Tag: Europe

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 38) Agenda

The provisional agenda for the thirty-eighth session of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 38).

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Overview Schedule- Bonn Climate Change Conference 2013

The overview schedule for the thirty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 38), thirty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 38)  and the third session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP3).

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From Bonn to Berlin: Ministers At the Petersberg Dialogue Take Over

When the climate policy train leaves the ADP2 station in Bonn today, it moves on to Berlin at the Petersberg Dialogue. Germany and the next COP host, Poland, will serve as the conductors for this next stop. Three dozen ministers from around the world have been invited to this informal exchange of views to complement the UNFCCC process. ECO is happy to hear that ministers are finally getting together to work on the next steps after Doha. We encourage ministers to put more details to key challenges identified in the past week here in Bonn. 

ECO identifies the following tasks for ministers to work on during the Petersberg Dialogue:
 
1. Make further progress on developing a shared understanding of how to assess individual countries’ contributions to an equitable sharing of the global mitigation effort. This should include discussions on the provision of climate finance to developing countries. A 2015 deal cannot be agreed unless the concerns around equity are resolved.
 
2. If you are truly serious about the 2°C commitment, you’ll need to re-double your efforts to increase ambition before 2020. Ministers at the Petersberg Dialogue should explicitly recognize that developed countries must increase their woefully inadequate mitigation pledges during 2014. Opportunities such as the KP review cannot be missed.
 
3. Ministers should engage in discussions on how developed and developing countries can create an upward spiral of increasing climate finance and increasing ambition in developing countries.
 
4. Ministers should engage in discussions on complementary measures. Warsaw could make significant progress in closing the gigatonne gap by seeing various types of complementary measures launched – such as phasing out HFCs under the Montreal Protocol or a dedicated agenda item within Workstream 2 to develop options to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
 
5. Ministers should identify milestones to achieve major progress on climate finance at Warsaw. Demonstrable progress on climate finance will be an essential pre-condition for the 2015 outcome. Developed country ministers need to ensure that they can present a track record of year-by-year climate finance increases in 2015. This would lend much needed credibility to further plans for scaling up finance towards the 2020 commitment. Ministers also need to ensure that public climate finance is allocated equitably between adaptation and mitigation.
 
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ECO has learned that German chancellor Angela Merkel will open the Petersberg Dialogue. Attending Ministers may wish to use this opportunity to ask her about Germany’s psychological state. ECO finds it difficult to understand how Germany can claim the limelight through the proclaimed Energiewende (energy transformation) to renewable energies while at the same time failing to support recent attempts to reform the EU Emission Trading System. Does the German government realise that it is starting to look schizophrenic? Strengthening the ETS is crucial for the Energiewende and more.
 
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Adaptation Fund: Progressive But Poor!

ECO would like to cast a bright light on whether there is sufficient progress in responding to the needs of the poor and vulnerable at an implementation level. We note that the Adaptation Fund is now established. It has approved funding for 27 adaptation projects with several projects more waiting to be funded. Furthermore, we see that 15 developing countries have already had their National Implementing Entities accredited and can directly access the Fund, and several more countries are in the process of accreditation. 

ECO also recognises that the Adaptation Fund has become a forerunner, having recently been ranked as the top climate finance institution by Publish What You Fund: the Global Campaign for Aid Transparency. Just two weeks ago it became the first climate fund in the International Aid Transparency Initiative. It has also been an early-mover in adopting an overarching results framework. The Fund has managed to speed up the project approval process while reducing implementing entities´ fees. 
 
ECO wonders why, with such accomplishments, the Adaptation Fund is the one multilateral fund that has received the least contributions from developed countries in recent years.  And to make matters worse, the price for emission reduction certificates (the key income source of the Fund) is now below US$1, largely due to the virtual collapse of the European Emission Trading Scheme. At current CER prices and estimated issuance levels, the Adaptation Fund would receive only $4 to $8 million in additional revenue to 2020. 
 
ECO is concerned that there has hardly been any progress in delivering the Fund’s target of $100 million by the end of 2013.  There are no new pledges and funding seems to be scarce. ECO calls on Parties to send a strong signal that they are committed to addressing the needs of the vulnerable developing countries by putting additional money into the Fund swiftly. 
 
ECO particularly would like to see countries like Japan, Norway, France, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, USA, Canada and others, who have not as yet contributed to the Fund, to do so immediately. Australia´s 2010 pledge has still not been deposited. ECO finds it ironic that Germany, the host of the Adaptation Fund, has only made one pledge of 10 million EUR in 2010, which is much lower than that of Spain and Sweden.
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Putting the “2 (degrees)” back in Workstream 2

It is well-trodden ground that there is a huge gap between what Parties say they want (staying below 2°C and keeping the door open to 1.5°C) and what Parties have pledged to contribute between now and 2020 to achieve that planetary necessity.  

In theory, Workstream 2 has already identified how to bridge the gap through: 1) improving developed countries’ woefully inadequate 2020 emission reduction targets; 2) identifying ways to enable and support developing countries in upping their own pre-2020 ambition; and 3) joint complementary action in addition to the first two areas on everything from phasing out HFCs to fossil fuel subsidies.  The task now is to JUST DO IT.  
 
ECO thought “doing it” would require no explanation, but some recent happenings in many developed countries are getting their positions all wrong.  
 
First and foremost – and we really thought this was obvious – the thing that needs to go up is the target, not the temperature.  For the EU this means moving to 30% - a move which really shouldn’t be that difficult considering that it has already achieved its 20% target almost 8 years ahead of schedule and will actually achieve more than that (around 25-27%) by 2020.  How can the EU host 2 COPs over the next 3 years and ask the rest of the world to do more while it decides to take a break? In addition, the EU’s incompetence at repairing its own emissions trading scheme is pretty mournful. A modest measure to temporarily limit the surplus of allowances in the EU carbon market was recently rejected by some within the European Parliament. 
 
The rest of the developed world is no better, and many are far, far worse.  There are rumours that Japan is planning to lower its ambition from its current 2020 pledge. Australia is not likely to do anything about its tiny 5% pledge and, depending of the outcome of the upcoming national elections, things could hit rock bottom, even though the Australian public is strongly in favour of climate action. The US pledge could be labelled ambitious, if the ambition was to overshoot 4°C, while the country is barely on the path to achieve its very weak 2020 target. And Canada – well, their only ambition is to withdraw from as many international treaties as possible (if you hadn’t heard, they’ve also withdrawn from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification). 
 
This drooping ambition level needs to stop. By 2014 ALL Parties (Kyoto Parties and free-riders alike) will have to increase the ambition of their 2020 pledges. Without this, you won’t get a global agreement in 2015, and – worse – you will not prevent dangerous climate change from destroying entire civilisations and threatening the future of your children.
 
There is also a role for developing countries in increasing near-term ambition. It is worth assessing what additional ambition more advanced developing countries can muster as well as what precise support will enable all to do even more. Jointly, developing and developed countries should use Workstream 2 to create an upward spiral of increasing support (finance, technology and capacity building) and ambition triggered and enabled by such support. This could also help avoid that, due to, for example low levels of climate finance, developing countries may find themselves in situations where they lock-in low ambition because of inadequately supported actions.
 
Finally, there are the complementary actions. The COP in Warsaw would ideally invite other bodies (Montreal Protocol, ICAO and IMO, G20 and so forth) to foster actions in their spheres of expertise and influence to result in additional emission reductions. Those actions would need to come in addition to what Parties have committed to do based on their 2020 targets, pledges and NAMAs, rather than as means to achieve them. This is why ECO and some Parties have used the expression “complementary”, a word whose proximity to the somewhat less ambitious “complimentary” should not create the false impression that avoiding catastrophic climate change is an issue of voluntary action – it is not. It is an obligation Parties have towards the millions of people suffering climate change already today, and towards the hundreds of millions if not billions who will be suffering tomorrow, whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by inaction, complacency and pretension currently at display at these negotiations.
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Climate action takes on split personality ahead of first UN talks of 2013

With this year’s first session of the UN climate negotiations to open on Monday, international politics surrounding the planetary climate crisis were taking on a split personality, according to NGO experts speaking at a press briefing today by Climate Action Network-International and the Global Call for Climate Action. 

According to Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists' director of strategy and policy, on the one hand, there are some signs of progress on climate action.
 
More developing countries appear keen to adopt low carbon development plans, renewable energy costs continue to decline, and the US and China just launched a process to develop a set of joint actions that “set the kind of powerful example that can inspire the world."
 
In addition, several key high-profile political actors, such as IMF chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, are calling for increased action on climate change.
 
But on the other hand, there are several signs that the world is not coming to grips with the severity of the situation, Meyer said, such as continuation of some US$1 trillion a year in fossil fuel subsidies, increasing efforts to develop unconventional oil reserves and expand coal exports, and the growing gap documented by UNEP between the reductions in emissions required by 2020 in order to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Centigrade, and the much higher level expected as a result of current national pledges of action. 
 
"To top it off, we aren’t seeing the bold leadership needed by our political leaders to deal with the climate crisis, particularly those from developed countries,” Meyer said.  “This must change – and soon – if we are to get the much more ambitious set of international and national actions that are required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” 
Hope in the face of the climate threat was coming increasingly from developing countries. 
 
Lina Li, climate policy researcher from the Greenovation Hub in Beijing, said after some positive domestic developments on the climate front, there was potential for China to do more on the international stage. 
 
"The North-South paradigm that underpinned the international development and environment agenda is posing more questions than answers. Conventional wisdoms are being challenged while new imaginations are yet to be articulated. China’s new role, with the ongoing geographic power shift, will be identified within this context. This is one of the key questions that need to be addressed if we are going to achieve a fair deal in 2015," Lina said. 
 
Meanwhile, this year's major climate negotiations will be held in Poland in November, a country renowned for blocking further climate action in the EU, according to Julia Michalak, climate policy officer for Climate Action Network, Europe. 
 
"It’s difficult for the country that keeps looking back-ward to move the international process forward. Poland keeps mentioning its past achievement and has no vision on how to design its own climate policy, so it’s difficult to imagine it can offer a lot to international process."
 
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QATAR PRESIDENCY'S LACK OF LEADERSHIP AND EU'S DILLY-DALLYING ON HOT AIR TURNS INTO FOSSILS

 

The First Place Fossil goes to the [EU]. The EU receives a bracketed Fossil because we still have hope that the EU will stop being bullied by Poland and stand up for full cancellation of all hot air at the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Before Durban, the EU talked about the importance of closing the gap. On Kyoto it said it can commit to a second commitment period, on the condition that there's a roadmap where the major emitters engage in a broader framework and where Kyoto rules are improved to ensure environmental integrity, specifically referring to the AAU surplus. However, the EU is still dilly-dallying. We need a strong EU position right now. If the EU fails to come to a sensible and joint position on the surplus, it will fail to be seen as serious in the ADP discussions to come. A political declaration is no option and a solution has to include a full cancellation of all surplus at the end of the second commitment period.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Poland for a fossilized position on the hot air issue. They stubbornly insist on full carry-over and generous use in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol while vehemently opposing cancellation of any hot air at the end of the that period. Poland’s Environment Minister even had the audacity to say in an recent DPA interview that Poland wants to keep their hot air because they believe they will be able to use it in a new agreement, post-2020. Note to the Polish delegation: defending your own interest does not build any confidence in you as the next COP president!

The Third Place Fossil goes to the COP18 Presidency of Qatar for their lack of leadership in pushing Ministers during roundtable discussions towards ambition in the ADP. As the hosts of this COP, the Presidency is required to facilitate a successful agreement to inject urgency in the talks for progress towards an ambitious legally binding deal.


Photo Credit: IndyACT

 

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COP 18 Doha: Pledge, People, Pledge!

 

Towards the end of the most hilarious annual conference on climate change in the world, Doha's COP 18, finance is still a big issue to handle. The year of 2012 is crucial, because it is the last year for Fast Start Finance to flow, and, starting 2013, a USD 100 billion by 2020 should be dispursed from developed countries to developing countries.

Numbers are not yet on the table, except one from UK that’s pledging for £ 2,9 billion by 2015, which was announced through their press conference in Doha, on December 4th 2012. EU, with their unfinished budget discussions back home, is definitely got pushed by NGOs to give some numbers, ensuring that they will continue their funding. Too many statements from developed countries, saying ‘we will continue funding’, is unaccceptable. A predictability of the funding is highly crucial, as well as having a clear pathway towards the USD 100 billion to 2020.

Learning from the Fast Start Finance for the last two years, developing countries have learned, that certainty of finance sources is highly needed. Climate finance should be new and additional than the existing funding. Therefore, transparency, of course, should be on board for developed countries to regain the trust of developing countries.There are so many innovative resources that can be explored by the developed countries. Even the long term finance workshops that have happened twice in 2012 (not to mention the webminars), have clearly showed that those sources of fund are real and possible, to meet the USD 100 billion by 2020.

Pledge, people, pledge! Not only the financial pledge, but also your emission reduction pledge. And please, leave the hot air behind. 

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