Tag: Europe

Dear Mr. Prime Minister...

In a disappointing and disheartening plenary session today, the Brazilian chair adopted the watered down draft text to be taken to world leaders tomorrow to formally adopt. As delegations clapped away at our failed future, civil society loudly protested from the back of the plenary hall. 

As a last attempt to salvage this summit, civil society has united its efforts to write a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the G20 Summit calling for an urgent intervention to deliver ambition at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The letter highlights that the draft text is severely lacking in ambition, urgency and political will. Countries are reluctant to commit to a bolder agenda largely because they do not believe that the money can be found to deliver the transition to a fair, prosperous and sustainable world for all.

Civil society is calling on the UK, as a member of G8, G20, UN Security Council and the European Union, to take matters into their own hands and be pioneers in this endeavor to save the planet and forge an international agreement on tackling global inequalities. To do this, three commitments are needed to transform this summit.

  1. Phase out harmful fossil fuel subsidies, with safeguards for the world poorest communities.  Commitments to begin such a process were made by the G20 at their meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009 and again in Toronto in 2010, but with almost no progress to date. Developed countries spend around $100bn a year in subsidies and tax breaks to prop up fossil fuel production, according to the OECD.
  1. Introduce a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) which has been proven by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and independent studies to be a credible, effective and development friendly tax. It is a hugely popular idea, supported by 63% of European citizens and more than 1000 economists, and could raise at least $400bn a year.
  1. Stop multinationals dodging their taxes. This would generate an extra $160 billion a year in tax revenues in poor countries alone. This is money that these companies already owe but which they are not paying.

The biggest impediment to means of implementation and finance is that the money isn’t there, but as shown above, the money is clearly there and can be easily freed up and utilized. Strong political will and even stronger leadership is needed now to push these negotiations to deliver a safe and prosperous world for everyone.

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Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:

“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
 
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
 
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
 
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”

 

Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

 

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:
 
“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
 
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
 
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
 
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”
 
 

Ask Poland

Both developed and developing countries often complain that the EU will not answer their legitimate questions, such as "What is the EU position on carrying forward AAU surpluses?" and "As a so-called leader, why does the EU not move to at least a 30 percent domestic target, having already achieved around 17% reductions on 1990 levels?"

The answer is that you may be asking the wrong people. The EU Commission will say that they cannot answer because they do not have the agreement of the member states. The Germans will tend to keep quiet, having played a dominant role in dealing with the Eurocrisis. The British will say “bloody foreigners” and the French will say "plus grand en France".

The trick is to ask questions of newer EU states that are less deferential to European Union traditions and norms. Poland is ideal. They know all about lack of EU ambition and wanting to carry forward hot air AAUs. Ask Poland.

CAN Collectibles: European Union

**Errata: Yesterday's collectible indicated there was a "secret message" embedded in the series. That should have read "notsosecret message". The message is that countries should increase their ambition for Qatar. ECO regrets this confusion, but hopes that this was especially clear to Parties who reread the entire series, searching for the hidden message.**

 

European Union

 

National term of endearment/greeting

Ciao/ahoj/hej/Hi/kalimera/Bonjour/Guten tag/ hej pa dig/Hola/ Hallooooooo/Varying number of kisses, except in the UK

Annual alcohol consumption

11 litres per person per year

Annual cheese consumption

19 kg per person per year (more in France)

Best things about EU

Excellent alcoholic beverages and cheese (see above). Eurovision song contest Climate and Energy package – inadequate level of effort and no legally-binding energy efficiency target, but still a noted first effort

Worst things about EU

World’s lowest carbon price. Milk found on same aisle as toilet paper in supermarket. Middle aged men in skimpy bathing suits. Polish climate ambition. Eurovision song contest

Things you didn’t know

Outlook for the EU is a continent-wide outdoor museum for a population of pensioners. The 10 most generous countries in the world when it comes to charitable giving.

Existing Unconditional pledge on the table

20% below 1990 levels by 2020

Existing Conditional pledge (upper end)

30% below 1990 levels by 2020

Next step to increase ambition by COP18

40% below 1990 levels by 2020 (of which 30% domestic) Agree to a strong Energy Efficiency Directive: Member States have watered down existing provisions to around 38% of the initial proposal

Rationale

Emission reductions in the EU in 2009 were already 17.3% below the 1990, so the 20% target for 2020 is practically met. And as if this wasn't easy enough, simply by implementing the EU’s existing renewable energy and energy efficiency targets would result in domestic emission reductions of 25% in 2020 as has been acknowledged by the European Commission in the 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap published in March 2011.

 

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CAN Collectibles: United Kingdom!

Now With 50% More Ambition!

Fast Facts About Countries That Can Increase TheirAmbition in Qatar

 



National term of greeting: “How do you do?”, accompanied by a firm handshake.
Annual alcohol consumption: 8.3 litres per person per year
Annual cheese consumption: 6.1 kilograms per person per year
Best things about the UK: A strong sense of fair play. Unrivalled ability to queue (see also "a strong sense of fair play")
Worst things about the UK: Weather. Brits whining about the weather.
Things you didn't know: Britain is the only country in the world which doesn’t have the country’s name on its postage stamps (or so the Internet tells us)
Existing unconditional pledge on the table: 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 as per the EU. 34% below 1990 levels by 2020 as the UK’s share of that 20%
Existing conditional pledge (upper end): 30% below 2000 levels by 2020. 42% below 1990 levels by 2020 as the UK’s share of that 30% a reduction of 2.6% per year in the budget periods 2008-2022
Next step to increase ambition by COP18: 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Support that 20% of the EU budget should go to climatesmart investment. Support an EU move to 30% (solely through domestic action) in 2012. Support stronger measures in the EU Energy Efficiency Directive – it’s not all about the ETS!

 

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Big Talk for Smallholders

Despite the Convention objective in Article 2 to stabilize emissions before food production is threatened, impacts of climate change on food production are already being felt around the world. Floods have decimated wheat fields in Pakistan and rice fields in Thailand. Heat waves have seriously reduced yields of Russian wheat and US maize. Drought cost Texas agriculture US$8 billion last year and tens of thousands of lives in the Horn of Africa.

Local and mostly small-scale food producers feed the vast majority of the global population. They are extremely vulnerable to climate change. This in turn threatens food security across the world. As temperatures rise and the weather becomes more unpredictable, large areas of land will become unsuitable for smallholders’ current agricultural practices. Enabling smallholders to adapt, protect their livelihoods and contribute to food security become crucial objectives.

Adaptation is the most urgent and compelling need for smallholders, particularly in developing countries, who have the least resilience and means to cope. This is why SBSTA must consider the impacts of climate change across all scales of food production and find approaches to ensuring food security for all.

The CGIAR has already published many sobering reports on the impacts on food production. Ghana will lose cocoa production on huge portions of its territory. Tea production in the highlands of East Africa will migrate up slopes and significantly contract in area. Developing country economies are often quite dependent on valuable export crops whose production will significantly diminish. Climate change and agriculture conversations will bleed over into the negotiations on loss and damage.

In order for small-scale farmers to be able to adapt and to build their adaptive capacity, they must be enabled to practice farming systems that are resilient to long-term climate change, including indigenous practices that strengthen the ecosystems which they are a part of. This form of agro-ecological smallholder farming and other forms of sustainable and climate-resilient food production should be promoted.

So, whilst the UNFCCC considers agriculture  in  SBSTA,  ECO  asks  Parties to provide scientific  and  technical  advice regarding biodiverse, resilient agriculture based on agro-ecological principles, and explore appropriate technology development and  transfer.

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Fossil of the Day Returns at the Bonn UN Climate Negotiations with Three 1st Place Fossils Going to: the USA, Canada and China.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

Bonn, Germany

Contact:

Wael Hmaidan

whmaidan@climatenetwork.org

Local mobile: +49 (0)1603195597

First Place Fossils go to the USA, Canada and China.

The first 1st place Fossil goes to the USA, for its continuing attempts to block negotiations on sources of financing, and refusing to discuss how it will continue to scale up financing in 2013 and onwards, towards the agreed goal of $100b by 2020. We know that the USA faces some deep denial issues internally, as well as avoidance issues in the negotiations around issues like equity, capacity building and an international mechanism on loss and damage. Until the US is willing to have a frank and honest discussion leading to substantive decisions, it will be an impediment to this process.

An additional 1st place Fossil goes to Canada for – can you guess???? – reneging on their commitments to fight climate change by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol.  While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after Durban overtime, the Canadians had no such luck. Barely off the plane, Canada’s Environment Minister wasted no time in confirming the COP’s worst kept secret that Canada was officially pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Many delegates probably had already given up on Canada at that point, but those of us that live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to what can only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. While Canada’s actions are clearly in a world of its own when it comes to bad behavior in the Kyoto Protocol, there are others that are behaving in fossil worthy manner. Here, we’re looking at Japan and Russia for refusing to participate in the second commitment period and Australia and New Zealand for missing the critical May 1 deadline to submit their QELROS. Australia and New Zealand are on notice that we expect these submissions by the end of Bonn – though the sooner the better as it is causing trouble in the KP.

And the final 1st place Fossil goes to China for holding in abeyance the work programme on scaling-up pre-2020 ambition under the ADP. We agree with China that the ADP must not allow developed countries to jump ship from the KP and LCA to a weaker regime, but Parties can't hold critical parts of the Durban package in abeyance, which amounts to punting them to the other side of the moon. We can't hold the fight against climate change in abeyance!

About CAN:The Climate Action Network (CAN)is a worldwide network of roughly 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

About the fossils:The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999,in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

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