You might not know it, but this week could be one of the biggest weeks for environmental decision-making in a long time. Here’s my quick list of the biggest moments to look out for this week:
In 2015 we had a few big moments in the world of international environmental decisions. We not only got the now infamous Paris Agreement from the UN climate negotiations, we also had the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Ban Ki-Moon has called the event a “a once in a generation opportunity” and it is clear that he wants it to be one of the lasting legacies of his tenure at the UN. However, the conference has been shrouded in controversy with the host nation Turkey’s recent political tensions and aid heavy-weight Doctors Without Borders, denouncing the conference as a threat to “to dissolve humanitarian assistance into wider development, peace-building and political agendas”.
To Track the World Humanitarian Summit, you can watch it live or follow the conversation on Twitter with #reshapeaid and #sharehumanity – I am guessing it will be full of tweets that may single-handedly save the world.
The UN climate talks continue this week until Thursday. With a clear sense of After-Paris-Anxiety (APA) the discussions on how to continue 2015’s momentum should finally get going this week.
In week one, while there was relatively slow progress on the ‘big picture’ items, there was a number of discussions on the role of capacity building and participation of observer groups, as well as a lot of discussion on how negotiators might go about realising the new 1.5 degree target over the next 3 years.
You may not have heard about this one, but the UN Environmental Programme has also begun a 4 day conference aiming to discuss how they are going to “deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda”. While not much has been written about it in the media, there are about 2,500 delegates from 170 UN countries hoping to discuss “issues ranging from ocean and air pollution, wildlife crimes to food waste”.
It doesn’t look like too many decisions will be made this week, but with over 100 environment ministers and 200 business executives also likely to join in, expect some big announcements before the week ends.
And we’ll find out between 5-7pm CET today.
You may have heard that there is a bitter divide in the Austrian elections between a far right candidate Norbert Hofer and ex-Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen. The two are currently split in a 50-50 tie with the postal votes to be counted today. With 14% of potential Austria’s voters submitting postal votes, it is anyone’s guess as to which way the election might go.
But the difference of a far right conservative and an ex-Green leader highlights the significance of the election today. Austria’s environmental policies going forward will no doubt leave a mark on the EU’s climate targets over the next few years, and whoever stands at their helm will be critically important.
Later in the week, the world’s big G7 economies will meet in Japan, and it will be one of Obama’s last chances to lay out his #ClimateLegacy. Hot on the agenda will be the topic of climate finance vs fossil fuel subsidies.
Last year, it was all about “decarbonization” and Sound of Music selfies. This year, it’s all about #FossilFuelSubsidies and maybe some cherry blossoms. The host nation of Japan is the world’s biggest supplier of international fossil fuel finance, and there has already been a lot of pressure put on Prime Minister Abe to use this conference as a chance to change that. Already 80 civil society organizations and 30,000 medical professionals have called on asked prime minister Abe to support a G7 commitment to end all fossil fuel financing and accelerate the shift to 100% renewables.
The Council on Foreign Relations has a good briefing document about the G7, and the Twitter hashtag to watch is, believe it or not #G7
Two of the biggest Fossil Fuel companies in the world face up to their investors this Wednesday, with a lot of pressure being placed on both to align their business models with the Paris agreement. Last week, global mining magnate Glencore had the exact same pressure placed on them, and they have since joined a coalition of companies aiming to be more transparent on how they prepare for the risks of Climate change.
I know it’s been a long list so far, but this the last big moment on my radar. On Tuesday, Sweedish parliament is getting together to very politely decide whether the country should be allowed to sell of a Massive mining project and some coal plants to a Czech company EPH.
It’s a massive decision. The debate isn’t going to be a win or lose moment, as the government can decide to sell or hold onto the mine’s assets regardless. But there are many who believe that the debate in itself could be an incredible moment to highlight the complexities of the post-fossil era and the incredible financial decisions that need to be made over the next few years.
As Asad Rehman noted on Tuesday, “even to keep the world below 2 degrees of warming, more than 80% of the world’s fossil fuels in the ground”. The debate on Tuesday could be a key moment to better understand if Sweeden’s parliament is indeed ready for the tough economic decisions of the post-Paris world.
To track it live on Twitter use: #låtkoletligga or perhaps #keepitintheground