Following keynote speeches by Senator Edward Markey, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, Special Envoy Todd Stern, UN Assistant Secretary-General Dr Robert Orr, Christiana Figueres (UNFCCC), Achim Steiner (UNEP), Naoko Ishii (GEF), World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte, delegations were invited to deliver short 3-minute updates about the status of, and prospects for, climate-related legislation.
This section summarises the key points (in order of delivery).
COSTA RICAN DELEGATION (Led by GLOBE Costa Rica President Hon. Alfonso Perez Gomez)
Costa Rica is a country with low GHG emissions, less than 1% of world emissions. Costa Rica has a strong environmental service program, which has helped a high forest recovery. Costa Rica started our climate law with little institutional support. GLOBE has provided support to the Costa Rican legislators. Since GLOBE Costa Rica was formed, the parliamentary office of GLOBE Costa Rica President Alfonso Perez Gomez has become a carbon-neutral. More importantly, GLOBE Costa Rica developed and submitted a framework law on climate change. The good news is that 2 days ago (25 February 2014) with the unanimous support of the 8 parties represented in the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly, the legislature unanimously adopted the climate change framework law. This means that the Costa Rica chapter of the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study is already out of date!
MEXICAN DELEGATION (Led by GLOBE Mexico Former President Hon. Maria Isabel Ortiz Mantilla)
Mexico was the second country in the world to adopt a climate change law and now faces the challenge of implementing it. Mexico published a climate change strategy and the legislature is involving civil society. An inter-ministerial committee has been established at Government Level, so that climate change policies are now at the attention of the finance ministry and others. The Mexican climate change budget is currently 37 billion pesos for all the involved ministries. GLOBE Mexico legislators further committed to cut emissions at local level. In December 2013, GLOBE Mexico implemented the first steps to involve State and local legislators and policy-makers. GLOBE Mexico is also working on energy reform, in which they plan to include sustainability criteria. Thanks to GLOBE International, Mexico integrated sustainability into our constitution and in June Mexico will host the 2nd GLOBE World Summit of Legislators; all legislators are invited to attend.
MICRONESIAN DELEGATION (Led by GLOBE Member Sen. Isaac V. Figir)
John Kerry compared climate change to terrorism, as a great challenge of our civilisation. The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia did not wait to take action as the effects of dangerous climate change are under the eyes of the people of Micronesia everyday. After attending the 1st GLOBE World Summit of Legislators in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the Congress was motivated to develop a climate change law for the federation of island-states. Micronesia developed and passed that law in 2013, despite many commentators arguing that our Congress should concentrate on other domestic problems. Micronesia needs to adapt but so do other countries. Micronesia would like to see action from even more than the 66 countries currently in the Partnership for Climate Legislation. Micronesia will put pressure on other countries to decrease GHGs within the UNFCCC process.
GERMAN DELEGATION (Led by GLOBE Germany's Hon. Frank Schwabe MdB)
The new coalition government in Germany aims to transition the energy system by phasing out nuclear energy and basing instead on renewable energy, and to make Germany a leader in renewable technologies. It is official policy to increase the share of renewable energy to 45% by 2020 and 55% by 2035. The German Green party challenges this target as insufficient. Members of GLOBE Germany would like to see new activity in 2014 and to discuss the climate change objectives leading towards a law. Today 15% of electricity in Germany comes from nuclear, by 2020 Germany will have phased out all nuclear, which is a cross-party consensus. Germany is no longer in the initial phase of establishing renewable energy, it is now a key aspect of the economy.
Traditionally Bangladesh had two types of impact of extreme weather events: low impact/high frequency, and high impact/low frequency. Bangladesh is now suffering from a different regime, with high impact and high frequency of extreme weather events. This is why adaptation is so important, even if Bangladesh's emissions are zero today. This is also why Bangladesh should invest in resilience, capacity building, and adaptation. Bangladesh committed to have at least 10% of energy coming from renewables by 2020.
JAPANESE DELEGATION (Led by GLOBE Japan President Rep. Yuriko Koike)
Japan has been part of GLOBE International since its foundation, 25 years ago. GLOBE Japan is promoting the enactment of environmental and climate change bills. This is the case of the biodiversity bill, in 2008. At Copenhagen, Japan announced a reduction target. Japan will now consider the basic energy mix, and a final target will be set soon. Japan decided to use the revenues of our carbon tax to expand the carbon market and energy conservation. Japan is also investing in new technology for cars. Japan plans to have an ambitious target by 2015. Japan will show that, contrary to the negative outlook for the country in the 4th edition of the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, Japan is not a "potential reverse"!
Members of GLOBE Peru are pleased to see the country included for the first time in the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study. Peru's main goal in the policy area is to have the private sector, academia, government and civil society all engaged in cutting emissions. Peru will host COP20/CMP10 and hopes to have countries adopting real legislation before Paris.
UNITED STATES (State Representatives)
Representatives from the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and Michigan reported that a number of states are still far ahead of the federal government in implementing legislation and policies. States have different goals on the share of renewable sources of energy and carbon reductions. States have also banded together in initiatives such as the RGGI, the cap-and-trade process in California. Significant progress is underway also in Kansas and Texas.
BRAZIL (Led by GLOBE Brazil President Sen. Vanessa Grazziotin)
Brazil is not running away of its leadership in environment and climate responsibilities. It is still a developing country. The country's main challenge is to find a balanced and sustainable way to achieving the economic potential. There is a number of effective policies in Brazil such as the forest law. Brazil's climate change law established an extremely ambitious target of reducing 39% emissions by 2020 and Brazilians legislators are confident that Brazil is on course to achieve that target. The Brazilian Congress is now working on a national law to implement REDD+ in the country.
Brazil already has a set of laws that protect the environment and that are geared towards sustainable development. These include measures in criminal law, the forest code, laws on climate change and solid waste. Brazil has an excellent potential of clean, hydroelectric energy sources. Brazil is now working to implement the forest law and its registry, which is a major challenge in terms of enforcement because of the interests of landowners. Congress is also working on a law related to REDD+ and this year (2014) Brazil will implement REDD+ on a national basis, as Brazil lacks a national policy in that field. When GLOBE International will convene legislators in 2015, Brazilian legislators members of GLOBE Brazil hope to be able to present the Brazilian REDD+ law and also a law on PES.
Ghana depends on fossil fuel (wood) as the primary energy source. This results in deforestation and high GHG emissions. Ghana's enacted a Renewable Energy Act aims at promoting renewables to protect Ghana's environment. Climate change is leading to a number of changes in the Ghanaian environment and agriculture. Recently a GLOBE Ghana chapter was launched in the parliament. Apart from the national legislatures, local councils are around the country are also being urged to take action and legislation to promote environmental protection and climate change measures. The use of renewable energy sources is beginning to expand, and Ghana needs to continue on this path to a more sustainable economy.
Pakistan has seen a range of climate change consequences in the country and, as a result, the country is adopting a series of policies. In 2013, Pakistan adopted a climate change law. The implementation of this seminal piece of legislation is now the crucial task of the Pakistani Government and legislature. Legislators are working on implementation in their constituencies and working out how to finance the transition. Pakistan is working on solar energy, wind turbines, alternative fuels and a national "2025 horizon" manifesto will be announced soon. Pakistan is also promoting capacity building initiatives and promoting public hearings to engage civil society. We are committed with the world to combat climate change in our country and around the world.
The GLOBE chapter in the DRC carried out studies regarding the importance of a legal framework for REDD+ and a roadmap for implementing REDD+ in the COngo. The Congolese legislature has also already passed a framework law on environment conservation principles, a national law on electricity, which should be implemented soon and that aims at incentivising the use of renewables.
Ecuador is one of the mega-diverse countries and is participating in the UNFCCC negotiations where the country is siding with the block that advocates for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Ecuador is only responsible for 0,07% of the world's emissions. Ecuador's constitution calls for the respect of Mother Nature. The country has made significant progress in promoting environmental protection. Ecuador has a series of national regulations, among which is the national strategy to combat climate change (2012-2025), and is also preparing to implement the REDD+ mechanism. Ecuador is working to implement an economic model support sustainable living and is working with political will with the countries that responsible for the greater GHG emissions.
FRANCE (Led by Sen. Laurence Rossignol)
France does not yet have dedicated climate change legislation but is trying to address climate change through the EU and through local communities. France has been preparing a bill for energy transmission for the past 2 years, as the majority in the National Assembly would like to have broad consensus. Adoption of the bill is now imminent. There is no longer a debate in France on whether climate change is happening. How to go from theory to action is still a challenge. Climate change is a severe burden to the world economy and to human beings. It is the French delegation's belief that there is an immediate need to think about the cost of climate change to our economies. Caring about future generations will not be enough to convince a large number of people, there is a need to demonstrate the benefits of addressing climate change today.
As a response to climate change challenge the Rwanda Development Strategy focuses on adopting a green economy approach to development. In 2013 the country adopted a fund for the environment and climate change. The fund should fund civil society, business and government initiatives to promote sustainable development. Legislators are key but it also important governments to implement legislation passed by the legislature in countries like Rwanda.
Bolivia is a sovereign state and all groups within the state are respected. The multi-national state of Bolivia is undergoing changes from a state where only a few benefitted from the resources to a state where the people and the indigenous peoples are getting their land back. There is consensus in the Bolivian executive and legislative branch of the government that Bolivia need to be able to protect its people and need to be able to confront those countries that are most responsible for climate change. More than 300,000 people die every day due to disasters. Bolivia faces a difficult situation due to climate change with floods: Bolivia is a land-locked country with snow-covered areas that make the rivers overflow. Life in Bolivia takes place even 4000 metres above sea level. Climate change profoundly concerns the Bolivian legislature. Bolivia is taking different measures such as shifting towards natural gas instead of oil, emphasizing organic agriculture and improvements in energy efficiency. Food sovereignty is important to Bolivia. Bolivia also has a forest law. Bolivian legislators believe capitalism is destroying many things, much of the wealth coming from nature. To Bolivia, the real capital is the human capital and Mother Earth. On the basis of this, Bolivians believe there is a need to manage things sustainably and integrate different networks as well as teach future generations how to protect and love Mother Earth.
ISRAEL (Led by the Hon. Nitzan Horowitz MK)
Israeli legislators have used the parliament building to promote environmental objectives to the wider population. The 'Green Knesset' project provides exhibition space to companies to promote the latest technologies in eco-friendly buildings and green products. Israeli legislators are working to make the Knesset the greenest Parliament on earth to show parliamentarians how recycling and water regeneration can contribute to a healthier environment and to gain first-hand experience of environmental protection and energy efficiency. I would welcome if Globe would encourage other Parliaments to improve their energy efficiency.
ITALY (Sen. Giampiero Dalla Zuanna & Hon. Mariastella Bianchi MP)
Italy adopted tax relief for energy efficiency and promoted improvements in the quota of energy produced from renewables, especially hydroelectric and PV. The incentives proved too generous and are now been reviewed by parliament to avoid speculation and remove incentives that may be unsustainable. Italy has already met its Kyoto commitments. Italy's key issue is the over-capacity of conventional power plants, producing too much fossil fuel-based energy. Costs related to the shift to renewable energy are also an issue. Italy frequently suffers from climate-related disasters costing billions of Euros and also loss of lives. Italy needs a national adaptation strategy for adaptation and to step up mitigation. European targets are judged ambitious and adequate by Italian legislators in the delegation to the Summit. They also reported that there is debate in Italy over domestic and European targets.
Thailand is facing more frequent extreme weather events, such as the floods that have affected the country periodically since 2011. This has caused disruption for the population and has increased social conflict. A plan to deal with these extreme events is needed. Thailand set up a climate change organisation in 2007 and they are lobbying the Thai Government to set targets. Thai senators are conducting an investigation into climate change and parliamentarians intend to put pressure on the national government, if the national political situation allows them to continue this work.
Indian legislators are very conscious about the importance of addressing climate change in India. Environmental laws in India were passed with very little opposition. The Indian Parliament recently approved a 10 investment in Indian forests; afforestation is now taking place at a higher pace than deforestation. India is also working on renewables and is installing the world's largest solar power plant. The country is implementing a far-reaching National Plan on Climate Change, which focuses on renewable energy and inclusive growth. As Ghandi said, "what we are doing to our forest is an indication of what we are doing to ourselves".