Now is the time to step up together on climate climate change

This blog was authored by Ann Gardiner and other members of Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions. 

How can countries step up climate action to meet the goals they set for themselves in Paris? A big part of the answer lays in building stronger links to local governments, the private sector, and civil society.

In 2018, an international effort to increase climate action and raise ambition has been launched to bring us closer to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This process includes the Talanoa Dialogue and the Global Climate Action Summit this year, extends in 2019 to the UN Secretary General’s climate summit, and continues through to the next milestone for enhancing ambition at COP26 in 2020.

Cities, states and regions, businesses, investors, and civil society groups play a critical role in increasing climate action by delivering real progress on the ground. But they also play a role in generating new opportunities for national governments to step up ambition. Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions has developed a memo to highlight ways in which this mutual reinforcement can be implemented in 2018 and looking forward to 2020.

Stepping up together

Climate action by cities, regions, businesses, investors and others helps support national climate action and ambition by:

  • Directly reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and building resilience
  • Driving change in economic systems and technology
  • Supporting higher ambition among decision-makers

Delivering action

All kinds of stakeholders are already delivering climate action. Several initiatives, such as the Science Based Targets Initiative for companies and the C40’s Deadline 2020 for megacities, seek specifically to deliver action in line with the Paris Agreement. Stakeholders from New York City to Cape Town, Wal-mart to Mahindra Corporation in India, are in practical terms aligning with the Paris Agreement.

Increasingly the achievements of stakeholders are being brought together and reported, which helps boost the confidence of national governments to set more ambitious targets in future. In 2018 we can expect a wave of commitments, raising estimates about how many tonnes of emissions local governments and the private sector have already reduced, what they are on track to deliver, and what potential for scaling up exists.

Driving changes in technological and economic systems.

The massive scale and diversity of climate action create a rich laboratory for experimentation and learning. Sharing the lessons is critical so that national governments, and other stakeholders, can possess state-of-the art knowledge when considering next steps. Initiatives such as the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships already promote enhanced dialogue and collaboration.  Many initiatives also strive to achieve changes in the financial system. These include the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and the Investor Agenda.

Championing ambitious policies

National governments have multiple options to increase efforts but other stakeholders have an important role in identifying priorities and delivering results. Initiatives such as the Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation and the Planners for Climate action provide specific materials to help inform and guide policy planning. Through engagement with activities such as the Talanoa Dialogue, the Marrakech Partnership and national platforms, the whole range of stakeholders can engage with national governments to enhance policies.

How can we step up together?

As we build an upward spiral of ambition and action, numerous channels exist to mutually reinforce climate action. In 2018, these include the Talanoa Dialogue, the Global Climate Action Summit in California, the Technical Examination Process of the UNFCCC and national and regional platforms and processes. Making these various channels work is the critical task before us now. Countries and other stakeholders can still deliver the Paris goals — if they step up together.

Posted 1st May 2018

Talanoa Dialogue – have you told your story?

Launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in November last year, the Talanoa Dialogue is a process that runs throughout 2018 to take stock of the progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, with a view to increasing ambition in the actions undertaken to achieve those goals. Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji to describe a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. It involves the sharing of ideas and experience through storytelling.

Unlike other formal process in the UN Climate talks which are mostly limited to governments, inputs from a variety of stakeholders are positively encouraged (see High-Level Champions letter) and a process to deliver those inputs has been implemented. This is an unprecedented opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to help shape international climate policy.

The Dialogue itself centres around three questions:

  • Where are we?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we get there?

So, what are the opportunities for you to tell your compelling story to enhance action? The first opportunity is to provide written input before 2nd April 2018. This input should answer directly to one or more of the three questions in the Dialogue and can be upload to the Talanoa Dialogue Platform. To help structure these inputs, the UNFCCC have developed a template which can, but doesn’t have to be, used for each of the questions.  The key thing to remember though is this is going into a political process, so your input will have most impact if it is concise, compelling and concrete.

Written input isn’t the only way of telling your story. During the spring meeting of the climate talks, a series of technical dialogues will be held around the three questions. The technical dialogues will be open to a total of 90 stakeholders other than national governments. These stakeholders will be selected according to a set of criteria to ensure a wide representation of sectors and regions with a good gender balance and important stories to tell. Expressions of interest for participation can be submitted here. The written inputs received before 2nd April will help provide the basis for the technical dialogues.

Throughout the year there are also a series of events being organised to complement the Dialogue. The largest of these is probably the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September but many others are being organised so look out for one in your sector/location.

The final opportunity for written input is 29th October 2018. Together the results from the written inputs, events and technical dialogues will form the basis for the political discussion at the climate talks in Poland in December. The aim of these talks is to work out and adopt decisions that ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the results of the Talanoa Dialogue will be an important part of identifying what those decisions should be.