Tag: G8

Dear Mr. Prime Minister...

In a disappointing and disheartening plenary session today, the Brazilian chair adopted the watered down draft text to be taken to world leaders tomorrow to formally adopt. As delegations clapped away at our failed future, civil society loudly protested from the back of the plenary hall. 

As a last attempt to salvage this summit, civil society has united its efforts to write a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the G20 Summit calling for an urgent intervention to deliver ambition at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The letter highlights that the draft text is severely lacking in ambition, urgency and political will. Countries are reluctant to commit to a bolder agenda largely because they do not believe that the money can be found to deliver the transition to a fair, prosperous and sustainable world for all.

Civil society is calling on the UK, as a member of G8, G20, UN Security Council and the European Union, to take matters into their own hands and be pioneers in this endeavor to save the planet and forge an international agreement on tackling global inequalities. To do this, three commitments are needed to transform this summit.

  1. Phase out harmful fossil fuel subsidies, with safeguards for the world poorest communities.  Commitments to begin such a process were made by the G20 at their meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009 and again in Toronto in 2010, but with almost no progress to date. Developed countries spend around $100bn a year in subsidies and tax breaks to prop up fossil fuel production, according to the OECD.
  1. Introduce a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) which has been proven by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and independent studies to be a credible, effective and development friendly tax. It is a hugely popular idea, supported by 63% of European citizens and more than 1000 economists, and could raise at least $400bn a year.
  1. Stop multinationals dodging their taxes. This would generate an extra $160 billion a year in tax revenues in poor countries alone. This is money that these companies already owe but which they are not paying.

The biggest impediment to means of implementation and finance is that the money isn’t there, but as shown above, the money is clearly there and can be easily freed up and utilized. Strong political will and even stronger leadership is needed now to push these negotiations to deliver a safe and prosperous world for everyone.

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Balboa

Balboa is disappointed -- but not surprised -- with the news coming out of Washington these days.  It seems that the State Department has been receiving some ‘significant counsel’ from well-connected corporate lobbyists while conducting a review for the Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL is a 1,700-mile fuse to the largest Carbon bomb on the planet, the Alberta tar sands. Exploiting the tar sands is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. Saying NO to Keystone XL would be a positive step for the US to demonstrate seriousness in face of the climate crisis.  Balboa looks forward to seeing President Obama pumping his fists at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s steps later this year after he denies the Keystone permit.  (If readers are lost on the reference, be sure to watch any Rocky Balboa -- no relation -- movie on the flight home :)

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Fast-Start Disclosure

ECO is in shock!  Are we really witnessing a race to the top for the transparency of fast start finance?

After months of pestering developed countries about fast-start disclosure, the United States – a country not known for its climate leadership – says it will disclose so much information that the Dutch fast start finance website will put up ‘under construction’ signs. 

Todd Stern stated at the finance meeting in Geneva that the US would undertake a ‘very detailed document’, much to the shock (and possibly horror) of its Umbrella Group colleagues. 

ECO understands the US will proudly announce that much of its fast-start finance is ‘new and additional’.  That’s easy to do when your previous climate finance contributions are close to zero.  On the other hand, this doesn’t help the comparison of additionality of different rich country contributions.  Only a fair common baseline across all contributing countries will allow that.  What’s actually additional gets even more complicated because the US seems ready to double-count funds for its G8 Food Security commitment towards its fast start package.

If the EU wants to call itself a climate finance leader, a common baseline to measure ‘new and additional’ is a real test of its conviction, and would pressure other rich countries to follow suit.  That’s the race to the top these talks actually need.   ECO would like to remind parties that disclosure and transparency is the first step towards creating accountability and confidence.

Whilst the EU worries about being put in the shade by the US report, they have an opportunity to reclaim their leadership on climate finance by agreeing internally a fair and common baseline for additionality and proposing it for adoption by all parties in Cancun.  ECO understands the EU has considered a common baseline proposal to be included in the EU Fast Start Finance report which could nudge the US to the same starting position.  We’ll know when that report is finalised by mid-November.

Finally, developed countries have no leg to stand on regarding MRV of actions if they cannot be transparent in their support.  We will know more in Cancun about US and EU commitment to transparency of both sources and uses of their fast start
finance, and that will be the time to check in on whether the Brollies have taken heed as well.  So stay tuned to your fast start finance channel right here in ECO!

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G8/G20 Conference - June 2010

In this year's meeting, the G8 leaders agreed in reaffirming the group's essential and continuing role in international affairs and "assertions of new-found relevance." The 2010 G-20 Toronto Summit is the fourth meeting of the G-20 heads of government, primarily to discuss the global financial system and the world economy, which took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during June 26–27, 2010.

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