BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African civil society organisations attending the ongoing climate change conference in Bonn, Germany have called on developed countries to demonstrate leadership and courage in tackling the climate crisis that threatens the common future of humanity and the entire ecosystem.

Led by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the activists drawn from different organisations from across Africa reminded the Parties to the UNFCCC of their moral and legal obligations to protect the planet and its people from the existential threat of global warming.

“Africa is at the frontline of climate crisis. We are experiencing the worst effects of a problem that we did not create. Our communities are facing severe water scarcity, crop failures, malnutrition, diseases, displacement, conflicts, heat waves and loss of lives due to climate change. Our natural resources and ecosystems are under immense pressure from climate change and other human activities,” said Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director – PACJA.

“We are not here to ask for charity or sympathy,” he told delegates during the first civil society briefing in Bonn. “It is far from that, we are here to demand justice and equity; to demand that the Parties, especially from the North, should stop procrastination; to call on them to listen to the voices of the people, especially those who are most vulnerable and marginalized, and to act following the best available science and the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities,” said Mwenda.

Below are the demands as articulated by the team in Bonn:

  1. That all Parties cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of solidarity to reach credible progress in the conference. The time for delay and excuses is over. The world is watching and expecting concrete results, and we cannot afford to fail.
  1. That big polluters increase their mitigation ambition and announce enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that are consistent with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement and reflect their fair share of the global effort. The current NDCs are insufficient to close the emissions gap and put the world on a safe, ecologically-just and sustainable pathway. This requires Developed country Parties demonstrate leadership and responsibility by reducing their emissions at source and in providing adequate support to developing countries for their mitigation actions. These countries have a historical and moral obligation to assist developing countries in their transition to low- carbon development and to compensate them for the loss and damage caused by climate change.
  1. That developed countries take urgent and concrete actions to increase their needs –based adaptation finance for Africa. We urge them to commit to a clear and transparent roadmap for scaling up their support and to ensure that at least 50% of the climate finance provided by developed countries is allocated to adaptation and inform of grants. We stress that this is a matter of justice and equity, as Africa is the most vulnerable region to the impacts of climate change, despite contributing the least to its causes. We also emphasize that adaptation finance is essential for enhancing the resilience and adaptive capacity of our communities, ecosystems and economies. We call on developed countries to deliver on their promises and to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC. We expect them to report on their progress and achievements by the end of 2023, and to demonstrate their solidarity and partnership with Africa in addressing the climate crisis.
  1. The global goal for adaptation must receive the attention it deserves ; parties must be more decisive in fast-tracking negotiation on this agenda item. Time is running out yet there is so much to be done, since 2015, we have been going round in circles without a clear plan of action on this agenda. This is a make-or-break year for this agenda as time lapse for the work program on global goal for adaptation. We call for parties to clearly establish strong targets under the GGA framework that will enhance adaptation ambition, and at the same time ensure that a standing agenda item is established on the global goal for adaptation beyond the two-year Glasgow Sharm -El -Sheikh work program on global goal for adaptation which ends this year.
  1. That all parties work together to overhaul the climate finance architecture to ensure that it is transparent, accountable, accessible, and responsive to the needs and priorities of African communities. Specifically, we call for the following actions:

 The developed countries must fulfil their commitment to providing at least $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries, and increase this amount significantly in the post-2020 period;

 The Green Climate Fund must allocate at least 50% of its resources to adaptation projects and prioritize direct access and enhanced direct access modalities for African countries;

 The Adaptation Fund must be replenished and sustained as a key instrument to support adaptation efforts of the most vulnerable countries under the Paris Agreement;

 The Climate Technology Centre and Network must enhance its support for technology development and transfer in Africa, especially for locally appropriate and community-based solutions;

 The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage must operationalize its action and support functions and establish a finance facility, compete with a replenishment mechanism to address the irreversible impacts of climate change in Africa, latest at COP28.

Abidjan, 5 June 2023 - Individuals, communities, civil society, businesses and governments around the world today marked World Environment Day with a focus on solutions to plastic pollution, with official celebrations held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, with the support of the Netherlands.

The focus on solutions to plastic pollution this World Environment Day is particularly timely, following the recent conclusion of a second round of negotiations on a global agreement to end plastic pollution in France.

 

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, after it was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. Over the past five decades, with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at the helm, the day has grown to be one of the largest global platforms for environmental outreach. Tens of millions of people participate online and through in-person activities, events and actions around the world.

 

“Plastic is made from fossil fuels – the more plastic we produce, the more fossil fuel we burn, and the worse we make the climate crisis. But we have solutions,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his World Environment Day message. “We must work as one – governments, companies, and consumers alike – to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste, and build a truly circular economy.”

 

Speaking at the official event at Espace Latrille Events Deux Plateaux in Abidjan, Mr. Jean-Luc Assi, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, said: “Côte d'Ivoire issued a decree in 2013 banning the production, import and marketing, possession and use of plastic bags. It has supported businesses in switching to reusable and biodegradable packaging. The country's largest city, Abidjan, has also become a hub for start-ups looking to beat plastic pollution. They are being encouraged. So let's all be aware of the need to combat plastic pollution. Let's act now and all say stop to plastic pollution.”

“World Environment Day helps to highlight the urgent challenges we currently face. Challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Plastic pollution touches on all three of those challenges,” noted Vivianne Heijnen, Netherlands’ Minister for the Environment. “It’s crucial that we continue raising awareness, collecting best practices, and ensuring commitment from all stakeholders. I hope that this edition of World Environment Day will prove to be a landmark event in our collective fight to beat plastic pollution.”

 

Humanity produces over 430 million tonnes of plastic annually, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste. While the social and economic costs of plastic pollution range between $US300 to US$600 billion per year.

According to a recent UNEP report, Turning off the Tap, plastic pollution could reduce by 80 per cent by 2040 if countries and companies make deep policy and market shifts using existing technologies.

 

“For the sake of the planet’s health, for the sake of our health, for the sake of our prosperity, we must end plastic pollution. This will take nothing less than a complete redesign of how we produce, use, recover and dispose of plastics and products that contain them,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of (UNEP). “How the world produces, consumes and disposes of plastic has created a disaster. But it is one we can end by turning off the tap on plastic pollution. On World Environment Day, I call on everybody to join the global movement. And help us beat plastic pollution, once and for all.”

 

At the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on plastic pollution in Paris, France, the INC Chair was given the mandate to prepare a zero draft of an international, legally binding agreement on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

 

In February 2022, at the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), a historic resolution (5/14) was adopted to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment with the ambition to complete the negotiations by end of 2024. The instrument is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic. The third session of the INC will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2023.

 

Action on plastic pollution

Across the world, in the lead up to, and on World Environment Day, the momentum for global action is clear. This World Environment Day Map showcases innovative, community-driven solutions to reduce plastic pollution. Hundreds of activities have been registered, from beach clean-ups in Mumbai to cloth-bag sewing workshops in Ghana and zero-plastic-waste live concerts in Atlanta.

 

The International Air Travel Agency and UNEP announced a Memorandum of Understanding, aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to address sustainability challenges in the aviation industry. Reduction of problematic single use plastics products and improving the circularity in the use of plastics by the aviation industry is the initial focus of the partnership.

 

At a World Environment Day event at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Global Public Transport Summit, in Barcelona, Spain, UNEP and the UITP unveiled a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise their partnership, with a strong focus on environmental and sustainability awareness raising across public transport networks.

 

With the support of UNEP, Jyrgalan, a village in the Kyrgyz Republic, recently inaugurated its first waste collection facility; the facility aims to address the village’s growing waste challenges – brought on by increased tourism - through building capacity for small businesses and strengthening the role of women in decision-making.

 

In Panama, under the leadership of UNEP representatives of the Panamanian government, UN offices at the regional and national levels and civil society, including youth organizations, committed to reduce plastic waste both in their offices and their communities.

 

In Greece, thanks to training from the non-profit enterprise Enaleia, fishers from 42 ports have stopped littering and instead recover marine plastic with their nets. Co-founded by Lefteris Arapakis, a UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for Europe, Enaleia recently announced that it will now start working in Egypt and Spain and scale up its activity in Kenya and Italy.

 

The Kenya Plastics Pact released new industry guidelines on recyclability for plastic packaging. The guidelines aim to provide clear recommendations to decision-makers on how to design plastic packaging to be compatible with and future mechanical recycling infrastructure.

 

In New York, an art project made entirely of plastic waste will be launched at the World Trade Center. In India, screen stars and famous musicians have come together to create a music video and share messages to encourage more people to take action against plastic pollution. In Kazakhstan, local music group Great Steppe released a music video to mark the Day and highlight the environmental damage the Aral Sea is suffering, while a UN-supported sustainable fashion and art event in Almaty showcased pieces made from recycled materials.

Airports and transport networks around the world, from China and Indonesia to Chile and the United States, as well as billboards in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus broadcast World Environment Day messages, bringing awareness to millions of passengers and citizens of the importance of action to curb the menace of plastic pollution.

Hundreds of thousands of people participated in World Environment Day online, with the day’s hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatPlasticPollution trending at number one and two respectively on Twitter. More than 50,000 people downloaded UNEP’s Beat Plastic Pollution Practical Guide.

These events, actions and exhibits, taking place in community centres, schools, businesses and homes, illustrate how individuals and communities are important drivers of environmental action. They can spur governments, cities, financial institutions and industries to use their capacity to invest in and implement large-scale solutions to overcome and reverse the plastic pollution crisis.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) – This year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) launches next Monday, 5 June, designed to prepare decisions for adoption at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates in December.

Building on the many mandates that emerged from COP27 in Egypt last year, the conference will convene the 58th session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, including a large number of events, and continue discussions on issues of critical importance.

These issues include the global stocktake, the global goal on adaptation, the just transition to sustainable societies, the mitigation work programme and loss and damage, among others.

“For many people around the world, limiting warming of our planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. The global stocktake is the opportunity of a generation to correct the course we are on, to design a way forward to tackle climate change with fresh vigor and perspective,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.

The technical phase of the global stocktake will conclude at the Bonn Conference, and mark the start of the political phase which will work towards a strong outcome of the first stocktake at COP28.

Another key task at SB58 will be to prepare decisions at COP28 to operationalize the new loss and damage fund and funding arrangements, along with a decision on the host for the Santiago network on loss and damage.

Stiell added: “COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh marked the shift to implementation of the Paris Agreement, resulting in several important outcomes supporting this historic new phase. Parties know what is at stake, and each country now has to deliver.”

Several events will touch on climate finance, notably the provision of adequate and predictable financial support to developing countries for climate action, including the new collective quantified goal on climate finance. Other important issues will be increasing the transparency and accountability of climate action and minimizing the impacts that climate change is having on the agriculture and food security sectors.

Sameh Shoukry, President of last year’s COP27 in Egypt, said: “The Bonn Climate Conference is an opportune occasion to stock take the status of implementation of the outcomes and breakthroughs achieved in Sharm el-Sheikh. It also provides an opportunity to pave the way towards achieving remarkable progress at COP28 in the UAE later this year. This is most urgent given that the climate crisis is becoming the new reality and we are forced to deal with its consequences on a daily basis. Acknowledging this, we must seize every opportunity to renew our science-based collective resolve to adhere to the principles of the UN Framework Convention and the Paris Agreement in order to strengthen our response to ensure observing the Paris temperature goal, keeping the 1.5 degrees within reach, effectively adapting to a changing climate and sufficiently responding to the different forms of losses and damages.”

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, said: “The upcoming Bonn sessions are critical for shaping meaningful, pragmatic, and impactful outcomes at COP28. As the incoming Presidency, we will ensure a fair, inclusive, and transparent presidency that provides space for all Parties to reach consensus across the whole agenda. That includes making climate finance more available, accessible, and affordable; doubling adaptation finance, operationalizing the loss and damage fund, tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030; and putting young people, nature, and health at the heart of climate progress. We express our full support for the Subsidiary Body Chairs and call on all Parties to ensure we make as much progress as possible across all tracks. Our aim is to build on the results of SB58 to achieve a balanced and ambitious outcome in the UAE this December.”

Also in Bonn, the High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Ms. Razan Al Mubarak, will continue to connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative climate actions taken by cities, regions, businesses and investors and discuss how to increase the accountability of such actions.

BONN, Germany, (PAMACC News) - As the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) Lead Coordinators convene in Bonn, Germany, to strategise ahead of the 58th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Bodies (SB58) conference scheduled for the 5th to 15th June, 2023, the Global Stocktake and discussions on the modalities for establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund have dominated the agenda.

The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement (GST), is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.

The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years. Thus, as Parties prepare for the SB58 session and COP28 later in the year, all eyes are on the outcome of this process, which is critical to achieving the overarching goal of the Paris Agreement and the Convention.

The GST is currently in the technical phase. The political phase will be at COP28 where leaders will be expected to adopt the outcomes of the process.

Similarly, in view of the landmark COP27 decision on Loss and Damage, the discussions centred on the need for robust and flexible modalities for the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

Speaking when he officially opened the meeting, AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima re-affirmed AGN’s call for the GST to be balanced, covering all thematic areas, and the need for robust and flexible modalities for the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

"This is an important year for us; following key outcomes from COP27, and especially in the context of taking stock of where we are, we have a mammoth task to ensure we continue advancing Africa’s interests. We cannot afford to lose track of the GST, whose outcome, we have repeatedly said, must be comprehensive and balanced to facilitate progress across all the thematic areas, and respect the priority issues of all Parties and stakeholders. Our emerging position, which is still being discussed, is to ensure an equitable and just global transition to low emission and climate resilient world that allows African countries the policy space to achieve the SDGs in the immediate to medium-term (2030), using all its natural resources and endowment. Equally, operationalization of Loss and Damage Fund with flexible and robust modalities, is a key priority for the AGN as our leaders and the entire continent is banking on us to ensure that it is not short-changed," said Shitima.

Other key agenda items included; the continued push for Africa’s Special Needs and Special Circumstances; the need for scaled-up financial and technical support to implement Africa’s highly ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in particular, adaptation finance through a call for grant-based financial resources for African countries and the need to reform the climate financial architecture; the need to expedite operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA); Just Transition work programme; a call for ambitious mitigation efforts from developed country parties; the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and food security; and means of implementation.

Africa’s Special Needs and Special Circumstances

As mandated by the African Union through the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) at the 36th African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February, 2023, the AGN Lead Coordinators deliberated on, and agreed to take forward the agenda on Africa’s Special Needs and Special Circumstances—a continent which is the least contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (less than 4%) and yet the most adversely impacted region, as reaffirmed by latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

According to the IPCC, Africa is already experiencing severe and widespread impacts of climate change, causing devastation to lives, livelihoods and the continent's development trajectory.

“At the 36th session of the Au Summit in February, 2023, the AU Heads of State Assembly gave guidance on a number of issues, including urging the AGN to continue collaborating with other stakeholders, including the COP28 Presidency on Africa’s special needs and special circumstances agenda. So, we will continue pursuing this agenda item as guided by our leaders in the interest of the continent’s development aspirations in relation to climate action,” Shitima said.

Climate Finance and reform of the financial architecture

The question on climate finance is as old as the climate negotiations. Still, the AGN team is determined to ensure this agenda item is  given the prominence it deserves, particularly for developed countries to deliver on their climate finance pledges. The key ask is for developed countries to provide predictable and accessible funding for climate action on affordable and reasonable terms that do not further worsen the debt crisis that most developing countries are already dealing with.

Adaptation (GGA)

Adaptation to the impacts of climate change remains one of the key challenges that Africa is facing. Therefore, adaptation remains a key priority as people, infrastructure and ecosystems on the continent continue to experience climate shocks and economic distress.

The latest science by the IPCC reveals that Africa will need up to 86.5 billion USD for adaptation alone by 2030. In view of the foregoing, the AGN is seeking a clear and traceable delivery mechanism for the doubling of adaptation finance, a commitment made by developed countries in Glasgow in 2021, to avoid the mystery of the 100 billion USD per year, which has haunted negotiations since 2009.

Additionally, the weak outcome at COP27 on adaptation, largely due to developed countries’ unwillingness to take the matter seriously, has remained a concern to the AGN. The group is therefore seeking for seriousness on this matter and agreed to continue pushing for science-based indicators, targets and metrics within the agreed framework.

Mitigation

Notwithstanding the concentration on adaptation, the AGN’s call on developed countries to take their leadership role in climate action seriously by urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation during this critical decade, to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature goal alive. The group’s emphasis is also on the importance of support to implement conditional components of African countries and other developing countries' NDCs to enable them effectively contribute, as well as the call for countries to increase the share of renewable and low emission energy sources in their energy mix and scale-up renewable energy investments in particular to address the energy access challenges of many countries in Africa.

Just Transitions

In deliberating on Africa’s special needs and circumstances, the AGN Lead Coordinators also spotlighted the continent’s energy poverty, with latest statistics showing over 600 million people having no access to electricity and 900 million people with no access to clean cooking.

This is in addition to other development challenges that Africa faces requiring the continent to fully exploit its natural resources. With a heightened global campaign for countries to transition to clean and green energy sources, Africa will thus require support for Just energy transition that ensures resources and technologies are made available to enable the continent achieve climate, energy and development goals.

“Our argument is that reducing emissions should not be at the expense of Africa’s development but at a pace and scale affordable to African countries. The work programme should facilitate ambitious and equitable climate actions, recognising different starting points of countries and nationally defined development priorities of developing countries, different pathways and national circumstances and the importance of the social and economic components of the transition,” said AGN Chair. 

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and food security

In the context of the climate crisis in Africa, agriculture is seen as an important agenda item in view of the continent’s food insecurity, said to be worsened by climate change vagaries. In view of the foregoing, Africa cannot afford to slumber on the importance of making agriculture resilient to climate change.

Given its importance to most African countries’ food security and economic transformation, the AGN has firmly set its agenda on ensuring clear action matrix of the the four-year Sharm el-Sheikh joint work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PAMACC News) - The Global Stocktake (GST) is a critical turning point for efforts to address climate change, African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima has told the Pan-African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity.

Speaking when he addressed Parliamentarians and other stakeholders, gathered in Midrand, South Africa from 16th to 17th May, 2023, Shitima said the GST is key to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Shitima reiterated AGN’s call against inherent bias in favour of mitigation at the expense of adaptation, and called on African Parliamentarians to take keen interest in the GST process and its outcome as it enables countries and other stakeholders to assess their collectiveprogress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“As Africa, we expect the GST to be comprehensive by assessing collective progress towards all the goals and not focusing on one or two,” said Shitima. “The outcome must be corrective—how to address the identified gaps and ensure implementation. The inherent bias in favour of mitigation ought to be rectified while the needs of adaptation and recognition of adaptation actions as part of the contribution of Parties towards the global effort should be accorded sufficient attention.”

The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement (GST), is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.

The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years.

In addition to his call for African Parliamentarians to actively get involved in the GST process, AGN Chair also highlighted the climate financing and adaptation gaps as revealed by various reports including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

“According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP’s) Adaptation Gap Report 2022: Too Little, Too Slow – Climate adaptation failure puts world at risk finds that the world must urgently increase efforts to adapt to impacts of climate change. Implementation of adaptation actions are concentrated in agriculture, water, ecosystems- with health and education still remaining underfunded. However, without a step change in support, adaptation actions could be outstripped by accelerating climate risks, which would further widen the adaptation implementation gap.”

Shitima further lamented the poor provision of climate information in Africa, which is hindered by limited availability of weather and climate data, adding that existing weather infrastructure is insufficient for development of reliable climate information and early warning systems.

“For example, only 10% of ground-based observation networks are in Africa (the remaining 90% are outside Africa), and that 54% of Africa’s surface weather stations cannot capture data accurately,” he said.

Without belabouring the point, adaptation finance is inadequate to meet growing needs of African countries as access to adequate financial resources is crucial for climate change adaptation.

“UNEP estimates adaptation costs for Africa to be, from USD 20–50 billion per year by 2050 at 1.5℃ to USD 100–437 billion per year at 4℃ of global warming above pre-industrial levels. However, adaptation finance flows to developing countries are 5-10 times below estimated needs and the gap is widening,” lamented the AGN Chair.

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwenda, said the African continent was already living in a critical moment as a result of climate change.

“The Sixth synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 23rd March this year confirmed human-induced global warming is already causing widespread and irreversible impacts on our natural and human systems, and these impacts will only worsen with further warning," said Mwenda.

 

Three young climate activists have filed a lawsuit against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey and Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, by taking legal action due to the inadequacy of Turkey's climate target under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Turkey produced 403.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) emissions in 2021. This was a year-on-year increase of 8.1 percent, and the first year that emissions accelerated and peaked in Turkey since 2017. The country's coal-fired power stations are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey at 103 Mt in 2021. Over a kilogram of CO 2 is emitted for every KWh of electricity generated in Turkey by coal-fired power stations.

Atlas Sarrafoğlu (16), Seren Anaçoğlu (20) and Ela Naz Birdal (17), young climate activists who have been campaigning for years for Turkey to fight stronger against the climate crisis, have filed a lawsuit against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, claiming that the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by Turkey as a climate target is insufficient, asserting that this is climate inaction rather than climate action. Underlining the lack of a transparent process in the preparation of this statement, they demanded the cancellation and renewal of Turkey's unscientific, ineffective and inadequate climate target. Young people defending their right to the future also launched a petition at change.org/climatelawsuit.

There are many similar climate lawsuits around the world. Six Portuguese young people had filed a complaint against 33 countries, including Turkey, accusing them of failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

After Turkey submitted its updated NDCs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, Atlas Sarrafoğlu, Seren Anaçoğlu and Ela Naz Birdal said "Unfortunately, this declaration is not a commitment to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but an increase. Turkey is a country of climate disasters and we, as young people, want our future to be secured with a stronger climate goal." They have become the pioneers of the first climate lawsuit filed against the Presidency and the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, regarding Turkey's decisions on greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Atlas Sarrafoğlu, a climate activist since the age of 11, made the following statements about the climate lawsuits they filed:  

"I came to a different world than my elders, a world caught in a series of disasters that trigger each other. It is an existential crisis. We are burning our planet with our own hands. The use of fossil fuels should have been abandoned a long time ago, but as long as governments and big corporations prefer their power and money to the future of humanity, we will not be able to prevent this crisis. 

 As a young climate activist, I want emissions to be reduced in line with the Paris Agreement, which Turkey signed too late. Children and young people are currently at the greatest risk, even though they did not cause the climate crisis. Therefore, I do not accept an environment where children's rights are disregarded. You are destroying the future of us, the young people you call "the future of this country". You are officially doing nothing against the climate crisis that threatens Turkey the most! For this reason, I initiate this lawsuit for Turkey to give a stronger climate target."

Seren Anaçoğlu, a European Union Climate Ambassador and a law student, said, "Turkey's NDC declaration submitted within the scope of combating the climate crisis, promises more than 30 percent increase by 2030, rather than a commitment to reduce emissions. Stating that it will be carbon neutral by 2053, Turkey still does not have a coherent and scientific roadmap on how it will realize decarbonization by 2053! No exit date from coal and fossil fuels! No effective climate action plan in the energy and mining sector! But unfortunately, there is a system in which the coal and mining lobby will continue to exist and poison us! For young people, the future holds more unemployment, pollution and vulnerability to climate disasters! There is a danger that we young people and children's right to life and access to basic rights such as food, water and air will be restricted or even eliminated! For this reason, I initiate this lawsuit for my right to a future."

Ela Naz Birdal, a young climate activist who fights for the right to the future, said: "The climate crisis is a global crisis and everyone has important duties in this struggle. All countries need to take on responsibility, so that we can reach the common goal of the 1.5-degree target". Listing her demands from Turkey to fight stronger against the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she said: "Set an interim target. Announce a coal phase-out date. Make a real reduction commitment. Turkey's decarbonization policy should be determined with scientific methods and made into binding legal rules. We are filing this lawsuit to fight against the climate crisis and to guarantee our own future, and we look forward to the support of all our young friends in our petition campaign that we have started at change.org/iklimdavasi! I initiate this lawsuit for a carbon-free future!"

Their lawyer Deniz Bayram made the following statement: "The realization of the 1.5 target of the Paris Climate Agreement depends on all state parties deciding on and implementing greenhouse gas emission reductions prepared with clear, understandable and scientifically based methods to the extent of their historical responsibility for global emissions. The uncertainty on scientific methods used in the decision to increase Turkey's current greenhouse gas emissions and the lack of a date for the transition from fossil fuels such as coal, are inconsistent and contradictory with the high increase in carbon emission targeting the years 2030 and 2038, and the 2053 net zero decision. In recent years, we have witnessed the devastating effects of climate change increase in the intensity of violations of basic human rights such as access to life, health, food and water. The urgency of this legal case stems from the urgency for Turkey to present a climate plan that it can defend with scientific data and protect the human rights of future generations.
The climate lawsuits filed by children and young people all over the world show us that states should stop shifting blame and responsibility to each other, and make equitable, clear, scientific and legally clear climate plans to the extent of their responsibilities. A favorable ruling in this case may have a positive impact not only for Turkey, but also for countries with high historical emissions to make their climate commitments even more ambitious and decisive."

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