Parliamentary input, greater urgency from governments needed to address climate crisis, say OSCE parliamentarians at webinar

Torill Eidsheim opens the webinar, 16 Sept. 2020Torill Eidsheim opens the webinar, 16 Sept. 2020COPENHAGEN, 16 September 2020 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s webinar today, entitled “From the Arctic to Global: The Political Role in addressing Climate Change,” featured the participation of some 50 parliamentarians and experts for a discussion on the effects of climate change in the Arctic and beyond. The PA’s Special Representative on Arctic Issues, Norwegian parliamentarian Torill Eidsheim, opened the event, followed by keynote addresses by the Arctic Council’s Adalheidur Thorsteinsdottir, the UN’s Daniele Violetti, and Prof. Tore Furevik, Director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.

“Climate change is a global issue, and, as such, it requires decisive – and urgent – global answers,” said Eidsheim in her introductory remarks. “Alone, we are not able to solve it, not in the Arctic and not anywhere else. We need a spirit of co-operation, solidarity, and joint responsibility for the future of our planet.” She added that parliamentarians can contribute to this process by proposing legislation, holding governments accountable for their commitments, and raising awareness and engaging citizens.

Arctic webinar 2Prof. Tore Furevik presents data on climate change at OSCE PA webinar, 16 Sept. 2020Prof. Furevik noted that the Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the planet, and that rapidly melting sea ice is having dramatic global consequences. He talked about tipping points and how warming in the Arctic is impacting the jet stream, which has effects on weather patterns all over the world. In addressing climate change, he stressed the importance of improving collaboration between international organizations, governments and the scientific community.

Thorsteinsdottir, representing the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, discussed the heightened regional co-operation promoted by the Arctic Council, noting that this is essential in combating climate change. Working groups of the Arctic Council develop science-based policy recommendations for informed decision making, she said, noting that current projects are focused on reducing harm related to Arctic shipping and addressing the growing concern of wildfires in the Arctic.

Violetti, Director of Means of Implementation Division of the UNFCCC, noted the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and stressed the need to raise ambition among governments towards increasing efforts towards mitigation and adaptation. The national action plans in response to the Paris Agreement must reflect this urgency, he said. Financing is another issue that needs greater attention, Violetti underlined, as well as considering climate action as part of the broader sustainable development agenda. “The role of parliamentarians is one of the critical ones,” he said.

In the discussion, OSCE PA members raised questions about how to best prioritize the work of parliaments and governments, as well as promoting understanding of the most effective way forward to de-carbonize societies. Parliamentarians highlighted work that is being done in their countries while underscoring the need for other countries to also live up to their responsibilities.

Arctic webinar 3Elona Hoxha Gjebrea addressing the OSCE PA webinar, 16 Sept. 2020 Other topics raised by participants included how to fully involve the youth in decision-making on environmental issues, considering that young people will be those most affected by climate change, as well as how to ensure that the Arctic region remains a space free of geopolitical conflict and aggressive economic competition.

Elona Gjebrea Hoxha (Albania), Rapporteur of the PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, noted that political collaboration is needed to address the climate crisis, which she pointed out exacerbates the security threat in multiple dimensions. She also noted that while the drastic effects of climate change are being experienced worldwide, there are also concerns about general air quality that must be prioritized. It is the role of parliaments to promote sustainable development, she said, and parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in enhancing commitments from governments.

Moderated by the OSCE PA International Secretariat, the Parliamentary Web Dialogue was aimed to enhance the knowledge on climate change and its impact on people’s lives, and thus better understand how to work towards addressing global warming as a full-fledged human security threat.

Watch the full webinar here.

Photos of the event are available on Flickr



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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