Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: United Nations Development Programme (0 hits), UNDP (0 hits),

Full Submission


Submitted: November 1, 2011


Kelly Rigg, Executive Director, Email:

Laura Williamson, HELIO International

Lettemieke Mulder, lmulder@FIRSTSOLAR.COM

Paul Horsman, Campaigns Director,

Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director IndyAct,


Thank you for the opportunity to provide input into the Zero Draft for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD 2012), also known as Rio +20.

The organizations listed below represent a wide range of perspectives and interests, united in our strong support for sustainable energy access for all. At a time when climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of ourselves and future generations, we believe there should be no trade-of between poverty alleviation and sustainable development; we must tackle both at the same time.

We therefore welcome the fact that Energy for Sustainable Development has been identiŽed as a key issue by the Preparatory Committee for UNCSD 2012. We also welcome the designation by the UN of 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Within this context, it is our hope that UNCSD 2012 can adopt goals and targets, including time-tables for their implementation, that are visionary and inspirational, while at the same time efective, realistic and anchored in national commitments. Goals, targets and time-tables can be realistic only if they move the world away from business as usual, and put us on a track that is efective in tackling climate change.

Our proposal for the outcome document of UNCSD 2012 reßects in part our concern for the insufcient progress by parties to the UNFCCC to establish a fair, ambitious and binding international climate agreement that is sufciently solid and strong to protect the climate. This is the key objective of the Climate Convention as deŽned in its Article 2:  "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufcient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner." We have already exceeded the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases that is considered a limit beyond which we will experience "dangerous climate change" and the need for urgent action grows daily.

Our submission also reflects the progress made since the World Summit on Sustainable Development of 2002 on the development and deployment of clean and renewable energy technologies. In 2010, renewable energy accounted for $211 billion in new investments an increase of 32% from the previous year.

We therefore propose that UNCSD 2012 builds on the renewable energy sector's success to give new impetus to the eforts to secure an international climate regime that can work with the environmental constraints and imperatives that have been identifed by the Fourth Assessment of the IPCC.

The Rio+20 alternative

Whilst UNCSD 2012 is an opportunity to look back at the last twenty years since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, it is most importantly an opportunity to choose the track that we want to take for the next twenty years. Based on economic, social and environmental indicators, the choice governments will face in Rio is summarized here.

In order to take the right track, the Green Economy must:

1. Empower workers and give them access to green jobs: targets and resources for capacity -building, green technologies, operational level implementation and training;

2. Accelerate transition to a 100% renewable energy and energy efcient economy through efective government policies, education, investments in research and development etc.

3. Promote equity and justice at the heart of the green economy, ensuring the right to development for developing countries while meeting green and poverty eradication objectives;

4. Protect and conserve natural capital and biodiversity, and equitably share the benefits from their exploration and sustainable exploitation;

5. Efectively address the need for changes in production-consumption patterns Žrst and foremost within the countries member of the OECD, in line with the concept of common but diferentiated responsibility enshrined in the Rio 92 agreements; and

6. Enhance the full participation and consent of communities afected by development projects, and the stewardship of natural resources and biodiversity by local communities.

Climate Change and energy

A Green economy based on fairness, social welfare, and environmental integrity needs to be powered by green energy Š that is energy that provides the services needed without destroying the local, regional or global environment or negatively impacting people. 100% Green energy means zero carbon, zero deforestation, sufcient to satisfy needs, and empowering local communities.

Delivering truly sustainable energy requires a re-think of the way we produce, use and distribute energy. We need to produce energy using renewable sources, we need to use energy efciently and we need to have efcient local distribution networks and smart grids. Many reports (for example IPCC, UNEP, UNDP) recognise this and various scenarios have been produced that show how these changes can be implemented.

Consistent across these scenarios, reports and case studies is the clear need for supportive government policies. In other words, the barriers to the uptake of green energy sources are mainly political not technological. In this context, we urge governments to seize UNCSD 2012 as the opportunity to create a political environment that eliminates the obstacles and barriers and to commit to clear targets and timetables to provide the framework that will encourage the uptake of clean energy systems (energy efciency, renewable technologies and decentralised schemes). This must go together with the removal of policies that undermine and suppress them (such as perverse subsidies; legal frameworks that support large centralised dirty power; loans and aid that support fossil and/or nuclear fuels). Existing barriers include lack of appropriate policy or poor policy implementation; inadequate Žscal and subsidies policies, difculty accessing Žnance; inappropriate grid integration and infrastructure; poor planning, and lock-in of existing technology.

A renewed political commitment is needed because voluntary measures alone do not deliver what is required. Governments must lead and set the framework to send the necessary signal to the markets. Renewable energy targets

As identiŽed in the UN Secretary GeneralÕs report on the promotion of new and renewable sources of energy there are a number of long-term energy scenarios that provide projections for renewable energy in primary energy, Žnal energy, electricity generation and electric generating capacity. Governments need to set the framework to achieve the most ambitious targets.

Therefore, as a first step towards UNCSD 2012, we call on the Bureau and Secretariat to include the following elements in the compilation document and ultimately the Zero Draft for discussion in the coming weeks, in order to facilitate discussions and decision on these key issues:

- Vision: UNCSD 2012 should agree a long-term vision that bases the green economy on 100% clean and renewable energy sources and on energy efciency, to guide and inspire policy decision-makers, and trigger incentives.

- Efective commitment to clean energy: we need a commitment to short and medium term actions which will implement this vision. We recommend by 2020, globally:

o 30% of energy use from renewables up from 16 % as outlined in REN21Õs 2011 Renewables Global Status Report;

o 40% decrease in energy intensity, and

o Universal access to modern energy services and ending energy poverty: clean, reliable and afordable energy services for cooking and heating, lighting, communications and productive uses.

These goals require national, sub-national, municipal, and/or corporate actions to achieve them and should be implemented immediately (within a 2 to 5 year time scale) putting countries onto an ambitious pathway. The International Renewable Energy Authority (IRENA) and relevant national renewable energy authorities and organisations could play an important role in working with governments to develop national action plans as well as sharing best practices and progress.

Some key actions are identified below:

- Removal of fossil fuel subsidies and perverse incentives including aid, loans or other subsidies that encourage the further development of fossil or nuclear fuels: accelerate the phase out of subsidies in line with the G20 commitment, redirecting revenues to those in needs and to support renewable energy and energy efciency programmes.

- National renewable energy targets, stable Feed in Tarifs or other incentive policies, local RE plans, corporate energy efciency and GHG reduction goals, etc

- Establish an international Žnancial transaction tax (FTT): which could raise as much as $400 billion annually that would make a real impact on combating climate change and eliminating poverty.


A renewed political commitment is needed. Voluntary measures have not delivered what is needed, nor will they be able to do so at the rate required. Governments must lead and set the framework to provide the necessary signal because what is at stake is too important to leave to laissez-faire.

A key lesson of the last 20 years is that delays cause more pain whether that is economic, environmental or social. However, Žrst we need to acknowledge where we have failed and why; then we need to agree that the situation is urgent and that change needs to happen rapidly. Then, governments must commit to the policies and measures needed to change direction with targets and timetables that translate into real actions and behavioural changes that start from day 1 after Rio.

We are committed to contribute to putting these measures, targets and actions into practice and ofer cooperation and engagement as change will need multi-stakeholder approaches and partnering
Copyright (c) United Nations 2011 | Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Contact | Site Map | New