Blog Posts

Indigenous Peoples Caucus

“Ea” is a Hawaiian word that is given many meanings; chief among them is “sovereignty”. For Hawaiians, sovereignty is a word that rings close to the heart. In 1843, King Kamehameha III proclaimed the return of our sovereignty through the Hawaiian Kingdom after a six-month occupation by the British: “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻaina i ka pono,” loosely translating to: “the sovereignty of this land is perpetuated in righteousness.” It was only fifty years later that once again the word “ea” rang through the islands — only now it was a death knell.
In 1893, the last Queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Her Royal Majesty Liliʻuokalani, was overthrown in an American-backed military coup. The “ea” of the Hawaiian people was stolen. Though a majority of Indigenous Hawaiians petitioned for the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the passage of the 1898 Newlands Resolution led to the annexation of Hawaiʻi as a territory, pulling Hawaiʻi steps closer to her induction into the ever-expanding American empire.

The final stage in extinguishing Hawaiian sovereignty was meted out in 1959, when the Territory of Hawaiʻi was forced into statehood, officially adding it to the stars on the American flag. Sovereign no more, the Hawaiian people looked on with solemn eyes as their home was wrought from their hands by the cold gears of empire.

Meanwhile, Native Hawaiians continued to resist changes imposed by America. Despite negative stereotyping, oppressive legislation, and land dispossession, isolated communities continued to express their songs, dances, chants, and most of all, their sovereignty. Nevertheless, many Hawaiians were forced to assimilate into American ways of being and knowing for survival’s sake, while also facing a distinct lack of access to those benevolent benefits they were ostensibly  granted upon annexation. The state of the Hawaiian people descended into a desolate facsimile of a once proud nation.

In 1976, the Hokuleʻa, a modern Hawaiian voyaging canoe, made her maiden voyage from Hawaiʻi to ancestral lands in Tahiti, with no Western navigational tools. Hawaiians had finally come home. The Hokuleʻa voyage was a watershed moment; it finally proved, after decades, that Hawaiian culture had substantive value in the modern day. Hawaiians could do great things, while being unapologetically Hawaiian. Hokuleʻaʻs feat ignited a fire in the souls of many Hawaiians, burning into their hearts a word that had since left the islands vacant — sovereignty.

In the following decades, a fervent movement for Hawaiian independence marched confidently throughout the Hawaiian Islands, demanding for Hawaiians to govern the land they called home once again. Today, the Hawaiian sovereignty lives on through the collective action to defend sacred land in many places: Mauna Kea, Hunananiho, Kalaeloa, Hanapepe, Makua Valley, Pohakuloa, Kahoʻolawe, and more. The threat of land use change for corporate or military interest has ignited a newfound wave of Hawaiian desires for sovereignty, and the “ea” of the Hawaiian people may soon be restored.

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Article 6: Get the Rules Right Here… Or See You in Glasgow

As Article 6 negotiations enter their final hours ECO has a simple and short message for ministers, HoDs, and negotiators: if you cannot agree to a good deal, the only way to uphold the integrity of the Paris Agreement, and multilateralism - is to take the time needed and continue discussions at COP26.

As you are surely tired of hearing from us, ECO wanted to provide a kind reminder of what is the bare minimum for a good deal: no double counting; no carryover of any Kyoto units; social and environmental safeguards, including for human rights; and overall mitigation of global emissions.

ECO trusts the Chilean presidency will show the strength and bravery to stand up for these principles. And to the other ministers, please also show some courage and strongly speak up for these non-negotiable red lines.

While ECO is frustrated and appalled by the Parties blocking environmental integrity under Article 6 — we are looking at you in particular, Brazil and Australia — ECO applauds all those who will stand up to the pressure to “get a deal”, and will prefer coming back to the table at the next session if a good deal cannot be found in Madrid.

ECO knows Article 6 is not easy. But that’s why it is so important to get it right. Getting Article 6 wrong would be a real disaster and would undermine the whole Paris Agreement. Dear Chilean Presidency, this is not the legacy you want to leave behind. ECO and the world will be watching.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

This is Supposed to be the Loss and Damage COP

Clearly, on climate action, and especially on loss and damage, the global situation and the political situation are sadly out of sync. Here at the COP we started with a great deal of optimism. However, a COP that was perceived as an opportunity to reshape and strengthen the WIM looks now to have been a false promise. The urgency that we are seeing, with unprecedented climate impacts and with marchers on the streets demanding action, has not resonated with those shaping the language in the negotiating rooms. For almost two weeks in the corridors of IFEMA, we have not seen the commitment from Parties that the global community is expecting. So, as we enter the final official day of negotiations, here are some suggestions for developed and developing countries.

Developed countries:

Really, you need to try harder. This COP was supposed to be the moment to demonstrate your solidarity with those on the frontline of the crisis that you caused, and address loss and damage. In these final days before the Paris Agreement becomes operational, you have the opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate that you really meant it when you said finance could be provided on a cooperative and facilitative basis for loss and damage. This would - obviously - require you to cooperate! But instead you have been practicing your sneaky and underhand negotiating skills, creating diversions and divisions in an attempt to derail the process. You argue that the WIM cannot talk about loss and damage finance as that it is the standing committee on finance’s responsibility.  But at the same time, you argue in the SCF that it is essential to get a mandate from the WIM ExCom. Of course, this is in line with your consistent and irresponsible insistency that there is no mandate for finance on loss and damage. To help you get this straight, ECO recommends you read Article 8 of the Paris Agreement, the 2/CP19, or just look out of your window and maybe at the news. Your mandate is marching in the streets, demanding solidarity and action. Your mandate is the climate refugees arriving on your doorstep. You are better than this - and you still have time to prove it.

Developing countries:

For developing country negotiators, we have a clear and simple message: we have your back! Your citizens, those on the frontlines of climate change, need you to stand strong. Do not allow yourselves to be rolled over by developed countries who want to shirk their responsibilities. The escalating costs of loss and damage require a global response, and civil society will not allow the developed world and the polluting industries to get off scot free. Compensation may be unpalatable to many negotiators, but if they continue to fail to act compassionately (and also in line with their obligations), then litigation is waiting around the corner. Litigation + people power = change. We can either get that change here, or we can push for it in Glasgow. The climate emergency demands solidarity, and this require systems change, not climate change.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

The Long Night

ECO knows, as you come into the venue this morning, you are preparing for a long night. While progress has been slow and negotiations have been frustrating, ECO still has hope for a positive outcome. To make things easier, we have outlined three issue areas that should be a top priority in reaching an acceptable COP decision tonight.

Ambition
When the final plenary closes this evening, ECO expects Parties to send clear political signals that you will address ambition in all three long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. This includes ambition in providing the necessary support to developing countries to address and act on the climate emergency. It means responding to the science and bringing your national climate plans in line with the 1.5ºC goal. And it entails bringing civil representatives to the table when discussing your national climate plans, so that we can all contribute to achieving the highest level of ambition possible. This ambition needs to be reflected in the enhanced NDCs by 2020, and the UNFCCC Secretariat needs to be given a mandate to produce a synthesis report well ahead of COP26 to assess the aggregate effect of the enhanced NDCs.

Delivering finance to address loss and damage
Will we again delay action and support for loss and damage? We hoped the WIM review at COP25 would fully operationalise its third mandate for action and support; to listen to the needs of developing countries along with providing new and additional finance to address loss and damage. But in the final hours, it seems that we might not even reach an outcome. The asks being put forward by the countries most affected are perfectly reasonable: finance, an expert group on action and support, and a network for enhancing on-the-ground implementation. Developed parties, however, delayed and debated in circles on using existing finance and questioning proposals for enhancing the WIM. Will this COP deliver another year of injustice by delaying a response to the needs of vulnerable people?
 
Don’t get things wrong on Article 6.
And seriously, don’t get things wrong on Article 6. If you undermine environmental integrity in Article 6 you risk gutting the Paris Agreement of its effectiveness. If you can’t get this right in Madrid, ECO would prefer you not do it at all. It is essential that you protect the principles and integrity of the Paris Agreement rather than opening up holes and letting in a whole lot of hot air. But we’re not done yet! If you want to try again at the 11th hour, keep reading, ECO is happy to remind you how to get it right below.

This is the last ECO of the session and we’re going to give it to your straight. People are calling for ambitious and immediate climate action in the venue, in the streets of Madrid, and across the globe. You have one more opportunity to deliver the response that is needed, a response that is just, and a response that may save us all. So get to it!

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

The Long Night

ECO knows, as you come into the venue this morning, you are preparing for a long night. While progress has been slow and negotiations have been frustrating, ECO still has hope for a positive outcome. To make things easier, we have outlined three issue areas that should be a top priority in reaching an acceptable COP decision tonight.

Ambition
When the final plenary closes this evening, ECO expects Parties to send clear political signals that you will address ambition in all three long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. This includes ambition in providing the necessary support to developing countries to address and act on the climate emergency. It means responding to the science and bringing your national climate plans in line with the 1.5ºC goal. And it entails bringing civil representatives to the table when discussing your national climate plans, so that we can all contribute to achieving the highest level of ambition possible. This ambition needs to be reflected in the enhanced NDCs by 2020, and the UNFCCC Secretariat needs to be given a mandate to produce a synthesis report well ahead of COP26 to assess the aggregate effect of the enhanced NDCs.

Delivering finance to address loss and damage
Will we again delay action and support for loss and damage? We hoped the WIM review at COP25 would fully operationalise its third mandate for action and support; to listen to the needs of developing countries along with providing new and additional finance to address loss and damage. But in the final hours, it seems that we might not even reach an outcome. The asks being put forward by the countries most affected are perfectly reasonable: finance, an expert group on action and support, and a network for enhancing on-the-ground implementation. Developed parties, however, delayed and debated in circles on using existing finance and questioning proposals for enhancing the WIM. Will this COP deliver another year of injustice by delaying a response to the needs of vulnerable people?

Don’t get things wrong on Article 6.
And seriously, don’t get things wrong on Article 6. If you undermine environmental integrity in Article 6 you risk gutting the Paris Agreement of its effectiveness. If you can’t get this right in Madrid, ECO would prefer you not do it at all. It is essential that you protect the principles and integrity of the Paris Agreement rather than opening up holes and letting in a whole lot of hot air. But we’re not done yet! If you want to try again at the 11th hour, keep reading, ECO is happy to remind you how to get it right below.

This is the last ECO of the session and we’re going to give it to your straight. People are calling for ambitious and immediate climate action in the venue, in the streets of Madrid, and across the globe. You have one more opportunity to deliver the response that is needed, a response that is just, and a response that may save us all. So get to it!

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

This is Supposed to be the Loss and Damage COP

\Clearly, on climate action, and especially on loss and damage, the global situation and the political situation are sadly out of sync. Here at the COP we started with a great deal of optimism. However, a COP that was perceived as an opportunity to reshape and strengthen the WIM looks now to have been a false promise. The urgency that we are seeing, with unprecedented climate impacts and with marchers on the streets demanding action, has not resonated with those shaping the language in the negotiating rooms. For almost two weeks in the corridors of IFEMA, we have not seen the commitment from Parties that the global community is expecting. So, as we enter the final official day of negotiations, here are some suggestions for developed and developing countries.

Developed countries:

Really, you need to try harder. This COP was supposed to be the moment to demonstrate your solidarity with those on the frontline of the crisis that you caused, and address loss and damage. In these final days before the Paris Agreement becomes operational, you have the opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate that you really meant it when you said finance could be provided on a cooperative and facilitative basis for loss and damage. This would – obviously – require you to cooperate! But instead you have been practicing your sneaky and underhand negotiating skills, creating diversions and divisions in an attempt to derail the process. You argue that the WIM cannot talk about loss and damage finance as that it is the standing committee on finance’s responsibility.  But at the same time, you argue in the SCF that it is essential to get a mandate from the WIM ExCom. Of course, this is in line with your consistent and irresponsible insistency that there is no mandate for finance on loss and damage. To help you get this straight, ECO recommends you read Article 8 of the Paris Agreement, the 2/CP19, or just look out of your window and maybe at the news. Your mandate is marching in the streets, demanding solidarity and action. Your mandate is the climate refugees arriving on your doorstep. You are better than this – and you still have time to prove it.

Developing countries:

For developing country negotiators, we have a clear and simple message: we have your back! Your citizens, those on the frontlines of climate change, need you to stand strong. Do not allow yourselves to be rolled over by developed countries who want to shirk their responsibilities. The escalating costs of loss and damage require a global response, and civil society will not allow the developed world and the polluting industries to get off scot free. Compensation may be unpalatable to many negotiators, but if they continue to fail to act compassionately (and also in line with their obligations), then litigation is waiting around the corner. Litigation + people power = change. We can either get that change here, or we can push for it in Glasgow. The climate emergency demands solidarity, and this require systems change, not climate change.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

Article 6: Get the Rules Right Here… Or See You in Glasgow

As Article 6 negotiations enter their final hours ECO has a simple and short message for ministers, HoDs, and negotiators: if you cannot agree to a good deal, the only way to uphold the integrity of the Paris Agreement, and multilateralism – is to take the time needed and continue discussions at COP26.

As you are surely tired of hearing from us, ECO wanted to provide a kind reminder of what is the bare minimum for a good deal: no double counting; no carryover of any Kyoto units; social and environmental safeguards, including for human rights; and overall mitigation of global emissions.

ECO trusts the Chilean presidency will show the strength and bravery to stand up for these principles. And to the other ministers, please also show some courage and strongly speak up for these non-negotiable red lines.

While ECO is frustrated and appalled by the Parties blocking environmental integrity under Article 6 — we are looking at you in particular, Brazil and Australia — ECO applauds all those who will stand up to the pressure to “get a deal”, and will prefer coming back to the table at the next session if a good deal cannot be found in Madrid.

ECO knows Article 6 is not easy. But that’s why it is so important to get it right. Getting Article 6 wrong would be a real disaster and would undermine the whole Paris Agreement. Dear Chilean Presidency, this is not the legacy you want to leave behind. ECO and the world will be watching.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

Indigenous Peoples Caucus

“Ea” is a Hawaiian word that is given many meanings; chief among them is “sovereignty”. For Hawaiians, sovereignty is a word that rings close to the heart. In 1843, King Kamehameha III proclaimed the return of our sovereignty through the Hawaiian Kingdom after a six-month occupation by the British: “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻaina i ka pono,” loosely translating to: “the sovereignty of this land is perpetuated in righteousness.” It was only fifty years later that once again the word “ea” rang through the islands — only now it was a death knell.

In 1893, the last Queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Her Royal Majesty Liliʻuokalani, was overthrown in an American-backed military coup. The “ea” of the Hawaiian people was stolen. Though a majority of Indigenous Hawaiians petitioned for the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the passage of the 1898 Newlands Resolution led to the annexation of Hawaiʻi as a territory, pulling Hawaiʻi steps closer to her induction into the ever-expanding American empire.

The final stage in extinguishing Hawaiian sovereignty was meted out in 1959, when the Territory of Hawaiʻi was forced into statehood, officially adding it to the stars on the American flag. Sovereign no more, the Hawaiian people looked on with solemn eyes as their home was wrought from their hands by the cold gears of empire.

Meanwhile, Native Hawaiians continued to resist changes imposed by America. Despite negative stereotyping, oppressive legislation, and land dispossession, isolated communities continued to express their songs, dances, chants, and most of all, their sovereignty. Nevertheless, many Hawaiians were forced to assimilate into American ways of being and knowing for survival’s sake, while also facing a distinct lack of access to those benevolent benefits they were ostensibly  granted upon annexation. The state of the Hawaiian people descended into a desolate facsimile of a once proud nation.

In 1976, the Hokuleʻa, a modern Hawaiian voyaging canoe, made her maiden voyage from Hawaiʻi to ancestral lands in Tahiti, with no Western navigational tools. Hawaiians had finally come home. The Hokuleʻa voyage was a watershed moment; it finally proved, after decades, that Hawaiian culture had substantive value in the modern day. Hawaiians could do great things, while being unapologetically Hawaiian. Hokuleʻaʻs feat ignited a fire in the souls of many Hawaiians, burning into their hearts a word that had since left the islands vacant — sovereignty.

In the following decades, a fervent movement for Hawaiian independence marched confidently throughout the Hawaiian Islands, demanding for Hawaiians to govern the land they called home once again. Today, the Hawaiian sovereignty lives on through the collective action to defend sacred land in many places: Mauna Kea, Hunananiho, Kalaeloa, Hanapepe, Makua Valley, Pohakuloa, Kahoʻolawe, and more. The threat of land use change for corporate or military interest has ignited a newfound wave of Hawaiian desires for sovereignty, and the “ea” of the Hawaiian people may soon be restored.

Related Event: 
Related Newsletter : 

Drawing Parallels at the Latin COP

Negotiations are falling apart, in a stark reflection of the political climate in Latin America. After several attempts at holding COP25 in Latin America, we have found ourselves back in Europe, hosting a Latin American Presidency in Spain.
 The agenda has polarized talks on common time frames, the transparency framework, and adaptation. Progress in the negotiations on market mechanisms has so far also been incredibly disappointing. 
Have Parties not learned enough from the failure of market responses in Chile to block loopholes?
Going into the final plenary, it seems progress on any of these crucial points is entirely out of the question; countries have acted entirely in their own interests, remaining deaf and unresponsive to the calls for action coming from outside.
The parallels are eerie between the social injustices and oppression of civil society happening in many parts of Latin America and the shrinking space for civil society found here at this COP. The voices of minorities, those who are most affected, least responsible, and fighting for their future, are being ignored, both in Latin American and in this COP.
The Escazú Agreement, which will provide the tools for establishing and protecting a dignified and sustainable environment and provide agency to disadvantaged Latin American communities, also gained little traction in Madrid. This agreement is crucial to protecting those who are fighting to protect our future, yet governments have been slow to sign on and ratify it. Instead, we hear, too frequently, reports of environmental defenders being threatened, harassed or even worse.
So far, this Latin American COP has ECO feeling left out in the cold. With so much at stake, ECO questions if a comprehensive and ambitious COP decision is too much to expect of a country so socially and politically fragmented? However, for all its history of turmoil, Latin America also has a history of resilience; ECO will reserve its final judgement until plenary closes tonight.

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Bending the Curve for a Better World: Why Distant “Net” Zero Targets Are Not Enough to Drive the Near-Term Action We Need

ECO is in need of a good glass of Spanish wine over which to reflect on COP25’s failure to match the urgent demands for climate action being made by our fellow citizens back home. The emphasis now shifts to real climate action at the national level — where it really counts.
“Net zero” targets have become a rather fashionable way for countries to claim that they are acting on climate change. But this simplistic phrase ignores important components, and allows for obfuscation and delay.
Let’s be honest: there is hardly any carbon budget left to stay under 1.5°C of warming, which means there can be no waiting around for future governments to have the courage to act. Certain countries’ targets of “net zero by 2050” are woefully insufficient. ECO reminds parties that at this rate, the planet, and its people — including our adorable future grandchildren — will be long-fried by 2050.
Emissions must decrease as fast as conceivably possible in rich countries, including a complete phase-out of fossil energy. Action needs to start now, and strong near-term targets for 2025 and 2030 are needed to make sure that any target is effective. We need to not so much bend, as smash the curve for steep reductions in wealthy and high-polluting countries.
This must be accompanied by similarly unprecedented emission reductions in poorer countries – but this will require and be enabled only through a huge scaling up of support from richer countries. At the same time, with adequate and economy-wide Just Transition strategies and policies, countries must ensure that the poorer parts of their societies do not pay for this necessary transformation. Social justice is a fundamental precondition for climate justice.
It also makes sense to have separate targets for reductions of the emissions that are currently being released, vs targets for CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere using so called “negative emissions” approaches, so as to avoid obfuscating mediocre emissions reductions through “net-zero”.
The longer we wait to act, the more cumulative emissions will be released, and the hotter the planet will get. Clearly, we don’t want to rely on risky technologies such as BECCS to fix the problem, and neither can we rely on teleportation or unicorns to save us. So we’re going to have to do it ourselves, with the knowledge and technologies we have now. We need to reduce consumption, consume resources efficiently, and produce them sustainably.
When ECO thinks about the opportunity to go home and build a better world of renewable energy access for all, ecological food systems, sustainable transport and biodiverse ecosystems — all of which enable social opportunity AND help the climate — she gets pretty inspired! We look forward to hearing all about your ambitious plans for transformational pathways at COP26 next year!

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