Climate action right now: Everyone, everywhere, all at once

Posted on June, 30 2023

In the midst of a climate and nature crisis, our Climate and Energy Policy Manifesto highlights the six actions needed to correct our course, writes Fernanda de Carvalho, WWF Global Climate and Energy Policy Head.
2023 is ringing alarm bells on climate action, as disaster after disaster, crisis after crisis unfolds, devastating people and nature. It is, says UN Secretary General António Guterres, ‘a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe’.

Bringing climate and energy issues to the centre of the multilateral system has never been more challenging nor more urgent than now.

This year we will see the political consolidation of the Paris Agreement. The Global Stocktake (GST) - a first assessment of how the world is doing in meeting its commitments to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions - will have its political phase at COP28 scheduled for Dubai later this year.

It is not stretching the truth at all to say we are far off course of what we must do, as scientists have said, versus what we are currently doing. We expect the GST to produce a roadmap to guide each sector, region and actor on strong climate action to put us on track to keep global warming to 1.5℃.

2023 also brings opportunity to fix things on the road to the next round of global climate negotiations. World leaders will meet frequently this year, at a series of global meetings on a range of issues, including climate and energy. These include the Africa Climate Action Summit, the G20 Summit, the UN Climate Ambition Summit and the International Climate and Energy Summit, and COP28, among others. 

WWF has developed a Climate and Energy Policy Manifesto for 2023, highlighting six specific actions that will need all the political capital we can muster to realize for the sake of tackling the climate crisis. 

World leaders must: 
  1. Agree a global plan to phase out all fossil fuels in a just and equitable manner, moving towards 100% renewable energy with enhanced energy efficiency and energy access. 
  2. Transform sectors and systems through strong climate action, especially in cities, ecosystems and food systems.
  3. Agree a solidarity package for the Loss and Damage Fund, for adaptation and for early warning systems. Links between human rights and the climate crisis must be further recognized.
  4. Include nature in national implementation plans, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
  5. Commit to more net-zero pledges by non-state entities, and enhance their credibility. Developed countries must reach net-zero by 2040.
  6. Finally, WWF proposes three practical principles to guide multilateral finance institutions to deliver for climate action: 
    1. Do no harm: stop financing and subsidizing fossil fuels, and significantly scale up finance for renewable energy systems that are low carbon and low conflict. Make climate disclosure mechanisms mandatory rather than voluntary. Align finance with national implementation plans (such as NDCs and National Adaptation Plans).
    2. Do more good: Step up climate finance, deliver on existing pledges such as the UNFCCC US$100 billion and G7 pledges. Use debt relief as a mechanism to free up fiscal resources that can be redirected to climate action. Consider innovative approaches to benefit vulnerable countries (like the Bridgetown Initiative). Governments should channel resources and investments to climate innovation, research and development of disruptive mitigation solutions with financial gains. Governments and non-state actors should invest in nature and people positive climate action through the conservation and restoration of land, freshwater and ocean ecosystems.
    3. Influence for good: Mobilize private investment and unify decarbonization pathways. Multilateral institutions and agencies can encourage private sector participation in global development priorities such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. A further step to scale up and guide private climate investment (alongside public investment) is the adoption of a common climate scenario framework. To tackle the climate crisis, a rapid, system-wide and globally coordinated approach is needed from multilateral finance institutions. 
When bells ring, they can be a signal of danger or of joy. Action by world leaders will help to move from bells ringing to mark the growing climate crisis, to bells ringing to mark a fair, equitable and just transition to a more sustainable world.
WWF Climate and Energy Policy Manifesto 2023