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Addressing vulnerability is how we build the best possible future
NEWSLETTER, June 2023—Mid-year U.N. negotiations; Paris finance summit; CCL 2023 Conference: Ghana lawmakers, Rachel Kyte; 5 new volunteer chapters; Nepal climate award; World Bank reform...
Unearthly climate anomalies are hitting many countries right now. North America is experiencing historic pollution due to massive wildfires in Canada, which harbors 30% of the world’s forests. Parts of Texas and Mexico are experiencing four weeks or more of heat index values above 105ºF (40.5ºC). Floods, storms, and ecological breakdown are affecting food systems and whole regional economies. Climate disruption is everywhere; setting and acting on true ambition will mean learning from and empowering everyone.
SB58 U.N. negotiations: only high ambition makes sense from now on
Amid climate extremes that are now scaring scientists, it is clearly crunch time for the nations of the world to act with the urgency the climate crisis demands. All eyes, therefore, are fixed on the upcoming COP28 taking place Nov. 30 through Dec. 12 in the United Arab Emirates.
The 58th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SB58) held in Bonn, Germany, last month made progress in hammering out the agenda that will be addressed in Dubai. CCI attended the SB58 sessions, organized a mid-negotiations debrief with Carlos Alvarado, the former President of Costa Rica, and provided a detailed report-back on the SB58 outcomes and road ahead:
Increasing recognition that preventing "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" will require near total elimination of fossil fuel usage, as well as widespread restoration and conservation of ecosystems.
Progress was made toward establishing the Loss and Damage Fund, which would provide the resources vulnerable countries need to recover from climate-related disasters.
With international cooperative arrangements needed to accelerate climate action, CCI presented a deep dive policy brief on Non-Market Approaches at the Bonn negotiations.
With the need for nations to ramp up climate ambition, SB58 featured discussions on Action for Climate Empowerment focused on the need for robust, detailed, ongoing stakeholder engagement.
It is clear we are well past the time for half-measures and delay in global efforts to address climate change. High ambition is necessary. More international meetings will set the stage for COP28, and the SB58 in Bonn offered a curtain raiser to glimpse how those critical negotiations are taking shape.
Summit for a New Global Financing Pact advances climate-sensitive debt-relief
The first order of business must be to stop punishing vulnerable countries for climate-related disaster costs they cannot control. The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, which took place in Paris June 22-23, aimed to evolve international financial structures to meet this challenge. CCI highlighted a few key breakthroughs after the Summit:
The World Bank announced a comprehensive toolkit to support countries after natural disasters;
New World Bank loans will also include an option to pause debt repayment in the midst of climate-related impacts;
A group of wealthy nations pledged $2.7 billion to help Senegal roll out renewable energy;
Zambia secured a deal to restructure $6.3 billion owed to other governments—an example that could lead to similar deals.
CCL CONFERENCE & LOBBY DAY
Members of Parliament from Ghana: “We need something like [CCL] in our country.”
CCI welcomed the first ever visiting parliamentary delegation from another country to the 2023 Citizens’ Climate Lobby conference in Washington, DC. The Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana designated the Honorable Yves Hanson-Nortey and the Honorable Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi—Vice Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Committee on Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, and members of different political parties—to represent the entire Parliament.
MPs Hanson-Nortey and Terlabi joined CCL volunteers in select plenary sessions, engaged with CCI staff on international policy, and had meetings on Capitol Hill and with multilateral institutions. They inspired a group of students who were eager to ask questions and discuss emerging directions in climate-related policy around the world. CCI is now planning to build on this experience with a multi-country interparliamentary dialogue next June.
Rachel Kyte: Resist the ESG backlash
At the Citizens’ Climate Lobby conference and lobby day last month, Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, warned that “green hushing” could inhibit the progress businesses are making to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adopt more sustainable practices.
“The woke capital backlash, dear friends, is unmistakably coming from the same people who won’t say gay and the same people who want to control women’s bodies.” The great threat from the ESG (environmental, social and governance) backlash is that “when leading companies move through voluntary frameworks and put their head above the parapet, we simply move to lop those heads off.”
Break through with motivational interviewing
As advocates for a livable climate, we engage decision makers to adopt policies and allocate resources that move us toward a just and sustainable world. How we conduct that engagement, however, can determine the success or failure of those efforts. At the Citizens' Climate Lobby conference and lobby day last month, John Sabin presented a technique — motivational interviewing — designed to lead to more productive outcomes.
Many encounters often devolve into argument/counterargument conversations. We hear someone say something we believe to be wrong, and our "righting reflex" is to immediately correct them. Sabin said, "I've had many political arguments in my life, especially when I was younger, and even though I think I'm pretty good at framing my arguments, I cannot think of a single time when the person I was arguing with said, 'Actually, John, you're right. I have seen the error of my ways, and I will now change my political perspective completely.'"
In motivational interviewing, the process uses reflective listening to ask open-ended questions, affirm the good intent of the person you're speaking with, reflect what the person is saying and summarize their viewpoint. As part of his presentation, Sabin invited the audience to pair up with someone and have an argumentative conversation. In an instant poll, participants texted a word to describe the experience, and most said it was frustrating. Then they practiced using motivational interviewing, and afterward they described the experience as productive.
Watch Sabin's presentation to learn how you can have more effective conversations.
CCI's global movement of empowering citizens to solve climate change by engaging their governments keeps rolling along with the launch of five chapters throughout the world. Joining the CCI network last month were groups in:
Tel Aviv, Israel;
rural Saskatchewan, Canada.
CCI now has 148 active chapters in 54 countries, with 22 more in development. See where they are here.
CCI Nepal leader receives Everest Award
Hement Raj Kaphale, group leader of CCI’s recently launched chapter in Nepal, was honored last month with the Everest Climate Action Award. Kaphale, seen here receiving the award from Nepal Vice President Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav, was recognized for his work as Nepal Director of 8 Billion Trees, an organization carrying out large-scale tree planting and tree conservation operations.
The award was presented at the South Asian Climate Action Conference 2023 in Kathmandu, an event that celebrated the work of more than 20 climate activists and advocates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
World Bank reform consultations
Following up on letters sent earlier this year asking World Bank executive directors for fair and sustainable development, CCI volunteers are providing input at the Bank’s regional consultations being held in July. CCI is asking the Bank to:
Invest to support the health of all human beings and all of nature.
Recognize human rights, and don’t punish the vulnerable.
Support multilateral cooperative arrangements to accelerate integral human development.
Include stakeholders in design, delivery, and tracking of development finance.
We detail the overall framing and list of asks in a new briefing note, which will be submitted as CCI’s formal stakeholder input to the World Bank Evolution Roadmap consultation process in July.
Our Get-To-Know-Us calls will return in September
For over thirty years the IPCC and United Nations have laid down the tracks for a livable world. We at Citizens’ Climate International have been listening deeply at countless meetings, seminars, and conferences. We have a keen understanding of what some of those tracks are. To get humanity on those tracks we need you on our team. On Wednesday, September 20, learn more about us and how you can help create political will for evidence-based and socially-just climate action.
Canada conference and lobby day in October
Mark your calendars for CCL Canada’s national conference and lobby day in Ottawa, which will be held Oct. 15-17. Registration opens after Labour Day, Sept. 4.
Pre-COP28 Earth Diplomacy Leadership workshops
In October and November, CCI will co-convene with The Fletcher School at Tufts University the next round of Earth Diplomacy Leadership workshops, in preparation for the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai.
As we look ahead to COP28, it is clear there will need to be a major proliferation of multilateral cooperative efforts, in line with Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement. The Pre-COP28 workshops will examine key agenda areas, emerging transformational innovations in food, finance, data, infrastructure, and conservation, and how the legal outcomes from Dubai can support inclusive access to the best available innovation and investment.