Tag: Europe

Raise the Stakes!

Dear Ministers,

The disconnect between the climate talks and scientific reality is stark. In the UNFCCC process, progress is being made, but in real life your negotiators have been sleepwalking as the world burns.

The past week has seen negotiations moving slowly, with the peaks and valleys that typify these talks. We have walked the corridors, met in the large and small rooms, gone to side events, gossiped at exhibit stands, argued over brackets and tinkered with text.

Meanwhile, famine spreads, floods inundate homes and storms destroy livelihoods.

The evidence shows that if we do not act within only a few short years it will be too late to curb dangerous climate change. To be blunt, we risk throwing away the work of 20 years and further delaying the action that is truly required.

Ministers, your negotiators have left you with a very clear choice: You can choose to step away from the edge or drag all of us over it.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen discussions of a timeline for action that would lock us into dangerous climate change. ECO was under the impression that the Durban COP was intended to discuss the post-2012 framework. Somehow the negotiations have shifted to post-2020. This is simply inconceivable. The world can not afford a ten year timeout in the negotiations.

To this end, the European Union can help: Agree a 5-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Do it now.

The US and others claim that the collective emission reductions ambition currently in place will allow us to avoid dangerous climate change. This is simply not true. A pledge and review world is a world of uncertainty. There is even backtracking toward a system where there is neither accountability nor assurance that actions will be taken. Let’s not go there.

Instead, we must raise ambition by 2015, otherwise the global average temperature increase will exceed 2° C and move inexorably to 3° and beyond – with all that entails.

The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period must be agreed, as it is the only instrument that legally binds countries to reduce their emissions.

Durban must also agree to negotiate a legally binding agreement to supplement  – not replace! – the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, and by 2015 at the very latest. Those pushing anything else are seeking to avoid their responsibilities and delay urgently required action.

We have been talking since Copenhagen about how the process is “kicking the can down the road.” There is no more time for that. We cannot pretend action is being taken when it is being avoided.

And it can be done! As we approach the dangerous edge, there is also positive movement.

China has signaled flexibility and a willingness to negotiate the difficult issues. The EU can accept a 5 year second commitment period, and they must continue to stand strong for the 2015 timeline as well. The small island states have, as always, pushed for what is needed, since they are closest to the dangerous edge.

There is another road and this is the time for us to choose it. And if the US and others try and pull you aside, don’t let them. Move forward and show the way.

Dear Ministers, we are relying on you this week to show true leadership and choose to pull back from the abyss, change course and take bold steps in a new direction that works for all of us, our climate and our planet.

Ambassador Jumeau from the Seychelles said it best: “During COP17, you are all small islanders. So don’t save us, save yourselves.”

This week, you work to save us all.

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Be Consistent, Norway!

You might have noticed ECO is having some targeted bilateral discussions in these pages. Today is with Norway. Time and time again we have reminded Parties of the urgent need to clarify the content of the pledges put on the table by developed countries.

On this issue, Norway has been an unwavering ally, and its credibility has been boosted by the transparent clarification of its own pledges. And no wonder, Norway regularly leads the league tables on transparency.

Throughout these negotiations, Norway has repeatedly made clear that out of its total emission reduction target of 30-40% emission reductions by 2020, about two-thirds will be achieved through domestic measures. But rumours have reached distant Durban that prominent political figures now want Norway to backtrack on this promise to the international community, by abandoning its pledge to achieve two-thirds of its target domestically.

So, Norway, that’s why we are having this little chat. You of all countries should not have to be reminded that promises are made to be kept, and levels of ambition should increase rather than decrease. Nothing could be more damaging to a country’s credibility in these negotiations than the perception that it is not taking the necessary action back home.

The world expects from Norway’s own position that its plans and policies will keep the promise of meeting at least two-thirds of its 2020 target through domestic action. What we don’t need is another Annex I country running away from its responsibilities. As Norway asks other countries to clarify their pledges, Norway should clarify whether it is a leader or an also-ran when it comes to reducing its own emissions.

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LULUCF Reference Levels: Technical Review Good, Policy Deeply Flawed

ECO recognises that significant time and effort have gone into improving the transparency and technical robustness of Annex I Parties’ proposed reference levels for forest management.

However, although the review process achieved those objectives, this is in no way sufficient to ensure the environmental integrity of the reference level approach to forest management accounting. Put bluntly, the policy premise of the reference level approach is deeply, irrevocably flawed.

Although the review process was able to identify and correct technical issues and inconsistencies in individual country reference levels, it was never intended to assess the broader policy implications of the reference level approach. These implications include the following:

Environmental integrity. The reference level approach would allow Annex I Parties to increase net emissions of greenhouse gases relative to current levels over the next commitment period without penalty. Over time, this approach could seriously undermine global climate change mitigation and result in a loss of forest carbon stocks in developed country forests.

Economy-wide mitigation. The forest management reference levels for some Annex I Parties have been set in a way that allows them to hide increases in emissions from managing their forests and therefore allows them to avoid undertaking mitigation actions in other sectors.

Comparability. One supposed strength of the reference level approach is that it is flexible enough to allow all Annex I Parties to adopt mandatory forest management accounting.

However, reference levels overshoot the flexibility actually needed several times over. The result is a framework in which a tonne of mitigation in one country is not necessarily equivalent to a tonne of mitigation in another country.

The review was designed to assess the technical robustness and transparency of Parties’ reference levels, and it did its job. It is now plainly and utterly apparent just how bad the effects of the reference level approach could be.

ECO therefore implores Parties to take a step back, consider the broader implications of the reference level approach and reject it in favour of one of the more robust options on the table as we head into the critical second week of negotiations here in Durban.

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Turkey Earns Its First Fossil for Wanting Everything but Giving Nothing

Durban, South Africa – Turkey earned the First Place Fossil of the Day today for trying to acquire funding and technology under the Kyoto Protocol without agreeing to any greenhouse gas pollution cuts. CAN cannot remember the last time Turkey took the fossil stage, but its actions recently were clearly worthy of this dubious distinction. The Fossil as presented read:

Turkey wins the 1st Place Fossil. Turkey finally made it to the podium and managed to grab its first Fossil of the Day award today.

Turkey has increased its greenhouse gas emissions 98% since 1990 and so far avoided having any commitment or clear target to turn this trend around. Instead, Turkey is allocating its financial resources to build more coal power plants, as well as planning two nuclear power plants and pouring money into road transport. 15000 kilometers of new divided highways and a third bridge in Istanbul is underway.

Turkey is now asking to be included in the technology and financial mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol but is still not talking about any commitment or reduction targets. Turkey did not submit a pledge under the Copenhagen Accord.

Turkey is also setting a bad example for the advanced developing countries. When it comes to economic growth the Turkish government is very happy to talk about the figures, but when it comes to GHG emissions Turkey tends to hide itself under the Turkish rug.

The 'cheeky' move of Turkey is unacceptable. Having one of the best wind, solar and geothermal energy resources and energy efficiency potentials, the country could do more. Turkey’s 'unique position' among the Annex-1 countries is no excuse for doing nothing but asking for more!

We call the Turkish government to take action – put money for climate, energy efficiency and renewables and abandon coal and nuclear power plant projects.”
 

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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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Media Advisory – Webcast Notice: Civil society reflections on dynamics within BASIC, the role of EU and the negotiations on legal form.

UNFCCC CLIMATE TALKS IN DURBAN:

NGO BRIEFING ON THE NEGOTIATIONS

Civil society reflections on dynamics within BASIC, the role of EU and the negotiations on legal form.

[Durban, South Africa] Climate Action Network – International will host a media briefing, webcast live, to outline civil society expectations for a successful outcome of UN climate talks in Durban beginning this week.

International NGO experts will discuss civil society reflections on the positions and movements within BASIC, look into the negotiations on legal form, and highlight the role of the EU.

The briefing takes place at the UNFCCC conference venue, on Friday, December 2, at 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG) NGO Press Conference Room.

It will be webcast live at: http://bit.ly/CANwebcasts

NGO experts on the panel will include: Keya Chatterjee of WWF-US; Srinivas Krishnaswamy of CAN South Asia, and Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace Germany.
 
What: Briefing on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Durban

Where: Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG) NGO Press Conference Room, UNFCCC conference venue, Durban

Webcast Live via www.unfccc.int, or at: http://bit.ly/CANwebcasts

When: 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Thursday, December 2, 2011

Who:     Keya Chatterjee – WWF-US
    Srinivas Krishnaswamy – CAN South Asia
    Martin Kaiser – Greenpeace Germany

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 go to: www.climatenetwork.org

For more information please contact:

David Turnbull, CAN International, +27 (0) 78 889 6827 (local mobile)

Every day at 18:00 local time CAN gives the Fossil of the Day to the Parties that obstruct the negotiations the most. You can watch the Fossil ceremony at the CAN booth in the DEC building and get the press releases every day at: http://www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day

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