MPs pledge to take action on climate change

MPs pledge to take action on climate change
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Participants of the Parliamentary Meeting called on countries to strengthen mitigation efforts. © IPU/S.-A. Sader & T. Staub

Participants of the Parliamentary Meeting held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn called on countries to undertake economy-wide reductions in emissions and strengthen mitigation efforts, given the “alarming gap” between the reductions needed and the national pledges made in Paris.

The Parliamentary Meeting took place on 12 November 2017 and was co-organized by the IPU and the Parliaments of Fiji and Germany. It brought together parliamentarians from 52 countries as well as experts to discuss how parliaments could take action on climate change. Speakers included Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and President of COP23; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas Barron.

Participants discussed the low-carbon economy concept, climate change science and climate-induced migration. At the end of the meeting, they agreed on an outcome document to further parliamentary engagement on climate change.

“The era of effective implementation of the Paris Agreement has come and parliaments should take stronger and more concerted actions to respond to climate change,” said IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron. “They should maximize their roles as legislators and overseers of government action. They should ensure ratification of the Paris Agreement where needed and enhance international cooperation and partnerships to share information and experiences on a regional and global scale.”

“Parliamentarians turn national climate action plans into concrete action,” said Ms. Espinosa. “Policies you put in place to incentivize, for example, renewable energy, energy efficiency or sustainable transportation, reduce the emissions that drive risk. Investing that little extra up front for resilient infrastructure protects people when extreme weather hits – and helps get the economy up and running more quickly afterwards.”

The outcome document reiterates parliamentarians’ commitment to tackling climate change and ensuring that the increase in the global average temperature is kept well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Parliamentarians pledged to bring national fiscal and investment policies in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and strengthen their respective national capacity to adapt to climate change’s adverse impacts. They underscored the particular vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to climate change and its consequences.