*[Enwl-eng] here is the latest news from the High-level Climate Champions!

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May 11, 2021, 1:13:27 PMMay 11
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UN Climate Change
Global Climate Action
11 May 2021
High Level Climate Champions
Newsletter
What a Robust Commitment Looks Like
Commitments to reach zero emissions in the 2040s are the crucial first step in our race. But words alone will not get us there - it’s about the action that comes soon after.   

A commitment must be followed up with a plan for achieving it - based on what the science says is necessary - with interim targets for the 2020s and regular, transparent progress reports. And that plan must simultaneously chart the shift away from fossil fuels and towards the restoration and regeneration of nature, leading to real emissions reductions wherever possible. 

To keep UN Race to Zero members on track to meet, and beat, their targets, the campaign’s independent Expert Peer Review Group recently published refined criteria for all partner initiatives. The result is an enhanced set of criteria with a stronger emphasis on the need for interim targets and immediate action. 

Race to Zero members need to show how they will contribute to meeting, or surpassing, their fair share of halving emissions by 2030, and explain what they will do to meet interim and long-term targets within a year of joining the campaign. These plans should prioritize emissions reductions over offsets, so that any residual emissions are limited to what cannot feasibly be eliminated. As such, the UN High-Level Champions for Climate Action have made clear that there is currently no science-based route for oil and gas companies to join the Race to Zero, and there won’t be until a sector-specific methodology is published. 

This is the result of the first of the Race to Zero’s annual criteria review, aimed at ensuring that the campaign keeps pace with the science and best practices and helping the wider climate community converge around robust approaches to halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero in the 2040s.
Mobile Sector Breaks Through
More than a third of the global mobile sector is now racing to zero emissions by the 2040s, unlocking the potential for avoiding 10 times more emissions across the economy. 

Around 36 percent of mobile operators by revenue, and 31 percent by mobile connections, have now met the rigorous criteria set by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. That surpasses the campaign’s tipping point, or “breakthrough moment”, when commitments from 20 percent of operators provide the momentum needed to pull the whole sector away from the business-as-usual path. Science-based emissions reduction commitments by mobile operators now cover half of connection and 65 percent of industry revenues. 

The mobile sector’s progress is significant because it could help avoid emissions in other sectors by increasing connectivity, improving efficiency and influencing behaviour change, according to a report by industry association GSMA. In 2018, GSMA estimated that mobile communications technologies could help avoid around 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent - well beyond the sector’s 220 million tonnes. Avoided emissions could then double by 2021 as a result of mobile technologies, it added. 

At the same time, the mobile industry needs to keep accelerating its own race to zero emissions. The industry’s biggest source of emissions is its supply chain. The manufacture and use of devices and equipment is responsible for around 50 million tonnes of e-waste produced every year, according to a new GSMA report. 

This makes the circular economy a fundamental part of the mobile sector’s transition - capable of generating US$45-80 billion in value every year, according to a study by Telia Company, which serves customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Telia aims to have 84 percent of waste from its operations and network construction and maintenance reused or recycled by 2025 and reach zero waste by 2030. Dutch social enterprise Fairphone, meanwhile, has already designed phones that last, are easy to repair and have modular upgrades. 
Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week
Government, private sector and civil society leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean are coming together from Tuesday to Friday (11-14 May) to discuss climate action solutions and ways to incorporate them into the Covid-19 recovery, as one of UN Climate Change’s regional meetings ahead of COP26. 

The virtual climate week will focus on three thematic sessions: national actions and economy-wide approaches; integrated approaches for climate-resilient development; and seizing transformation opportunities. The line-up of events includes the High-Level Champions’ Implementation Lab on Thursday, looking at the energy transition in Caribbean small island developing states and financing for nature-based solutions across the region, and a Race to Resilience dialogue on novel finance solutions for coastal resilience.
In Case You Missed It
  • Welcome, ambassadors! The Race to Zero and Race to Resilience welcomed nine ambassadors from around the world, who will help mobilize cities, regions, businesses, investors and others to contribute to halving emissions by 2030 and building resilience for 4 billion people at risk from the climate crisis. The ambassadors bring a range of expertise and knowledge from different regions, and share a commitment to transformative change. 

  • Cutting methane emissions would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits per year and 25 million tonnes in crop losses, according to a new UN Environment Programme report that offers solutions to reducing methane emissions by around a third by 2030. Mainly: from fossil fuels.

  • Pointing to “encouraging signs from some major economies”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told last weeks’ Petersberg Climate Dialogue that “the world’s top priority should be to dispense with polluting coal-fired power stations altogether and replace them with renewable energy”.  

  • The podcast Outrage and Optimism explores how to finance the race to zero emissions, in the third installment of a partnership with the Race to Zero.

  • Promised health gains from the decline of coal-fired electricity are being undone by pollution caused by burning other combustion fuels like gas and wood pellets, according to research from Harvard University

  • The Global Climate and Health Alliance and dozens of professional health organizations are calling on countries to address future health risks by injecting “health and equity in all climate policies”. This includes healthy Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement and Covid-19 recovery plans.

  • Sir David Attenborough has been named COP26 People’s Advocate. He will address world leaders at major international events over the next six months, including the G7 Summit in Cornwall in June, to firmly put climate and the protection of nature at the top of their agenda. 
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