Canada receives the 3rd place Fossil for a spectacular, year-long effort to regain its title of ‘colossal fossil’ as the country making the least constructive contribution to the negotiations.
In January, Canada backed off of a weak target to adopt an even weaker one, as part of the government’s plan to outsource climate policy to the United States. Canada’s plan to meet that target is, to put it nicely, still being written. And the guy they’ve just put in charge as Environment Minister is John Baird; COP veterans might remember him as the solo holdout against science-based targets for developed countries at the end of Bali.
Canada also receives the 2nd place Fossil. We’ve already heard that Canada doesn’t have a plan to cut emissions. What it does have is a plan to cut a lot of other things, such as:
- the only major federal support program for renewable energy
- a program funding energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners
- funding for Canada’s climate science foundation
- climate change off of the G8 and G20 agendas when Canada played host this summer, and last but not least...
- clean fuels policies in other countries. Internal government documents released today reveal that Canada worked to “kill” a US federal clean fuels policy to protect its tar sands, working with allies like the Bush administration and Exxon.
With friends like that, who needs clean energy?
Finally, Canada wins the 1st place Fossil. Some might think the US Senate wasn’t too helpful on climate change. But today’s Fossil winner has a Senate that makes the US look good, and not just because these Senators aren’t elected. In this country, Conservative Senators killed a progressive climate change bill without even bothering to debate it, something that hasn’t happened for at least 70 years. This leaves their country without a science-based target or any domestic transparency program for the 2020 target the government has brought to these talks. Where can we find that fossil-worthy Senate? In a shocking twist, it’s Canada again!
So Canada is starting off with a substantial lead, taking three prizes today. Killing progressive legislation, cancelling support for clean energy and failing to have any plan to meet its target all position Canada well for another two weeks of ignominy here in Cancun.
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org <http://www.climatenetwork.org/>
About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999 in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int <http://www.unfccc.int/> ), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.
COP 16 will be the seventh Conference of the Parties since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in February 2005. That’s a lot of talking. And the physical layout of these meetings means there is also a great deal of walking.
But, lack of progress in the negotiations shows that so far not enough governments are ‘Walking the Talk’.
To highlight this disconnect, Greenpeace is hosting More Walk, Less Talk, a competition to find the person – and the country – that covers the most ground in Cancun. And there will be fabulous prizes!
As we all know, walking is very good for us – among its many benefits it is credited with improving circulation, bolstering the immune system, and helping keep us in shape.
It is also, of course, good for the climate.
So, the race to the future starts now. Grab your step-counter . . . reset . . . and go!
Get your pedometer from the Greenpeace booth or Greenpeace representatives around the Moon Palace. Register at morewalklesstalk.org. Winners will be announced on December 10th.
And by the way – did we mention the fabulous prizes?
In the lead-up to Copenhagen and since, climate finance ranked has ranked higher and higher on the list of make-or-break issues. It’s both vitally important and politically challenging. As COP16 kicks off, however, there are worrying signs that negotiators may be taking their eye off the ball and sleepwalking toward a result that does little to resolve the inadequacies of existing institutional arrangements.
To be sure, there is good news also. Over the course of 2010, talks on a new global climate fund have been productive – and now there are proposals and options on the table to provide for its establishment here in Cancun, with details to be worked out in time for COP17. But the establishment of the Fund and related climate finance decisions are far from a done deal. Many of the emerging ‘areas of convergence’ on the table may not deliver the fair, legitimate and effective climate fund that’s really needed.
For example, many Parties appear ready to accept equal representation between Annex I and non-Annex I on the Fund Board. Because there are roughly three times as many developing countries, this means that each developing country will have one-third the voice in the Fund’s governance. This notion of ‘equal representation’ is a big step backward from the precedent established by the Adaptation Fund, which additionally has two seats from each of the UN regional groups plus one each for LDCs and SIDS. It’s hard to see how, in the end, this would deliver arrangements that are any different from the GEF. Is this the “balanced’ guarantee of interests needed for all UNFCCC members?
Secondly, none of the textual proposals tabled so far guarantee any balance between adaptation and mitigation funding – something most countries agree in principle even though it has not been delivered in practice to date.
Adaptation currently receives scarcely 10% of the overall climate finance portfolio. Unless Parties agree a dedicated adaptation window in the new Fund with at least 50% of the monies channelled to it, we can only assume the current trend will continue. Is this what Parties really mean by ‘balance’?
Third, textual proposals for guidelines to ensure that the most vulnerable communities, especially women in rural areas, will ultimately benefit aren’t difficult to improve – only because right now there aren’t any such proposals. But this is easy to address with a few lines of text and it’s hard to imagine any country opposing it. Who is against guarantees that gender equity will receive particular attention in adaptation support?
Finally, everyone knows building another near-empty fund is pointless. Several options to deliver predictable sources of innovative financing – such as a levy on international shipping and aviation as part of an emissions reduction scheme – were presented by the UN Secretary General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Finance less than a month ago.
In fact, it’s clear from the AGF Report that raising $100 billion or more in public finance is possible. But unless Parties work in concert to map out options for putting such proposals into practice, a decision to establish a new Fund could deliver an empty shell. Is this what Parties had in mind in Bali when they agreed to ‘improve access to adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources’?
The decisions taken here in Cancun may not result in the FAB deal that is increasingly overdue. But they will have profound, long-standing implications for the institutional architecture of the future international climate regime.
A fair climate fund is definitely within reach, and ECO calls on all Parties to stand up for it.
Cancun should deliver a substantial package of decisions that provides a clear framework for climate action. Such a package will move forward toward a legally binding agreement and put positive pressure on countries to go beyond their current quite inadequate pledges and commitments. The Cancun package must progress both the KP and LCA tracks and secure agreements on all building blocks, namely mitigation/MRV, finance, adaptation, REDD, technology, the legal form, the science review, and a road map for South Africa and beyond.
This means all countries must do their fair share to secure success in Cancun. And so ECO would like to take the liberty of identifying some opening moves that key countries should make so that Cancun starts on a constructive note, open negotiating space for the coming two weeks, and deliver outcomes that will set us on the pathway towards the ambitious, global treaty we need.
ECO supports the United States objective of increasing the transparency of mitigation actions by developing countries, but it must be part of a broader framework that includes greater transparency of developed country actions on both mitigation and finance. And so instead of pressurizing others, the US should announce its willingness to increase the transparency of its own actions. The draft decision text being circulated by the EU calling for more detailed information in Annex 1 national communications would be a very good way to start. Making it clear that supporting enhanced transparency for everybody includes the US itself will make adoption of a balanced package of decisions here in Cancun much more likely. Just say yes!
ECO expects the European Union to speak out much more clearly in favour of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, so that a constructive dialogue between developed and developing countries leading to a legally binding agreement from both tracks can be achieved. To provide further support for the Kyoto Protocol the EU should also help close the loopholes in its own position on AAU surplus and LULUCF. Those helpful moves on the Kyoto track can be bolstered by the EU championing the establishment of the UNFCCC climate fund.
China should take a more progressive role in the international negotiations instead of just continually reacting to provocations from others. That way, China can building strongly on its domestic momentum for low carbon and clean energy development. For Cancun, this means China should now put forth its own views on the form international consultation and analysis should take, as well as challenge the US to clearly commit itself to proper MRV, along with other developed countries.
Japan must show more flexibility about the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Upfront rejection will create an unconstructive atmosphere for the entire negotiations. Kyoto was the product of hard negotiations, not only for the specific targets, but also for a top-down approach so that aggregate emission reductions are driven by the science. ECO hopes that Japan still remembers the sleepless nights in Kyoto and knows that while the Protocol is not perfect, there is still a lot to be proud of. More openness on Kyoto will signal that it acknowledges that the Kyoto architecture is important to a vast majority of Parties and opens the way forward for securing a stronger global architecture.
India should help broker a solution to the dilemma of international consultation and analysis by tabling its own ICA proposal, unequivocally stating that it will work towards creating a rule-based system of multilateral governance within the UNFCCC and ensuring transparency and accountability. Another constructive move will be to support efforts to identify substantial and innovative sources of public finance for the new global climate fund.
Brazil could come forward as a champion for the creation of a fair climate fund in Cancun, supported through innovative sources of public funding, which fully funds not only mitigation but equally so adaptation. Brazil also should come forward as a leading country fighting for responsible and transparent LULUCF accounting rules to help reduce and close the Gigatonne Gap.
It’s time for Mexico to play a more creative role in its welcome efforts toward trust-building in the COP 16 presidency. Mexico is well positioned to spur Parties to tackle the issues that could otherwise drive the negotiations into deadlock: legal form, the road map on crunch issues post-Cancun, the Gigatonne Gap, the science review and more.
Russia has an AAU surplus of 6 billion tonnes of CO2 that is creating grave uncertainty for the negotiations, carbon markets and the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. It’s time for clear statements from Russia that it will not sell its AAU surplus from the 1st commitment period. That kind of good political will can go a long way to ensuring progress can be made in Cancun on dealing with AAU surplus, and give a big boost to closing the Gigatonne Gap.
ECO hopes this list of substantial but manageable first moves will help clarify the middle game on the Cancun chessboard and lead to a solution that makes everyone a winner.
In this Issue:
- Opening Moves
- A Climate Fund Worth Fighting For
- A New Way to Walk the Talks - And Fabulous Prices
5th November 2010
A UN High-Level Advisory Group set up to analyse how to raise urgently needed climate finance announced details of its report today.
Tearfund's Director of Advocacy Paul Cook said: "The Climate Finance panel was set up to analyse how to raise the $100 billion a year by 2020 and the report shows that it is feasible to raise at least this amount by using public sources alone. However, what we have seen today doesn't go far enough and still amounts to leaving the most vulnerable people in countries like Bangladesh to clean up the mess rich countries have made."
The aid agency said climate change is the greatest development issue we face. What was needed was a report that demonstrated how we are going to raise at least $200bn a year by 2020 for developing countries to adapt to a changing climate and reduce their emissions.
This money must be new and additional to existing aid budgets. It must come from innovative sources of public finance, like a Robin Hood Tax on banks and from levies on fuel and tickets for international aviation and shipping. Instead the AGF has delivered the low-level $100bn.
Tearfund warned that while it is good that the group recognises that the money required is in the range of billions of dollars, $100bn is not and has never been enough.
"Developed countries must think in terms of an evolving understanding of the science and of developing countries needs, rather than what they can get away with.
"We are pleased that the report shows how a combination of innovative sources can be used to raise the money for the long term. Today's launch is not the end of these discussions on innovative sources of public finance - rather it must be the starting point. Getting an international agreement for climate money is a crucial step towards agreeing an international climate treaty." Cook continues.
Tearfund welcomed the UK's commitment to playing its part in the creation of new innovative sources and urged them to continue championing these to ensure progress is made within the UN climate talks.
Notes to Editor
For a briefing with one of Tearfund's Climate Change Policy Team, or an interview please contact the Media Team on:
0208 943 7779 / 0208 943 7792 / 07710 573749
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. Tearfund is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee. www.tearfund.org