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. 

Less Talk, More Money, More Action

“A little less conversation, a little more action” needs to be the soundtrack of this year’s Long Term Finance (LTF) Work Programme. The Fast Start period is behind us, and we are already starting the period that we used to call “Long Term Finance”, which makes little sense when it refers to yesterday, today and tomorrow. We’ve had processes under the UN Secretary General, the G20, and the UNFCCC. But to date these processes have failed to result in any decisions for, or commitments to, a given level of funding from now to 2020. So this year’s work programme must be different from last year’s in one fundamental respect: concrete outcomes on scaling up.

With the LCA finance negotiations behind us, and ADP negotiations on pre-2020 ambition focused on mitigation, this year’s LTF Work Programme is the main space for making progress on finance. If not here, where? If not now, when?

So unlike last year’s work programme, this year’s needs to be firmly geared towards options for decisions in Warsaw. These options then need to be discussed and agreed at the “in-session high-level ministerial dialogue” that the Doha outcome mandated for COP19. Failure to provide concrete options for ministers to consider would likely result in a missed opportunity that developing countries cannot afford. 

Today's Long Term Finance Work Programme event will focus on pathways for mobilisation of climate finance to USD 100 billion per year by 2020. ECO urges Parties to consider that by COP19, we need ALL developed countries to set out what PUBLIC climate finance they will provide over the period 2013-2015, and commit to a roadmap for scaling-up global PUBLIC climate finance, and reaching $100bn per year by 2020. ECO would like Parties to note that COP19 is already very, very late to make decisions on finance that should have been available from the start of 2013.

This year, we need new initiatives and increased ambition to close the mitigation gap and get on a pathway to staying below 2 degrees C of warming. This will be only be possible if there is an assurance that finance will be available for renewed mitigation efforts in developing countries. We also need agreement that a minimum of 50% of all public climate finance between now and 2020 will be spent on adaptation. And the Green Climate Fund must not be left an empty shell for a 4th COP in a row – that's one broken record we're tired of listening to.

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No oasis for climate in Doha desert


The UN climate talks failed to deliver increased cuts to carbon pollution, nor did they provide any credible pathway to $100 billion per year in finance by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change, according to the 700 NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network-International (CAN-I).

Two weeks ago, just prior to the start of these negotiations, numerous credible reports were published by an array of well respected scientists, economists and climate change experts, all with essentially the same conclusion - we are currently on an unsustainable path which virtually guarantees the world will be faced with catastrophic effects from climate change, according to Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo.

“Two weeks of negotiations have not altered that path and that politicians need to reflect the consensus around climate change through funds, targets and effective action."

WWF head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, said Doha was supposed to be an important element in setting up for a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015 and therefore needed to rebuild trust and instill equity.

“These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations,” Essop said. “The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity.”

Governments have delivered a very vague outcome that might lead to increased ambition but only if the politics shift to working for the people, our future, and not the polluters.

In particular, countries including the US, who have continually blocked progress in the talks, need to fundamentally change their positions in line with their obligation to lead on the solution to this crisis that they created.

Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said Doha had done nothing to guarantee that public climate finance would go up next year, not down.

“Developing countrieshave come here in good faith and have been forced to accept vague words and no numbers,” Gore said. “It's a betrayal.”

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-I, said that ministers needed to go back to their capitals and work hard to put concrete proposals on the table for the next talks so that progress could be made towards to secure a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in 2015.

“The path forward is actually quite clear: we have the technology and know-how to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, protect vulnerable communities, and grow sustainable, resilient, economies.”

“But we also need people in all regions of the world to demand leadership from their governments on climate change – just like the new youth movement in the Arab region has done.”

The Doha Decision:

  • An extraordinarily weak outcome on climate finance which fails to put any money on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. The decision asks for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, calls for public funds for adaptation but does not mention a figure, and encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels dependent on their economies.  
  • An eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with loopholes that allow carry over, use and trading of hot air
  • A call – though not an official ambition ratchet mechanism - for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction target inline with the 25-40% range by 2014 at the latest. While it could have been stronger, the decision reinforces clear moral obligation for countries to increase their emission reduction targets prior to 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so
  • An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately anda decision “to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19”
  • Developed countries failed to agree a way to account for their carbon in a comparable way

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 CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.


Doha talks on the brink; political leadership yet to arrive


Press release

[Doha – Qatar] – December  6, 2012 – The Qatari Presidency of the UN climate talks  needs to show leadership now and help ministers finalise a deal in Doha that sees countries reduce their carbon emissions more quickly and provides adequate finance to help poorer countries deal with climate change in the next few years.

The climate talks – the first in the Middle East – are at a crucial juncture with key elements stalling despite the arrival on ministers yesterday, Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network-International said.

“Qatari political leadership has so far failed to materialise but there are two days left of the negotiations, so Qatar needs to, today, pledge to reduce carbon emissions put money for climate finance on the table in order to lift the political energy in the talks,” Hmaidan said.

“The presidency needs to bring together countries on the unresolved issues in these talks in a way that raises the ambition of climate action globally.”

Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor from E3G, said the shape of a deal was starting to emerge with consensus being sought around the crunch issues on the Kyoto Protocol, but the long term cooperative track (LCA) was a mess.

“The disorder in the LCA track jeopardizes the entire Doha deal as well as progress towards an inclusive treaty in 2015,” Gallagher said. “We run the risk of having a zombie outcome here in Doha.”

“This is an urgent plea to ministers to roll up their sleeves and start driving the UN talks forward,” she said. 

Steve Herz, from the Sierra Club, said the main blockage in the LCA was climate finance -  which was crucial to achieving a deal which was acceptable to the countries most vulnerable to climate change. The US is trying to prevent discussion on how the countries would get to the $100 billion a year target. 

“The US risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if it keeps blocking action on finance in these talks because it risks bringing down the Durban Platform for a new deal which Washington fought so hard for last year,” Herz said.

Archived video footage from the press conference can be found at:



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 CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

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Searching for Equity


ECO wants to remind the Parties thatembedding equity in the climate regime is fundamental to any fair and ambitious outcome. While Parties have expressed their views on how to move toward operationalising equity, this aspect is reaching the vanishing point in the texts.  
ECO thinks it would be pretty easy to measure, report and verify the disappearance of political will when Parties enter the negotiating rooms in the QNCC. That’s the real problem in these negotiations, as reflected in the weak language on equity in the latest texts from both the LCA and the ADP chairs. And that sends a very negative message to areas around the world struggling every day to survive against the adversities of climate impacts.
And yet, innovative and even transformative concepts are readily available.  
Recently, Belgium and Sweden convened a rich and interactive meeting of experts and stakeholders in Brussels. Indeed, the ideas discussed in the Brussels workshop are immediately relevant and can be transformed into workable forms in the negotiations. Once again, the message from workshop participants was loud and clear: what we are facing is not a dearth of ideas or resources but instead a pervasive vacuum of political will. 
One aspect of reviving momentum is to try out creative approaches. In Brussels, forexample, the open exchange of views under Chatham House rules provided a tool for creating trust and opening up space for dialogue. 
Before leaving Doha, negotiators must ensure that a safe space for equity discussions is created in a work programme on equity. That is crucial for ensuring a fair, ambitious and binding outcome in 2015. 
ECO has consistently expressed the need for taking up the equity issue with a view to unpacking and eventually operationalizing equity in the various elements. Let usremember COP 17, where India championed the issue of equity and took a central role in tying together the Durban Package. 
But now, the progress made in the ADP roundtables in Bangkok has been set aside in the discussions to date here in Doha.  To be clear, equity principles need to be discussed in order to move them forward in terms of populating the ADP with contentissues of operationalisation. Otherwise, equity will not move and we will yet again fall short of ambition. To say it clearly: there will be no ambition without equity – and no equity without ambition.
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Ministerial Manners

Most developed countries came to Doha eager to move on to a new track of negotiations, even while several critical issues from recent years of the talks are left unresolved. It is vital these issues are addressed before the talks move on. 

Like all good mothers, ECO wants to tell developed country ministers they can’t have their dessert before they have finished their mains, including all their vegetables. They need to eat up fast, because we won’t solve the climate crisis until everyone in these talks has finished their meal.
Developed countries have responsibilities under both the Kyoto Protocol and the LCA track that must be fulfilled in Doha. Chief among these are a second commitment period of the KP – and one that is worth the paper it is written on – raising their mitigation ambition, and showing how they are going to deliver their $100 billion per year climate finance commitment. Unless these things are delivered, the new Durban Platform (ADP) track will lack the solid foundation it needs to ensure a step change in climate action in the years ahead.
But with the resolution of these issues and this foundation laid, the ADP can and must kick start a new era of climate negotiations in a spirit of trust, solidarity and collective action. This must include actions taken with the upmost urgency under the ADP work track on raising pre-2020 mitigation ambition. No Party in these talks can afford to allow any delay in this endeavor. 
ECO expects that developed countries have come to Doha with every intention of showing their best table manners. There will be nowhere to hide for countries that attempt to avoid their past commitments by shifting focus only to future plans. Success in Doha requires both of these things: that’s what makes for a balanced meal of ambitious and co-operative global climate action. 
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Heros and Zeros: Adaptation Fund Facts & Figures

More and more countries seem to recognise the progress and achievements of the Adaptation Fund in recent years.  Progress so far was featured at a side event last Friday, held jointly by the Adaptation Fund Board.

First the good news.  Only two years after the first call for proposals, 25 concrete adaptation projects have been approved so far and USD 160 million has been allocated.  Direct access is now approved for 14 countries, and many more have expressed interest. 
The bad news is that the key funding source, the share of proceeds of CERs from the Clean Development Mechanism, has now almost totally dried up.  At the end of 2010, it was estimated that revenues would come in as much as USD 400 million by the end of 2012, but only USD 180 million can actually be realised with the current all-time low CER price. 
Some developed countries have made contributions to the AF to the tune of USD 120 million, and this is a very good thing. Spain and Sweden have been the heros in this, while UK and Germany have contributed only a tenth as much relative to their GDP than Spain or Sweden (roughly a tenth). 
But lots of other developed countries have closed their pocketbooks despite the benefits for vulnerable communities addressed by the AF projects. We still have time for pledges coming through from ministers in the next days in Doha, taking their cue from the many individuals who have, once again, reached into their pockets to help build up the Adaptation Fund.
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