Tag Archive for: UNFCCC

“It is not enough to just say you will do it, but you have to say we will do it”

During the WEEC2019 conference in the Bangkok city of Thailand we had a chance to meet Niclas Svenningsen who was really kind and showed great interest into our being there and interview.

Just after his speech in the opening ceremony, We, timidly, went next to him and asked him if he could spare some time to us for an interview. He, sincerely and very welcomingly, accepted our offer and started to find a quiter place to help us. At that moment all of our hesitations faded away.

We proposed him a couple of questions about environmental education, communication and global connectivity which are the main themes of 10th World Environmental Education Congress held in Thailand and he sincerely answered all of our questions. In short, It was an informative interview for everone. Here you can find the details.

Hallo Mr Svenningsen, Could please you present yourself for YRE students?

«My name is Niclas Svenningsen. I am working for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. I am responsible for our work on what we call as Global Climate Action, which is basically everything that is not so much negotiations, but engaging everybody else into this fight against the climate change».

In your speech, you mentioned that you conduct a programme called Action for Climate Empowerement of UNFCC. Can you explain the programme more in details?

«Action for Climate empowerement is something that has been in UNFCCCs since the very begining of 1992 and it contains six elements: Education and Training, public information, awareness and Access to engagement and then also international cooperation, but it’s really about the education and to have everybody involve in climate action basically».

“This is a war that you can not win with soldiers or bombs”. What do you think about today’s environmental situation? What are your expectations for the future?

«Well, it’s a big question. Today’s environmental situation could be better. We are at war against our planet. This is a war that you can not win with soldiers or bombs. You need to have intelligence and you need to work together. I’m optimistic, I think we can win this fight… I think we can do something about it, yet we need leaders who lead».

How can the environmental education be widespread to all around the World?

«That’s what I hope to learn from this conference. Every government under the Paris agreement, they have a commitment, a climate action plan. And that climate action plan also needs to include an element on ACE (Action for Climate Empowerment). They have to say how they are going to implement ACE. Today we need more ACE focal points. These focal points work with an industry of economy, infrastructure, transport, energy, the whole government and then with the rest of the society. We work for government to make them put effort on it . It is not enough to just say you will do it but you have to say we will do it».

Do you think the environmental movement efforts of today are enough? Why/ Why not?

«I can tell you that it’s getting better. I think that environmental movement have been there for many many years. However, I assume that the voice that has been out there through “Firdays For Future”, Greta Thunberg and many many others have really made all of us unconfortable for politicians which is good. It shouldn’t be confortable to not to do something, it should be unconfortable to do something. So we need more but we are improving.

Alin Aşım(15)

Ali Özek(16)

Young Reporters for the Environment (Turkey)

UNFCCC: Special Message to the 10th WEEC

Niclas Svenningsen, UNFCCC, with the Young Reporters for Environment. WEEC2019 (3-7 November 2019)

Your Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Dr Sumet Tantivejkul, Honorary Chairman of the World Environmental Education Congress 2019 Steering Committee

Distinguished delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear friends.

On behalf of the United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, her excellency Patricia Espinosa, I am honoured to deliver this message to this the 10th World Environmental Education Congress.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC – was established at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The purpose of the convention is to bring together all governments of the world to work jointly in addressing the threat of climate change and to ensure that global warming does not reach levels that will be irreparably harmful to our society and to our planet.

This is a task that may seem easy, but which in fact is very complicated. It took more than 20 years for our 198 parties to the Convention – the world’s governments – to agree on a common plan. This common plan is known as the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in 2015. This agreement is essentially a blueprint for international cooperation around climate change. It states the responsibilities that every government has, and it defines how they must work together to reach the specific objective of the Paris Agreement: to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, with the ambition to limit it to 1.5 degrees C.

It took more than 20 years to agree on this plan. Not because governments don’t want to do anything, but because addressing climate change requires a complete re-thinking of how we do things. It is not about banning an individual chemical or changing a single sector, but it requires us to think differently about everything: How we produce food, how we manufacture everything from clothes, to vehicles to buildings, how we travel and transport things, how we generate and consume energy, how we take care of our forests, oceans, rivers and lakes, how we build our cities and how we do business. Addressing climate change simply affects all walks of life and society.

It took more than 20 years to achieve the Paris Agreement. In that period, global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 40% pushing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to levels we haven’t seen on this planet for at least 3.6 million years. And we are feeling the impact now. With temperature records being broken every year, with melting ice caps and glaciers, with extreme storms, droughts and weather events. And we see the impact on food production, on infrastructure, on the economy and on the health and lives of people all over the world. From wild fires in California, to typhoons in Japan, flooding in Jamaica, landslides in China and starvation in Africa. It is all linked to our changing climate.

If you follow the climate change negotiations, you will be familiar with discussions on finance, on technology, capacity building, on mitigation, on adaptation, on national climate action plans and so on. However, the fundamental aspect of our work is a different one: It is all about people.

Whether you are a student, a teacher, a business owner, a mayor of a city, or even the president of a country, your decisions will have an impact on the climate footprint of yourself, of your university, of your company, city or country. It is our decisions, as individuals and as representatives of our community, organization or country that in the end decide if we will be successful in tackling the climate crisis. And to be able to take the right decisions, we need to be informed. We need to be educated. And we need to have access to information.

This is why the issue of education, training, public awareness, access to information and public participation is so fundamental to our work on climate change in the United Nations. Already in 1992, this was defined as a priority. In the Paris Agreement, it was again confirmed as a top priority for all countries and all governments to address. In UNFCCC we refer to this issue as Action for Climate Empowerment, with the nice acronym A-C-E, or just ACE.

Under the Paris Agreement, every country is required to develop their national climate action plans – also known as “Nationally Determined Contributions” – NDCs, that describes what the country will do to fight climate change, to reduce emissions and increase adaptation. These climate action plans need to be regularly updated until we reach the Paris Agreement objective.

What does it really mean? Science tells us that it means that we must cut our emissions by 45% by 2030. It means that we have to achieve a climate neutral society – a society where we are not emitting more greenhouse gases than the planet can absorb – by 2050.

Ladies and gentlemen; cutting emissions by 45% in just 10 years from now, and achieving a climate neutral society by 2050, requires that we take action now. Clearly, this is not a job for future generations. But for us. Now. Here. Today. That action will not happen if we, as individuals, and decision makers, and if everybody who have a say about the direction that society is going, are not fully aware, informed, and educated.

And what is it they need to know? They need to know that – Yes – climate change is a formidable threat to our society and planet. A threat that is both global and personal for most of us. But they also need to know that tackling climate change is not a threat. It is not something that will impact us negatively. On the contrary, climate action means that we innovate, renew and improve how we do things. Think about energy without smoke, products without waste, travel without congestion, food without artificial chemicals. In every way, a climate neutral future is a positive one. But we need to be bold to take the steps needed to go there.

This is why we in UNFCCC consider that the work of the World Environmental Education Congress is so essential. This is why Patricia Espinosa, was very happy to also provide her personal patronage to this conference. We believe that the work you do here today can, and will, help the world’s governments to step up and fully implement ACE as part of their national commitments to tackle climate change. This is also why we are very grateful to Thailand, to her Royal Highness, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, to host and welcome this important event. This is the first time the UNFCCC attends WEEC. We pledge that it is not the last time.

Ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, I wish us all a productive, progressive and successful World Environmental Education Congress.

Thank you!

UNFCCC gives its patronage to the 10WEEC

We are very proud to announce that the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , has agreed to give its patronage to the 10th World Environmental Education Congress.
Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, says: «The UNFCCC places great value on the role of education as part of addressing climate change. Both in the UNFCCC Convention and the Paris Agreement, the importance of enhancing education, training, transparency, awareness and public participation in the fight against climate change is emphasized. This Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda is accelerating solutions and facilitating the work of governments in the implementation of these issues in their countries.
Your invitation is therefore very welcome and timely, as we are now in the process of building capacity to strengthen ACE across all dimensions of our work. I recognize that WEEC offers a valuable opportunity to cooperate and provide mutual support in this important area of work».