Major Economies Forum Addresses Climate and Security, Finance
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The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF) convened on the margins of the 71st General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to prepare for the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22) and discuss implementation of the Paris Agreement, progress toward a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the global market-based measure (MBM) to curb aviation emissions under consideration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

MEF23 September 2016: The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF) convened on the margins of the 71st General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to prepare for the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22) and discuss implementation of the Paris Agreement, progress toward a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the global market-based measure (MBM) to curb aviation emissions under consideration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Chairing the ministerial segment, US Secretary of State John Kerry opened the meeting by underscoring the links between climate change and global security. He noted a recent report by the US National Intelligence Council addressing water scarcity, food insecurity, rising seas, climate-related migration and climate refugees, adding that the US Department of Defense refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier.” He highlighted a Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security, signed by US President Barack Obama earlier in the week, that will help mainstream climate change security considerations into the US Government’s operations.

Kerry also addressed climate finance in his remarks, referencing the goal that developed countries committed to by 2020 – US$100 billion annually for developing countries – in the context of his country’s own spending. The US spent US$230 billion last year, “just to clean up after eight storms, and here we are fighting about trying to find 100 billion for the Global Fund,” stated Kerry. “I mean, this is one nation alone spent 230. Think if we put the 100 billion up front ten years ago to get ahead of this curve.”

Kerry also discussed the urgency surrounding Paris Agreement implementation. On this theme, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop described actions her country is taking to fulfill its goal of reducing emissions 52% per capita by 2030. In addition to the recent announcement of AUD300 million in climate funds for the Pacific, she touched on Australia’s intention to review the ambition of its climate change policies next year, provide AUD1 billion in climate-related development assistance, and improve countries’ access to funds under the Green Climate Fund (GCF). She ended by endorsing the COP 22 theme of implementation and action.

Emphasizing that the Government of Italy “is determined to push fast-track ratification of the Paris Agreement,” Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni addressed MEF attendees as a representative of the Group of Seven (G7) Presidency. Gentiloni confirmed the Italian Presidency’s commitment to continue prioritizing climate issues in the G7 and added that Italy “supports the EU strategy to decarbonize Europe’s economy by 2050.”

The MEF, which was launched on 28 March 2009, is intended to facilitate a dialogue among major developed and developing economies, help generate the necessary political leadership to achieve a successful outcome at the annual UN climate negotiations, and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting emissions. The 17 major economies participating in the MEF are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the UK and the US. [US Secretary of State Remarks] [US State Department MEF Webpage] [Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Remarks] [Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release] [Government of Singapore Press Release] [MEF Website]


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