By Aleksandra Gadzinski
KATOWICE (IDN) – Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two major existential threats to the survival of humanity, civilization and the planet Earth. With this in view, in January 2018 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the legendary Doomsday Clock to 2 minutes to Midnight, due to the threats from nuclear weapons and climate change, said Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) at an event on December 9. [P 17] ITALIAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SWEDISH
The event was hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the two-week-long COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland that concludes on December 14.
Parliamentarians and climate experts joined the event to discuss parliamentary actions to ensure implementation of the Paris agreement on Climate Change, including those outlined in IPU's Parliamentary Action Plan on Climate Change endorsed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Governing Council at its 198th session in Lusaka, Zambia on March 23, 2016.
Speaking on behalf of PNND, a global network of legislators dedicating to preventing the use of nuclear weapons – whether by accident, miscalculation or intent – and in achieving the peace and security of a nuclear weapons free world, Ware said, "nuclear weapons and climate change threats can be eliminated, and a sustainable and secure world achieved".
The prerequisite is that there is "sufficient political will to overcome the institutional inertia and vested financial interests in the status quo". With regard to climate change, he identified primarily the fossil fuel industries as the vested interests. And, with regard to nuclear weapons the vested interests are the nuclear weapons manufacturers – a handful of companies collectively earning over $100 billion per year from the business and lobbying powerfully to maintain the nuclear arms race, he added.
The PNND Global Coordinator emphasised parliamentarians' vital role in building the political will and in advancing specific policies, including financial policies, to ensure success in shifting investments from nuclear weapons into the sustainable development goals, and to replace fossil fuels with 100% renewable energy in order to reverse climate change.
"For this reason, we welcome initiatives which can assist parliamentarians to carry out these roles effectively in their respective countries," he said. In particular, he highlighted the establishment of the Global Renewables Congress, an international network of current and former legislators chaired by Bärbel Höhn, former MP in the German Bundestag, and facilitated by the World Future Council, working to build political will and advance specific policies to replace fossil fuels with 100% renewable energy.
Alyn Ware is Coordinator of the World Future Council Peace and Disarmament Program.
On December 11, the World Future Council will hold a special event during COP24 to launch the Global Renewables Congress (GRC), co-chaired by acting Commissioner for Energy Reform in Africa for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
GRC will encourage:
Exchange of experiences on implementing policies that ensure an enabling environment for renewable energy deployment and investments on national and subnational levels (price on carbon, subsidies, Feed-in Tariffs, etc.)
Information on the political and technical needs for the electrification of sectors not yet electrified (e.g. transport, heating, etc.)
Capacity-building on the development of technical scenarios and policy roadmaps to reach renewable energy targets across all sectors
Reporting on key technical developments and trends (e.g. role of batteries, biofuels, RE cooking solutions, etc.)
"We encourage parliamentarians to join and make use of this new network. We also encourage parliamentarians to give priority to ending the current financial incentives for fossil fuels – incentives which were established to ensure continual energy supply – and instead shift to incentivizing renewable energies, which now have the capacity to fulfil energy needs if sufficiently developed," he said.
This would include, for example, ending subsidies and divesting public funds (such as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds) from the fossil fuel and nuclear weapons industries.
A number of governments – including Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – have already adopted measures to end public fund investments in the nuclear weapons industry, and these measures have had no negative repercussions on the financial performance of the funds.
Similar public divestment from the fossil fuel industry, coupled with reinvestment in renewable energies would contribute significantly to speeding up the transition to renewable energies and ensuring that the goals of the Paris agreement are met, the PNND Global Coordinator said. [IDN-InDepthNews – 10 December 2018]
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