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Global Climate Politics: less instead of more climate protection

Sixbert Simon Mwanga

Climate Action Network - Tanzania

The UN climate change meeting (COP19) was concluded in the city of Warsaw in Poland on 23rd November 2013. Initially the meeting was planned to wind up on 22nd November 2013. Like in many other UN climate change negotiations, COP19 witnessed developed countries acting as last minute brokers to most decisions. This left many delegates from developing countries who had high expectations from this COP for a roadmap to Paris frustrated and angry.

Some even left the national stadium and hotels before final decisions to most important issues.

NGOs and civil society walked out of the meeting hall in protest of the lack of progress in Warsaw. This was followed by shouting “Stop Climate Madness” by activists and civil society who remained into plenary meetings. As said earlier delibarately delaying until the last minute is not new in the UNFCCC talks and no one cares except representatives of the vulnerable countries.

This ever growing culture in the UN’s structure leaves many questions to delegates and civil societies representing already affected communities by climate change. These questions include: why delegates from developed countries push most of decions at the last minute of the negotiations even where there is a possibility to reach consensus earlier? Are they enjoying to make climate decisions alone as they are the main causative? Is this another form of climate change in the UNFCCC negotiations? Is it possible for these countries to show real leadership to address climate change impacts by providing climate finance with 50% on adaptation as well as meeting their emissions reduction commitments? What is the role of the UNFCCC secretariat  in these negotiations, how can it be utilized by whom and when? There is no easy way COP19 can easily forget countries like Australia, India, China, Poland and Japan which are responsible for the weak outcome of the conference.Some even came to decrease their mitigation ambitions while the Polish government welcomed COP delegates in a cynical environment because at the same time a coal conference was held in Warsaw.

Future of Climate Action

Regardless of the discouragements, relatively slow pace and hard time; a successful fight to climate change impacts needs a global partnership. The effective use of the Bonn sessions, Ban Ki-moon summit and COP20 in Lima will help us reach our goal of a strong, equitable international agreement by 2015 in Paris.

 

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Health Tips for Fasting

 

- Speak to your doctor about your plans and make sure to inform them of any relevant medical history.

- Don't overexert yourself. Keep physical activity to a minimum.

- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water - at least 2 liters of water per day, plus herbal tea is a good option. If you feel unwell,  drink a liter of water with 4 cubes of sugar and 4 teaspoons of salt. 

- Consider taking vitamin tablets - a B1 vitamin and a multivitamin tablet that includes B12, B6, C , E vitamins should help

- If you’re feeling extremely tired or you have sight problems, nausea, numbness; seek medical help. 

Intervention at the Post 2015 Open Working Group on Energy

 -        We are concerned to hear some Parties sequencing the energy discussion, saying that we need to ensure energy access before sustainability. Creating an atmosphere of competition between the two. For us it is not the case, and we see them mutually reinforcing. For example, decentralized RE in most cases is the cheapest and most reliable way to provide energy access. Due to future climate impacts, it is not possible to achieve one without the other. Focusing on energy access without addressing carbon emissions will only increase poverty on the long-term due to climate impacts.

-          We are also concerned that there is more and more attempts to rely on the private sector (especially the Fossil Fuel Industry) to lead on the discussions in relation to how to deal with the climate crisis. We believe that governments need to be charge of the debate as well as ensure strong and effective involvement of civil society. Governments need to create the political, economic, and social atmosphere that would direct private and public investments towards sustainable low-carbon development, such as developing LCDS, reforming FFS, creating RE/EE targets, etc.

-          According to the IEA, 2/3 of fossil fuels should not be used, if we want to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. In her speech to the coal industry during the climate summit in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres also confirmed this fact, by informing the industry that the coal needs to stay in the ground.

-          Everyone is saying that the new post-2015 Sustainable Development goals need to be transformational. This means for us that in the energy sector, we need to mostly switch to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, especially that RE creates more jobs per kwh in most cases that are healthier and of better quality.

-          RE targets for 2030 need to be in-line with science, and have 5-year sub targets to help bridge the pre-2020 ambition gap.

Sustainable energy access for all and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

Integrating climate change into the post-2015 agenda: HOW and WHY?
With special focus on sustainable energy access for all

Time and Date: 27 Nov 2013, 1.15-2.30 pm, 

Location: Conference Room 7, UN HQ, New York

This side event during the 5th session of the Open Working Group on SDGs will tackle two crucial topics that are prerequisite to eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development: climate change and sustainable access to energy for all. Climate change is an existential threat that will continue to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable people and places, impacting negatively on those least responsible for the climate crisis. 

Securing universal access to modern energy services and transitioning energy systems away from fossil fuels will central to solving both the climate change crisis and the global poverty crisis. Without addressing the causes of climate change and all its impacts, comprehensively, goals on eradicating poverty – including any goal on energy access for people in poverty – will be ineffective and short term, and fail to ensure sustainable development.

It is essential to start finding concrete ways to integrate climate protection, energy access and poverty reduction in a holistic development framework. During this side event, the panellists will outline government, UN and civil society perspectives on such concrete ways, followed by a short questions and answers session.

Panel
David Hallam, Special Envoy on post 2015, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Janine Felson, Ambassador of Belize and special adviser to the UN PGA
David O’Connor, Chief, Policy and Analysis Branch, Division for Sustainable Development. UN-DESA
Minoru Takada, Senior Policy Adviser, Sustainable Energy for All
Wael Hmaidan, Director, CAN-I
Bernadette Fischler, Post-2015 Policy Analyst, CAFOD, Co-Chair of Beyond 2015

Chair
Dominic White, Chair of Bond

RSVP to bfischler@cafod.org.uk

Integrating sustainable energy and climate change into the Post-2015 agenda: how and why?

Integrating sustainable energy and climate change into the Post-2015 agenda: how and why?

Time: 26 November 2013, 8am-9am
Location: Amartya Sen Conference Room, FF Building, New York. 

Introduction
The aim of the post-2015 development framework is to “eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms while ensuring a sustainable development path for all countries”. However, climate change is an existential threat, that is and will continue to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable people and places the most, impacting negatively those least responsible for the climate crisis. Further, securing universal access to modern energy services and transitioning energy systems away from fossil fuels is central to solving both the climate change crisis and the global poverty crisis.

A goal on energy access for people in poverty and many other goals on poverty eradication will only be effective in the long run if it addresses also the causes of climate change and all its impacts. It is essential to start finding concrete ways to integrate climate protection and human development needs in a holistic development framework.

A group of environment and development organizations convened by CAFOD and WWF UK with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International put together a set of concrete recommendations on how to meaningfully address energy access and climate change across the post-2015 framework. The resulting discussion papers form the basis for a conversation on these pertinent topics during the November sessions of the OWG on SDGs.

Purpose
This breakfast meeting will provide a space for open and informal discussions on concrete suggestions to integrate sustainable energy access for all and tackling climate change into the post-2015 development framework.

Program
 

  • 8:00am – Welcome and introductions, Corinne Woods, Director UN Millennium Campaign
  • 8:05am – Concrete suggestions on how to integrate energy access and climate change into the post-2015 framework, Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD/Beyond 2015
  • 8:15am – Open Discussion moderated by the Chair, Corinne Woods, Director UN Millennium Campaign
  • 9:00am – End of event

*The discussion will be held under Chatham House rules to encourage an open dialogue 

Can the Warsaw summit take a significant step towards more climate justice for all?

Ange David Baimey 
Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement Cote d'Ivoire

In the beginning of June 2013, a World Bank report described a frightful scenario for the future. A few months ago, in September 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the first installment of its 5th report underlined that we are on a trajectory which is dangerous for all of us! In a time where we blithely progress towards the 2°C, in a time where an unprecedented typhoon  hits the Philippines and Vietnam, where droughts decimate crops in Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti, it is time to speak up for equity and climate justice.

Even better, it is time to stop speaking about it and take action.

But, although equity should be the cornerstone of the next climate deal, the concept seems to be labeled non grata by all the countries that refuse to strengthen their reduction actions, to save the adaptation fund or to mobilize additional public finance.

Maybe we should remind these countries that a deal in 2015 will be impossible if we do not first agree on equity. If we are not able to propose a fair distribution of efforts and benefits according to responsibilities and capabilities, we will not be able to rally the developing countries, from the least developed to the emerging economies.

The NGOs have a simple proposal: let’s agree here in Warsaw on the indicators which will allow to measure the ambition and appropriateness of each country’s future commitments in the 2015 deal: are these in line with what the latest IPPC report calls for? Do they match both the country’s historic responsibility and capabilities?

We will also have to make sure that the deal includes a mechanism allowing for an evolution of the level of commitments and of their repartition.

Obviously, for such a proposal to be credible, for developing countries to participate in this negotiation, the starting point should be to respect the already made commitments.

The NGOs thus expect the developed countries to reinforce their reduction goals instead of creating new ways out by leaving the Kyoto Protocol or going backwards on their targets. The NGOs expect that the developed countries live up to their financial promises. It is the necessary starting point for an acceptable deal in 2015.

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COP 19 : “I Care”, Do You?

Henriette Imelda
Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR)

Leaving for Warsaw, for COP 19, with the Polish Government’s promises in mind that COP 19 would be the Finance COP, has - to some extend -  given me a bowl-full-of-expectations. Finally, I thought, the climate change negotiations will turn into a positive, meaningful, and fruitful talks. Walking home not only with pledges but also the commitment for full implementation of the pledges.

As I walked around the centrum, reaching a place for a meeting, I suddenly saw this big banner over COP 19 with a tag “I Care”; what a hopeful banner for me, someone who comes from developing countries that still have problems with access to energy, as well as the fact of being heavily threatened by the impact of climate change. With the possibility of losing around 200 islands, and with a growing population that is currently over 240 million, do you think that we won’t have land issues for residence? Our dependence on fossil fuel to generate cannot be used as an excuse, to force us in reducing our emission, as we only have fossil fuel to light our houses. Renewable energy is still expensive for us to avail, which gives us more homework to be done because we still need to grow.

With such kind of a background, I came to Warsaw with full expectations.

Early morning on the day the COP 19 was supposed to end, I took a look at the ADP text that was uploaded at 5.45 in the morning. How surprised I was when I saw that all the important things were deleted; equity, timeline to review developed countries’ pledges, as well as enhance ambition. I felt betrayed, now that my expectations have been turned down, since developed countries have violated things that both developed and developing countries have agreed upon.

Many developing countries have to bear the cost of climate change by themselves. The Philippines has to bear the cost of destructions from the Haiyan typhoon, and some developing countries had to bear their own cost to develop their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). We have done so many things to rebuild or sustain lives, but developed countries seemed not to care. Many times developed countries ask for NAMAs from developing countries. Now that we have some, why don’t you just put some money in there, showing that you, as developed countries, can still be considered as accountable for developing countries? We’ve done our part, now it’s yours, isn’t it?

The green big banner that I saw in the centrum, does not reflect on what the developed countries think of; not even for Poland’s government, the host. “I Care”? Really?? Do you???

If it is true, then show me! Put your pledge!

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Opportunities for a change - Why COP 19 is important for Latin America

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Fundación Biosfera
Climate Action Network Latin America (CANLA)

While UNFCCC negotiations continue in COP 19, countries still struggle to make significant progress on crucial issues that are due to be agreed in this COP. Many issues need to be covered by the end of this week if we want to be certain that we are on the correct path for a 2015 deal.

Latin American countries are excited about COP 20 in Peru, but some challenges are in the way, right here and right now. The Latin American COP will be the last stop before we go to France for sealing the deal that will shape the commitments for the future of our climate, and we have our expectations for it. It is fair to say that a lot of planning has to happen and it is good to see that Peru is taking a lot of time to prepare for it.

Nevertheless it is important to recall that negotiations are happening right now and right here. Crucial issues like Finance and Loss and Damage are key for the remaining 5 days and countries know it. Latin American countries are playing active roles in the G77 and the negotiations in general. But we need to see more action; we need to come up with creative and diverse ideas that contribute to solve the problem, and they might be in Latin America.

Loss and Damage has to come up with a clear result. What happened in the Philippines is not impossible to happen in Latin America, and we know it.

Actions to promote Low Carbon Development should be highlighted here from all Latin American Countries. We don't want them to be in the same path that brought us here. It is just not acceptable to defend fossil fuels saying it is a necessary evil...

So it would be good to see that creativeness coming from the next COP presidency and its neighbours. After all, whatever is not agreed in Warsaw will have to be dealt with in Lima, and considering how much is already in the list of issues for 2014... that is just too much.

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MRV in Warsaw

Photo: IISD

Vositha Wijenayake

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)

Article 12 of the UNFCCC recognises measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) as a key element or rather a pillar for ensuring transparency, building trust among parties. Furthermore it adds to ensuring accountability among the Parties. The Convention calls upon Parties for regular reporting on efforts taken by countries to address climate change.

The requirements pertaining to countries are developed based on the common but differentiated principle (CBDR). This in turn explains that the Annex1 countries i.e. developed countries are endowed with a higher level of obligation on their reporting than the developing countries. In more specific terms this involves the developed countries having to undergo a review process by experts to ensure completeness, consistency and accuracy of reported information. The review also encompassed a review by Parties, of efforts made by developed countries to meet their obligations under the Convention.

The Bali road map extended the gambit of the MRV by strengthening the reporting requirements of both the developed and developing countries as well as instituting a formal process of review, international analysis and review (IAR) for developed countries and international consultation and analysis (ICA) for developing countries.

This in turn required the developed countries to report annual GHG inventory every year; prepare a biennial report – highlighting the progress made in meeting its obligations under the Convention, both, on mitigation pledges and support; and national communication every four years; and, for the developing countries to prepare a biennial update report, including GHG inventory, on planning and implementing NAMAs, and to prepare a national communication every four years.  All efforts of developing countries for reporting are supported by the Convention.

Guidelines for measurement is the key of an MRV system. This is the first step in ensuring consistency, relevance and completeness of information. One such measure can be seen in the form of all countries being required to prepare their GHG inventories in accordance with the IPCC GHG inventory methodology. The common accounting methodology also makes it possible to compare the information across sectors, both within and across countries.

An outstanding issue at present is the common tabular format (CTF) to compare the pledges, progress made in pledges, as well as reporting on the support provided. The challenge faced concerns defining climate finance, how to report different forms of public support (grants, loans, etc), and defining new and additional support. The last element relates to separating, in broad terms, the finance provided for development issues in developing countries through bilateral aid from finance provided for climate related activities.

Here in Warsaw there are a few things that we need to achieve, among which lies the creation of a process that allows all countries to understand what is pledged by others, and to be able to develop new offers for the post-2020 period.  Warsaw needs also to be able to highlight what needs to be included in Party offers, equity and scientific benchmarks, in addition to how these offers need to be reviewed.  

Furthermore there is also need for the procedures and the outcomes for both the preparation and assessment processes to be equitable. Thus this process needs the inclusion of credible elements that possess the capacity to assess whether countries are doing their “fair “share, in line with science and a set of equity indicators.

 

References made to discussions of CAN MRV working group, and to “MRV in Warsaw” by Mr. Sudhir Sharma for ClimAsia, Warsaw  edition. 

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What Can Motivate Delegates to Make Right and Timely Decisions?

Sixbert Simon Mwanga

Climate Action Network - Tanzania

The second week of November 2013 witnessed delegates and representatives from more than 190 countries landing on Polish land. The reason for their coming was not to see the beauty of Poland but to discuss and make important decisions on harmful climate change impacts at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 19 (COP19) and the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol taking place from 11 to 22 November.

The first week of the Warsaw climate change conference was full of sadness and sorrow due to Super Typhoon Haiyan which caused massive deaths across our beloved Philippines. These were the innocent people with insignificant contribution to climate change. This can be a topic of its own.

Since their arrival, civil society representatives have been showing their clear concern and demand from delegates to take a lead in making decisions to address climate change; both causes and impacts. However, since 1994 and up to now, not much ground has been covered in these negotiations. There has been a culture of lagging behind which has favored the increase of events related to climate change around the world.

This leaves many questions to already suffering and vulnerable communities. Among these questions, one could ask “what motivates delegates to make right and timely actions?” If delegates are not motivated and cannot act based on what science tells us regarding the climate and global warming, wouldn’t they be motivated to save their children, elder brothers and sisters who are already suffering from the impacts, sometimes to death? Why can’t they consider and value billions and billions of money their governments invest in infrastructure year after year that then get destructed within a minute? Should climate scientists stop climate studies and put heads together with medical doctors and psychologists to find what can motivate UNFCCC climate change negotiators to take right and timely actions?

Should we continue delaying while learning words and vocabulary to use while extending our condolences to countries and families which will be losing their manpower and future generations? Should we continue waiting to advertise ourselves in meetings that we care enough and we have offered money to bury dead people? May be we should find another name to replace the word delegate.

“Country representatives”: increasing finance, adaptation and mitigation ambitions here in Warsaw, this is what we want from you. This is our simplest indicator of success. Don’t turn yourselves into stones, please establish international mechanisms on loss and damage.

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