COP 24 and the role of parliamentarians on climate change and nuclear disarmament

COP 24

UN climate change conference underway in Katowice, Poland.

PNND makes links between nuclear disarmament and climate protection, and participates in the IPU meeting of parliamentarians and launch of the Global Renewables Congress.

Governments, legislators, environment experts, business leaders and other stakeholders have gathered in Katowice, Poland for COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Members of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PPND) are participating in COP 24 in their individual capacity and also as part of PNND's contribution to COP 24 and the climate change issue.

PNND member Claudia Roth chairs session 1 of the IPU meeting of parliamentarians at COP 24.

Below is the statement of PNND Global Coordinator Alyn Ware for the Parliamentary Meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference organised by the Inter-Parliamentay Union.

PNND members are also participating in the launch on December 11 of the Global Renewables Congress, a network of current and former legislators working to build political will and advance specific policies to replace fossil fuels with 100% renewable energy.

COP 24 and the role of parliamentarians on climate change and nuclear disarmament

Comments by Alyn Ware, PNND Global Coordinator,  for the parliamentary meeting at COP 24.

I am speaking on behalf of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, 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.

Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two major existential threats to the survival of humanity, civilization and our planet. Indeed, in January this year, the Bulletin of 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.

Both threats can be eliminated, and a sustainable and secure world achieved, if there is sufficient political will to overcome the institutional inertia and vested financial interests in the status quo.

With regard to climate change the vested interests are primarily the fossil fuel industries.

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.

Parliamentarians are vital 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. In particular, we highlight the establishment this week of the Global Renewables Congress, an international network of current and former legislators chaired by Barbel Hohn former MP in the German Bundestag and facilitated by the World Future Council. 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 fulfill energy needs if sufficiently developed. 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.

Thank you