Tag: outcome

No oasis for climate in Doha desert

 

The UN climate talks failed to deliver increased cuts to carbon pollution, nor did they provide any credible pathway to $100 billion per year in finance by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change, according to the 700 NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network-International (CAN-I).

Two weeks ago, just prior to the start of these negotiations, numerous credible reports were published by an array of well respected scientists, economists and climate change experts, all with essentially the same conclusion - we are currently on an unsustainable path which virtually guarantees the world will be faced with catastrophic effects from climate change, according to Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo.

“Two weeks of negotiations have not altered that path and that politicians need to reflect the consensus around climate change through funds, targets and effective action."

WWF head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, said Doha was supposed to be an important element in setting up for a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015 and therefore needed to rebuild trust and instill equity.

“These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations,” Essop said. “The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity.”

Governments have delivered a very vague outcome that might lead to increased ambition but only if the politics shift to working for the people, our future, and not the polluters.

In particular, countries including the US, who have continually blocked progress in the talks, need to fundamentally change their positions in line with their obligation to lead on the solution to this crisis that they created.

Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said Doha had done nothing to guarantee that public climate finance would go up next year, not down.

“Developing countrieshave come here in good faith and have been forced to accept vague words and no numbers,” Gore said. “It's a betrayal.”

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-I, said that ministers needed to go back to their capitals and work hard to put concrete proposals on the table for the next talks so that progress could be made towards to secure a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in 2015.

“The path forward is actually quite clear: we have the technology and know-how to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, protect vulnerable communities, and grow sustainable, resilient, economies.”

“But we also need people in all regions of the world to demand leadership from their governments on climate change – just like the new youth movement in the Arab region has done.”

The Doha Decision:

  • An extraordinarily weak outcome on climate finance which fails to put any money on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. The decision asks for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, calls for public funds for adaptation but does not mention a figure, and encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels dependent on their economies.  
  • An eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with loopholes that allow carry over, use and trading of hot air
  • A call – though not an official ambition ratchet mechanism - for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction target inline with the 25-40% range by 2014 at the latest. While it could have been stronger, the decision reinforces clear moral obligation for countries to increase their emission reduction targets prior to 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so
  • An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately anda decision “to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19”
  • Developed countries failed to agree a way to account for their carbon in a comparable way

Contacts
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

 

Do Not Turn the Spirit of Durban Into the Ghost of Durban!

As ECO watches the crash and burn exercise currently taking place in the Durban Platform negotiations, we thought it would be a good moment to remind Parties about the spirit that emerged during the closing plenary in Durban.

Durban was a critical turning point for the future of the climate regime. While it resulted in what negotiators called a delicate balance, it left much for the Parties to do afterwards, in particular the need to tackle the glaring gap in reducing global emissions and providing climate finance. ECO was relieved that after hard fought battles, a sense of responsibility and leadership prevailed in Durban. Parties were willing to set aside their hardline positions in the interest of reaching an agreement, for both pre-2020 and post-2020 periods.

ECO recognizes that it essentially took the G77+China and the EU to save the day – with the EU's positive moves of agreeing to sign on to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In doing so, it helped keep alive the only legally binding agreement on climate, as well as restoring some faith amongst developing countries. In turn, these countries agreed to be part of a new global climate regime that would be applicable to all in the future. This was a huge leap of faith on their part, in a context where very little leadership in taking ambitious actions on either reduction of emissions or delivery of finance has been demonstrated by developed countries. 

But as the dust settled, ECO realized that not all governments were that generous. Somehow in the cut and thrust of those last moments in Durban, a band of countries managed to escape the glare of the headlights. The largest developed country polluters, like the US, Canada, Russia and Japan, did not offer anything by way of compromise. Instead, some jumped ship from the Kyoto Protocol, while the US dug in its heels when asked to commit to comparable emissions reduction actions – both on common accounting and an adequate target. ECO reckons that they must have been rubbing their hands in glee when they got away without having to make any commitments. They now see an opportunity to lock in their precious “pledge and review system”. They apparently believe that their status in the pre-2020 period is equal to that of developing countries and that this bottom-up, non-science-based, non-equity based approach is all that we should be getting.

The only way to avoid this fate, and ensure non-Kyoto developed countries honour their commitments to comparability, and yes, even QELROs, is through the AWG-LCA, where pre-2020 mitigation ambition for non-Kyoto parties will have to be addressed in a principled, rules-based manner, comparable to Kyoto parties. ECO observes that’s why these countries are the most resistant to addressing their commitments and responsibilities under the LCA.

The AWG-LCA should complete its work and the process must determine mitigation action for these countries. The spotlight is therefore shining on them once again, and they will be expected to offer comparable action. And so, we wonder, what will they offer?  ECO sees that they are now seeking cover from taking responsibility by trying to jump to the Durban Platform.

While ambition should also be pursued under all tracks, ECO wants to remind the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and others who have not joined the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that they are developed countries, with clear obligations under the Convention and Bali Action Plan, and in terms of history, morality and legality. ECO  challenges Australia and New Zealand to decide which way they will jump – ECO will be the first to welcome them into Annex B with QELROs that lead to a fair share of real gross emissions reductions.

You all must shine with the spirit of Durban – there is no darkness left to fade into.

Durban Must Deliver

As we all settle in for the 17th Conference of the Parties and take advantage of all that Durban has to offer, ECO interrupts our regular programme for this special bulletin: The world’s effort to mitigate dangerous climate change cannot wait any longer.

Durban must deliver a package of agreements that cements what we have and clearly articulates a path forward incorporating the urgency and ambition needed. The key elements of the Durban outcome must include:

Legal form. For those Parties who somehow missed the urgent demand to secure the future of the Kyoto Protocol through agreement and ratification of a 5-year long second commitment period, what rock have you been hiding under? Second, to go alongside the second KP commitment period, a strong mandate is needed to reach agreement on a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement with legally binding commitments, no later than 2015, to enter into force on 1st January 2018. A third pillar is to build architecture to ensure commonality and comparability for the non-KP Annex I Parties (yes, we mean you, USA) including common accounting and low carbon development strategies.

Finance. Parties should approve the recommendations of the Transitional Committee and adopt the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund. But an empty fund is about as much use as a empty envelope. Parties must ensure that the Fund is properly capitalized as soon as possible. This includes agreeing a trajectory to ramp up financing towards the 2020 goal of $100 billion of climate financing per year in support of developing countries, and adopting a work plan to consider innovative sources of public finance.

The ‘low hanging fruit’ is bunkers finance. Parties should give direction to the IMO and ICAO on creating mechanisms for raising funds from international marine and aviation transport that reduce emissions and result in no net incidence on developing countries.

Mitigation. It has not escaped ECO’s attention that, despite the promises in Cancun, governments have successfully avoided any reasonable steps to increase their levels of ambition. ECO wants to be optimistic that this is because delegates have been preparing juicy bits for a one-year dedicated work programme to close the gap between the 2°C objective (let alone 1.5° C) and current mitigation pledges. We look forward to the specifics of this workplan being agreed in Durban. ECO also thinks Parties need to find ways to close the ever-widening gigatonne gap, first by increasing their appallingly low pledges, and second by ensuring that loopholes are closed, including bad LULUCF accounting rules, “hot air” and double counting.

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). Annex 1 countries have laid their LULUCF cards on the table, proposing to hide forestry emissions and largely not account for emissions from other land uses. This undermines targets and the integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. For countries, including developing countries, that are committed to securing rules with environmental integrity, Durban is the last chance to reject the worst options on the table and require robust rules.

Adaptation. Adaptation to disastrous impacts of global warming has become an issue of survival for the most vulnerable countries. At the “African COP”, negotiators should be reminded of the dramatic consequences that uncurbed climate change will have on the future of the African continent. Southern Africa in particular faces massive problems from droughts and changes in precipitation. Climate change impacts are already happening today and will worsen if the lack of ambition in mitigation continues. Scaling-up adaptation is indispensable to protect the lives of poor people and increase the resilience of their livelihoods. Adaptation negotiators face a heavy agenda: making the Adaptation Committee operational; solidifying the Loss and Damage work programme; preparing guidelines and modalities for National Adaptation Plans; and the next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme, amongst others. And ECO keeps hearing that some Parties want to hold progress on adaptation hostage. There is no justification for hindering progress on issues crucial for the most vulnerable countries who stand already with their backs against the wall (and with their feet in rising seas).

Shared Vision. Peaking global emissions by 2015 and adopting a long-term reduction goal (-80% globally by 2050) are issues of survival. ECO offers two key principles: the right to survival (which in turn defines ambition on the numbers); and the right to sustainable development. Durban should lock in these numbers with the understanding that each country shall do their fair bit to meet them. And we need a plan for a decent discussion on the fair shares concept after Durban.

Review. ECO will be highly disappointed if Durban doesn’t deliver a robust Terms of Reference for the Review of the long-term global goal and the process of achieving it. A Review Expert Body must be agreed to conduct the Review and recommend appropriate action to be decided by COP 21.

MRV. On MRV, ECO looks forward to robust guidelines for biennial reports, IAR, ICA, accounting for Annex I Parties, reporting on REDD+ safeguards, and a common reporting format for climate finance. Given that MRV is all about transparency, ECO is dumbfounded that the draft text doesn’t guarantee access to information and public participation in the IAR and ICA process, and reminds that ensuring meaningful stakeholder participation is a leading part of a successful Durban outcome.

Market Mechanisms. Here is a big stack of issues that Parties should tackle: stringent CDM reform; a framework for new mechanisms that results in a net decrease of emissions and is based on principles ensuring sustainable development and the protection of human rights; removal of loopholes that weaken targets such as surplus AAUs and non-additional carbon credits. And all of these must go forward on the condition that any market-based mechanism is premised on ambitious and binding emission reduction commitments.

Technology. A substantial outcome on technology is essential at Durban. This COP should ensure that issues concerning the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) host criteria are resolved, and calls for proposals are initiated. Further, the reporting of the Technology Executive Committee and CTCN should be addressed. What is needed will be an accountable, transparent mechanism guided by the COP. Technology outcomes should not be the victim of lack of political will dominating other critical issues, and Durban must deliver.

Related Newsletter : 

Informing Legal Form

Judging by the number of delegates and observers crowding the room over the last two days, there is certainly a keen interest in the legal form of the LCA outcome.  ECO welcomes these discussions and urges the Parties to build on the bare bones outline of legal form options presented yesterday, by adding specific content that can inform deliberations in Durban.   ECO is impressed by the surprisingly constructive tone and substantive content of the discussions.  We can only imagine what would happen if a second commitment period under the KP were  adopted!   

While we recognize the often repeated line that form should follow function, we echo Colombia’s point that negotiators need some sense of where they are headed – a political declaration is very different from a long-term binding regime.  ECO is appreciative that the meetings of the group are open to observers. We note however, that some confusion remains concerning the degree of “bindingness” of different legal options.  We offer the brief table below to clarify.

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