The UN High Level Expert Group Sets a Clear Bar for Climate Action by Non-State Actors 

RAN welcomes the recommendations of HLEG; concerned on lack of ensuring the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of of Indigenous Peoples

Sharm El-Sheikh / Oakland, November 8 2022 — Today at COP27 the Secretary General, António Guterres, launched the report of the High Level Expert Group after its convening started in March 2022. In months, the HLEG reached consensus on its recommendations on implementations of Net Zero goals of non-state actors.

Aditi Sen, Program Director of Rainforest Action Network (RAN) issued the following response:

“RAN welcomes the recommendations from HLEG. We agree with Catherine McKenna’s sentiments that you can’t be a climate leader and invest in new fossil fuel projects, you can’t use credits to meet emissions reduction goals, and you can’t reduce emissions intensity instead of absolute emissions reductions.

We celebrate that the report calls for the end of fossil fuel expansion and absolute emission reductions aligned with 1.5 C pathways. While it rules out offsets as a credible way to achieve net-zero, it misses the mandate to immediately end deforestation in forest-risk commodity supply chains. It pushes out old deadlines by setting deforestation goals to 2025, which doesn’t deliver on the ‘high ambition’ promises made by the world’s biggest agri-commodity traders at last year’s COP.

“It also fails to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior, and informed consent, a bedrock of human rights. Consultation alone is proven to be inadequate in protecting ancestral lands and waters. Indigenous and local communities freely giving or withholding their consent to development on their land must be binding and met without reprisal.

“These recommendations are a crucial tool for holding companies accountable for credible climate action. Several companies — including many financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs — that are part of GFANZ make lofty net-zero pledges yet continue to finance fossil fuel expansion and forest destruction against HLEG recommendations. Companies can no longer greenwash and hide behind empty net-zero pledges while continuing business as usual.”