Beginning next week (30 November to 11 December 2015), world leaders will meet in Paris where a global climate deal is expected to be agreed.
It will follow a weekend of global climate action, including Wales Climate Action Day in Cardiff , organised by Stop Climate Chaos Cymru. Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a mass bike ride from the city centre to the Senedd on Saturday 28 November.
Leaders are under pressure to ensure that they conclude a deal that meets the demands of science and reduces greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Scientists agree that this is the upper limit for the survival of many communities and ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, Arctic ice regimes, and Pacific Island states among others.
Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru and Jessica McQuade, Policy and Advocacy Officer at WWF Cymru, will be taking part in events in Paris. That will include an event to highlight Wales’ role in tackling climate change on 9 December, organised by Stop Climate Chaos Cymru.
Jessica McQuade said:
“The talks in Paris are a chance for Wales to demonstrate to other countries that we are serious about tackling climate change. Beyond that, it’s crucial that we deliver emissions reductions at home in the immediate years ahead.
“We are calling for improvements to the Environment Bill, currently making its way through the Assembly, to ensure it brings down our emissions quickly enough. This includes a commitment to 40% reduction by 2020, the right ambition for 2050 and improved reporting and scrutiny. Without these changes the Bill is in danger of not living up to the Minister for Natural Resources’ ambitions for Wales being an international leader on climate change.
Legislation is one aspect of how a Government can tackle climate change. The scale and immediacy of the challenge also requires transformational action now. We are therefore calling on Welsh Government to commit in Paris to significantly scale up action to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.
“In Wales we have already passed the world-leading Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Now we need the Government do do the same for climate legislation. We will then be very well positioned to help deliver the shift to a low carbon future that the world needs.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said:
“Science is telling us that we need to act quickly on climate change and Paris is our moment. We need a strong climate plan that will cut carbon, promote renewable energy, provide promised finance and protect powerful carbon sink ecosystems like forests and the ocean. Only strong action in Paris can help meet the scale and pace needed to avoid runaway climate change and secure a safer future for us all.”
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative said:
“We are now in a race against time and the relentless logic of climate change. Everyone understands that and our sense is that all parties want an agreement. They now need to turn difficult issues into concrete decisions that match the demands of science and are fair to everyone. Actions before 2020 – especially in growing renewable energy and energy efficiency, and providing finance and technology – are essential if we are to keep global warming to less than 1.5°C.”
The climate agreement that comes out of the Paris talks needs to be fair, ambitious and transformational with science and equity at its heart. Governments need to act with urgency to ensure that emissions peak before 2020, deliver the promised US$100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, and bring down emissions through concrete actions by governments, cities, the private sector and individual citizens.
The Paris meeting is an important opportunity to protect the vulnerable people and natural systems that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. To be effective, the climate deal should include a global goal for adaptation and provide strong solutions to address loss and damage due to climate change.
“Political leaders represent ordinary people across the world who are facing the devastating impacts of climate change. They must be bold and decisive in putting the world on a path that is safer for people and planet,” said Smith.