Quantcast

Least to Blame, Hardest Hit: Vulnerable Nations Show Leadership at COP21

Climate

As the high-level Heads of State meeting wrapped up, emerging economies and developing nations took the spotlight at the COP21 Paris climate talks.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), representing more than 20 countries around the world most at risk from climate change, backed the inclusion of a goal to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 in the Paris Agreement. CVF, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam, also reaffirmed their commitment to a strict limit on global warming to no more than 1.5C, reminding the rest of the world that millions of people will be affected by the decisions made in Paris. Even more, the pledge demonstrated that poorer countries “aren’t waiting to be rescued.”

CVF’s ambitious stance also garnered them a Ray of the Day, the flipside of the more commonly awarded Fossil of the Day prize, which usually goes out to the countries that “perform the worst” at the climate talks. Instead the Ray awarded to the vulnerable nations lauded them for setting an example and making an ambitious commitment to fighting climate change.

Another highlight of the day was India’s willingness to partner with other nations to boost renewable energy development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with French President Francois Hollande, launched an international solar alliance with more than 120 countries, calling it “the sunrise of new hope.” Most signatory nations hail from the sun-drenched regions of the tropics, but several European countries, including France, have also signed on.

This initiative is the latest and possibly the grandest expression of India’s embrace of clean energy to power its development and that of other developing nations, building on the country's INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), in which India articulated its vision for decreasing energy poverty by massively scaling up its renewable energy capacity (to 40 percent by 2030) and cutting the carbon-polluting intensity of its emissions. The nation will be investing an initial $30 million with the eventual goal of raising $400 million from membership fees and international agencies.

Africa’s clean energy future is also looking bright, as 54 African nations announced the goal of producing 300 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources by 2030. That would nearly double the current generation capacity (of both clean and mostly non-clean energy) of the entire continent, entirely through renewable sources.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

$3.4 Trillion: Fossil Fuel Divestment Commitments Break New Record

Watch the Film of the Year: Racing Extinction

Obama: We Must Create a ‘World That is Worthy of Our Children’

These 4 Kids Walked to the North Pole and Now They Need Your Help

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

DESIREE MARTIN / AFP / Getty Images

Wildfires raging on Gran Canaria, the second most populous of Spain's Canary Islands, have forced around 9,000 people to evacuate.

Read More Show Less
Wolves in Mount Rainier, Washington. Ron Reznick / VW Pics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Plateau Creek near De Beque, Colorado, where land has been leased for oil and gas production. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

By Randi Spivak

Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
Global SO2 Emission Hotspot Database / Greenpeace

A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The huge surge this year in Amazon deforestation is leading some European countries to think twice about donations to the Amazon Fund. LeoFFreitas / Moment / Getty Images

By Sue Branford and Thais Borges

Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated:

Read More Show Less
Gina Lopez, the Philippine secretary of the environment, at a meeting with residents affected by a mine tailing disaster. Keith Schneider

Gina Lopez, a former Philippine environment secretary, philanthropist and eco-warrior, died on Aug. 19 from brain cancer. She was 65.

Read More Show Less
Trump speaks to contractors at the Shell Chemicals Petrochemical Complex on Aug. 13 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Thousands of union members at a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant outside of Pittsburgh were given a choice last week: Stand and wait for a speech by Donald Trump or take the day off without pay.

Read More Show Less