25 September 2015. Today, in a significant move, the USA and China launched a common vision for Paris, including a new climate finance commitment by China of $3.1 billion that will be provided through its South-South Cooperation Fund – a bilateral mechanism for providing climate aid to other developing countries. At the same time, the UN adopted a universal Sustainable Development Agenda to address poverty, need for development and environmental protection. The announcement combined with the new goals provides renewed momentum for the Paris climate conference to better integrate sustainable development objectives.
In addition to the new finance pledge by China, the common vision includes new steps to control public support for high carbon activities, a low-carbon transformation of the global economy by 2100, a joint understanding to increased ambition over time and the need for more transparency, reporting and review of action and support. The announcement also included plans by China to launch a national emission trading system in 2007 that will cover power generation, steel, cement, and other key industrial sectors.
“It is positive that China is taking so seriously the need to cut its emissions and tackling the major polluting industries. However, the devil will be in the details, including the MRV rules to avoid corruption” said Dr Kat Watts, Carbon Market Watch’s Global Climate Policy Advisor. “Although there seems to have been initial discussion of linking the California and Chinese markets, the Chinese market will need a number of years to mature, and there are significant inherent technical and political difficulties any such linking would entail.”
With the adoption of the Agenda 2030, all UN Member States, including industrialized countries, agreed to follow 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a first time stand-alone goal on combating climate change and 169 targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals for the next 15 years, until 2030.
Eva Filzmoser, Carbon Market Watch’s Director commented, “Today in New York, countries officially recognized that sustainable development and climate change are interlinked and need to be treated hand in hand. In Paris, countries must continue the momentum of the US and China announcements and simultaneously address sustainable development and climate change objectives through coordinated efforts, for example by incorporating the new Agenda 2030’s SDGs, targets and indicators in their long term national strategies and plans.”
The new SDGs, and the indicators that are to be finalized in March 2016, can provide significant guidance for the UN’s climate mechanisms with sustainable development objectives implemented on project or programme level. The SDGs are also expected to provide guidance for the implementation of national policies, such as the national emission trading systems to be launched from 2017 by the US and China.
“The new goals and indicators will provide a new opportunity to put teeth to the UN’s climate mechanisms that have so far often failed to implement sustainable development objectives. They also need to be taken into account by national emissions trading systems to decarbonize polluting sectors and phase out fossil fuels.” Filzmoser added.
Correction: This media statement contains a correction. The initial media statement stated that the $3.1 billion dollars of Chinese climate funding would be channeled through the Green Climate Fund. This has been amended to reflect the fact that the funding will be through China’s South-South Cooperation Fund.
Eva Filzmoser, Director
Urska Trunk, Policy Researcher