Photo: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
This year’s Colossal Fossil goes to Australia. The new Australian Government has won its first major international award – the Colossal Fossil. The delegation came here with legislation in its back pocket to repeal the carbon price, failed to take independent advice to increase its carbon pollution reduction target and has been blocking progress in the loss and damage negotiations. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!
Canada is dishonored with a special Lifetime Unachievement Fossil Award for its long-standing efforts preventing this process from making a sufficient contribution to the fight against climate change. As long as Canada and the Harper Government puts their addiction to the tar sands first, Canada will continue to be a Fossil champion.
Canada’s record is in indeed unsurpassed – it is the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. And it did not event meet its pitifully lowered emissions reduction target announced in the lead-up to the Copenhagen COP. Canada’s stance is also rubbing off on other countries at the negotiations. Following Canada’s Kyoto “lead,” Japan abandoned its own 2020 target, and when Australia proposed to cut its carbon price, Canada cheered instead of staging an intervention. Canada you truly are a climate laggard... again... and again.
Singapore slinks to first Fossil for stingy stance on 2015 deal
The first place Fossil of the Day goes to Singapore for strongly opposing the inclusion of the clear elements of a roadmap to the comprehensive global climate action planned that needs to be agreed in 2015. The island city-state is blocking the development of framework to fairly divide climate action between countries. Furthermore, Singapore is promoting weak language in the text on the post-2020 carbon pollution reduction commitments, preventing national actions being integrated in a rules-based multilateral system. Despite being a member of AOSIS, Singapore is blocking progress towards the 2015 deal because of their unwillingness accept they must contribute to the solution.
Second place Fossil goes to U.S.A. We have been hearing that the Americans came here with a mandate to play a constructive role in the negotiations, which is not currently being reflected. They are blocking progress on a Long Term Finance pathway as well as an agreement on the relationship between the COP and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which are critical issues for developing countries. The U.S. is also being difficult around the establishment of an international mechanism on loss and damage, which was agreed at COP 18 last year. This is complete backtracking and a betrayal to the millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world.
Saudi Arabia wins the third place Fossil of the Day. Saudi Arabia wants to introduce the issue of “Response Measures” into the 2015 agreement. Response Measures is the about how countries like Saudi Arabia would be compensated for any loss in oil sales if the world decides to reduce the use of fossils fuels to solve climate change. It would be surprising to many to see Saudi Arabia asking governments for financial compensation when they have one the highest GDPs in the world for selling the substance that caused climate change in the first place. But Saudi Arabia is not interested in financial compensation. They just want to poison the negotiations. They are not fooling anybody.
Ray of the Day goes to Chile. The Alliance of Independent Latin American and Caribbean States (AILAC) has proven itself to be the gold standard in civil society engagement, moral integrity and simple logic by championing youth in the ADP and putting forward Intergenerational Equity.
ECO nodded off during the plenary and heard this:
Dear Ministerial colleagues:
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you at this High Level Roundtable on Market Approaches for Enhanced Climate Action. I want to report to you now that after 18 months Australia’s carbon market is working well.
After the first 12 months the carbon price, supported by other policies, delivered 7% emissions reductions from covered sectors. The proportion of renewables in the energy mix surged by 23%. Inflation impacts were almost exactly as predicted at 0.7%. Auctioning revenues funded support for low and middle-income households, leaving them better off than before the reform. Scare campaigns saying that entire cities and industries would be wiped out proved to be mere fear-mongering.
Australia's carbon price and limit on carbon pollution was of course designed to give a long-term signal to drive investment decisions towards low-carbon technologies and projects. The next step includes an assessment of increasing our ambition based on science and comparative action. To that end, our statutorily independent Climate Change Authority has released a draft recommendation for Australia's emissions reduction target, informed by work programs under the Convention.
The Authority is chaired by a former head of Australia's central Reserve Bank, and its board includes Australia's chief scientist and the former head of the Australian Industry Group. It has recommended that Australia take a 15 to 25% emission reduction target by 2020 with up to 50% reduction by 2030. It identified these targets in relation to an overall carbon budget and with a clear statement of our national interest in avoiding 2o warming.
Australia looks forward to working with you in increasing our collective targets and ambitions well in advance of COP 21. Finally, with the time-bound support for phasing out coal power generators and the need for free permits for trade exposed sectors now almost completely irrelevant, Australia would like to announce that 10% of the carbon price revenue will be directed to climate finance.
Thank you, Chair.
Well, it was a pleasant few moments anyway, But then it was back to plenary reality . . .
Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
The first place fossil goes to India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and China for proposing to delete the only reference to equity in the ADP text! (And for the wonks, we mean paragraph 9 in the ADP text). Equity is key to the 2015 agreement and Parties must leave Warsaw with a clear understanding of how the ex ante review will be conducted. This includes – at a minimum - details on submissions, expert workshops, and the development of a technical paper on a basket of indicators covering: adequacy, historical responsibility, capability, and development and adaptation need). Details that are really hard to achieve if you just delete the whole paragraph. We were shocked that with all the discussions here and in Bonn, equity did not yield more than a passing reference in the first version of the ADP text. The next iteration must expand and not ‘streamline’ references to equity. To these members of the Like-Minded Group, we urge you to engage in the development of an ex ante review, rather than hovering over the delete button.
The second place in today’s fossil goes to Australia, who along with some other developed countries is impeding progress towards setting up an international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw, as proposed by G77 and China. Trying to keep out key text elements proposed by more than 130 developing countries (such as on non-economic losses and permanent losses), delaying negotiation progress through procedural manoeuvres, and lacking a clear commitment to strong support provisions in the decision text is highly concerning. Australia is the leader of those lacking constructive spirit.
We call on the other developed countries to work seriously for the needs of the most vulnerable countries and help in establishing an effective international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw.
Credit: WWF Japan
Coverage of demonstrations: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-17/thousands-rally-across-australia-f...
At last, some great news from Australia. But you can bet your bottom Aussie dollar it doesn’t come from the coalition government. Action over the weekend demonstrated in the clearest possible terms how far off the track they are with the people of Australia.
On Sunday 60,000 people, from all the state capitals and from tiny Outback towns, took to the streets to set the record straight. To be honest, it takes a lot to get those laid-back Aussies riled up in late spring. But not even torrential rain in Sydney could keep people indoors, with 10,000 showing exactly where Australians really stand. In Melbourne they numbered 30,000. Whether in gumboots or sandals, no matter the increasingly unpredictable weather, the country was on its feet this weekend rallying for climate action.
For years, politicians have ignored a simple fact – the majority of Australians want more action on climate change. On Sunday the message could not have been louder. As we head into week two in Warsaw, let’s get one thing straight: Australians are not happy with what their government is doing on climate change, and they are not happy with what is going on here. They are rightly and loudly demanding more.
In a case of doubling down on a dastardly display, Australia was handed the First Place Fossil of the Day award for an unprecedented fourth time in a row at the Warsaw climate negotiations.
This is getting silly, folks. It's almost like the new Australian Government is trying to compete with Canada for being handed the most fossils in a UNFCCC session.
After their first fossil on Monday for refusing to make any new finance commitments, Australia has today gone even further with their nasty rhetoric, willfully and completely undermining the very concept of climate finance.
The Australians said obligations for new, predictable and reliable finance from developed countries are 'not realistic' and 'not acceptable'. This is nothing short of an attack on an important cornerstone of the UNFCCC.
In the same statement, Australia said that climate finance ’is not welfare transfer'. Indeed. Climate finance isn’t welfare – it’s a moral obligation (sorry Australia, it might not be acceptable to you, but it’s true) and a legal commitment that developed countries have made because of their responsibility in causing climate change.
New, additional, adequate and predictable finance – which must primarily be public money if it is to reach the poorest countries and communities and meet UNFCCC obligations – is not an optional part of the UNFCCC. It’s a key building block without which the entire international climate architecture falls apart.
Read all the Fossil texts at www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day
Coming to Warsaw, ECO was feeling somewhat optimistic. Fresh statistics suggested that global CO2 emissions growth has slowed a bit, which could be the first sign of an approaching emissions peak. In September, China announced took a major positive step -- a direction change in its coal policy. Three key industrial provinces must peak and decline coal consumption by 2017 and ban new dirty coal plants.
But then came the damaging announcements by Australia and Japan, whose shifts are in the negative direction.
After a week like this, we certainly don’t need more bad news. But according to rumours, the European Commission is preparing a proposal for a 2030 climate target of a meagre 40% reduction against 1990 levels.
The EU has long been seen as setting a global high water mark on ambition. Yet now it is undermining its own objective to keep global temperature below 2°C.
Yes, 40% seems like a lot – so let’s explain what this means. A 40% target for 2030 would in practice bring the EU on a pathway towards real emission cuts of merely 33% by 2030 due to the amount of surplus emission allowances in the system. Indeed, in order to accommodate the huge oversupply of surplus pollution permits in the EU’s carbon market, any 2030 target would need to be 7% stricter.
Instead, the proposed level would be inadequate to steer the EU’s energy system away from coal, or to drive transformational investments into renewables and energy savings. Instead of investing in clean technologies, EU industries can largely escape meaningful pollution pricing and rely on the overhang of surplus emission allowances on the EU’s carbon market well into the next decade. Fortunately, 40% is not the only number in the mix. The UK has called for an EU target of 50% by 2030, while Finland’s environment minister stated the EU’s fair share is between 40% and 60% emissions cuts by 2030.
The EU “Green Growth” group, consisting of the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania and Estonia, have called for an ambitious EU emissions reduction offer to be put on the table before Ban Ki-moon’s leaders summit in 2014.
So when the European Commission publishes its policy proposal in January and EU leaders discuss it during the EU summit in March 2014, they must insure that the rumour of 40% (remember, that's effectively 33%) doesn’t turn into any kind of reality.
The spotlight is really on Germany, where coalition talks are also rumoured to be considering a minimum 40% climate target by 2030. Germany, of all countries, should know how important it is to get the incentives and infrastructure correct across Europe in order to deliver its own Energiewende – and a 40% target wouldn’t do that. Climate Action Network Europe is calling on the EU to commit to at least 55% domestic emission cuts by 2030, on top of which would come the EU’s international effort. Moreover, a binding EU renewable target of at least 45% and an energy savings target of 40% are needed to provide certainty for investors and drive true transformation of the energy system.
Does the Commission have in mind any kind of equity indicators whatsoever when planning for a 40% target? And how big a global emissions budget is assumed? It doesn’t sound like the EU is assuming anything that would give a reasonable chance of staying below 1.5/2°C.
To be sure, the EU has a long-term emission reduction goal of 80 to 95% reductions from 1990 levels by 2050. Achieving this would be in the EU’s own economic interests as well as inspiring others to follow suit – a real ‘ambition driver’. But 40% by 2030, with all the loopholes in the system, would take the EU off track. We will hear reassuring voices next week as ministers arrive, but what will they be assuring us? We need to see the EU we have until recently known – all about ambition, action and the clean energy future.
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
The First Place Fossil goes to – again - Australia. Withdrawing from climate action and finance for developing countries is already like a slap in the face of those suffering from the impacts of climate change. Simply expressing solidarity with the Philippines, as they did on Wednesday in the loss and damage negotiations, is not sufficient to repair the damage Australia caused.
Even worse, in the same negotiations, Australia gave a gold star performance in obtrusiveness. Their first point was to attach conditions and list the things Australia would not broach talking about. This included objecting to rehabilitation funds – even though this is an area of work already agreed to last year. Then Australia objected to provisions of insurance in the Convention process – even though insurance is even mentioned in the Convention. They insisted that the work programme on loss and damage should be ended when institutional arrangements are agreed, although many Parties have highlighted the usefulness of past work programme activities in their submissions, and a substantial discussion on the future activities has yet to happen.
Happily in contrast to Australia – the majority of other countries showed a constructive spirit. However, Japan gets a dishonorable mention for supporting Australia's obstructive and belligerent stance.
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator