Six months after the Paris Agreement on climate change, The Elders call on global leaders to live up to their commitments and take prompt action to cut emissions, end fossil fuel subsidies and provide adequate financial support to developing countries to tackle climate change.
In a statement issued as Ministers gather in New York to take stock of progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals agreed last year, The Elders warned that climate action since Paris was insufficient and risks jeopardising the wider success of the SDGs.
“What we are seeing so far this year does not convince us that leaders, especially of wealthy and large emitting countries, are acting in accordance with the vision they publicly embraced in Paris,” The Elders said. “Without action to reduce carbon emissions and increase resilience, development cannot be sustainable.”
The Elders highlighted two major concerns:
1. None of the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases have ratified the Paris Agreement. The 19 countries that have to date deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval with the UN account for only a tiny 0.18% of total emissions.
2. Leaders are still making investment decisions that run contrary to the Paris Agreement. The G7 failed to take action to end fossil fuel subsidies when it met in Japan in May, whilst G20 governments are still providing $444 billion a year in support for fossil fuels, which is nearly four times the amount of global subsidies to renewables.
Ahead of the New York meeting, they have also written to the heads of state and government of 32 major countries that are large emitters of greenhouse gases, urging swift ratification of the Paris Agreement.
The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.