MBurgess's blog

Poland: Coal, Climate and Contradiction

There is not much worse you can do as the presidency of the COP than hosting and blessing what’s advertised as the ‘coal industry’s most important event of the year’.

Just three kilometres away from the venue where discussions on how to avoid the worst impacts of global warming are ongoing, coal lobbyists will be repeating the lie that saving the climate and burning coal can go hand in hand. All of this is applauded and supported by the Polish government, the very same one that invited climate negotiators to Warsaw.

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Siekierki coal power station

The Siekierki coal power station is readily visible south of the National Stadium in Warsaw. First operational in 1961, it now generates 622 MW of electricity and provides district heat for a large part of the city. It is owned since 2012 by PGNiG, a large oil and natural gas company controlled by the Polish state. The station CO2 emissions are about 3.2 million tonnes/annum.

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Coal and Health

Only two days apart, Warsaw is playing host to two major conferences in parallel with COP19. You all know about the first one -- the International Coal and Climate Summit starting today.  The second was a climate and health summit over the weekend organised by the Global Climate and Health Alliance. Both are seeing involvement from medical students and health professionals, but in dramatically different capacities.  

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Side-Stepping Finance

Now that Parties’ proposals for decision text came in late on Saturday, negotiations on long term finance can start in earnest as we start the second week in Warsaw. 

But ECO wonders if some of the submissions were written in a rush on the way to the NGO non-party, considering how they drove past the crunch issues with only a passing glance. A case in point: the text by several Umbrella countries ticks the boxes for Noting, Recognizing, Welcoming and Reiterating, but somehow leaves out Committing.

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Qué tal, Costa Rica?

ECO is quite disappointed with Costa Rica. While the country holds an international reputation of being environmentally sound, peaceful and actively engaged in the protection of nature, the current government began developing a huge petrol megarefinery some time ago.

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Uplifting News from Down Under

At last, some great news from Australia.  But you can bet your bottom Aussie dollar it doesn’t come from the coalition government.  Action over the weekend demonstrated in the clearest possible terms how far off the track they are with the people of Australia. 

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contest

Excitement is growing as Ministers start arriving for the High Level Segment. The Bali Action Plan saw near-global inaction, the Copenhagen Accord covered over discord and Durban's platform is unsteady. Given this short-of-the-mark track record, ECO is responding by running a little contest to name the Warsaw outcome. Will it be a name to signify real action or coal's last choke?

It's a party driven process, so you tell us. Send proposed names for the Warsaw >>? to ECO via the CAN exhibit booth.

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Fossil of the Day-Nov 16

In a case of doubling down on a dastardly display, Australia was handed the First Place Fossil of the Day award for an unprecedented fourth time in a row at the Warsaw climate negotiations.

This is getting silly, folks. It's almost like the new Australian Government is trying to compete with Canada for being handed the most fossils in a UNFCCC session.

After their first fossil on Monday for refusing to make any new finance commitments, Australia has today gone even further with their nasty rhetoric, willfully and completely undermining the very concept of climate finance.

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Stop Your Finger Pointing

Delegates: whilst you sat around the Maritim fountain enjoying the balmy weather, Germany suffered historic flooding. It’s a pity the flooding was the physical variety, and not a flood of ambition washing over these negotiations.

The SBI drowning in Russian bile was the disappointing low point of the last fortnight. Really? In two weeks you can’t agree on an agenda?! And you wonder why the public thinks you might be wasting their precious tax dollars. Perhaps Russia might like to pick up the bill for these last weeks, not to mention the bill for the extra climate impacts caused by this stalling.

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Looking for Ambition in Warsaw and Beyond? Tune In to Equity

 

ECO is very pleased to note that the volume on CAN’s proposal for the Equity Reference Framework has been turned up at the Bonn session. ECO now asks Parties that they go back home and add it to their favourite playlists to keep them inspired between now and September, when they will turn in submissions on what architecture they foresee for a successful outcome in Paris.

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