ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A “One Planet” summit on Tuesday in Paris - led by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, as well as World Bank and U.N. chiefs - aimed to accelerate lagging efforts to combat climate change.
The gathering, which drew a range of green investment pledges, focused on ways to raise more money for climate action and how to pressure corporate giants to shift toward more climate-friendly strategies.
Campaigners welcomed promises made around the summit - which marks two years since the Paris Agreement was adopted - but said much more action is needed.
Here are some views from government officials, climate researchers and activists on the outcomes of the meeting:
“Ultimately, we will only win the battle on climate change when investments in climate action and broader resilience become the economically sensible decision to make every time.
“It’s not just about protecting against negative impacts – climate action needs to be about enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, improving our economies. Otherwise, our people cannot make the sacrifices needed.”
SHELAGH WHITLEY, HEAD OF CLIMATE AND ENERGY, OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
“The World Bank Group is finally showing true leadership on climate change with their announcement today that they will end all finance for the extraction of fossil fuels by the end of 2019.
“All multilateral and bilateral public finance institutions must now follow the example set by the World Bank Group and end wasteful and dangerous government support to dirty fossil fuels.”
“The success of the One Planet Summit shows the world has moved past Trump and is focusing on delivering the Paris Agreement. The sheer amount of announcements at the Summit prove smart finance is moving out of fossil fuels and into the clean economy. We must now follow through to make sure governments, businesses and financial institutions increase their climate ambition to 2020 and beyond.”
“The end is clearly coming for the oil and gas industry as the pace of change accelerates. After Norges Bank’s historic announcement (urging the Norwegian government to divest its trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund from fossil fuels), the World Bank – as one of the world’s most powerful financial institutions – has sent a damning vote of no confidence to the future of the fossil fuel industry.
“The world’s financial institutions now need to take note and decide whether their financing is going to be part of the problem or the solution.”
CATHERINE ABREU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK CANADA
“High-level summits are only as good as the actions they generate, and the world will be watching to see to what extent momentum is increased to shift financial flows and mobilize the trillions of dollars in climate finance required.
“Now attention must turn ... to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Countries can’t adequately fund climate solutions while they continue to fund the problem.”
MANUEL PULGAR-VIDAL, CLIMATE AND ENERGY LEADER, WWF
“Initiatives, such as this summit hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, are important to keep our leaders committed, political will high and momentum in scaling and speeding up new and existing climate actions across all actors.”
“This is critical if we are to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
MARY ROBINSON, CHAIR, MARY ROBINSON FOUNDATION - CLIMATE JUSTICE
“Climate justice is all of our responsibility. We must stand alongside all the people of the small island nations who will be most impacted by climate change.
“The recent hurricanes in the Caribbean have been devastating to watch, with people still homeless, without electricity and without livelihoods.
“We need to provide support in the form of immediate relief, and we also need to start working with them to build a resilient future where the people of the Caribbean can thrive.”
SVEN HARMELING, CLIMATE CHANGE ADVOCACY COORDINATOR, CARE INTERNATIONAL
“CARE welcomes the One Planet Summit where promising announcements were made to move away from fossil fuels to help slow down the escalation of climate change, such as by the World Bank and the insurance company AXA.
“However, we are disappointed by the lack of commitments from developed countries for adaptation finance which is necessary to help vulnerable people, especially women and girls, prepare for climate change impacts such more severe floods and droughts.”
“Nations and private donors must step up their ambition in 2018.”
“Today’s summit in Paris, the birthplace of the agreement that offers us the best chance to save the planet, has sent a clear message to the world that countries, states, cities, businesses and civil society are firmly committed to their Paris commitments and are coming good on their promises, with or without the United States.
“Where there is political will, money flows, and this summit has started to see that crucial green finance uncorked. The global demand for clean technology is a great investment opportunity for private investors but also for development banks and leaders that want to see their countries prosper.”
“Plenty of sympathy was expressed for the countries suffering from extreme climate events. Unfortunately, sympathy doesn’t cover costs for vulnerable communities overwhelmed with climate impacts. The world needs major mobilizations of public finance to cope with the scale of the challenge.
“While action by businesses is needed, governments need reminding that they can’t fix climate change by giving up their responsibilities and letting business dictate the entire climate agenda.”
KAREN ORENSTEIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC POLICY, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
“The exploitation of oil and gas, in addition to coal, is an affront to the World Bank’s long-claimed goals of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. While the World Bank’s decision to finally end the financing of upstream oil and gas after 2019 is long overdue, it is certainly worth celebrating.
“The policies and practices of the World Bank send a strong signal for finance institutions worldwide. We now expect all other public and private finance institutions to follow the World Bank’s lead and end fossil fuel financing once and for all.”
ERIK SOLHEIM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME
“The largest untapped potential for climate action is in how we manage our land and soils.
“We need to design sustainable agriculture and forestry in a way that solves the climate crisis, rather than contributes to it.”
“Right now, less than 3 percent of climate finance, public or private, goes to sustainable land-use - and yet it can be more than 30 percent of the solution. We need a tenfold increase in climate finance that goes to sustainable land-use.”
Reporting by Alex Whiting @Alexwhi, Editing by Laurie Goering.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/climate