
Established in 2012 by the Swedish-Hungarian philanthropist, Laszlo Szombatfalvy, the Foundation set out to create a new category of risk – global catastrophic risks (GCRs) that can result in the death of 1/10th of humanity – and to raise public awareness and debate on these issues.
The work of the foundation proceeds from the assumption that societies and governments have significantly under-invested in managing large and extreme risks in the past, and that the threat level with a global population pushing toward 10 billion people is unconscionably high. Over the course of human history, civilisations have come and gone. There is nothing about modern societies that places us at lesser risk. On the contrary, global interdependence and increasingly complex and mobile societies increase vulnerability.
Creating credibility and a new professional community around the emerging category of “global catastrophic risk”, however, is challenging. When most risk managers are unable to deal with the notion of “systemic risk”, as in the financial sector, gaining acceptance for the possibility of Armageddon-like scenarios as implied by GCRs will take some effort.
Ironically, history and science fiction probably have the most to teach us. GCRs are common to both. For example, great plagues in the past have decimated human societies, or worse. In 1665, London lost 1/3rd of its population of 300,000 to the Plague - in the space of just three months. In the 20th century, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war or major nuclear accident not once but several times from the Cuban Missile Crisis to Chernobyl and other lesser-known nuclear events.
Science fiction from HG Well’s War of the Worlds to contemporary post-apocalyptic memes from Mad Max to the Hunger Games have much to teach us in terms of risk management.
Popularising and embedding these concepts of prevention of large-scale human or natural disasters is a core aspect of GLOBE’s partnership with the Global Challenges Foundation.
Parliamentarians in representative democracies have a constitutional duty of care to their constituents. Engaging them in dialogue could have a significant multiplier effect for the educational work and policy engagement that GCF seeks to promote. This is the premise of our year-long partnership, which has already seen outreach through the GLOBE International network of legislators promoting improved awareness and global risk management on GCRs.
In an earlier blog in 2015 on the Foundation’s 2015 risk report, GLOBE International’s Malini Mehra had discussed the relevance of this effort to improved institutional risk management and policy, in particular in terms of the role of parliaments.
This year’s recently-published GCF Annual Report 2016 contains much useful further data and analysis. The result of a 2-year collaboration with the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) and the Global Priorities Project (GPP) at Oxford University, the 100–page report provides a state-of-the-art overview of key global catastrophic risks from epidemics to nuclear war, climate change and cybercrime, describing the probability of their occurring and their likely impacts. The rapid pace of technological developments, as in smart weapons and artificial intelligence, effectively outstripping human control is a key concern for the report writers.
As Max Tegmark, co-founder of the Future of Life Institute and Professor of Physics at MIT notes: “As a global community, we need to win the race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we manage it.”
Some of the report’s headline messages are:
• The most significant ongoing risks are natural pandemics and nuclear war
• The most significant emerging risks are catastrophic climate change and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence
The report’s key recommendations are as follows:
“To reduce the risk of global catastrophe caused by pandemic:
• The World Health Organisation, nation states, and other bodies should increase their planning for extremely bad pandemics.
• The global health community should improve developing world capacity for response, for example by ensuring that vaccine production facilities are well-distributed around the world.
To reduce the risk of global catastrophe caused by climate change:
• Research communities should increase their focus on understanding the pathways to and likelihood of catastrophic climate change, and possible ways to respond.
• Nations should continue to implement and improve mechanisms for emissions abatement such as carbon taxes or tradable emissions quotas, as for non-catastrophic climate change.
To reduce the risk of global catastrophe caused by nuclear war:
• The international community should continue the policy of nuclear non-proliferation, and nuclear states can continue to reduce stockpiles.
• Nuclear-weapon states should continue to work to reduce the chance of accidental launch or escalation.
To reduce the risk of global catastrophe caused by emerging technologies:
• Research communities should further investigate the possible risks from emerging capabilities in biotechnology and artificial intelligence, and possible solutions.
• Policymakers could work with researchers to understand the issues that may arise with these new technologies, and start to lay groundwork for planned adaptive risk regulation.
To reduce global catastrophic risk in a cross-cutting way:
• Research communities should focus greater attention on strategies and technologies for resilience to and recovery from global catastrophe, for example by developing alternate food sources.
• Nations should work to incorporate the interests of future generations into their decision-making frameworks.”
As the above list shows, unlike in previous years the 2016 report also takes a stab at identifying the links between the different GCRs, as well as what preventative measures can be taken, and by whom.
The latter has benefited from close engagement with GLOBE in helping to identify deficiencies in terms of risk governance and ownership. The theme of “Whose problem is it anyway, and what needs to be done?” will be the subject of discussion at the GCF’s Annual Gathering in Stockholm in May.
GLOBE International will be in attendance and contributing to the further articulation of this important emerging agenda, in particular in dialogue with legislators and their constituencies across the world.
The Congress gathered hundreds of delegates concerned with the environmental rule of law, justice and planetary sustainability for notable outcomes: the World Declaration on the Environmental Rule of Law and the founding of the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment.
The Congress was held in the vast and awe-inspiring main chamber of the Supreme Court of the state of Rio de Janeiro. It opened with speeches by the Chief Justice and other dignitaries, along with a special recital by the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra; and closed in true Brazilian style with an unforgettable Samba performance by the winners of this year’s iconic Rio carnival parade.
The brainchild of the legendary Brazilian jurist and environmental law specialist, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, the multi-faceted Congress was held under the auspices of IUCN and in collaboration with UNEP. Both Inger Andersen, secretary-general, IUCN, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, were present and actively engaged. The latter – who was born in Brazil – was honored for his contributions to the environment by Rio’s highest honour, the Tiradentes Medal at a special ceremony during the Congress.
The event drew heavily on an impressive network of Brazilian and international partners ranging from the Brazilian Association of Judges (AMB) and Getulio Vargas Foundation, to the Organisation of American States (OAS), the International Association of Judges (IAJ), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), GLOBE International and others.
It brought together the world’s leading justices, Brazilian ministers, indigenous leaders, environmental law experts, academics and others to review and support the development of the environmental rule of law globally. It saw a particularly strong delegation from Africa, with more than half of the continent’s countries represented by senior judges, legislators and experts. In fact, it was the largest such delegation from Africa to attend an international environmental law event outside of the continent itself. The role of UNEP’s Division for Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC) – also a GLOBE partner – was recognised as being instrumental in this achievement.
As the organisers noted, the Congress came “at a critical time in the context of worldwide efforts to promote sustainable development. In the face of increasing environmental crises – including climate change, biodiversity loss, and water and food scarcity – new thinking and expanded efforts are needed to fill gaps in legal systems, strengthen implementation, compliance, and enforcement, and build support for the environmental rule of law."
Engaging parliamentarians in a proactive manner was seen as crucial to the success of this effort and GLOBE International was honoured to be chosen as the key partner to lead on this engagement with legislators for the Congress.
GLOBE organised the main session engaging legislators, government agencies, civil society and the rule of law on Friday 29 th April. Held in the main chamber of the Supreme Court, the session was chaired by Senator Jorge Viana, Vice-President, Senate of Brazil, and Malini Mehra, CEO, GLOBE International secretariat.
It saw speeches by a range of distinguished ministers, ambassadors and leading legislators, including several from the GLOBE network. The keynote address was delivered by the prominent Brazilian political leader and former minister of environment, Senator Marina Silva. Another distinguished speaker, Congressman Sarney Filho, has recently taken over from Minister Isabella Texeira as Brazil’s new environment minister.
GLOBE was delighted at engagement by senior GLOBE parliamentarians from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, including Senator Loren Legarda (Phillipines), Deputy Cheikhou Oumar Sy (Senegal), Deputy Viviane le Dissez (France), Deputy Braulio Guerra Urbiola (Mexico), Deputy Juan Carlos Villalonga (Argentina), Deputy Daniel Melo and Deputy Andrea Molina (Chile).
This event was a highly successful follow-up to the legislators-judges dialogue session that GLOBE International had organised for the first time at its GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit at the French Parliament in Paris in December. It is hoped that this pioneering work, in close partnership with IUCN and UNEP, will continue to inspire and inform.
A further GLOBE International follow-up on the heels of the WELC in Brazil, is likely to take place at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i in September 2016.
A full report of the GLOBE legislators session at WELC on Friday 29th April can be found here.
Full details of the WCEL 2016, including outcome documents and speeches, will be available from the WCEL website shortly: www.welcongress.org
For further information, please contact: email@example.com
GLOBE UK Members hosted the UK Secretary of State for Climate and Energy Amber Rudd at the House of Commons for a dialogue on the domestic implications of the the UK's signature of the Paris Agreement in New York.
Immediately after the High-Level Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement in New York, on 25 April GLOBE UK hosted a parliamentary reception with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, co-sponsored by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The Secretary of State spoke about the Government’s vision for energy and climate policy following the Paris Agreement, while the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Climate Change Lord Bourne provided an update having come directly from the Signing Ceremony.
In her address to the over 40 GLOBE UK legislators gathered, the Secretary of State and Lord Bourne noted that ‘the global deal reached in Paris was a significant milestone in tackling climate change, helping to safeguard our long-term economic security and giving clear direction to businesses as we transition to a low carbon economy’. They also emphasised the pivotal role that parliamentarians around the world have not only securing ratification of the Paris Agreement but also in turning national commitments into transparent action, and welcomed GLOBE’s cross party work.
State Secretary Amber Rudd framed the issue of ratification of the Paris Agreement by the United Kingdom in the context of the European Union’s ratification as a Party to the UNFCCC. For the European Union, this will require not only a legislative procedure at EU level – involving the consent of the European Parliament – but also ratification in each of the 28 Member States.
In its conclusions of 18 March 2016 the European Council called for the signature and timely ratification of the Paris Agreement by the Member States, and invited the European Commission to present the key remaining legislative proposals in the next 12 months to implement the EU 2030 Climate and Energy policy framework adopted by the EU in October 2014 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, to increase the share of renewable energies and improve energy efficiency, as well as an Effort-Sharing Decision for sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System and on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).
Also, in the run up to the British referendum on membership to the European Union next 23 June, Secretary Amber Rudd stated: ‘As part of the EU, the UK played a key role in securing this deal, ensuring it was in the interest of British families and businesses by levelling the playing field between us and the rest of the world and making sure that every country makes its fair share of effort to combat climate change'.
The high-level colloquium at the Senate Plenary Chamber, approved by the 81 Senate Members, provided a rare forum for debate among the three powers of government: executive, legislature and judiciary.
Occasioned by the imminent launch of the Global Judicial Institute for the Environment, spearheaded by eminent Brazilian jurist Justice Antonio Hernan Benjamin, the colloquium was held in association with a range of national and international partners including UNEP, Organisation of American States (OAS), Brazilian Association of Judges, Brazilian federal and state governments, and chaired by Senate Vice-President Jorge Viana.
The support for the initiative by the federal government was clearly visible through the active presence of Ambassador Mauro Vieira, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Minister Isabella Texeira, Minister of the Environment, and Brazil’s chief negotiator at COP21 in Paris, Ambassador Jose Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho.
The colloquium focused on the implications of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals for the further development of environmental law and policy. Given their universal application, each country must now re-examine its legal, administrative and judicial frameworks with regard to the protection of vulnerable ecosystems and natural resources – especially those of a global character such as the climate system and biodiversity.
The event was an exceptional opportunity at which representatives of all three branches of government – legislative, executive and judicial – gathered to discuss and debate responses to these challenges, together with the additional participation of external experts.
Brazil’s stake in this issue as a leader of the debate was evident in all contributions made from the floor and the podium. The country is a biodiversity giant (home to 70% of all registered plant species) with a special relationship to the sustainable development debate as host of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Its leadership on climate change was also widely recognised in the lead-up to the Paris climate summit, and contributed to the eventual adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015.
The debate saw high-level participation by Brazilian legislators from both houses, including Senator Mario Biaggi and Congressman Sarney Filho, as well as from IUCN Secretary General, Inger Andersen, and senior judges from Supreme Courts, Environmental Courts and Green Tribunals from around the world, and experts from UNEP, other international organisations, academia and civil society.
GLOBE International was delighted to be invited as a contributor to the debate and Malini Mehra, CEO of the GLOBE International secretariat, had the honour of addressing the Senate on GLOBE’s work and contribution to the theme of more joined-up governance and integrated policymaking.
The colloquium was carried on Brazil’s parliament TV and saw good media coverage.
UK Energy Minister responds to calls of GLOBE champions calling for legally binding long-term zero emissions target.
In response to cross-party voices led by GLOBE UK President Graham Stuart MP and former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband asking the UK Government to enshrine into law a long-term goal of reducing its carbon emissions to zero, as called for in the Partis Agreement, today UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom stated in the House of Commons: “The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in UK law. The question is not whether but how we do it.”
GLOBE UK members welcomed the announcement and expressed hope that other countries will be encouraged to adopt legally binding zero emissions targets.
The UK’s Climate Change Act already mandates a reduction of emissions of 80% by 2050, but a law mandating a 100% cut will mark a dramatic increase in ambition. The final cut of 20% is understood to be the most difficult to achieve, as it will require emissions cuts from sectors such as farming, where decarbonisation is more complex.
Under the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries have committed to try to cut global emissions down from the current peak level as soon as possible, and “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”.
GLOBE Board Chairman Graham Stuart MP and Andean Parliament President and Secretary General, Senator Luis Fernando Duque and Dr. Eduardo Chiliquinga Mazón signed a MOU at the Andean Parliament headquarters today .
The Andean Parliament is the legislative assembly of the Andean Community. Since 1996 it has been endowed with the function of political control of the Andean Integration System (Sistema Andino de Integración), composed of the Andean Council of Presidents, the Andean Council of Foreign Affairs, the Andean Community Commission, the Andean Community General Secretariat and the Andean Community Court of Justice.
GLOBE International and the Andean Parliament share common objectives in areas such as the conservation, protection and enhancement of nature and natural resources, the shift towards a green economy and the response to climate change. Accordingly, the MOU has established a formal instrument for cooperation on parliamentary capacity-building on themes such as climate policy including the ratification of the Paris Agreement and of the Doha Amendment on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, renewable energy, REDD+ and forests governance, environmental fiscal reform and carbon pricing, the delivery of the Aichi Targets, and the dialogue between the judiciary and legislative powers on the national implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
Also, GLOBE International and the Andean Parliament will work together raising awareness about the urgent need and historic opportunity to build coherence and convergence in the implementation of the four major United Nations agreements of governments of 2015 on Disaster Risk Reduction, financing for development, the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030 and climate, with the Paris Agreement.
This important alliance was conceived in the framework of the new institutional strategy of the Andean Parliament, seeking to strengthen the engagement of Andean Parliament legislators with ongoing sustainable development processes.
At the same time, the Andean Parliament understands its association with GLOBE International as a quantum leap towards the implementation of the Normative Framework on Sustainable Energy Development which it recently adopted.
On 5th December 2015, 221 parliamentarians attending the GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit in Paris from 67 parliaments, adopted GLOBE’s COP21 Communiqué calling for more integrated action on the climate and 2030 Agenda, and greater parliamentary engagement in implementation.
The GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit (4-5 December), organized by GLOBE International and the National Assembly, was hosted at the magnificent French National Assembly during COP21 in Paris.
With more than 300 delegates from 67 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the event counts as the most successful GLOBE summit at a COP in the organisation’s 25-year history. No effort was spared by the French hosts, despite heightened security concerns in the wake of recent terror attacks, and every measure was taken to provide support and comfort to Summit delegates.
The uniquely integrated design of the Summit programme - bringing together the major international processes of 2015, on disaster risk reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals, finance, gender and climate change – centered on the need for coherence, impact and delivery of these agendas in a concerted way by legislators in 2016. The progamme’s gender balance and strong complement of women leaders from Dr Naoko Ishii, (CEO, Global Environment Facility) to Minister Amina Mohammed from Nigeria and many others, brought high praise from delegates; as did the inclusion of leading judges in the programme for the first time, bringing their views on environmental governance and the rule of law in the context of COP21 and the 2030 Agenda.
The role of parliaments in ensuring implementation of an integrated 2030 Agenda was the focus of stirring keynote speeches by Helen Clark, Adminstrator, United Nations Development Programme; Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD; Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative fo the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Lakshmi Puri, Dy Executive Director, UN Women.
While the pressure of negotiations at Le Bourget prevented COP21 President, French foreign minister Minister Laurent Fabius, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, from attending in person, Summit delegates received a first-hand account of the negotiations at Le Bourget from Daniele Violetti, chief of staff to Ms Figueres.
Deputy Jean-Paul Chanteguet, President of GLOBE France, and host of the GLOBE Summit, provided an example of parliamentary best practice with the recent adoption by the French National Assembly of Resolution 3219 on COP21 and climate action, enacted under his leadership. The French government’s support of the World Wide Views project on climate and energy, the largest ever global citizen consultation with almost 10,000 citizens in 76 countries, was presented by Yves Matthieu, and underscored the universal themes of urgency and action on climate change.
The President of the National Assembly, Deputy Claude Bartolone, hosted a memorable banquet for Summit delegates in the splendid and historic surroundings of the Palais Bourbon. His presidential welcome speech to delegates provided keen analysis of the risks of dangerous climate change, coupled with the economic opportunity and the moral imperative of urgent action. His address underscored the close alignment between the approach of the French government host of COP21, and that of the French parliament in seeking to secure an ambitious outcome.
Leading GLOBE legislators and climate champions such as Senator Ed Markey from the USA, and Jairam Ramesh, former environment minister of India, brought their insider experience to bear and offered fresh glimpses into why a Paris Agreement could be closer in sight than some feared. Brazil’s Senator Jorge Viana, vice-president of the Senate and recent initiator of a major event in the Brazilian Senate on the Papal Encylical, Laudato Si, spoke passionately of the need to protect nature and the consequences of ignoring climate risks, of great concern in his own Amazonian state of Acre. Ms Kenza El-Ghali, Vice president of the Moroccan Chamber of Representatives, and host of next year’s COP22 Summit in Morocco, spoke of the impact of climate change on her country and the need for leadership by all nations and peoples.
Prof Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist at UNEP, foregrounded the latest climate science in her presentation, providing grounds for hope that with advances in technology and greater engagement by state and non-state actors, the ‘emissions gap’ could be bridged and global temperature rise limited to under 2° C by 2050.
The panel on climate change and adjudication, organized in partnership with UNEP, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and the Foundation Getulio Vargas (FGV), was privileged to host some of the world’s most distinguished judges. It also drew amongst the keenest response from delegates. Justices Antonio Herman Benjamin from Brazil, Lord Justice Robert Carnwath from the UK Supreme, Judge Luc Lavrysen from Belgium and Judge Francoise Nési from the French Supreme Court/ Cours de Cassation, detailed emerging jurisprudence of relevance to addressing climate change and informing the important work of legislators. A case for continued dialogue was made and GLOBE and its partners will work towards a larger such event at the World Commission on Environmental Law meeting in Rio de Janeiro in April 2016.
The second day of the GLOBE Summit was held in the historic chamber of the National Assembly, housed in the Palais Bourbon. The chamber is the oldest parliamentary building in the world following the fire which gutted the British Houses of Parliament in 1834. Following a welcome by the President of the National Assembly, Deputy Claude Bartolone, the morning began with an impressive speech by Dr Naoko Ishii, chief executive, Global Environment Facility, who addressed the theme of city-level action and the difference it was making to on-the-ground mitigation, adaptation and sustainable urbanization. She outlined the specific schemes that the GEF had in place for cities, drawing considerable interest from delegates.
A national perspective on the challenges and opportunities of addressing climate change and the sustainable development agenda, was offered by Minister Amina Mohammed, recently appointed as Environment Minister of Nigeria, following her success as Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Providing a business leadership perspective, the prominent US philanthropist, environmentalist and proud Californian, Tom Steyer, spoke of how California was setting an ambitious pace for climate action by delinking economic growth from carbon emissions and creating jobs in the process. The state’s climate leadership agenda was based on a unique partnership between politicians, business and social justice groups. It included making huge investments in innovation for clean energy and resource efficiency to de-risk the growth agenda; but also prioritizing public health and climate equity, with particular attention to the needs of Californians most at risk of climate impacts, especially low-income and marginalized communities.
Former Swedish MEP and GLOBE champion, Anders Wijkman, went into greater detail on new resource efficiency economic models being adopted across Europe – the new circular economy – and the specific sets of laws, policies and regulations behind them.
The Summit concluded with a vibrant discussion amongst delegates and speakers before a formal closing by Summit chair, Graham Stuart MP, and the adoption of the GLOBE COP21 Communiqué.
The Communiqué calls for greater parliamentary engagement in the delivery of the Paris Agreement resulting from COP21, as well as the 2030 Agenda. There is a core emphasis on pursuing the ‘Coherence & Convergence’ agenda first adopted by GLOBE International at the COP20 Lima Summit in 2014. The Communiqué echoes COP21’s Agenda of Solutions in its emphasis on partnership with non-state actors including cities, regions and companies. It also calls for gender mainstreaming and gender equality as specific objectives, and a dialogue between legislators and the judiciary to provide more effective feedback loops for improved law-making and the environmental rule of law. Specific Communiqué measures call for parliamentary review of government’s INDCs/ national climate change action plans post-Paris; regular oversight and engagement for democratic accountability.
Remarking on the Summit outcome, Graham Stuart MP, Chair of GLOBE International, said: “With 300 delegates from 67 countries, GLOBE’s summit of legislators is now a linchpin of the annual climate talks. Converting countries’ pledges into national law, national budgets and national accountability systems can only be done by Parliaments. GLOBE provides the tools and the knowledge to strengthen, empower and embolden parliamentarians everywhere to raise ambition and hold their governments to account.”
Reflecting on the success of the Summit, Malini Mehra, chief executive, GLOBE International secretariat and programme organizer, said: “2015 is an historic year for international norm-setting on sustainable development and climate change. At this year’s Summit, legislators for the first time discussed an integrated agenda for better disaster risk management, better economic management, improved governance for sustainable development and the need for gender equality. Real success will now lie in delivery by parliaments in 2016. The countdown begins.”
GLOBE International thanks the French National Assembly, GLOBE France and the National Assembly’s Committee for Sustainable Development for their extraordinary efforts in hosting the GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit. We also extend our thanks to our partners UNEP, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and the Foundation Getulio Vargas (FGV).
Copies of the GLOBE COP21 Communiqué are available below.
REFLECTIONS ON LAUDATO SI ENCYCLICAL BY BRAZIL'S SENATOR JORGE VIANA
How much longer will we wait to understand that life on planet Earth is at risk? The scientists who are part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have already adopted the word “risk” in an attempt to better convey the consequences of climate change for life on the planet. American president Barack Obama has stated that our generation is the first to feel the effects of climate change and the last one capable of doing something.
It is clear that the production and consumption model as well as the relationship between man and nature that are in place today are unsustainable. Water and food are scarce for billions of people. If we wanted to provide all those who are in need with the standard that a minority has achieved, the world would not exist.
I do not know if we are living a civlisationary crisis. Terrorist activity, the refugee drama, conflicts using religion as a background, inequality among continents, countries and people, intolerance and hatred indicate that we face great challenges. In a world of few leaderships, Pope Francis, with his activism and brave stances, has brought us hope that it is possible to find a path to sustainable life on the planet.
His latest great contribution is the Laudato Sì encyclical published in May 2015. Addressing with much realism the problems we face, this extraordinary document indicates with optimism what we can and should do.
Soon after the papal encyclical was published, we held an event at the Brazilian Federal Senate to debate this important document. We had the participation of Justice Herman Benjamin of the country’s High Court of Justice, a committed jurist and one of the greatest specialists in environmental legislation in Brazil; of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB); and of Washington Novaes, a journalist who is a respected figure in the Brazilian media on environmental issues.
We are confident that the Papal encyclical, Laudato Sì is a fundamental calling for the adoption of concrete and pragmatic attitudes not only by over 1 billion Catholics of the world, but by all inhabitants of the planet as well.
In my country, we understand that this publication - more than a document drafted with a solid scientific basis - is an important moral and spiritual reference for policies against climate change, that stimulate a more sustainable and inclusive development.
In the hope of having a new environmental agreement, which may succeed and exceed the Kyoto Protocol, the Laudato Sì is providential. It outlines a systemic view and brings forth considerations about the so called “integral ecology” which - as defended by the Pope - starts with the recognition that humanity today faces an existential crisis on multiple fronts: economic disparity, competition for resources, degradation of the natural world, bankrupt nations.
In the document, Pope Francis reiterates the position of the IPCC report in one of his most important conclusions: that environmental degradation, human degradation, risks of climate change and instability of the planet derive from human action.
Even so, a dangerous vision still prevails that we have other more urgent matters to attend to, such as the economy. We cannot accept that some would try to postpone taking stances relative to emissions, considering the resulting change in the planet’s climate. This must be the priority!
Brazil is the G-1 of biodiversity. We have 20% of the world’s animal and vegetable species, 12% of its fresh water and one of the most extensive agricultural regions on the planet. In previous years, we have experienced extraordinary achievements in our country. We had economic growth - a GDP that went from US$ 500 billion to US$ 2.3 trillion. A reduction in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon of 80%, and the social inclusion of over 40 million people. All of this resulted from good public policies.
We are also pioneers in the search for the substitution of fossil fuels and have an enviable energy mix. Currently, 76% of our energy mix consists of renewable energy. Now, with the world trying to establish emission limits to keep the temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius, Brazil presents a daring proposal of emissions reduction.
Among the main objectives of Brazil’s Intended Determined National Contribution (INDC) for COP-21, the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 37% by 2025 in comparison to 2005, is one that stands out. Another goal is the 43% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030. Brazil will also make efforts to end illegal deforestation, to reforest 12 million hectares, to recover 15 million hectares of degraded pasture fields and to integrate five million hectares of plantations, cattle farms and forests.
I emphasize that, unlike other countries, the Brazilian goal is stated in absolute numbers. So, Brazil is making its contribution to the environment. As Pope Francis´ green encyclical proposes, in order to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, there must be “one world with a common plan". The document outlines many lines of actions, for instance, the necessity of a new global arrangement of environmental governance.
The Pope calls to all individuals to have a new stance, a new comprehension, a new relationship with the environment and with others, abandoning this dominant depredation culture, of a disposable mindset and of consumerism.
At the international level, as we move towards COP 21, I am convinced that Laudato Sì has arrived in time to contribute for the advancement of environmental debates, in Brazil as well as in the world.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ example, I am confident that world leaders will also present their green commitments. As United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has said: “We do not have a ‘Plan B’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B’.” The moment to decide is now!
Senator Jorge Viana is Vice-president of the Brazilian Senate and a former Governor of the State of Acre, Brazil
NB.: Both Senator Viana and Justice Antonio Hernan Benjamin will be speaking at GLOBE’s COP21 Legislators Summit in Paris on 4th December 2015
Paris, 25/11: the Assemblée nationale of France adopts Resolution 3219 on COP21 and transition to low-carbon society beyond COP21
Today France’s Assemblée nationale, the lower house of parliament, adopted a cross-party resolution signaling its hopes and expectations ahead of the UN climate summit COP21/CMP11 being hosted by the country.
Resolution 3219 ‘In order to establish, beyond COP21, a low-carbon society’, issues a number of robust calls with regard to France’s actions at national, European and international action on climate change, in the context of the upcoming UN climate summit. It notes the specific context within which the negotiations are being held, for example:
“Considering, if we wish to contain temperature rise under 2°C or even 1.5°C, that we must accelerate the decarbonization of the economy et in order to do so we must go towards 100% renewable energy by 2050; massively support policies of energy efficiency, reorient savings towards climate investment and put an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, by setting a calendar in conformity with the commitments taken by the G20 in 2009;”
The Resolution identifies a number of actions necessary for the country as a result of climate change, ncluding ensuring that local government in France's overseas territories, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change, receive priority for innovative adaptation and mitigation efforts. The Resolution also seeks a larger share of French climate finance for adaptation needs of the most vulnerable countries, and calls for public institutional investors and local government in France to divest from fossil fuels, notably in coal.
Reflecting the important role of cities, regions, companies and non-states actors highlighted by COP21, the Resolution notes:
“Considering that decarbonization of our economies and the emergence of a new development paradigm will not be achieved without the joint efforts of all actors, notably cities regions, companies and non-state actors, acting individually and in collaboration with national governments, with civil society and with international organizations; “
It emphasizes the role of the “Agenda of Solutions” as the 4th pillar of the Climate Package of Paris, noting “...the first being the Agreement, the second being a synthesis of the INDCs and the third being a count of Parties’ contribution to finance on climate change mitigation and adaptation;” and calls for the establishment of a “minimal institutional framework” for this Agenda of Solutions in the post-Paris period.
The Resolution proceeds to detail a number of recommendations with regard to the establishment of such a structure for follow-up. This includes a “Council for the Agenda of Solutions”, composed of representatives of different initiatives for the climate and of representatives of civil society, national governments, international organizations and of experts, whose works would be coordinated by a “High Representative for Climate Action”.
At the European Union level, the resolution calls for proposals on a tax on financial transactions, improved governance of the EU ETS, the greenhouse gas emissions allowances trading scheme, and the integration of climate change concerns across a range of policies including agriculture, investment and research.
At the international level, the Resolution calls on the French government to work towards the establishment of a climate leadership group of countries that commit to a low-carbon development pathway; the creation of a club for clean technologies which could assist in the transition to a low-carbon society; implementation of carbon-neutral growth targets in the aviation and maritime sectors; and support the creation of a fund for the restoration of polluted and degraded soils, so that they can become carbon sinks again.
Among a number of specific recommendations for the Paris agreement, the Resolution calls for a five-year review mechanism – with the first national review taking place as early as 2018-2019 – to ensure ambition can be periodically ratcheted up. The importance of including in the Paris agreement, measures on loss and damage suffered by the inhabitants of territories affected by natural disasters is also highlighted in the Resolution.
Human rights and gender concerns are flagged throughout the Resolution with a call that the Paris agreement reflect the “importance respect for human rights, the promotion of women’s rights, and of the equality between women and men, as well as the importance of full participation of women in all dimensions of policies related to climate change.”
The Resolution can be read in full here in English and in French. Further information can be found on the Assemblée nationale’s website here.