Tag: China (unofficial)

Basic Climate Equity

If Durban is to be at least somewhat successful then Saturday’s release of the BASIC Experts paper on fair-shares global effort sharing will be recognized as a key breakthrough. That can help decide a 2nd commitment period for the KP while putting on the agenda serious consideration of a next generation mandate that’s fair enough to support real ambition.

The BASIC Experts paper does not pretend that the global carbon budget hasn’t already been essentially exhausted. Nor does it say that development-as-usual is still a viable option and we can muddle along with bottom-up accounting and a bit of technological optimism. These are things that just can’t happen if we actually intend to stabilize the climate system. But in addition,
developmental justice is a precondition of high ambition, and this report does foresee that soon we’ll be ready to face this bottom-line reality.

The BASIC authors can be commended for illuminating the salient core of the climate-equity debate. That outcome has clearly involved compromise, and it has clearly had a cost. For example, the paper focuses on a 2000-2050 global emissions budget of 1440 Gt CO2, one that many among us view as dangerously high.

All the same, the benefits of compromise are also visible. The authors were able to mark out a first-order consensus that, while vague, indicates a way forward. If ‘equity’ is defined as the human right to sustainable development, then only two approaches to a global fair-shares reference framework – cumulative per-capita budget sharing and “responsibility and capacity index” based effort sharing – are at all promising, and the BASIC paper clearly moves these two approaches forward.

There certainly are problems as well. The report, for example, gives almost no attention to economic stratification within countries. Even South Africa, while speaking for an approach that includes economic capacity as well as historic responsibility, passes too lightly over that subject. But all told it’s the accomplishment here that are highly notable. The BASIC Experts report is a signpost to the debate that’s actually needed.

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Words to the Wise

At one point in her Thursday briefing for NGOs updating the 50+ issues under negotiation, the Executive Secretary spoke of how various texts were “maturing” since Panama.

What an interesting choice of words! As we prepare to head into the second week, ECO hopes that attitudes mature along with the texts. Maturity implies a certain wisdom and yet at times this week there has been a distinct lack of such in these talks.

For example, it is unwise to continue to stall on ambition while the evidence for dangerous climate change mounts, the vulnerability of communities around the globe increases, and the time to protect ecosystems and the people who depend on them drains away.

It is unwise to stall on a second commitment period for Kyoto, putting that instrument at risk and undermining political will throughout the negotiations.

It is unwise to block a mandate towards a comprehensive legally binding agreement, sending signals beyond the ICC that the international community is less than fully committed to solving the climate crisis. And finally it is unwise to backtrack from implementing Cancun when the hard-won gains on finance, MRV and the Review are so vital to the future of the climate response regime.

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Hors d'oeuvres or a full course meal for Durban

Lina Li
Consultant
Shanshui Conservation Center
China

 

Sitting in front of gate 24 in Hong Kong’s airport, I await for my flight to South Africa… another COP ….(deep sigh). I'm about to head off to my 3rd COP and the memories of Copenhagen come rushing back – my first COP; that debacle was enough reason for any COP rookie to be pessimistic!  With the complexities on legal form, saving the KP, the endless wrangling over mandate, the Eurozone crisis to the economic depression in the US and around the world generally, it's hard not to be pessimistic in the climate debate.   

But for someone from an NGO dedicated to the Cause, a stronger dose of optimism must over-ride the pessimism to survive the long and painful negotiations.  I live to change the world to a better one, but right now I have mixed feelings about how COP17 will pan out.  Already, my climate-sensitive radar is scanning the contents on the Round Table here in Durban – will it show a display of wholesome dishes or will it be a range of hors doeuvres just enough to wet the appetite, but not to fully satisfy the longing for a FAB deal for our planet.

Ying and Yang – is BIG bad?
As always, I picked up the China Daily as a good 'time killer' during the 3 hours from Beijing to Hong Kong. Surprisingly, it happened to include a 'climate special' -- Minister Xie's news conference on Durban expectations is covered on the first and second page, and four full pages are dedicated to the text of the newly published white paper, 'China's policies and actions for addressing climate change.'

Actually I'm not surprised at all.  The climate is THE topic.  There has been so much at stake for China and the world in the past 20 years and even more so in the past two years. China is watched, with good and bad intentions.  China is learning to respond and to have better interactions with the world.  And Chinese NGOs have a big role to play here in Durban.

I wonder if being BIG as an emerging economy is what's causing China bad press or could BIG simply be a blessing in disguise, much like the rule of ying and yang; we all need to apply balance in our lives, learn to pause... and smell the coffee, to take it easy and share this planet in good faith.

How many last chances?
“WWC calls Durban the 'last opportunity' to act responsibly for climate justice,” this is the title of one of the hundreds of emails I just downloaded. Why it caught my eye was because I think I have been allergic to the term 'last chance' since Copenhagen.  Like the boy that cried wolf, the phrase 'last chance for history'  has left me doubting what's become a COP tradition to call for urgency and ambition.  Are we supposed to be in a marathon fight for the sake of having a fight or should we actually be showing an increased degree of maturity to strategically change the status quo?

Find enemies or provide hope?
How? Everyone who cares about climate change too much to give up on the UNFCCC process has been trying to figure a way out of the maze.  Statistics vary though and a new report by Greenpeace titled “Who is Holding US Back” focuses on blaming the big cooperates in the US who do a good job turning against the process through strong lobbying.  The “UNEP Gap report II” report, on the other hand, offers a top-down and bottom-up analysis on how to fill in the gap between current pledges and what's required by science.  

Beyond your imagination...
My last highlight today is a nice advertisement at the airport on my way to Gate 24.  It's of a small iceberg on top of the ocean level, and underwater is a giant mountain.  I should have taken a photo, but I am sure you can imagine how it exactly looks! “BEYOND your imagination” is the slogan. And the first thing jumped into my head when passing by it was “isn't this climate change? The crisis we are facing?” Probably! But it can be also the new future we create when addressing that TOGETHER. Good luck, everyone! And Good morning, South Africa!
 

Durban Must Deliver

As we all settle in for the 17th Conference of the Parties and take advantage of all that Durban has to offer, ECO interrupts our regular programme for this special bulletin: The world’s effort to mitigate dangerous climate change cannot wait any longer.

Durban must deliver a package of agreements that cements what we have and clearly articulates a path forward incorporating the urgency and ambition needed. The key elements of the Durban outcome must include:

Legal form. For those Parties who somehow missed the urgent demand to secure the future of the Kyoto Protocol through agreement and ratification of a 5-year long second commitment period, what rock have you been hiding under? Second, to go alongside the second KP commitment period, a strong mandate is needed to reach agreement on a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement with legally binding commitments, no later than 2015, to enter into force on 1st January 2018. A third pillar is to build architecture to ensure commonality and comparability for the non-KP Annex I Parties (yes, we mean you, USA) including common accounting and low carbon development strategies.

Finance. Parties should approve the recommendations of the Transitional Committee and adopt the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund. But an empty fund is about as much use as a empty envelope. Parties must ensure that the Fund is properly capitalized as soon as possible. This includes agreeing a trajectory to ramp up financing towards the 2020 goal of $100 billion of climate financing per year in support of developing countries, and adopting a work plan to consider innovative sources of public finance.

The ‘low hanging fruit’ is bunkers finance. Parties should give direction to the IMO and ICAO on creating mechanisms for raising funds from international marine and aviation transport that reduce emissions and result in no net incidence on developing countries.

Mitigation. It has not escaped ECO’s attention that, despite the promises in Cancun, governments have successfully avoided any reasonable steps to increase their levels of ambition. ECO wants to be optimistic that this is because delegates have been preparing juicy bits for a one-year dedicated work programme to close the gap between the 2°C objective (let alone 1.5° C) and current mitigation pledges. We look forward to the specifics of this workplan being agreed in Durban. ECO also thinks Parties need to find ways to close the ever-widening gigatonne gap, first by increasing their appallingly low pledges, and second by ensuring that loopholes are closed, including bad LULUCF accounting rules, “hot air” and double counting.

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). Annex 1 countries have laid their LULUCF cards on the table, proposing to hide forestry emissions and largely not account for emissions from other land uses. This undermines targets and the integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. For countries, including developing countries, that are committed to securing rules with environmental integrity, Durban is the last chance to reject the worst options on the table and require robust rules.

Adaptation. Adaptation to disastrous impacts of global warming has become an issue of survival for the most vulnerable countries. At the “African COP”, negotiators should be reminded of the dramatic consequences that uncurbed climate change will have on the future of the African continent. Southern Africa in particular faces massive problems from droughts and changes in precipitation. Climate change impacts are already happening today and will worsen if the lack of ambition in mitigation continues. Scaling-up adaptation is indispensable to protect the lives of poor people and increase the resilience of their livelihoods. Adaptation negotiators face a heavy agenda: making the Adaptation Committee operational; solidifying the Loss and Damage work programme; preparing guidelines and modalities for National Adaptation Plans; and the next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme, amongst others. And ECO keeps hearing that some Parties want to hold progress on adaptation hostage. There is no justification for hindering progress on issues crucial for the most vulnerable countries who stand already with their backs against the wall (and with their feet in rising seas).

Shared Vision. Peaking global emissions by 2015 and adopting a long-term reduction goal (-80% globally by 2050) are issues of survival. ECO offers two key principles: the right to survival (which in turn defines ambition on the numbers); and the right to sustainable development. Durban should lock in these numbers with the understanding that each country shall do their fair bit to meet them. And we need a plan for a decent discussion on the fair shares concept after Durban.

Review. ECO will be highly disappointed if Durban doesn’t deliver a robust Terms of Reference for the Review of the long-term global goal and the process of achieving it. A Review Expert Body must be agreed to conduct the Review and recommend appropriate action to be decided by COP 21.

MRV. On MRV, ECO looks forward to robust guidelines for biennial reports, IAR, ICA, accounting for Annex I Parties, reporting on REDD+ safeguards, and a common reporting format for climate finance. Given that MRV is all about transparency, ECO is dumbfounded that the draft text doesn’t guarantee access to information and public participation in the IAR and ICA process, and reminds that ensuring meaningful stakeholder participation is a leading part of a successful Durban outcome.

Market Mechanisms. Here is a big stack of issues that Parties should tackle: stringent CDM reform; a framework for new mechanisms that results in a net decrease of emissions and is based on principles ensuring sustainable development and the protection of human rights; removal of loopholes that weaken targets such as surplus AAUs and non-additional carbon credits. And all of these must go forward on the condition that any market-based mechanism is premised on ambitious and binding emission reduction commitments.

Technology. A substantial outcome on technology is essential at Durban. This COP should ensure that issues concerning the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) host criteria are resolved, and calls for proposals are initiated. Further, the reporting of the Technology Executive Committee and CTCN should be addressed. What is needed will be an accountable, transparent mechanism guided by the COP. Technology outcomes should not be the victim of lack of political will dominating other critical issues, and Durban must deliver.

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2020: Too Late to Wait

In Durban, we are at a crucial turning point in addressing climate change. Governments will choose either to delay progress or recognize that meaningful action is needed now. The world  is dangerously close to passing the threshold for runaway climate  change. Delaying the negotiation of a global binding deal to 2020 will condemn people worldwide to suffering accelerating and uncontrollable effects of climate change for generations to come.

COP 17 has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change on a global scale. Parties should be laser-focused on addressing the climate crisis and creating the sustainable energy future that will benefit us all. The world needs a successful climate deal more urgently than ever. If a less than positive outcome is achieved in Durban, we risk losing the multilateral process that has kept alive our hope for a sustainable future. The science is compelling, the economics make sense, so why are countries holding back from achieving the progress the world so badly needs?

Success in Durban will come from forging a meaningful way forward on climate change action based on science and recognition that time is running out. The most positive outcome in Durban includes agreeing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, securing a mandate to negotiate a legally binding instrument under the LCA to be adopted no later than 2015, and implementation of the Cancun Agreements. 

EU leadership is absolutely crucial. The EU holds the key to the Durban outcome.  If the EU  does not come to Durban with the clear goal of adopting a second commitment period – and not some fuzzy “political commitment” – the Kyoto Protocol will wither and die.

United States has failed to fulfill its responsibility to the rest of the world on climate change. There are low expectations that the US will do its fair share in the near future.  But the targets the US has put forward are much lower than others, including the EU, and the US has not put a finance offer on the table that is in line with its responsibilities. ECO would like the US to show leadership.  But if it can’t or won’t, the US needs to get out of the way so that other countries can move forward.  The US should let the rest of the world move ahead with building a climate regime that will facilitate a shift to green economic growth, and join when its own political situation is more forward-looking.  Blocking won’t lead to the US getting its preconditions met, it will instead lead to acrimony and finger pointing.

ECO agrees with China in forcefully advocating for a second  commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and higher ambition from developed countries.  However, as the largest emitter in the world today. China’s actions at home make it clear it is aware of this responsibility and is willing to act on it. China should match that progress within the international negotiations by agreeing to work toward a comprehensive, legally binding and ambitious agreement to be concluded in 2015 and can be implemented by 2018 at the latest.

Congratulations Australia on getting your carbon price legislation through Parliament.  It was truly an achievement.  But Australia must not rest on its laurels, and has an important role to play in preserving the Kyoto Protocol, so as to provide the basis for a more comprehensive regime in the future.  Australia also has a crucial role to play in bringing together parties to ensure that a comprehensive regime is agreed as soon as possible – and should push for a mandate that ends in 2015 and maps out a clear pathway for  implementation by 2018 at the  latest.  As the most vulnerable developed country, Australia has the most to gain on a successful outcome in Durban.

Ukraine should move closer to the progressive countries in the EU by not only agreeing to a second commitment period of the KP, but also increasing its target to a more ambitious level relative to its business as usual emissions (forecast to be 54% below 1990 levels by 2020), showing flexibility on its ‘hot air’ and ensuring that carry-over AAUs are minimized.

India aims to be a global champion of the poor and vulnerable by working constructively in the multilateral environment. ECO agrees with India’s equity based approach and its demand for operationalisation, starting with its strong demand for second commitment period. But India needs to be more pragmatic on the issue of legally binding outcome under the LCA for a comprehensive future climate regime that protects the rights of poor communities and countries. 

Japan, Russia and Canada.  ECO joins many in worrying about the direction being taken by Japan, Russia and Canada.  As three heavily climate-affected countries, they should agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol since they haven’t offered any effective alternatives.

South Africa / COP Presidency.  There is wide appreciation for South Africa’s open and transparent approach in the run-up to Durban.  Now is the time to move out of pure ‘listening mode’.  In its Presidency, South Africa should keep focus squarely on open and transparent exchange that drives the negotiations to a positive conclusion, whilst its national delegation champions the positions of the Africa Group and particularly the interests of the poor.  ECO appreciates the scope of the work ahead and has confidence that South Africa can achieve its broad and ambitious goals in Durba

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CAN Pre-COP17 Workshop 2011 Draft Agenda

CAN Pre-COP 17 Workshop
19-21 October 2011
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, East Africa

The main objectives of the program:

1.    Provide space for southern CAN members and other stakeholders to work on a common and unified southern voice for greater influence at Seventeenth Conference of Parties in Durban.
2.    Strengthen the South–South dialogue and discussion in order to support the CAN-International policies to have impact in the climate negotiations through broader understanding and knowledge base.
3.    Strengthen and reinforce the connection between the southern civil society members to continue dialogue and strategize for future advocacy and actions in their respective country and regions.
4.    Have dialogue and interaction with African governments and/or the African Union.
 

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CAN Pre-COP Workshop 2011 Announcement

Climate Action Network-International is excited to inform that as part of our ongoing efforts under the Southern Capacity Building program, a "Pre-COP Workshop" will be organized for developing country CAN members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 19th to 21st October 2011.  About 50 participants will be attending the workshop.

This event is primarily for civil society members in developing countries, and aims to strengthen and work towards a common southern civil society voice within CAN and like minded organisations in the lead up to COP 17.  The event will be building upon the similar and successful pre-COP workshop held last year in Mexico City, which roughly 50 CAN members and partners attended.

We are very excited to be planning this workshop in collaboration with a large variety of CAN members and partners, whose financial support is not only making this event possible but also whose engagement we believe will bring richness to the discussions.  Thus far, we have received commitments of support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Bread for the World, Greenpeace International, WWF-International, Oxfam International, the Norwegian Environment ForUM, the Development Fund, the Southern Voices Program consortium and CARE Denmark. We’d like to thank these organizations and partners for their interest in supporting this event!

Main Objectives:
1. Provide space for southern CAN members and other stakeholders to work on a common and unified southern voice for greater influence at the Seventeenth Conference of Parties in Durban.
2. Strengthen the South–South dialogue and discussion in order to support the CAN-International policies to have impact in the climate negotiations through broader understanding and knowledge base.
3. Strengthen and reinforce the connections between the southern civil society members to continue dialogue and strategize for future advocacy and actions in their respective country and regions.
4. Have dialogue and interaction with African governments and/or the African Union.

Program Design
The full focus of the program is on policy framing and influencing the outcome in COP17. Attention will be given to major areas such as: UNFCCC processes, thematic issues discussion (e.g. low carbon development, adaptation, etc.), and institutional strengthening and sharing of country/regional experiences focusing on policy advocacy in the Global South.

Who will Attend?
Developing country CAN members and partners having policy experiences especially related to the UNFCCC process (national, regional and international) are invited. Selected participants will do a preparatory work on their respective national/regional policies before attending the workshop.  And these participants are also expected to share the outcomes of the pre COP workshop once they go back to their home country or regions in order to ensure information is disseminated to wider stakeholders. Participant selection will be inclusive of different regions from the where gender, organisational, country and regional balance will be considered.
 

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