Biden summit ‘needs’ emissions reduction, finance commitments


US President Joe Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate on April 22-23.

Climate experts say this is a critically important initiative as the first step by the US government to focus on climate action in their efforts to show that the US is back on the international level, targeting heads of states of key countries.The summit comes at a critical juncture, with the latest UNFCCC report stating that the collective climate action pledges according to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are far off track from the goals envisaged in the Paris Agreement, most notably to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

There are also increasing calls to developed countries to step up financial support for climate action in developing countries, in particular for adaptation.

What do we want? Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe views the Leader’s Summit as a critical opportunity for European leaders to bring to the table further efforts and specific commitments to put itself on a 1.5 degrees Celsius compatible pathway.Its four main requests for the European Commission and the European leaders participating in the summit are: Emissions reductions well beyond 55 per cent.

This should be combined, with greater efforts to protect biodiversity and increase carbon removals, in line with the EU’s fair share of the global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

All Member States, Norway and the UK commit to increase climate finance for developing countries to be allocated to adaptation, with a strong priority to the least developed countries and the small island countries. The European Investment Bank should commit to scaling up adaptation finance to 50 per cent of its climate finance for developing countries by 2025.

No COVID-19 recovery funding to fossil fuels, explicitly fossil gas, says CAN, Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change.

At EU level, this translates into keeping fossil gas and nuclear out of the EU taxonomy, budget funds and EU recovery (1.8 trillion) spent by Member States and regions.In assessing recovery plans, the European Commission should insist that the necessary reforms on national level, throughout all sectors are kicked-off to achieve beyond 55 per cent emissions reduction.

European countries champion climate action and a green recovery in upcoming bilateral meetings and summits, including the EU-India summit, the renewed Southern Partnership and EU-Africa Partnership Strategy, by developing concrete measures to globally shift away from fossil fuels and lock in new dependencies.

For each of the European countries participating in the Leaders’ Climate Summit, CAN Europe asks Denmark that no funds for polluters or for fossil infrastructure. Also climate finance for adaptation and mitigation developing countries and enhance commitment to renewable energy.

For France to end fossil fuel subsidies nationally and abroad. And increase climate finance for developing countries to 8bn per year for 2021-2025. Also implement all the recommendations of the citizen assembly.

Germany to increase domestic emissions reduction and associated climate law to 70 per cent by 2030 (up from 55 per cent). Also adjust renewable energy expansion and other targets accordingly, plus double finance from the federal budget allocated to international climate finance to at least 8bn per year by 2025.

“Five years after European countries committed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in Paris, European leaders must increase emissions reductions or we won’t manage,” said Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director.

“We are obnoxiously far off track. European countries must aim way beyond long-term commitments; we need emissions to start dramatically dropping from today.

“This summit taking place is a good sign. But it won’t be useful as such unless it brings greater action to combat climate change; namely, increased climate finance and higher emissions reductions,” Trio said.

“We see political leaders across Europe acknowledging the needs to foster climate action. However, we need to see the essence of their speeches at the heart of absolutely all their policies, budgets, priorities, decisions just a couple of green measures won’t sort out the climate crisis,” said Sven Harmeling, International Climate Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe.