We are in the midst of a deep global transformation. Human society as we know it – the way in which we power our homes and industries, move around, and produce our food – needs to shift if we are to give every person around the world the chance of a dignified life while avoiding a collapse of the biophysical systems that sustain us.
The latest scientific reports confirm that we are at a pivotal moment for humanity. The climate crisis is upon us, as is a deepening crisis for nature, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The harbingers of what will happen if we don’t act – growing fires from western Canada and the United States to Australia, floods from China to Europe, droughts from South America to Africa – are all around us.
We can no longer stay on the sidelines. The time to act is now, and we have the tools to make it happen.
This coming decade, 2021-2030, is the decisive one if we are to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C relative to preindustrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change:
- This is the decade when we must decouple human wellbeing from the burning of coal, oil, gas, forests and grasslands, shift our reliance to sustainable forms of renewable energy, clean transport, regenerative agriculture, and reinvest in the natural ecosystems that sustain life on earth.
- This is the decade when we must cut global greenhouse emissions in half, invest in our climate preparedness, and usher an irreversible transition to net-zero, resilient societies by 2050.
- This is also the decade when we must build a new social contract to bring this transition to fruition, with full recognition that everyone must take a part, and that no one may be left behind as we transition away from carbon-intensive industries and look to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
National governments have a critical role to play through their long-term signals, policies and investments. We – subnational, local and tribal governments, the private sector, academic, faith and cultural institutions, civil society organizations and so many others – are also essential to reaching our goals. Our commitments to date are significant. When accounting for the commitments of all subnational and non-state actors across the world to date, we could help bring the world close to the range of a 2°C compatible pathway. But science tells us that we need more.
If we are to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C, we require an unprecedented mobilization across the world. We need a whole-of-society approach, in which national governments, subnational and non-state institutions and citizens, each joins in the challenge to be a force for good, helping each of our countries address our development needs and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic while solving the climate crisis. Everyone has a part to play, and each of us must step up.
As national governments prepare to meet in Rome, Italy for the G20 meeting and in Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP26) at the end of this month, we call on G20 and other national leaders to demonstrate your resolve to address the climate crisis by:
- Enhancing national climate commitments in line with the goals of reducing global emissions by 50% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050. We urge national governments to come with such pledges to COP26, and if not aligned by then, revisit and strengthen your 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions and 2050 long-term strategies in time for the UNFCCC’s Global Stocktake (GST) in 2023.
- Aligning national sectoral policies and public investment, including COVID-19 recovery spending, with these same goals. We call on national governments to develop actionable roadmaps and supportive regulatory incentives to phase out coal and expand renewable energy supply in alignment with net zero pathways and in the context of a just transition, electrify uses across the transport, building and other sectors, enhance the capacity of working lands to sequester carbon while ensuring food security, and protect natural ecosystems in your countries. We also call on G20 national governments to support national processes of transition in developing countries, including through the delivery of the commitment to provide $100 billion in international climate finance per year by 2020 and its enhancement in the post-2020 period.
- Harnessing the power of subnational and non-state institutions in your countries. We urge national governments to involve us – subnational governments, private sector, academia and civil society – in the design of targets and sectoral policies with enduring governance mechanisms for participation. We call on national governments to recognize our contributions, and integrate our actions in national government plans to accelerate the implementation of our countries’ commitments. We urge national governments to create positive fiscal and regulatory incentives that enable our institutions to take even stronger climate actions, thereby fostering a positive ‘ambition loop’ in support of national commitments. Lastly, we call on national governments to support our role within the broader framework of the Paris Agreement, by endorsing the implementation of the High-Level Champions’ (HLCs) plan for improved work under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA), and our inputs as part of the Global Stocktake (GST).
We also call on our fellow subnational governments, companies, investors, academic, cultural and faith institutions, civil society organizations and other institutions to do our part to help deliver and surpass our respective countries’ climate targets by:
- Taking action to contribute to the goals of reducing global emissions by 50% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050. In line with the UN-backed global Race to Zero Campaign, we urge subnational and non-state actors to implement immediate measures to address our institutions’ carbon footprint and climate risk, improve targets to align with the goals above, and publicly disclose our commitments and progress.
- Publicly supporting national targets and sectoral policies that align with 50% global emission reductions by 2030 and net-zero no later than 2050. We call on subnational and non-state institutions to engage with our national governments, offering our contributions, sharing our lessons learned, and providing recommendations for how policies can be improved to accelerate national transitions to net-zero.
- Joining forces with other subnational and non-state institutions to accelerate the transition to net-zero in our countries. We urge subnational and non-state actors to collaborate with peers in our countries, by aligning targets and tackling implementation bottlenecks jointly, aligning policy recommendations, and contributing to building public awareness and support for more ambitious national climate action.
Through Alliances for Climate Action, over 6000 cities, state, regional and tribal governments, companies, investors, faith, cultural and academic institutions and civil society organizations have come together in our respective national alliances to accelerate national transitions aligned with 1.5°C and net-zero in our countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. We are acting now.
The G20 and UNFCCC COP26 need to provide an unmistakable message that the world will work together to power the transition to net-zero, resilient societies by 2050, and deliver the emission reductions and climate preparedness by 2030 to make this transition unstoppable.
We stand ready to work with our national governments and other subnational and non-state institutions based on the best available scientific knowledge to support the delivery of nationally driven transitions around the world. Join us.