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A think tanks sta­te­ment

Con­clu­sion sta­te­ments by El­cano Ro­yal Ins­ti­tu­te (RIE) and IDDRI, co-or­ga­ni­sers of the think tanks works­hop “Geo­po­li­tics of in­crea­sing cli­ma­te am­bi­tion”, held at El­cano Ro­yal Ins­ti­tu­te on December 11th, 2019. The works­hop gat­he­red se­nior re­sear­chers from RIE (Madrid), IDDRI (Paris), SEI (Stock­holm), ODI (Lon­don), Grant­ham Re­search Ins­ti­tu­te on Cli­ma­te Chan­ge and the En­vi­ron­ment, LSE (Lon­don), Fun­da­cion Torcuato Di Te­lla (Bue­nos Ai­res), Trans­for­ma (Bogota), E3G (Eu­ro­pe), South Cen­tre (De­ve­lo­ping coun­tries, ba­sed in Ge­ne­va), Energy Foun­da­tion Chi­na (Be ing).

Fo­reign po­licy and cli­ma­te think tanks from Eu­ro­pe, La­tin Ame­ri­ca, Chi­na, Africa ha­ve gat­he­red to iden­tify the most im­por­tant stra­te­gic con­di­tions for in­crea­sing cli­ma­te am­bi­tion in a con­flic­tual geo­po­li­ti­cal con­text. Their main con­clu­sions and pro­po­sals for en­han­ced am­bi­tion are pro­vi­ded be­low.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge at the cen­tre of geo­po­li­ti­cal dis­rup­tions

1. Cli­ma­te chan­ge is be­co­ming a ma­ker of geo­po­li­tics rat­her than a ta­ker, be­cau­se of the im­pacts of cli­ma­te chan­ge on our eco­no­mies, but al­so be­cau­se of the ne­ces­sary trans­for­ma­tions of all our eco­no­mies for a ra­pid in­crea­se in cli­ma­te am­bi­tion. The pa­ce and sca­le of trans­for­ma­tions for a car­bon neu­tral world will re­qui­re pro­found and ra­pid chan­ges im­pac­ting the re­la­tions bet­ween the dif­fe­rent re­gio­nal eco­no­mic blocks, as well as the struc­tu­ral trans­for­ma­tion of eco­no­mies wit­hin the­se blocks and their so­cial con­se­quen­ces.

2. The cli­ma­te emer­gency is clearly geo­po­li­ti­cal, as illus­tra­ted by de­fo­res­ta­tion and fos­sil fuel supply, two ma­jor is­sues. If they are un­con­tro­lled, their con­se­quen­ces for cli­ma­te are so sig­ni­fi­cant that they co­me with sig­ni­fi­cant geo­po­li­ti­cal risks: the­se two is­sues sh­rink the spa­ce for ac­tion, for­cing big­ger emis­sions re­duc­tions mo­re quickly; the im­pacts of cli­ma­te chan­ge will al­so be grea­ter, brin­ging hu­man and eco­lo­gi­cal se­cu­rity

to the fo­re. Both is­sues are al­so at the co­re of so­ve­reignty claims by go­vern­ments and con­flicts over scar­ce re­sour­ces.

3. The geo­po­li­ti­cal dis­rup­tion goes be­yond cli­ma­te and is struc­tu­ral, not de­pen­dent only on spe­ci­fic lea­ders who at­tract at­ten­tion: in­crea­ses in inequa­li­ties, frag­men­ta­tion and po­la­ri­za­tion bet­ween coun­tries and re­gio­nal blocks, wea­ke­ning of the mul­ti­la­te­ral sys­tem. This could lead to a sce­na­rio of pu­re com­pe­ti­tion and con­flicts bet­ween na­tions, ig­no­ring any be­ne­fits of coope­ra­tion.

4. En­su­ring pro­per po­li­ti­cal spa­ce for coope­ra­tion is ab­so­lu­tely cri­ti­cal, whi­le al­so ack­now­led­ging the com­pe­ti­tion, di­ver­gen­ces and di­sa­gree­ments bet­ween coun­tries. Trans­for­ming our eco­no­mies for in­crea­sed cli­ma­te am­bi­tion and to adapt to cli­ma­te risks will be a mat­ter of com­pe­ti­tion bet­ween coun­tries, but it al­so needs to be ne­go­tia­ted jointly. The re­si­lien­ce to cli­ma­te shocks, for ins­tan­ce in our glo­ba­li­sed food sys­tem, needs coope­ra­tion for a ru­les-ba­sed open sys­tem. Show­ca­sing the be­ne­fits of coope­ra­tion could help coun­te­ract a con­fron­ta­tio­nal and ze­ro-sum ga­me na­rra­ti­ve that wea­kens am­bi­tion. Furt­her analy­sis, ou­treach and dis­se­mi­na­tion could help fos­ter coope­ra­tion.

5. Wit­hin coun­tries, the­re is an in­crea­sing ci­ti­zen demand for so­cial jus­ti­ce and for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. A new so­cial con­tract and a new li­cen­ce to ope­ra­te is clearly emer­ging. The so­cial mo­bi­li­sa­tions for the­se de­mands, rat­her con­ver­ging than com­pe­ting with one anot­her, are al­so as­king for mo­re coope­ra­tion across bor­ders.

6. Be­cau­se of the ra­pid tech­no­lo­gi­cal, eco­no­mic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal chan­ges in all coun­tries, the po­li­ti­cal demand is al­so for mo­re se­cu­rity and pro­tec­tion, mo­re so­ve­reignty over peo­ple’s own fu­tu­re. This demand for se­cu­rity does not ha­ve to lead to se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion, clo­sing bor­ders, and en­tren­ching path-de­pen­den­cies on car­bon in­ten­si­ve eco­no­mies: pro­tec­tion and re­si­lien­ce to shocks and chan­ges is bet­ter en­su­red through coope­ra­tion bet­ween coun­tries, alt­hough so­me coun­tries whe­re cli­ma­te ac­tion is com­plex to co­me by are lea­ning on se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion stra­te­gies. Hu­man se­cu­rity and eco­lo­gi­cal se­cu­rity ap­proa­ches are mo­re con­du­ci­ve to las­ting se­cu­rity and so­cial well­being, ad­dres­sing the root cau­ses of cli­ma­te chan­ge. Buil­ding on the­se na­rra­ti­ves and pro­vi­ding furt­her aca­de­mic analy­sis on the in­di­rect path­ways from cli­ma­te to so­cially con­tin­gent out­co­mes (e.g. mi­gra­tions and con­flict) could help coun­te­ract se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion of cli­ma­te chan­ge.

The chan­ges in geo­po­li­ti­cal in­ter­ac­tions bet­ween coun­tries that are ne­ces­sary for in­crea­sed cli­ma­te am­bi­tion

Tra­de and in­vest­ments

7. Coo­pe­ra­ting for an ef­fec­ti­ve ru­les-ba­sed tra­de sys­tem, rat­her than an es­ca­la­tion on tra­de wars, is cri­ti­cal to an­ti­ci­pa­te and ma­na­ge dis­rup­tions cau­sed by cli­ma­te chan­ge im­pacts and by the trans­for­ma­tion to a low-car­bon de­ve­lop­ment mo­del that will cau­se ins­ta­bi­lity in tra­de. Coope­ra­tion on tra­de can help en­su­re the dif­fu­sion of key ze­ro-car­bon tech­no­lo­gies and li­mit path-de­pen­den­cies on in­cum­bent high-car­bon tech­no­lo­gies.

8. We need to go be­yond the com­mon lan­gua­ge of mu­tually sup­por­ti­ve cli­ma­te and tra­de re­gi­mes, and fo­cus on the con­di­tions for a ru­les-ba­sed sys­tem to enable hig­her cli­ma­te am­bi­tions in both ex­por­ting and im­por­ting coun­tries :

— En­su­ring that ru­les are en­for­ced par­ti­cu­larly on en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial is­sues; — En­su­ring trans­pa­rency of tra­de da­ta and in­for­ma­tion;

— En­su­ring that tra­de ex­chan­ges are com­pa­ti­ble with am­bi­tious na­tio­nal cli­ma­te ob


— Pro­perly ac­coun­ting for de­ple­tion of na­tu­ral ca­pi­tal as the ba­sis of eco­no­mic growth in our na­tio­nal ac­counts. Mea­su­ring sus­tai­na­bi­lity is key and the­re are eco­no­mic in­di­ca­tors such as ge­nui­ne sa­vings that could be used by go­vern­ments to com­pa­re one anot­her as a bet­ter mea­su­re of well­being.

9. Fi­nan­cial sta­bi­lity is a glo­bal good. The­re are mul­ti­ple initia­ti­ves to align the fi­nan­cial sec­tor stan­dards as well as the fi­nan­cial re­gu­la­tions with cli­ma­te ob­jec­ti­ves. Exis­ting ef­forts of green ta­xo­nomy in Chi­na and the EU are ad­van­cing and could co­me to a form of har­mo­ni­za­tion, green prin­ci­ples are de­ve­lo­ped by de­ve­lop­ment fi­nan­ce ins­ti­tu­tions, the Task for­ce on Cli­ma­te- re­la­ted Fi­nan­cial Dis­clo­su­res (TCFD) is gi­ving clear sig­nals to the pri­va­te fi­nan­cial sec­tor, but re­cent re­ports on the still very high-car­bon in­ten­sity of port­fo­lios of com­mer­cial banks in all re­gions and of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­ti­ve in­vest­ments show that a step chan­ge is nee­ded. In par­ti­cu­lar, the­re is a need for bet­ter ac­cess to ca­pi­tal for the most vul­ne­ra­ble, en­for­ce­ment of the stan­dards as well as in­crea­sed ca­pa­city buil­ding in re­ci­pient coun­tries to de­ve­lop stan­dards and pu­blic po­li­cies.

10. Bet­ween Chi­na and the EU, ten­sions around tech­no­logy and in­te­llec­tual pro­perty or in­vest­ments can not be left unad­dres­sed: Chi­na and the EU are both com­pe­ting and co­lla­bo­ra­ting. Chi­na and the EU the­re­fo­re need to show the way of a mu­tually sup­por­ti­ve coope­ra­tion on tra­de as well as on sus­tai­na­ble fi­nan­ce, to ins­tall in both

areas of ne­go­tia­tion a conversati­on whe­re in­crea­singly am­bi­tious stan­dards sup­port the trans­for­ma­tion of eco­no­mies to­wards reaching cli­ma­te ob­jec­ti­ves. This conversati­on al­so needs to be in­clu­si­ve of ot­her tra­de part­ners and coun­tries whe­re Chi­na and the EU jointly in­vest, li­ke In­dia, La­tin Ame­ri­ca, or Africa, and the USA if and when pos­si­ble. The in­vi­ta­tion of tra­de mi­nis­ters to cli­ma­te talks at COPs could be a use­ful way to pro­gress on this agen­da.

Coope­ra­tion-orien­ted lea­ders­hip: re­cog­ni­zing po­wer, but al­so ru­les and peo­ple

11. In­crea­sed am­bi­tion is cu­rrently lac­king glo­bal po­li­ti­cal lea­ders­hip. The EU and Chi­na are cu­rrently fo­cu­sing a lot of at­ten­tion and ex­pec­ta­tions: if they lack am­bi­tion on cli­ma­te ob­jec­ti­ves, then the who­le Paris Agree­ment arran­ge­ment could lo­se its cre­di­bi­lity. Show­ca­sing and ran­king am­bi­tion by coun­tries, allian­ces of coun­tries and nons­ta­te ac­tors could be one way of rein­for­cing a vir­tuous cy­cle for en­han­ced am­bi­tion.

12. The geo­po­li­ti­cal si­tua­tion, in the ab­sen­ce of a uni­que po­wer or even of a group of two ma­jors coun­tries ta­king the lead li­ke the G2 bet­ween the US and Chi­na ahead of COP21, calls for a new ty­pe of po­li­ti­cal lea­ders­hip in a re­ne­wed geo­po­li­ti­cal con­text. Chi­na and the EU should not try to re­pla­ce the G2, but be the first buil­ding block pa­ving the way for a mo­re dis­tri­bu­ted lea­ders­hip. Such a lea­ders­hip would en­tail:

— A co­lla­bo­ra­tion fra­me­work that does not shy away from the ten­sions and the com

pe­ti­tion is­sues, but puts the emp­ha­sis on coope­ra­tion for ru­les and for sus­tai­na­bi­lity; — A lea­ders­hip that re­lies on the si­ze and po­wer of the mar­kets of the­se two eco­no­mic blocks, but that is in­clu­si­ve of the many ot­her coun­tries that ha­ve led the way of cli­ma­te am­bi­tion in the re­cent years;

— A sha­red lea­ders­hip that re­lies al­so on allian­ces and part­ners­hips, and in par­ti­cu­lar re­gio­nal coope­ra­tion fra­me­works. Exam­ples of the­se in­clu­de: the Es­ca­zu agree­ment in La­tin Ame­ri­ca which is cu­rrently pro­vi­ding the po­li­ti­cal spa­ce to put so­cial jus­ti­ce and cli­ma­te am­bi­tion high on the agen­da of coun­tries in the re­gion or mo­re tech­ni­cal coope­ra­tion allian­ces such as the Ibe­roa­me­ri­can Net­work of Cli­ma­te Chan­ge Of­fi­ces (Red Ibe­roa­me­ri­ca­na de Ofi­ci­nas de Cam­bio Cli­má­ti­co, RIOCC).

13. The of­fer by Spain to host COP25 whi­le res­pec­ting the lea­ders­hip of Chi­le as pre­si­dent of the COP is a strong po­li­ti­cal mes­sa­ge of so­li­da­rity and coope­ra­tion, de­mons­tra­ting the coope­ra­tion orien­ted lea­ders­hip that we need.

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