Addressing climate change is one of humanity's greatest and most pressing challenges—and one that requires an urgent response. While science, technology, economics, and finance can guide collective action, our window of opportunity is closing.
The Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA) is a task force of world leaders committed to addressing climate change through international negotiations. A joint initiative of the UN Foundation and the Club of Madrid, the GLCA consists of former heads of state and government as well as leaders from business, government and civil society from more than 20 countries.
The scientific diagnosis has been made. The time for action is now.
An agreement to begin negotiation to address climate change post-2012 has remained elusive. GLCA is working to help galvanize the international action and mobilize the political will necessary for a new international agreement on climate change.
What are the objectives of GLCA?
• To mobilize political will and invigorate international negotiations toward an agreement on climate change beyond 2012.
• To develop a framework for a new agreement and a statement of principles addressing the difficult issues in negotiating such an agreement.
How is GLCA constituted?
• Building on the expertise of the members of the Club of Madrid and the knowledge and expertise of the United Nations Foundation, the GLCA consists of six former heads of state, seven former heads of government, and 12 leaders from government, business and civil societies, from more than 20 countries. The GLCA is co-chaired by former Chilean President and current Club of Madrid President Ricardo Lagos, and United Nations Foundation President and former U.S. Senator Timothy E. Wirth and facilitated by Mohamed T. El-Ashry, Former CEO and Chairman of the GEF.
How does GLCA work towards achieving its objectives?
• The Club of Madrid and UN Foundation draw upon their networks to secure broad and inclusive input to GLCA process, seeking submissions from governments, business, academia and civil society.
• A panel of Senior Advisors provides technical input and informs GLCA deliberations. It is comprised of distinguished experts from academia, government, and finance. The panel reviews drafts of GLCA papers and participates in meetings.
• GLCA met for the first time on May 22-23, 2007 in Madrid, and discussed the issues involved in creating a new international agreement. In addition, the GLCA issued a statement to the G8+5 just prior to the June 2007 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, which addressed the urgent need for a climate change response.
• Prior to the second GLCA meeting in September 2007, the Senior Advisors and other distinguished experts addressed the key issues of a framework agreement during a 2-day roundtable session.
• GLCA met for the second time in September 2007 just prior to the Gleneagles Dialogue in Berlin, Germany. Members of GLCA drew upon their practical experience to propose a framework that outlines policy responses to address climate change as a part of a new international agreement.
· In September 2007, GLCA agreed upon a Framework for a Post-2012 Agreement on Climate Change, calling for four negotiating pathways (mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance). Elements of GLCA’s Framework were reflected in the Bali Action Plan adopted in December 2007 during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali where Parties to the UNFCCC decided to launch formal negotiations on a strengthened international deal on climate change to be concluded by the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
· In February 2008, GLCA conducted a meeting of its members, endorsers and senior advisors in the Principality of Monaco to review and consider a set of briefing notes on key issues in the four negotiating pathways mentioned in the Bali Action Plan and outlined in the Framework – mitigation (including avoided deforestation), adaptation, technology and finance. At the meeting, GLCA Members also discussed the plan of action for 2008 and agreed to focus on two of the pathways – technology and finance. This reflected the fact that further negotiations on mitigation and adaptation were largely deferred until 2009, in recognition that a new U.S. administration may bring a different perspective and new political energy to the talks. It also reflected the view that progress on technology development and cooperation and on the creation of new financial mechanisms for addressing the climate challenge is particularly important to developing countries and thus is needed to facilitate a global agreement in 2009.
· The briefing notes for the GLCA meeting were finalized with the input of GLCA members and published in the form of a 2008 Update to the Framework.
· The Framework and its 2008 Update have so far been endorsed by 71 global leaders.
How is the GLCA’s message being communicated?
• GLCA Co-Chairs Ricardo Lagos and Timothy E. Wirth issued a statement to participants at the G8+5 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany in June 2007.
• In September 2007, at the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development in Berlin, Germany, GLCA Co-Chairs presented on behalf of the GLCA, the proposed framework for an international agreement on climate change. The was launched at the G8 summit in July 2005 as a place for informal discussions outside of the UNFCCC among G8 members and key developing countries on innovative ideas and measures.
· Following the GLCA meeting in Monaco in February 2008, GLCA Co-Chairs President Ricardo Lagos and Timothy Wirth, presented GLCA recommendations to the participants at the Ministerial dinnerat the 10th Special Session of the United Nations Environment Program’s Governing Council /Global Ministerial Environment Forum also taking place in Monaco at that time.
· Prime Minister Hong-Koo Lee of Korea represented GLCA at the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development in Chiba, Japan, in March 2008.
· President Ricardo Lagos represented GLCA at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank in Miami in April 2008.
· GLCA organized a Side-Event on Intensifying Investment for Mitigation and Adaptation, during the 41st annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Madrid in May 2008. Along with President Ricardo Lagos, the President of the Club of Madrid, former President of Chile and UN Special Envoy for Climate Change, other high level participants included Haruhiko Kuroda, the President of the Asian Development Bank; Rajendra K. Pachauri, the Nobel laureate's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Monique Barbut, Global Environment Facility; Simon Brooks, the European Investment Bank; Odin Knudsen, JP Morgan Chase and Gabrielle Walker, the BBC, among others.
· In June 2008, GLCA, in cooperation with the Club of Madrid, the Bellona Foundation and Hafslund ASA, organized a two-day conference titled Climate Conference 08: Technology and Finance in Climate Cooperation in Norway. One hundred specially selected international representatives from politics, academia, the business community and various organizations came together in Sarpsborg, Norway to analyze the challenges at hand on climate technology and finance, and formulate creative and constructive recommendations based on their respective experiences and knowledge. The distinguished speakers included President Lagos; Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the notable Stern Review on the economic ramifications of climate change, and Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden who, together with President Ricardo Lagos, co-chairs the International Socialist Commission for a Sustainable World Society. Former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, also attended the conference. Mrs. Brundtland, a GLCA member, was Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), and is today a UN Special Envoy on climate change together with Ricardo Lagos. Also attending from the Club of Madrid were Jennifer Mary Shipley, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway. The conference issued an Open Letter to Presidents, Prime Ministers, Parliamentarians, negotiators, and other stakeholders committed to advancing the climate change agenda and international agreements.
· GLCA collaborated with UNDESA and the Chinese government to organize the Beijing High Level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Technology Transfer in November 2008. The goal of the conference was to support the work of the UNFCCC in facilitating and accelerating international cooperation in the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The conference held three parallel thematic roundtables to conduct broad and in-depth discussions on the status of technology, technology transfer, obstacles to technology transfer and best practices, mechanisms for overcoming barriers and obstacles to technology transfer, and the roles and potential collaboration for technology transfer between public and private sectors. In addition to other issues, the conference emphasized the need for enhanced collaborative R&D between developing and developed countries to improve R&D in specific areas of low carbon technologies. Consistent with GLCA recommendations, the conference proposed the creation of a network of publicly-supported centers for technology development and transfer in developing countries. A network of these Regional Centers located in selected developing countries would enhance the local and regional engagement with global technological development and catalyze domestic capacity to develop, adapt and diffuse beneficial technologies. The Chinese government reported the conclusions and recommendations of the conference to the 14th meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Poznan in December 2008.
· In November 2008, at the Club of Madrid’s General Assembly in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, GLCA Facilitator Mohamed El-Ashry presented to Club of Madrid members a summary of GLCA’s past activities in 2008 and expected future activities in 2009.
· GLCA organized a High Level Side-Event on Climate Technology and Finance at COP14 of the UNFCCC in Poznan in December 2008. The roundtable brought together global leaders, policy makers, and representatives from the private sectors to address issues of technology and finance for mitigation and adaptation, both critical to a post-2012 global agreement on climate change. The discussions at the roundtable underscored the following key issues:
a) Enhance Overseas Development Assistance (ODA): While there is a delay in reaching ODA targets due to the financial crisis, the EU which provides about 60% of ODA is targeting 0.6 % of its GDP to provide as ODA by 2010. 900 million Euros were raised in 2008. 400 million of these funds were allocated to climate change of which 120 million were set aside for international projects.
b) Strengthen Public-Private Partnerships: The discussion underscored the need to set carbon prices for longer than 5 years so that price of CO2 will also find its way into equity and bond markets. From the point of view of the private sector, commitment periods of at least 7-10 years would be advantageous so as to provide them with clarity regarding the direction of global climate policy and to help facilitate long-term investment decisions.
c) Setting-up Predictable Financing: The discussion emphasized “Automatic Mechanisms” that create predictable resources rather than depending on national budgets to raise funds. For example, Norway has suggested a differentiated levy on maritime pollution, which is now ready to be implemented. It can raise $6 billion per year in 2012 if the levy were 0.1%.
d) Engaging the Investment Community: There is a need for greater engagement with big investors, pension funds and other such sources was highlighted discussions. Such sources can be used as alternate mechanisms, in addition to governments, to finance clean technologies.
e) Institutional issues: It is important to strengthen existing multilateral institutions that support capacity building and low-carbon technology development and diffusion in developing countries, and also channel funding for mitigation and adaptation. In addition, efforts to build institutional capacity at the national level need to be enhanced so that countries can develop their own multi-sectoral national climate action plans.
GLCA Activities in 2009
· Following upon international climate negations and their outcome in 2008, GLCA will convene the 4th meeting of its members and senior advisors in May 2009 in Washington DC. At this two-day meeting, members will review and discuss the outcome of the GLCA events in 2008 within the context of a draft 2009 Update and agree to a 2009 Plan of Action reflecting the outcomes of COP 14 in Poznan, especially in the area of adaptation.
· Adaptation is a key component of an effective strategy to address climate change. Climate change is already affecting all countries to different degrees, with the poor in developing countries being the most vulnerable and the least able to adapt. Least Developed Countries lack the information, institutions, and the financial resources needed to assess their vulnerabilities and to take the necessary actions to adapt.
· Discussions on adaptation will build upon the analysis and recommendations of the Commission on Climate Change and Development supported by Sweden, of which GLCA facilitator Mohamed El-Ashry is a member, and proposals for innovative finance. In the possible absence of a comprehensive agreement on climate change in Copenhagen, as recommended by GLCA in its framework, GLCA will address what building blocks can be agreed upon in Copenhagen as the foundation for a comprehensive agreement in 2010. These building blocks could include recommendations for targets and time-tables for renewable energy and energy efficiency by developed and developing countries, a proposal on short term action on adaptation and a proposal for Regional Centers of Excellence for Technology.
· During the meeting, GLCA members and advisors will also be invited to identify and comment on a communications strategy, including events and opportunities to promote the Framework and its updates through 2009, including the UNFCCC negotiating sessions, leading up to the 2009 COP in Denmark.
· After the event, a summary of outcomes and recommendations, including a 2009 Plan of Action and Communication Strategy, will be prepared, posted on the web and sent to all participants. In addition, GLCA’s 2009 Update, focusing primarily on adaptation and its finance, will be finalized, published and distributed widely.
· Prior to the GLCA Meeting in May 2009, GLCA will organize a Consultation on Adaptation in April 2009 to flush out key issues and make recommendations in support of negotiations during the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. Adaptation is of utmost importance to Least Developed Countries, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Their cooperation in ultimately reaching a comprehensive agreement hinges on the kind of assistance they will get in order to address their adaptation needs.