Your location: Home >  > News Archive


Leading Topics
 


Leading Topics 2014

14 June 2014

JUNE SESSIONS WITH KEY FOCUS ON RAISING AMBITION IN AREAS OF URBANIZATION AND LAND USE CONCLUDE IN BONN

The ability of cities and the way smarter use of land can unlock greater action on climate change now and into the future came to the fore during the UN Climate Change Conference held from 4 to 15 June in Bonn, as governments work towards a new agreement in Paris in 2015. The positivity around the two weeks of meetings culminated at the close when governments asked that the elements of a draft treaty be made available by July in advance of the next meetings in Bonn in October.

The series of technical expert meetings launched at the ADP March session with a focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency continued at the June meeting, where opportunities for action on urban environment and land use were examined. For the first time, the June session included two days of ministerial meetings, where Environment Ministers from several countries spoke of the need for a long-term vision of a carbon neutral world in the second half of the century.   

pdf-icon Read press release (232 kB)                      

Further summaries of the work at the June meeting can be seen in the conference updates.

See highlights of the June session ADP Technical Expert Meeting on urban environment.

See highlights of the June session ADP Technical Expert Meeting on land use

Check out inspiring examples of urban climate action and action on land use to curb emissions.

26 May 2014
"Raise your voice, not the sea level."

image

The linked threats of climate change and environmental decay are hitting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) hard and fast. SIDS have frequently taken a leadership role, not only to raise global awareness of climate change, but also to take their own ambitious action to deal with its impacts. The United Nations has recognized this by designating 2014 as the International Year of SIDS and has made the theme for World Environment Day 2014 on 5 June: "Small Island Developing States and Climate Change". Here we showcase some inspiring examples of youth activities in SIDS, gender and climate action in SIDS, SIDS and Adaptation, as well as opportunities under the Climate Change Convention.

7 May 2014
LOW-CARBON LEADERSHIP IN LONDON

In a pdf-icon special address (129 kB) to key groups – faith groups, investors and the public – at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on 7 May, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke about climate change as an economic, social and environmental issue that requires action in line with the moral and ethical tenets of many if not all of the world's great faiths and called for leadership in following a low-carbon pathway.
View video of St. Paul's Cathedral Floor Debate.

Ms Figueres says faith groups have an opportunity now, in the lead up to a new, universal climate change agreement in Paris, to provide a moral compass for their congregations and for political, corporate, financial and local leaders.

Faith groups are already raising their voice on climate change. South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently called for an anti-apartheid style boycott and disinvestment campaign. Multi-faith groups in Australia and North America sent a letter to Pope Francis urging him to divest, and the Synod of the Church of England voted to review carbon in its investment policy. Communities of faith are also at the forefront of the 350 movement.
Read editorial by Christiana Figueres

Clearly, action by faith groups demonstrates that there are many reasons to act on climate, but more pathways are needed.

On 8 May, Christiana Figueres helped launch an exciting path to action by Carbon Tracker. The pdf-icon Carbon Supply Cost Curves report is part of a series of reports that will map company exposure to potential high-cost, high-risk fossil fuel assets.
pdf-icon Read full speech (113 kB)

31 March 2014

IPCC Science Underlines Urgency to Act Towards Carbon Neutral World
The latest government-agreed science shows that the world can still combat climate change but only if nations raise their collective ambition to achieve a carbon neutral world in the second half of the century, says Christiana Figueres.
pdf-icon Press release (139 kB)

IPCC: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate, Major Change Needed to Reduce Them
A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change and says major institutional and technological change is needed keep below two degrees Celsius.
pdf-icon IPCC press release
IPCC home page

28 March 2014
CAPE TOWN WINS GLOBAL EARTH HOUR CAPITAL AWARD, BLAZES TRAIL FOR URBAN ACTION

The Earth Hour City Challenge is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was on the international jury of experts that chose the winner. In a joint statement, Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres said:

"Cape Town is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour Capital 2014 prize and is especially notable for being the first city from the south to receive this prestigious award. This achievement clearly demonstrates the important contribution emerging economies can make in the fight against climate change. 2014 is a critical year for climate action, as nations work towards reaching a new global climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015

The leadership of cities like Cape Town will play a pivotal role in helping us reach a meaningful agreement by encouraging national governments to create more ambitious plans for reducing emissions. The city and its leaders deserve congratulation for their great work."

pdf-icon Read joint press release | Visit Earth Hour City Challenge website

Cape Town has won the Global Earth Hour Capital 2014 award for outstanding sustainability efforts. The Earth Hour City Challenge is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was on the international jury of experts that chose the winner. In a joint statement, Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres said:

"Cape Town is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour Capital 2014 prize and is especially notable for being the first city from the south to receive this prestigious award. This achievement clearly demonstrates the important contribution emerging economies can make in the fight against climate change. 2014 is a critical year for climate action, as nations work towards reaching a new global climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015

The leadership of cities like Cape Town will play a pivotal role in helping us reach a meaningful agreement by encouraging national governments to create more ambitious plans for reducing emissions. The city and its leaders deserve congratulation for their great work."

pdf-icon Read joint press release | Visit Earth Hour City Challenge website

28 March 2014
20th ANNIVERSARY UNFCCC - CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT


Friday, 21 March 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is a moment to celebrate the far-sightedness of the Convention and all of the investment in its implementation that so many thousands of people have made over the last two decades.

To mark the anniversary, the secretariat has prepared an interesting, informative and fun timeline. Relive great moments in the history of the Convention in stories, photos and video!
Read more

But it is also a time when we can reflect on the distance we all have yet to travel to achieve the ultimate objective enshrined in the Convention, which is to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system and ensure sustainable development for everyone. The need is greater than ever and I hope this anniversary inspires everyone to recommit to the Convention, to its implementation and to a meaningful 2015 agreement.

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

17 March 2014
FIRST MEETING OF THE ADP IN 2014 WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON RENEWABLES AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY WRAPS UP IN BONN

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn (10 - 14 March), countries got down to the business of fleshing out how a new universal agreement on climate change might look by the deadline of Paris 2015 as part of worldwide efforts to keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius this century. This week's meeting of the "Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" (ADP) marked the start of an intense year with a calendar of meetings. The ADP also saw the launch of technical expert meetings, which are to continue throughout the year, and which are to spur new national policies and new examples of cooperation which can then be showcased at COP 20 in Lima at the end of this year. The first technical expert meetings focussed on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Read the closing pdf-icon press release.

Further summaries of the work at the March ADP meeting can be seen in the ADP Highlights

More information on the ADP meeting, with links to the full set of PowerPoint presentations, here

More detailed information on the emission reduction potential and benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy pdf-icon here. All technical expert meetings were webcast and are available on demand here

Check out inspiring examples of energy efficiency, renewable energy and international cooperative action.

11 March 2014
FIRST MEETING OF THE ADP IN 2014 KICKS OFF IN BONN WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON RENEWABLES AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The first round of UN climate change negotiations in 2014 opened in Bonn on Monday, March 10, with a message from the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) noting that countries had set out clear tasks on the path towards timely adoption in 2015 of a new climate change agreement and to enhance immediate ambitions to deal with climate change.

Image View webcast.

The opening included a pdf-icon call by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres (110 kB) (110 kB) for 2014 to be a year of greater action and ambition to check the advance of climate change and to set the ground for a successful, global climate agreement in Paris.

The week-long meeting will include work towards the shape and content of the new agreement, as well as a particular focus by technical experts from government and a wide range of other stakeholders on boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Similar expert meetings throughout 2014 will address other areas where action can be boosted so that, by the end of the year, tangible results should be visible that can stimulate new national and international initiatives and policies, innovative partnerships and mobilization of the resources needed to make greater climate action happen and stay below a temperature rise of 2 degrees.

Check out inspiring examples of energy efficiency, renewable energy and international cooperative action.

More detailed information on emission reduction potential and benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy pdf-icon here. All technical expert meetings will be webcast live and on demand. See the schedule pdf-icon here

More information on the ADP meeting, including daily highlights, here

Read the March session pdf-icon press release

Read article by ADP Co-Chairs appearing in the latest edition of the UNFCCC newsletter

5 March 2014
CELEBRATING WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 3 MARCH

At the end of 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 March as World Wildlife Day as a global commemorative day to celebrate the world's wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the many benefits that wildlife provides to people. Visit the World Wildlife Day website.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and its family of Agreements are joining the many organizations around the world that are contributing to the first ever World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014. Click here to see what the CMS Family is doing for World Wildlife Day.

The impact of climate change on migratory species

In 2011, The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) passed an unequivocal resolution - "pdf-icon Migratory Species Conservation in the Light of Climate Change" - identifying the polar bear as one of the species most threatened by climate change. Read what Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the CMS, has to say about how international action can save the polar bear.

The United nations has released some interesting reports showing the impact of climate change on migratory species:
Read report on pdf-icon Climate change vulnerability of migratory species
Read report on pdf-icon Migratory species and climate change - Impacts of a Changing Environment
on Wild Animals

Get involved and sign up to Thunderclap - Let's go wild for wildlife!

3 March 2014
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL CLIMATE LEGISLATION

On 27 February, Christiana Figueres spoke at the 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit, taking place at the US Senate in Washington D.C. and hosted by Senator Edward Markey.
pdf-icon Read the speech here (145 kB)

Senior officials of the United Nations and World Bank also joined 100 legislators at the launch of the 4th edition of the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, now expanded to cover progress on climate legislation in 66 countries. The GLOBE study is the most comprehensive research project that audits climate legislation across the world's major developed and emerging economies. The summit also launched the Partnership for Climate Legislation between GLOBE, the United Nations and the World Bank. The Partnership will support national legislators to develop, pass and implement national laws on climate change and forestry/REDD+.

A number of international organizations are helping drive the national climate policy agenda forward. The IUCN's Environmental Law Centre has an Environmental Law Programme that assists decision makers with legal advisory services, mentoring and capacity building at national, regional and global levels. The United Nations Environment Programme has appointed an international advisory council to advance the role of law, justice and good governance in achieving sustainable development.

The Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy project, a UNDP-EU initiative, aims to build the capacity of parliamentarians to promote the development of renewable energy sources to fight climate change. UNDP and its implementing partner, Climate Parliament, have identified about 200 MPs in the developing world who are committed to parliamentary action in their countries. The project has already shown the difference a small number of committed legislators can make in promoting access to renewable energy. Visit AGORA, the multi-partner portal on parliamentary development. See pdf-icon User Guide on renewable energy for parliamentarians.

24 February 2014
Climate Leadership Awards

On 25 February, UNFCCC Executive Secretary will speak at the third annual Climate Leadership Awards ceremony in California that will honour exemplary corporate, organizational and individual leadership in response to climate change. The Awards are being held in conjunction with the 2014 Climate Leadership Conference.

Achievements that reflect impact, innovation and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability are increasingly being honoured around the globe. In January, Abu Dhabi staged the annual Zayed Future Energy Prize, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began inviting nominations for its flagship Champions of the Earth Award. Winners of the 2014 Award will be unveiled at a gala event towards the end of the year.

In March, the UNFCCC secretariat's Momentum for Change initiative will open its annual call for applications. The Momentum for Change Advisory Panel, under its new Chair, Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, will select a small number of activities to become Lighthouse Activities. Read more.

The Equator Inititative, a partnership for resilient communities, is seeking nominations for its Equator Prize 2014, which will recognize twenty-five local sustainable development solutions. Closing date is 22 March 2014. Also open for applications are the 2014 SEED Awards, designed to find the most promising start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs in countries with developing and emerging economies. Closing date is 8 April 2014.

17 February 2014
INTERNATIONAL MAYORS SUMMIT SEEKS URBAN SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

The fifth biennial Mayors Summit held in collaboration with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group took place from 4-6 February 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This event brought together C40 Mayors from around the world to advance urban solutions to global climate change through individual efforts as well as international engagement and collaboration.

The theme of the 2014 C40 Mayors Summit was: "Towards resilient and liveable Megacities – demonstrating action, impact and opportunity". UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figures gave a pdf-icon keynote address on City Leadership and the International Climate Agenda Wednesday, and C40 issued a new report on how the world's megacities have the power to accelerate climate action on a transformative scale. View infographic.

Important work in the field of local action for global sustainability is also being carried out by international organizations such as UN HABITAT, as well as associations such as ICLEI, the Communitas Coalition and Climate Alliance, who are supporting cities in their efforts to become resource-efficient and low-carbon.

To celebrate what cities have already achieved in going green, WWF has organized a competition to find the world's most sustainable city, with Christiana Figueres on the panel of judges. Join in and vote here. The winners will be announced on March 27.

3 February 2014
SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Speaking at the 50th Munich Security Conference in the Bavarian capital of Munich (January 31 to February 2, 2014), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that "Climate change is every much a security threat as an armed group bent on plunder".
More

In his keynote speech, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was "chilled" by the recent IPCC report and that the main solution to climate change lay in effective energy policies.
More

The event was also attended by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, who spoke about security issues related to energy and climate.
See video (comments start at 21.30 min).

Institutions such as the OSCE and the IES are already addressing the issue. According to experts like Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the former UK Foreign Secretary's Special Representative for Climate Change, the impact of climate change needs to be considered a far more of a mainstream issue, and the implications should be factored into security and economic strategies in the same way that other threats to prosperity and stability are.

View video with leading military experts

Read UN security council statement on security and climate change

Speech by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at security council debate

In Focus
x UK Admiral: Failure to set a robust climate target will hurt national security
Euractiv
Climate change is not just an environmental concern, it is a national security issue and failing to address it effectively with a tough greenhouse gas emissions reduction target now will ultimately threaten our way of life, says UK Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti
Read more
x Commander of U.S. Forces Pacific says climate change is top threat
Climate Science Watch
According to Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the Commander of U.S. Forces Pacific, there is strong liklihood of significant upheavals resulting from rising global temperatures, with the potential to "cripple the security environment", making climate change the top security threat.
Read more
Why the U.S. military is going increasingly green
Bloomberg
29 January 2014
In its drive for greater energy efficiency, the U.S. military has set itself a renewable energy target equivalent to that of the European Union. The push for renewables cuts costs, reduces dependence on vulnerable supply lines and helps ensure 24/7 access to electricity.
Read more

24 January 2014
Davos Week - smarter climate policies for smarter climate investment

Speaking at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stressed the importance of a 2015 universal agreement in sending a signal that the global economy is moving to low-carbon.
View video

Leaders gathered at the Forum have made it a top priority to push to reshape the global economy and cut global warming by shifting to cleaner energy sources.
More

Climate change is taking centre stage in Davos in 2014. A record 23 sessions, fully one third of this year's World Economic Forum, are being devoted to how the world can transition to a low carbon economy and keep a global temperature rise within safety zones for billions of people.
Read the latest C. Figueres blog
Read more on the Davos meeting

20 January 2014
NY to Davos -- Momentum Builds on Climate Finance

Safeguarding Future Retirement Funds – Time for Investors to Move Out of High-Carbon Assets Says UN's Top Climate Official

At the Investor Summit on Climate Risk on 15 January in New York, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres urged investors to accelerate the greening of their portfolios as one crucial step towards a low-carbon economy that can better cope with the threats and seize the opportunities from climate change.

pdf-icon Press release (151 kB) | pdf-icon esp (204 kB) | pdf-icon fr (152 kB)

Ceres Clean Trillion Report

Read more on the 2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk

View webcast image


The issue of financing the transition to a low-carbon, resilient global economy will also take centre stage at the World Economic Forum's annual Davos meeting from 22-25 January 2014.
Read more on the Davos meeting

For in-depth information on climate finance in the intergovernmental process click here.