03 December 2018 – Climate change is the most pressing global challenge, constituting an existential threat to humanity. The Club of Rome – Climate Emergency Plan sets out 10 priority actions for all sectors and governments, and is an urgent wake up call. On December 4th 2018, Club of Rome Co-President Sandrine Dixson-Declève presented the Plan at the European Parliament to representatives from the EP, the European Commission, business and NGO leaders. The event was co-hosted by Heidi Hautala (MEP, VP European Parliament) and Jo Leinen (MEP).
The recent IPCC report emphasises that climate-related risks are significantly more dangerous to human life and to the systems that sustain us at 2oC warming compared with 1.5oC. Yet global action is lagging, stymied by political meandering. To avoid the worst outcomes, global carbon emissions must be cut by half by 2030 and to zero by 2050 – an unprecedented task which requires bold and compelling action. The Club of Rome – Climate Emergency Plan proposes ten action points to achieve the goal set by the historic Paris Agreement, aligned with science and economic pragmatism, to limit temperature increase to 1.5oC.
To avoid further collapse of environmental, political and socio-economic systems, urgent leadership is required now from governments, industry and citizens. Climate change is no longer a future threat. It is already affecting billions of people across the globe and every economy. Annual losses for the US alone will reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, according to the new US Climate Assessment and continued climate related impacts could create 140 million climate migrants globally by 2050.
“The ravages of a rapidly warming climate are happening every day and will only get worse especially for the world’s most vulnerable”, says Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome. “Transformational climate action is an opportunity for a societal renaissance of the proportions never seen before. This is a global emergency plan for a shared and just future. We have the technology and capital but most NDC’s and industry efforts are not ambitious enough. The only option now is adopting an emergency plan! Time is not going to be forgiving.”
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome
“40 Years ago the first report to the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, alerted the world to the environmental and demographic challenges ahead. Today, we see that decades of exponential growth in both population and consumption are now colliding with the limits of Earths biosphere. Emergency action is more necessary than ever. We cannot turn a blind eye to the dual tipping points of species extinction and climate change”, said Anders Wijkman, Honorary President of the Club of Rome.
“As Members of the European Parliament, we are proud to host the launch of the Club of Rome’s Climate Emergency Plan and fully support the Club of Rome’s call for urgency. All leaders worldwide have a moral obligation to show climate leadership and secure this planet for future generations. As elected European leaders, we have a special responsibility to strive for ambitious European and global net zero goals by 2050,” said Heidi Hautala, MEP, VP European Parliament and Jo Leinen, MEP.
The Club of Rome Climate Emergency Plan calls for 10 priority actions:
1. Halt fossil fuel expansion and fossil fuel subsidies by 2020: No new investments in coal, oil and gas exploration and development after 2020 and a phase-out of the existing fossil fuel industry by 2050. Phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.
2.Triple annual investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low carbon technologies for high emitting sectors before 2025: Give priority to developing countries to avoid lock-in to the carbon economy.
3. Put a price on carbon to reflect the true cost of fossil fuel use and embedded carbon by 2020: Introduce carbon floor prices. Tax embedded carbon through targeted consumption taxes. Direct tax revenues to research, development and innovation for low-carbon solutions, cutting other taxes or supporting the welfare state.
4. Replace GDP growth as the main objective for societal progress and adopt new indicators that accurately measure welfare and wellbeing rather than production growth.
5. Improve refrigerant management by 2020. Adopt ambitious standards and policy to control leakages of refrigerants from existing appliances through better management practices and recovery, recycling, and destruction of refrigerants at the end of life.
6. Encourage exponential technology development by 2020: Create an International Task Force to explore alignment of exponential technologies and business models with the Paris Agreement to promote technology disruption in sectors where carbon emissions have been difficult to eliminate.
7. Ensure greater materials efficiency and circularity by 2025: Significantly reduce the impact of basic materials e.g. steel, cement, aluminum and plastics from almost 20% of global carbon emissions today by the early introduction of innovation, materials substitution, energy efficiency, renewable energy supply and circular material flows.
8. Accelerate regenerative land use policies and adaptation: Triple annual investments in large-scale REDD+ reforestation and estuarine marshland initiatives in developing countries. Compensate farmers for building carbon in the soils and promote forestry sequestration. Support efforts to restore degraded lands. Implement adaptive risk management procedures in every state, industry, city or community.
9. Ensure that population growth is kept under control by giving priority to education and health services for girls and women. Promote reproductive health and rights, including family planning programmes.
10. Provide for a just transition in all affected communities: Establish funding and re-training programmes for displaced workers and communities. Provide assistance in the diversification of higher carbon industries to lower carbon production. Call upon the top 10% earners of the world to cut their GHG emissions by half till 2030.
Together with its national chapters and partners across the globe, the Club of Rome will work with all stakeholders to translate thought leadership into action in implementing the Emergency Plan and realizing a positive vision of the future.
“Three decades of wilful denial by political, corporate, media and bureaucratic leaders, in the face of repeated warnings, has now made climate change an existential risk to humanity, with the potential to annihilate intelligent life. The risk is immediate, given that expanding fossil-fuel use is locking in these outcomes today. Leaders must set aside conventional politics, instead co-operating to address climate change as an unprecedented emergency. Preserving humanity far outweighs the interests of any nation state or corporation”. Ian Dunlop, Member of the Club of Rome, Australia.
“Climate change is a real and present danger to the sustainability of mother earth. The continent of Africa is the most vulnerable and least resourced part of our globe to adequately deal with the consequences of climate change. The irony is that Africa’s heritage of a civilisation based on Ubuntu – the law of nature that each individual thrives in the long run only if the rest of the eco-system thrives as well”.
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, Co-President of the Club of Rome, South Africa.
“Scientific evidence shows clearly that we are facing existential risks. I would like to congratulate the Club of Rome for persistently being a voice on science-based evidence for the need of a transformation to a sustainable future for humanity”.
Dr. Johan Rockström, Executive Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.