Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, October 2, 2009 - 22:12

Parties should welcome the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the nations of Kazakhstan, Turkey and Zimbabwe. Their action affirms Kyoto’s continued value and demonstrates a commitment to sparing humanity from catastrophic climate change.

A Copenhagen agreement that does not aim for a high probability of ensuring the survival and sustainable development of all nations, and the welfare of the most vulnerable, is not acceptable. The targets currently tabled by developed countries fall well short of guaranteeing these core objectives. Those targets put us on a trajectory to wipe sovereign nations off the map, add to development challenges and increase human suffering.

There is a very narrow envelope of possible emissions pathways to 2050 that have an acceptably high probability of avoiding the worst impacts of dangerous climate change. These pathways require peaking global emissions within the next 5-year commitment period and achieving reductions of at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Developed nation commitments must be based on a science-driven approach. A weak, bottom-up approach to reduction targets combined with loopholes and offsets creates a race to the bottom and a crash course on the harsh reality of catastrophic climate change.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 05:06

The Bali Action Plan (BAP) provides a clear timetable and outline for negotiations aimed toward a fair and effective deal in Copenhagen. That outline differentiates between the mitigation commitments of developed countries and the MRV actions undertaken by developing countries.

The BAP did not, however, provide space for the crucial overarching discussion on architecture. That includes a discussion about the relationship between an enhanced Kyoto Protocol (or a successor Protocol) and the legal outcome of negotiations under the LCA. This architectural debate goes to the heart of the Copenhagen outcome.

Such a discussion will have to include consideration of the comparability of the efforts of those rich countries that have avoided doing so under Kyoto -- especially the United States -- and those who have inscribed their commitments in Annex B.  It should fully consider all architectural proposals that aim to flesh out all the requisite responsibilities, as the climate regime evolves and builds on the solid foundation the Convention provides.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 04:59

fossil of the day

First Place: Algeria

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 03:16

Mind the gap?!  That looks like the understatement of the year.

While the deplorable lack of funding for climate change adaptation is clearly being felt right now by the millions of residents of Metro Manila, and many more poor communities are suffering from monsoon disruption and related crop failure in South Asia, developed countries seem to be frozen in place, eyes tightly closed and voices strangely silent.

So far this week, the discussions in the LCA finance contact group have plainly highlighted how a good many developed

countries are attempting to renege on the agreement reached in Bali, where the need for their support to developing countries was spelled out and agreed to by all.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 02:32

As negotiators continue to wrangle over procedural issues in the adaptation contact group, Parties should be preparing for a possibly contentious debate on an issue that is nonetheless essential – the additionality of climate finance.

ECO has overheard very few developed countries in the corridors who are ready to provide climate finance in addition to their obligations to provide 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) for overseas development assistance (ODA). Most developed countries apparently hope to get away with cherry-picking their future aid budgets to meet the potential provisions of a Copenhagen agreement on financial support for adaptation (and mitigation as well) in developing countries.

There are some important reasons why climate finance needs to be additional – and that means not only additional to existing ODA flows, but additional to ODA targets.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 02:20

The “response measures” discussion – which OPEC countries seem to want included in absolutely every negotiating context, regardless of what Parties have previously agreed – drags on in the most inappropriate places. Why compensation for potential loss of oil revenues should be considered in the same breath as supporting adaptation for the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities has been a deep mystery to many Parties – and to ECO -- for some time.

Sure, response measures is an important issue. It should be discussed, and it is – in the KP and LCA mitigation groups. But shoehorning response measures into LCA adaptation box is a problem. It takes time and energy away from addressing the more urgent needs of countries that see the impact of climate change not only on their bottom line but on their declining elevation above sea levels and their fight against hunger. All this reduces trust, and it diminishes the likelihood of an effective adaptation outcome.

Various Parties have made the call for some time for response measures to be dropped from the adaptation discussion. Despite that, the Saudi intervention on the opening day’s LCA adaptation contact group took a legalistic tone. Response measures are in the same sentence of the Convention as the needs of countries affected by the impacts of climate change. Therefore, it is said, they should remain in the adaptation discussion.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Sunday, August 30, 2009 - 04:58

Speaking to Point Carbon, New Zealand's climate change ambassador said that “if our conditions are not met we reserve the right to drop (our target) below 10%.”  So now you know, New Zealand's 10% to 20% is actually “do nothing” to 20%.

The truly off-key note in the interview was New Zealand's excuse for not having a unilateral target: “We didn’t

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 19:53

As regular readers will know, ECO prides itself on seeking out the most shocking, least noble attempts by parties to avoid their responsibilities for tackling climate change, no matter how well hidden. And after thirty years of fearless reporting, there aren't many tricks of the climate negotiating trade that haven't been exposed on these pages.

In this year alone, who could forget the shameful 'bar to zero' exposé that rocked the LULUCF closed sessions? Or the moment the news broke that the Japanese 2020 mitigation target was not as ambitious as their choice of base year suggested or their government claimed?

So it is with great excitement this week that ECO stumbled upon the latest trick from developed countries, this time seeking ways to avoid their obligations to provide adequate new and additional public climate financing to developing countries.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 16:59

From where ECO sits, Annex I nations seem increasingly committed to wiping countries off the face of the map. Their obstinate refusal to reduce emissions in line with a finite global emissions budget threatens the very survival of a number of countries, through sea level rise, or through impacts that will make them uninhabitable.
The compilation of pledged reductions for Annex I countries, presented by Micronesia on Wednesday's KP numbers session, so far adds up to an aggregate reduction by 2020 of -16% at best, and possibly as low as -10%, on 1990 levels. This is only a third to a quarter of what is needed for a number of nations to have a chance of simply surviving the fossil age.Even based on estimates prepared by the Secretariat, pledges only add up to 13-21% cuts on 1990 levels by 2020 - and these don't include the weak proposed US targets, which would further drag down the total. What's more, these figures are actually worse than the dismal estimates provided by the Secretariat in June. It seems some countries aren't worried at all - Japan for example told negotiators that they shouldn't think failing to reach the 25-40% range is wrong.

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