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Article
13 November 2017

Commentary: Climate policies should address gendered impacts of climate change including effects on women's health

Author: Hwei Mian Lim, ARROW, OpenGlobalRights

"Climate Change Exacerbates Gender Inequality, Putting Women's Health at Risk", 6 Nov 2017

[C]limate change clearly affects human health…[and] exacerbates gender inequality, especially in developing countries. For women already facing poverty…climate change puts them at further disadvantage…and adversely affects women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights...[SRHR].

First, extreme weather…[makes it] extremely challenging for women to manage their menstruation needs and hygiene. Women may also refrain from drinking…which…may result in urinary and reproductive tract infections.

Second…undernutrition is already a major problem for women in some developing countries due to gender bias in the allocation of food within the household, which extreme climate events would exacerbate

Third, women staying in temporary shelters…often experience sexual harassment, rape or other gender-based violence....

Last, extreme climate events also exacerbate the problem of early/forced marriage for girls...

Delegates at international climate negotiations and national policy-makers should ensure that climate policies address the gendered impacts of climate change and incorporate SRHR.

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Article
13 November 2017

Commentary: Indigenous communities should be heard at climate negotiations & supported to defend forests

Author: Matthew Parson, HRW

"Forest Defenders Could Pave Way to a Low-Carbon Future", 6 Nov 2017

A …new report published last week…pointed out that stopping deforestation is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indigenous peoples and local communities are a critical part of such a strategy, since emissions and deforestation rates tend to be lower in forests managed by indigenous peoples when land rights are protected...[I]ndigenous peoples are defending their communities and forests from logging, oil pipelines, and coal mining...

Having stewarded the environment and lived sustainably for generations, indigenous peoples can guide others toward a low-carbon future. But so far, the wealth of knowledge they have to offer has only been cursorily included in the climate negotiations, and discussions of the rights of indigenous peoples have been sidelined...At this year’s climate conference in Bonn, negotiators will flesh out details for a new platform to better incorporate indigenous and local communities in the international climate process...

But the reality is that indigenous peoples urgently need better rights protections. Their land rights are frequently encroached upon because of a lack of formal land title or otherwise insecure land tenure, which has a disproportionate impact on indigenous women. And many are threatened, harassed, attacked, or even killed for their environmental activism...[I]f delegates at [COP23]...are serious about fighting climate change, they need to improve protections for the guardians of the forests.

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Article
15 November 2017

COP23: Global alliance to phase out coal recognises need for a "just transition"

Author: Michael Holder, businessGreen

The UK and Canada have joined with 24 other nations and regional states to launch a new global alliance aimed at phasing out coal-fired power and weaning the world off the most carbon intensive form of electricity generation. The new group was officially launched on the sidelines of the COP23 Summit in Bonn on Tuesday... The aim of the Alliance is to gain 50 national and regional signatories by the time of next year's UN climate change summit in Poland. Businesses are also being invited to formally signal their backing for the group and its goals... But while the new coalition will work with businesses, civil society, and governments to offer technical and practical help to accelerate the transition away from coal, the Alliance said it recognised that not all countries can completely phase out the use of unabated coal at the same rate... [and] that there needed to be a "just transition" to ensure workers in the coal sector were presented with new economic opportunities as the transition to cleaner energy continues.

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Article
15 November 2017

Twenty countries join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030

Author: Nina Chestney & Stine Jacobsen, Reuters (UK)

Since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015 [...] several countries have made national plans to phase out coal... The Powering Past Coal alliance brings together many of these countries and others that will commit to phasing out coal [and] sharing technology to reduce emissions... Coal is responsible for more than 40 per cent of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide... The alliance, which is not legally binding, aims to have at least 50 members by the next U.N. climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities... But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, India, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not joined. The pace of Germany’s exit from coal power has dominated talks in Berlin this week on forming a new German government. The Powering Past Coal launch comes just days after U.S. administration officials, along with energy company representatives, led a side event at the talks to promote “fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation.”

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Article
16 November 2017

COP Presidency Event: Integrating human rights in climate action

Author: UNFCCC Climate Action Studio

This event will highlight the human dimension of climate action. It also aims to increase support for integration of human rights considerations in the facilitative dialogue and relevant aspects of the negotiations of the guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement. [...]

Speakers: This event will bring together representatives of UN Agencies, states, human rights mechanisms and civil society with diverse expertise related to the different elements of the human dimension of climate change referenced in the Preamble.

Article
16 November 2017

Commentary: Powering Past Coal Alliance must ensure just transition from coal to clean power

Author: Sharan Burrow & Mary Robinson, The B Team

"Power past coal is right move, but we can't do it withou a just transition", 17 Nov 2017

...[A]t the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany...more than 25 countries, states and regions, led by the United Kingdom and Canada and including Fiji, Mexico, the Marshall Islands, France, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Quebec, Oregon and Alberta, announced their participation in the Powering Past Coal Alliance and their declaration to accelerating growth through a rapid transition from coal power to clean power. 

The Powering Past Coal Alliance declared that a transition away from coal is necessary if the world is to deliver the Paris Agreement. It is also critical for climate justice and the protection of human rights...

As B Team Leaders, we urge that the Powering Past Coal Alliance ensure that their work and statements about it include this “just transition,” as enshrined in the preamble of the Paris Agreement and by the International Labour Organisation. The fact that the declaration does not include just transition is in our view a major omission… 

...Governments...should commit to...a just transition of the workforce, that protects human rights and takes steps to revitalize affected communities. Businesses and other partners should commit to powering their operations without coal and to collaborating with unions to achieve to a just transition for workers and communities that spurs new, decent and low-emissions jobs...[refers to Unilever]

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Article
27 November 2017

Key achievements from COP23 highlighted as conference comes to a close

Author: UNFCCC

"Key Achievements from COP23", 18 Nov 2017

...We are pleased to outline some of the key achievements from COP23.

...[T]he Fijian COP23 Presidency announced [the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue,] an inclusive and participatory process that allows countries, as well as non-state actors, to share stories and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition – including pre-2020 action – in nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This is ultimately to enable countries to collectively move closer to the more ambitious Paris Agreement goal...

...The Fijian COP23 Presidency launched the Ocean Pathway Partnership to [...] create a coordinated effort among governments at all levels, existing ocean alliances and coalitions, civil society and the private sector...

...The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development contributed 110 million euros (US $125 million) to launch the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions to bring affordable insurance and other financial protection to millions of vulnerable people around the world...

...Fiji Clearing House for Risk Transfer...[a] new online resource will help connect vulnerable countries with the best available information on affordable insurance and solutions...

...A delegation of sub-national leaders [...] presented a report on the ongoing efforts by American states, cities, businesses and civil society to uphold the emissions reduction target of the United States under the Paris Agreement...

...The Fijian COP23 Presidency presided over the first ever Open Dialogue between governments and non-state actors (including civil society, municipal governments and businesses) within the formal climate negotiations...

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Article
27 November 2017

Microsoft will cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030, says President & CLO Brad Smith

Author: Brad Smith, Microsoft, We Mean Business

"Microsoft pledges to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030", 14 Nov 2017

At Microsoft...[w]e...have been taking steps to address and reduce our carbon footprint for nearly a decade. In 2009, Microsoft set its first carbon emissions target. In 2012, we became one of the first companies to put an internal global carbon fee in place, which enables us to operate 100 percent carbon neutral. Last year, we put in place targets to get more energy from renewable sources...

[W]e will take the next step in this journey by pledging to reduce our operational carbon emissions 75 percent by 2030, against a 2013 baseline. We’ll do this through continued progress against our carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments, as well as investments in energy efficiency. This puts Microsoft on a path, as a company, to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement...We estimate this will help avoid more than 10 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year by 2030...

...It’s our hope that this pledge inspires others to join us in setting targets, and provides confidence to governments, companies and individuals that it’s possible for entities to help reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement...

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Article
27 November 2017

States & businesses discuss deforestation initiatives at Forests Global Climate Action day

Author: UNFCCC

"New National and Corporate Climate Action on Forests at COP23", 12 Nov 2017

New action from countries and corporations to cut emissions from forest use and establish sustainable forestry management featured at COP23 Forests Day...Initiatives from Ecuador, Gabon, Walmart and Mars Inc were welcomed by delegates...

...A commitment to deforestation-free commodities by Walmart presented by Laura Phillips, Walmart’s Senior Vice President of Sustainability...Mars Inc.’s new policy to reduce their carbon footprint 27% by 2025 and 67% by 2050 by addressing deforestation throughout their corporate value chain, presented by Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Vice President of Sustainability...

...Sustaining and increasing forests is vital to get on track in time to meet the Paris Climate Change Agreement’s goal...“Our planet’s forests are being decimated at an alarming rate. Putting a stop to this destruction is crucial to tackling climate change, reducing poverty and feeding a growing global population, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature...

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Article
4 December 2017

COP23 side event ”Climate Change – Extractive Industries – Resource Efficiency” highlights need to address human rights risks

Author: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The overall topic discussed, was the connection between climate change and mining and how to reduce resource intensity in our economies. The central question [...] was whether we can or rather should “Leave it [extractive resources] in the Ground?”... [C]ertain mineral and metal resources are essential buildings blocks for green technologies such as renewable energies and electric mobility... [I]t will be difficult to “leave them in the ground” until reliable technological options are available. When coming to this conclusion, it is essential to address [...] human rights and environmental risks... [F]ossil resources contribute heavily to global warming when they are extracted and when they are burned. Therefore, coal, oil and natural gas need to be “left in the ground” in order to contribute to the long-term goal to decarbonize the global economy... There is still a huge gap between the ambition to reach the 2°C / 1,5°C goal and the measures foreseen in the (I)NDCs submitted by the different countries for COP21 in Paris... [R]esource efficiency [...] can contribute to [...] mitigat[ing] global climate change. At the same time, a more efficient use of raw materials in production can contribute to enhancing competitiveness of companies and securing jobs.

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