ECO would like to cast a bright light on whether there is sufficient progress in responding to the needs of the poor and vulnerable at an implementation level. We note that the Adaptation Fund is now established. It has approved funding for 27 adaptation projects with several projects more waiting to be funded. Furthermore, we see that 15 developing countries have already had their National Implementing Entities accredited and can directly access the Fund, and several more countries are in the process of accreditation.
(photo credit: IISD)
My name is Ben Namakin, and I come from the small island state of Kiribati in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is a place in which, along with our other pacific islands neighbors, we contribute less than 0.001% to the global greenhouse gas emissions; sadly, we are currently paying the price for global emissions with rising sea levels, droughts and saltwater intrusion contaminating our groundwater.
Kiribati was the first place to ring in the new millennium in 2000 and will also likely be the first state to be shown on international news as being underwater. What steps should those in our region take? We may be small, but we are not insignificant.
I am fortunate to be a Leadership Development Program (LDP) fellow for CAN International, which gives me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills on the issues, especially at the United Nations negotiation level. We are doing as possible to adapt to climate change: raising awareness on the issues of our people, building sea walls to prevent coastal erosion, and working on other adaptation activities. Despite this work, we still need to make our voice be heard at international negotiations! We must express the concerns of vulnerable communities to the leaders of the world, who claim they make decisions on behalf of us. Here I would like to highlight those of the developed states.
I am here in Doha, Qatar with 7 LDP fellows from various parts of the world following the UNFCCC COP18 negotiations. We all come from the South, and represent the most vulnerable parts of the world to climate change impacts. Though few in numbers, we try to cover the different issues that most concern us, such as mitigation, equity, finance, sustainable development goals and adaptation.
My focus is on adaptation, given the situation faced by those of Kiribati today. We are indeed in need of support for adaptation mechanisms that will ensure the survival of my people. My expectations here concentrate mostly on the call for international mechanisms for loss and damage, for adaptation committees as well as developed countries raising their ambitions on both finance and mitigation.
I want us to leave Doha with an outcome in which the role of the adaptation committees is well arranged so that they will function appropriately. I would also like to see arrangements under loss and damages adopted with concrete mechanisms for all LDC countries, including easy access to funding mechanisms for implementing national adaptation plans. What we want out of this gathering in Doha is not pretext of commitment, but real commitment.
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Like the Secretariat, our LCA chair and many other delegates in the Maritim, ECO also has experience with the trials and tribulations of construction projects. But not to worry. Yesterday, AOSIS and the LDCs presented a new blueprint for a sturdy and livable structure that can be a functional home for all of us, with a minimal carbon footprint and protection from the increasingly uncertain elements.
To build a good foundation, AOSIS has designed some strong pillars to replace or reinforce the flimsy developed country pledges. For instance, the EU, which has been mixing only 20% cement with sand for its concrete, can strengthen its climate edifice by rising to 30% concrete or even more. This is required to meet the building codes anyway, so why skimp and risk collapse?
New Zealand should raise its level to at least 20%. And in Australia, government papers, forced by NGOs to be made public, show that the conditions for its 15% target have already been met.
Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan will need to dig deeper foundations in the second commitment period to prevent vast amounts of hot air.
Canada, which has been out of compliance with building codes for some time, has decided to build tar sand castles and has given up on any construction that will last more than a few years.
Moving from the foundation to the ground floor, AOSIS, troubled by the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan ¨C fleeing the building and planning to build their own shanties ¨C warns they must use comparable construction standards, and prepare for the visit of the building inspector. As long as they remain in the Convention, they must demonstrate that their efforts are comparable to those of Kyoto buildings, and will achieve results consistent with the best available science.
Adequate housing for all requires scaled up contributions to the building fund, which is why the LDCs are unhappy with the lack of reliable and predictable finance. Conventionland’s wealthier residents, who have already built comfortable homes with high carbon footprints, have thus far refused to give a clear timetable towards meeting the US$100 billion commitment by 2020. They only seem to be offering play money and junk bonds to add up to the $100 billion.
With a strong foundation laid, the LDC architects have proposed that a mighty Durban Tower can be built in a few years on the same institutional structure as the current, modest Bali Tower. The venerable old Kyoto Tower will be dwarfed by the combined ambition of these two new structures, which will have ample space for mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building. The new towers will be in full compliance will all codes. Regular visits by monitoring, reporting and verifying teams, checking up on finance and mitigation actions, will be welcome events.
The initial sketches from Durban are about to become detailed blueprints, full of shovel-ready projects that will be built for the occupants well in advance of the construction schedule.
The LDCs, like all of us, have placed their futures in the hands of a new Project Manager who we trust will not be satisfied with the current low level of ambition. All the settlers in Conventionland must spare no effort in ensuring the post-2020 Durban Tower reaches new heights, with clear milestones for each coming year.
As you may recall, today marks my last day as Director of the CAN-International Secretariat.
I said a lot in my announcement to CAN members at the end of last year about how much I've learned and grown in this position. If I could somehow express those sentiments even more strongly now I would, having continued to learn so much from so many of you in the last few months of my post here. I'll be carrying with me wonderful memories from Durban, of touching moments reminiscing with friends, of whispering in our outdoor meeting so a certain bug-eyed climate denier couldn't hear us, of dancing on the beach, hugs and handshakes, smiles and frustrations.
There are, as could be expected, things I will not miss from the past few years -- those 6am conference calls, the countless hours spent in airplane lounges or trying to find that one elusive comfortable posture on cramped airplanes. I won't necessarily miss arguing with the UNFCCC for more intervention slots or negotiating where a comma should go to avoid a dreaded "byline" on CAN positions. But, by a large margin, there are many more memories, lessons, and experiences that this position has afforded me that I will cherish.
When I'm asked what I've enjoyed about my job I almost universally tell the same story -- how it all boils down to the people I've been privileged to get to know, to work with, and to call my friends. We at the Secretariat often say CAN is only as strong as its members. If that hypothesis holds, I can safely say -- having gotten to know so many of you so well -- that CAN is an incredibly strong coalition. It's a crazy moment to be sitting in the back of a plenary of a UN negotiation at 4am in a foreign country and look around the room and feel like you are surrounded by family. It's those moments walking down the halls of the Maritim where you feel like you will never make it to your destination because you feel compelled to stop every four feet to talk to someone you bump into. The idea that I literally can go to any continent on the globe and find someone that is part of this family is something that I don't think I'll ever wrap my head around. It's something I'll always hold dear, perhaps even more so than our successes along the way.
And for these experiences, the friendships, and all the lessons I have taken from so many of you, all I can say is thank you.
One of the things I've been struck by is how personally invested CAN members are in this work. This isn't a job to many of us; it's not a 9 to 5 thing that we can set aside from our "normal" lives. For better or worse, it's our life's work and it's something we are all truly passionate about.
With that in mind, it becomes clear that our enemies are not eachother (despite the fact that sometimes it might feel that way), or the more radical or conservative colleagues we find in the network. Our enemies are out there. They are the fossil fuel interests who are making more money than ever known to man, and spending equal amounts on making sure they can continue to make that money. They are the conservative politicians who have either been bought off by those corporations or somehow otherwise genuinely fear government policies and regulations, when we know that for a truly global problem, a comprehensive government approach is needed. There are those who choose to turn the other way -- perhaps aware that the problem exists, but not willing to admit it because doing so would make their lives inconvenient.
Our enemies are not eachother and they never will be...and that's what makes CAN so important. We need our fellow CAN members not just for support, but because it's only together that we can win. This is why I'm so happy to know that I am leaving CAN in as strong a position as I could ever have hoped to leave it. We have an amazing Secretariat that works tirelessly with the full understanding that their efforts will often be left out of the limelight, but knowing how important they are all the same. We have more members from more countries and constituencies than could have been dreamed of 20 years ago, and our positions, analyses, and strategies reflect this in the most positive of ways. We have the respect and attention of governments all around the world, even if sometimes it feels as though they choose to ignore us.
A friend of mine in the movement once wrote that she knows we're going to win because we're cooler than they are. And I couldn't put it better myself. Putting aside the fact that we're have the truth on our side...we're more fun, more dynamic, more challenging, more passionate, more inspiring, more critical, more friendly, more caring, more creative than THEY are. And sometimes we throw some wicked parties too.
I know you all aren't going anywhere from my life and my heart--and this cause--and you can rest assured I'm not going far. This is a fight we're in together, no matter what roles we play. And I know, like you, I plan on seeing it to the end.
As I leave this role, I'm so tempted to use that clichéd phrase, "it's not goodbye, it's see you later." But I won't...instead, I'll just say:
CAN-International Director, October 2008 - February 2012
Durban, South Africa – At the final day of the United Nations climate negotiations for 2011, countries received their biggest shaming yet for blocking greater progress in the talks. With the final outcome of negotiations not yet decided, it was at least clear enough which nations had done their worst in the last day and the entire two weeks. New Zealand took the infamous 1st prize for its strongest statement yet against continuing Kyoto. But Canada earned yet another Colossal Fossil for scoring the most dirty points at these negotiations, though they earned isolation and a minute of silence more than another fossilized award. Instead, the United States of America took the Colossal Fossil, too, for coming in second place in overall Fossil points and showing serious lack of action for such a major polluter. The Fossils as presented read:
“New Zealand wins the 1st place Fossil. The New Zealand government got a Fossil this week for severely mixed messages about its Kyoto Protocol 2nd Commitment Period stance. This time, it made it clear, describing Kyoto as 'actually an insult to New Zealand'. The only insult is to the citizens of New Zealand and the rest of the world, who will have to suffer the costs of climate change.”
“Canada wins a Colossal Fossil by mathematical majority. The Canadian government has made headlines and earned criticism from the international community in Durban for refusing to sign onto a second Kyoto commitment period, calling critical climate financing 'guilt payments', and bullying least developed countries into leaving the Kyoto Protocol. And over the two week negotiation period, Canada has won a staggering total of 6 Fossil of the Day awards. Mathematically, they are the undisputed winner of the 2011 Colossal Fossil award.
But when environment minister Peter Kent announced Canada’s third fossil of COP 17 on the floor of the House of Commons, members of his Conservative government cheered and applauded. The minister brought that reckless arrogance with him to Durban, where he’s maintained a hard line and refused to budge on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and fought hard to put polluters before people.
Canada remains the only country in the world to have weakened its emissions targets after returning from COP 15 in Copenhagen and the only country to have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol and then say that it has no intention of meeting its targets. The Government killed the only major federal renewable energy program in the country while plowing over 1 billion dollars a year of subsidies into the oil sector.
The Government’s lack of ambition or action to combat climate change is no laughing matter. Climate change is one of the most serious issues that humanity has ever faced, and it is already affecting millions of people – including vulnerable communities in Canada.
(minute of silence)
While a colossal fossil might be a fitting reward for such egregious behaviour, we’d prefer to confer that title on a country whose actions are still having an effect on the negotiations taking place, and not a laggard who’s been pushed to the sidelines of this debate. Until Canada is prepared to become a real leader on climate change, it’s time to turn our backs on the government’s policies and move on with a coalition of the willing built from people, cities and provinces that understand the urgent need for action.”
“And so, the United States of America wins a Colossal Fossil for sheer (un)ambition. For a country that in 2009 claimed to come back to the negotiations full of hope and change, it has mostly just brought more of the same – no commitments, no Kyoto, plenty of rhetoric, and minimal money. Whether because of a conservative Congress or an administration that hid behind it when its President and negotiators could have done more, we can only 'hope' that the U.S.A. 'changes' its stance and doesn't spend the next 4 years earning Colossal Fossils like Canada spent the last 4. This is not the kind of international cooperation CAN had in mind.”
Kiribati Climate Action Network
What does it mean to be in love? Love is a four letter word that makes the world go round…makes people go crazy? I believe that love is a word that will conquer all because it breaks all barriers and does not discriminate. I love KP (the Kyoto Protocol). Why? Because KP loved me first. He is my pillar to lean on; he made me stand tall, he gave me freedom, he prepares my path to walk on. I cannot help but love KP. And I gave my all to be in this relationship with KP. I also realize that KP is not perfect like everyone else, so I accept KP the way he is and am prepared to work with KP to strengthen, empower and grow together in harmony.
I admire KP because he is faithful and the only one that gave me a legal binding agreement to live together. He is a strong advocator for a clean environment because he wanted our children to grow-up in a healthy home. He tells people to reduce and to stop pollution.
My challenge today is that I want a forever relationship with KP, but the industrialized world wanted a short life for KP. They think that he is not perfect, he should be kicked out for he is not worthy to have around. Some think that I should shorten my relationship with him (to have a second commitment). But how could I do this when KP has never failed me. He has always been there for me…he has never changed.
Today, especially this week, I stand with some of my friends and families (all NGOs and AOSIS) in support of KP. KP is on the verge of termination. His life is being weighed in a balance. I cannot save KP alone….I need help from everyone to give me a chance to love him forever. KP’s love encompasses all, not just me but all my friends and families and the whole world. I wish we could wake up and see the beauty of his love. I am prepared to tell the world that I could not stop loving KP. I am wearing my T-Shirt to show everyone that no matter what….KP is still my love and my future. And I am shouting and pleading to the world to give him a chance to live. I am hoping and praying that Durban be a home where KP finds life!
CAN Pacific member finds true love with the Kyoto Protocol.