Categories: Climate Change, Events

by Peter


Categories: Climate Change, Events

by Peter


This is what we know about the Climate Action Summit as of 1730 GMT…


The 2020 Climate Action Summit opens at 1400 GMT on Saturday 12 December, five years to the day since the Paris Agreement was sealed on that cold evening at Le Bourget Airport. 78 world leaders are expected to attend along with high level representatives from the US Democrat party and CEOs such as Apple's Tim Cook.

Who's coming?

Six of the world's top 10 emitters will be present: China, the EU, India, Japan and Canada (plus two senior US governors). Notable absentee big polluters are Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico. Johnson, Macron, Conte, Von der Leyen, Merkel, Modi, Xi, Buhari are among the speakers – the full list is now on the Climate Action Summit website. It's one of the first times I can recall the organisers of a climate summit excluding leaders who had no new substantive commitments. [South Africa is not included on the speaker's list, and this week a government spokesperson told Daily Maverick: "The summit is a platform for leaders to make ambitious announcements on the net zero (greenhouse gas emissions by 2050) and enhanced NDCs. South Africa and many other countries are still working on their NDCs which were delayed owing to Covid.” – Craig]

Hart of stone

UN climate envoy Selwin Hart in the Thursday evening UN presser, asked by the SMH about Australia's absence: "We will not comment on individual states… we provided clear guidelines to states… not everyone who wanted to speak was able to do so… we should celebrate those who came forward with bold & ambitious commitments" [listen back here]

How to follow

-Watch the show live here.

-Follow NGOs tracking country pledges live here.

-Follow on twitter via the #ClimateActionSummit and (for more fun) #Parisversaire

US vibes

Two notable governors will be speaking: Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts – Gov. Baker (a Republican) announced a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 earlier this year, and Gov. Whitmer (Democrat) recently committed Michigan to carbon neutrality by 2050. They'll add to incoming US climate czar John Kerry's intervention this week, where he called for a strengthened Paris Agreement.

What's landing

Word on the street is that 50% of the G20 – which accounts for over 80% of global GHG emissions – will make "significant" announcements on Saturday, ranging from new climate plans to carbon neutrality / net zero targets for mid-century. New data is expected from the Race To Zero squad assessing how much of global GDP is now covered by net zero targets – at last count it was 50%. 

Climate plan watch

The UN tracks climate plans here. The UK, Russia, Brazil, Japan are among the larger economies to have lodged their targets. The EU is expected overnight provided Hungary and Poland behave [can be bought off], with China mooted to follow on Saturday. Climate Action Tracker and WRIClimate are best resources for fast analysis. New net zero plans include Belgium, Finland, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden.

Not just numbers

Emissions-wise this lot are small but the push to submit underlines their commitment to Paris: lodged plans from smaller developing nations include Marshall Islands, Suriname, Jamaica, Cuba, Singapore, Maldives, Nauru, Tonga, Grenada. Others expected in the next 48 hours include St. Lucia, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Dominican Republic, Belize, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago 

Any money?

Not much. It's a real issue as we head into 2021. The UK hosts of COP26 say they've protected their £11.6 billion climate finance fund but elsewhere the climate finance piece is looking ragged, with the US and Australia among those to have quit the Green Climate Fund in recent years. This week Ban Ki-moon demanded Canada cough up more, but as a recent OECD report underlined, rich countries are short on the $100bn a year target by 2020, and a debt crisis is hitting poorer nations. 

Paris Anniversary watch

Three useful pieces of analysis to look out for:

i) Global Carbon Budget 2020 – out Friday, assessing how long till we could hit 1.5C warming

ii) The Paris Effect – out today, assessing how the 2015 Paris Agreement has delivered

iii) Race To Zero analysis on sectoral progress – contact  

What are the organisers saying?

The Summit will be an important moment to drive forward collective action as we move towards COP26. It will be an opportunity for leaders to bring forward new commitments that put us firmly on a greener, more resilient, and sustainable path – and put the world on track to deliver global net-zero emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5C.

What are NGOs saying?
December 12th will be a moment of accountability for leaders who must act now in good faith to renew momentum for climate action on the road to COP26, and answer the demands of a global movement. A movement which has grown unstoppably over the five years since Paris, opening up political space and bringing us to a new place of possibility. The world will be watching. [Greenpeace International]

Key contacts

Analysts watching the summit instead of the Manchester derby / Everton v Chelsea include…

-Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International boss [via]

-Ambassador Lois Young of Belize [via]  

-Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, chair of Least Developed Countries group [via]

-Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW, a Delhi-based think tank [via]

-Alden Meyer – director of strategy and policy, US union of concerned scientists

-Cat Abreu – Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada

-Mark Campanale – Carbon Tracker Initiative

-Richard Black – director, ECIU, UK climate policy + politics expert

-David Waskow – Director, WRI International Climate initiative

-Nick Mabey – CEO, E3G (UK + EU climate politics expert)

-Mohamed Adow – director, Power Shift Africa

-Vanessa Perez-Cirera – global deputy, WWF international

-Li Shuo – Greenpeace China

We Mean Business- if you would like to interview WMB CEO or business leaders from Mahindra Group, Unilever, Volvo and others please reach out to Tara Burke

Call if you need anything else – I'll be among the lucky tribe following this through Saturday


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Business Report 1 July 2012. Optimal Energy chief executive Kobus Meiring is a disappointed man. The company is the developer of South Africa’s electric car but it officially closed on Friday with the loss of about 60 jobs. This follows its failure to get further funding from the government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)...

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