Tag: Adaptation

Civil society warns UN Security Council climate change a driver of conflict, hunger and poverty


[New York – United States] – February 15, 2013 – Climate Action Network-International (CAN-International) today warned a special event for United Nations Security Council members at the UN headquarters in New York that climate change was a critical driver of poverty, inequality, instability, and conflict which would ultimately affect us all.
Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-International, told the meeting, convened by Pakistan and the United Kingdom, that the situation demanded an unprecedented commitment to collective action to drastically reduce these climate-driven risks which were already being experienced, first and foremost, by the poorest and most vulnerable within our societies.
“We are gravely concerned by the prospects for mass displacement of people within States and across borders driven directly by climate impacts like sea level rise, droughts, desertification, biodiversity loss and indirectly by its impacts on food and natural resources,” Hmaidan said.
“We recognise that the decision to leave one's home and community is often the result of multiple factors, but that climate change impacts are often a critical driver, he said.
For example, the thousands of people who were displaced from Somalia into neighbouring countries in 2011 were not primarily fleeing conflict, but in search of food in the wake of drought.
Tim Gore, from Oxfam International, also present at the event, said that nowhere can this climate risk be more clearly seen than in the global food system.
“Droughts or floods can wipe out entire harvests, as we have seen in recent years in Pakistan, in the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel. And when extreme weather hits major world food producers – like last year’s droughts in the US and Russia – world food prices rocket. This presents a major risk to net food importing countries, such as Yemen, which ships in 90% of its wheat,” Gore said.
“The food riots and social unrest seen in the wake of the 2008 food price spikes were not a one-off phenomenon, but a sign of the risks we face through our failure to feed a warming world. With major producers either suffering or barely recovering from extreme heat and drought, combined with world cereal stocks falling again, world food security remains on a knife-edge.
Hmaidan said governments need to dramatically scale up public investments to help communities and countries adapt to the changing climate as well while at the same time ramp ing up international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent much greater harm.
“Adequate preparation for permanent loss and damage inflicted by climate change, including the establishment of a new international mechanism under discussion at the UNFCCC and the recognition of new rights for climate-forced migrants is required,” Hmaidan said.
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 Climate Action Network-International communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 157 3173 5568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
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CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010


A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C. 

Negotiations Post-Copenhagen
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.

Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:

  • Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
  • Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
  • Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
  • Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement. 

Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:

  • Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
  • Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
  • There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction. 

So, what does a pathway forward look like?

Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved. 

Le Tour du COP

Bonjour and welcome to the 21st edition of Le Tour du COP!
Participants in Paris have two weeks to show the world what they’re made of. ECO welcomes the ADP’s early start and expects governments to treat COP21 as a turning point, where they agree to a transformation that is much faster;  just; and has the needs of the most vulnerable at its core.
~ECO’s ultimate guide for winning the race~
Well-built Cycles: As any bike rider can tell you, increasingly ambitious cycles are essential for reaching the finish line.
ECO urges countries to adopt a Paris Ambition Mechanism that ensures that the overall ambition across all elements is assessed and scaled up in 5-year time frames. Contributions should be regularly updated to be in line with the 1.5-degree C limit, on the basis of regular science and equity reviews.
Current INDCs should be reviewed and ratcheted up as soon as possible, and well before countries begin implementation in 2020.
Long-term Goal: To maintain the right speed and direction, you need to know your final destination. ECO expects governments to agree to a 1.5°C temperature goal and operationalise it with a long-term goal of full global decarbonisation and 100% renewable energy access for all by 2050.
Finance: Securing the yellow (or should that be green?) jersey requires teamwork. This kind of collaboration can be fuelled by establishing collective targets for financial support to be set by the CMA every 5 years, with distinct targets for adaptation and mitigation.
Developed countries and other countries that are in a position to do so (because their levels of capability and responsibility are comparable to developed countries) would commit to contributing to meeting these targets.
Adaptation: To stay in the race for a climate-safe planet, we must be resilient by scaling up adaptation action urgently.
The Paris agreement must adopt a global goal that advances adaptation and builds resilience for all communities and ecosystems. It should recognise that higher temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts.  Achieving the adaptation goal is a common responsibility, and will require support to developing countries.
Loss and Damage Action: A durable climate regime must be able to respond to the impacts of climate change that can’t be prevented through mitigation or adaptation. The Paris agreement must be equipped with a separate provision on loss and damage, with  robust institutional arrangements and financial support to vulnerable developing countries to address these kinds of impacts.
Pre-2020 Action and Support: If you stay too far back in the pack, at some point you can’t make up the distance needed to win the race. The future of our planet is too important to risk waiting too long to make our move. Immediate action is needed to address the ambition gap. ECO urges developed countries to implement, accelerate and strengthen their pre-2020 commitments, while all countries cooperate to do more.
Through a strong Workstream 2 decision, governments must also agree to create a menu of workable policy options to scale up action. To maintain momentum, two high-level champion positions should be created and filled with leaders with a profile capable of incentivising high-level cooperation built around the good ideas coming out of the TEP. The champions should also coordinate the development and scaling up of mitigation and adaptation initiatives by matching good ideas with necessary means of implementation. These initiatives should be presented at annual high-level meetings, which can also review future progress.
Crucially, developed countries must present a plan on how they are going to meet their $100 billion promise, how to improve the imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and specifically how support from public sources will increase until 2020.
Transparency and Integrity: The Tour has seen its fair share of unsportsmanlike conduct. To keep all Parties on their best behaviour, the Paris agreement should contain a strongtransparency framework, including MRV, to maintain trust and ensure transparency of action and support.
The new agreement must also ensure emissions reductions are real, additional, verifiable, and permanent; avoid double counting of effort; are supplemental to ambitious national mitigation; contribute to sustainable development and ensure net atmospheric benefits.
Respect for Human Rights: Good team leaders look after their people. For the Paris outcome to promote effective climate policies that benefit those affected by impacts of climate change, it must include an operative, overarching reference to human rights.
On this road through many negotiations, we have made it through some difficult stages and the finish line for an agreement is in sight. The pieces needed for a strong outcome in Paris are within reach. It is now up to our leaders to finish strong and deliver the result our world so desperately needs.
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A Better World Is Possible

Now, more than ever, an ambitious Paris agreement can be a sign that a better world is possible. The new climate agreement must show solidarity with those on the frontline of climate impacts. These communities have suffered: 30,000 people are killed each year in disasters that are related to climate change.
Loss and damage is crucial for vulnerable countries and existential for some. Fourteen countries included loss and damage in their INDCs: Barbados, China, Costa Rica, Dominica, Gambia, India, Malawi, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zambia. In Myanmar’s INDC they outlined the terrible damage that Tropical Cyclone Nargis caused in 2008: 138,000 people were killed, and infrastructure was devastated with a damage bill of US$4 billion, causing long-term socioeconomic impacts to the country.
At the last negotiating session, the G77 suggested a compromise (Article 5, Option 1) that would establish a solid basis for addressing loss and damage including a displacement facility for people forced from their homes due to climate change. Knowing that compensation was a no-go area for rich countries, developing countries excluded it from their proposal: a difficult decision, but one that demonstrates a spirit of compromise and good faith.
On the other hand, the extreme position from the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland of no reference to loss and damage in the Paris agreement (Article 5, Option 2) is not an option if we want a fair agreement.
ECO looks forward to the EU showing solidarity with vulnerable countries, and joining them in reaching a compromise. Staying on the sidelines until the last moment, which is fast approaching, is playing a dangerous game. It failed at Copenhagen, and could fail again at Paris. Remember, Heads of State, we are listening to you today!
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The EU and Silence of the Lambs

The EU seems to be resorting to silence worryingly often, ECO wonders if this is a new negotiations tactic.

ECO first noticed this practice on Tuesday, when the EU failed to offer support to the G77+China group’s call for observers to be allowed in the spin-off groups.

Later in the week, the EU again fell silent over the Umbrella Group’s proposal to remove loss and damage as a standalone article in the agreement, which would leave already vulnerable countries even more vulnerable.

In Latin, there’s a saying: “Qui tacet consentit.” And for those not fluent, that’s: “silence gives consent“. But it’s not too late to find your voice, EU! Clearly state your support for loss and damage  and engage with Option 1. And say loudly and clearly, for all to hear, that observers should be allowed into the negotiations.

And remember, when you vocally stand up for what’s right, ECO won’t be silent in our praise.

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Option 2 will Leave Paris Lost and Damaged

September saw a relatively positive environment on loss and damage. It left ECO optimistic coming into this session that Parties would continue to work together constructively. Alas, this meeting has seen Parties move further apart with two diametrically opposite options, in the one text. Is this an all or nothing approach?

Option 1 offers comprehensive assurance to vulnerable countries that the world is taking this pressing issue seriously. Option 2, which deletes reference to L&D, is an absolutely unacceptable option to enter Paris with—and places the whole agreement at jeopardy. Parties should work today to remove option 2 and ensure the L&D is properly and adequately reflected in the agreement, so that it doesn’t damage the approach to Paris.

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WS2 and Adaptation: The Talk of the Talks

ECO hears rumours that Parties have discussed the possibility of having a Technical Examination Process (TEP) on adaptation, and we’d be delighted if this was true. After all, there are more gaps in these negotiations than even ECO can keep track of, from gigatonnes to dollars. Adaptation appears to be one of the victims of process, and seemingly never has its time to shine. Finance for adaptation remains grossly insufficient, and more action is needed to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

An adaptation TEP might just be the match made in heaven to ensure that there is  both a technical conversation with concrete recommendations and political commitment, which would in turn increase adaptation actions. It’s high time to  kickstart  action on the ground.

However, while Workstream 2 can be a great vehicle to get adaptation off the ground, it needs to be done in earnest. An adaptation TEP has a lot to offer to vulnerable people by engaging experts and catalysing action. But it must not become a topic that slows down the good pace of WS2 that has been evident this past week.  Nor can it become a delaying tactic for the remaining thorny bits, including the many pivotal mitigation elements.

Even with the prospect of happy union between TEP and adaptation on the table, these precious elements should not fall by the wayside. Parties need to stay engaged with the issues at hand: accelerating the implementation of mitigation in the pre-2020 period, appointing high-level champions, and ensuring the necessary support is provided. Only after we’ve locked down these essential elements of WS2 should we export other possibilities.

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