Tag: Latin America

Media Advisory: NGO experts briefing on the geopolitical context and expectations for the second UN climate negotiations of the year

NGO experts from Climate Action Network will hold a press briefing THIS MORNING at 11am at Hotel Maritim on the opening of the UN climate talks.  The press conference will be webcast live.

  • WHAT: NGO experts briefing on the geopolitical context and expectations for the second UN climate negotiations of the year.
  • WHEN: Today Monday June 3, 11am CEST,   
  • WHERE: Haydn Room, Hotel Maritim, Bonn, Germany
  • WEBCAST LIVEhttp://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/sb38/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=243
  • WHO: Speaking will be:
    • Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis, Climate Action Network Latin America
    • Jason Anderson, WWF
    • Kyle Ash, Greenpeace
    • Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute

Related Member Organization: 

The environment is harsh, but there is life in the desert


Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Fundación Biosfera, CANLA

COP 18 is now done. A key milestone in our international negotiations for a global agreement on climate action has passed, and very little progress has been made. Global negotiations on climate change will continue next year, loaded with responsibility. Many tasks are overdue, the two most important being mitigation ambition and financial transfer.

But what happened in Doha? Russia, Poland and Ukraine continuously blocked the negotiations under KP for the 2nd commitment period; while NZ and Japan obstucted in another way: saying they would pull out of KP while enjoying the benefits. The US and Canada worked together to play a very unconstructive role in the negotiations as far as climate finance, as well.  

With things like this happening on a daily basis, the good efforts of some countries to create a positive outcome from Doha seem to be overlooked. It is important to make this clear: there are some positive things in the UNFCCC. UK and France some countries expressed their willingness to contribute to financial support in this COP, while others, such as Monaco, pledged emission reductions for 2020. Some developing countries, like the Dominican Republic, even pledged a 25% absolute reduction by 2030 without international support.

The positive actions we have seen in Doha are small compared to the empty Climate Fund and remarkably low ambition from some developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions. This kind of situation puts the world on a difficult scenario to 4ºC.

All of this being said, you cannot blame those who question this process, especially because they hear only of disappointments, lack of ambition and frustration. Many people ask us, the Civil Society Organizations, why we continue to attend COPs if they don’t lead anywhere. I can understand them, but I believe that, even though the last COPs did not deliver a global agreement, many movements and environmental programs around the world were born from this process. Changes have happened- believe it or not.

As a final thought, observers in UN are key witnesses to what governments are doing. The world knows what is happening thanks to people like us, who are not driven by only one interest- the integrity of this world’s environment.



Latin Heat – Dominican Republic Takes it Seriously

To tell the truth, the last couple of days have not seen a lot of Progress, much less Ambition.  But along comes something that makes you think there is hope and good will somewhere.

ECO is quietly cheering the rumours of developing countries putting pledges on the table. Today at the High Level Segment, the Dominican Republic pledged an unconditional 25% emission reduction below 2010 levels by 2030 in absolute terms, to be accomplished with domestic funds plus international community solidarity. This is in a national law and therefore mandatory for the government to deliver.

Congratulations to the Dominican Republic for taking serious action on climate change and recall that many other countries are also doing their job. This is the kind of attitude we need in these negotiations to move things forward.

Related Newsletter : 

Something has to happen!


COP 18 is another step in the climate change negotiations. There are a lot of expectations here and many issues need to be covered. Most importantly, a comprehensive decision has to be made in order to deliver what humanity needs in order to survive. This is something we hear all the time around climate change negotiations. The issue is that, if we need to repeat it, then there has not been any change.

For some countries, there is an economic interest conflict - a fear of losing money. For others, it is just a matter of survival- a loss of lives. We all will face the consequences, climate change doesn’t recognize differences. It will happen and we must take action.

Negotiators are convinced that they will find a solution. But, will this happen? Will they realize they are negotiating a way forward for everyone and not bargaining to get something? Will they stop putting the blame on each other?

Finance issues are crucial for this regime to move forward but recent statements from some parties are not very encouraging. This only diminishes the acknowledgement of any progress that could have happened.

Realistic mitigation efforts by developed countries have been due for a long time now. Some developing countries are being more proactive than developed countries. While this can be a good sign towards a future low carbon world, developed countries should do more in order to achieve what humanity needs.

Adaptation is crucial for all, but especially for those in developing countries, where there is lack of capacity to adapt to climate changes.

Being in a Doha Conference center, where everything is so scattered, where there seems to be empty rooms everywhere, it feels as though not much is happening. We hope that, in the next few days, delegates can work out ways to facilitate the process of ministers reaching agreements.


“We are sinking” and “no-agreement-text”- What is the relation between both ideas?

Mónica López Baltodano
Officer for Climate Change
Centro Humboldt

While the negotiations in the UNFCCC concluded in the Bangkok intersessional meeting in September 2012, many questions arise for us in preparation for COP 18 in Doha. Can we find any logical relationship between developed countries’ claims that this was an “informal session, meaning “no-negotiation-text” should be agreed in Bangkok, while we read there´s super-shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice?

The massive heat wave melting the Arctic is just one –of many- clear signals that expose governmental representatives of countries around the globe aren´t achieving what they are supposed to in UNFCCC negotiations. The ultimate objective of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to guarantee the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. But, that clearly can´t be achieved if developed countries are limiting the negotiation process, hiding their lack of political will to act with procedural claims and “formality” excuses.

Coming from a highly vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change, this seems more like a bad joke - not funny at all. Even though we understand that climate change claims for actions in the developing world, particularly in emerging economies, we cannot accept this to be an excuse for developed countries not to act as needed.

When we hear United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the European Union, New Zealand and others saying there is not supposed to be any negotiating text on adaptation issues and finance under the LCA, we fear this is leading to a dead-end. Of course, there is clearly a much needed link between, for instance, Adaptation Committee, Standing Committee and Green Climate Fund Board´s work. Why would developed countries fear this should be in an agreed text coming out of Doha?

There are no “political skills” necessary to understand that this might mean they are not truly committed to fund adaptation actions in our countries as needed (i.e. promptly and effectively). If this is true, it would certainly undermine any strong effort in the most afflicted countries, including LDCs, SIDs and Central American countries.

We surely expect that, in the road to Doha, these countries find the logical connection between “we are sinking” –in all of its meanings- and the need to complete the work in the LCA track. This means an agreed outcome is a MUST, including a clear agreement on international finance for adaptation actions to take effect now.


Redefining the Concept of Negotiation

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Regional Coordinator
Climate Action Network Latin-America

For many years now, climate change negotiations are not delivering what the world needs in order to stay below an increase of 2ºC. The influence of inaction and lack of ambition or compromise from developed countries means new big emitters are not willing to move forward.  

Interestingly, climate change meetings no longer seem like real negotiations- countries are simply informing others of their views. To negotiate means to have formal discussions with someone in order to reach an agreement, therefore, the main task is to listen. Agreement is only possible once middle ground is found, and, in order to do so, clear positions and some flexibility are needed.

When Countries have the floor, they speak only on the issues to which they are personally inclined to. In fact, once they finish their speaking, they are even permitted to leave the Plenary! This makes you wonder: how is it possible to reach an agreement if we won’t listen to anyone but ourselves!

Latin-America needs desperately a climate agreement that will allow LA countries to adapt, receive appropriate technology, and develop NAMAs that contribute to mitigation actions. None of this will happen if parties continue to rehash old speeches and speak only amongst themselves. There are countries with good proposals, but they seem to keep that information to themselves and are not willing to listen to others. Learning about others’ opinions is beneficial for everyone involved.

As a Civil Society representative, I am very interested to see countries start looking to each other: to listen and move this process forward.

There may be only one skill that parties are missing: listening.


AAU Elephants

Negotiators are truly having a tough time putting the pieces for a second commitment period together. But soon they will face the enormous elephant in the room. A recent UNEP report estimates that up to 13 billion tonnes CO2 of surplus AAUs could be carried over to the next commitment period. This is almost three times the annual emissions of the EU. With the supply of hot air AAUs much higher than current reduction commitments (that are well under the 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 actually needed), carry-over would lead to no emission reductions compared to business-as-usual emission projections by 2020. As a matter of fact, CP2 commitments as they stand would likely lead to another surplus. This would be the case even if the large quantity of Russian surplus is excluded. Additionally, carbon credits from the CDM and JI that can be carried over would further lower actual emission reduction levels by 2020 by roughly 6%.

But there is hope! A proposal by the G77, which is technically sound and politically feasible in addressing this enormous loophole, could do the trick. Europe showed in Durban that it can pull its weight internationally by being the driving force behind the agreement for a new climate accord by 2015. This can’t be put at risk by domestic quarrels. The higher carbon price due to restricted carry-over could actually benefit surplus allowance holders, since it would avoid a likely price collapse after 2012.

However, ECO is deeply worried that a low ambition-laden second commitment period might emerge as a compromise. In particular, the differentiation of treatment between two types of hot air seems to be in the making. This could lead to an amendment that allows the European hot air that followed the economic crisis of 2008 to be fully carried over into the second commitment period. In particular, Brazil seems keen to allow such differentiation. ECO wonders why Brazil is so interested in helping further water down the weak European 2020 reduction target through the introduction of such a major loophole.


Clarifying Clarifications

The two panels on quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets by developed country Parties left ECO feeling that there was something missing since Bali - like four years perhaps? - or a bit of ambition?

Surely Parties can cite 1(b)(i) from the Bali Action Plan in their sleep (“comparable” – remember)? Yet, as St Lucia pointed out, we still have different base years and metrics. That’s not going to help spotting the loopholes and freeloaders - oh sorry...everyone’s acting in good faith so no need to worry about transparency.

All in all, there are some surprisingly unsophisticated approaches on the table from some rather sophisticated economies – putting forward point targets rather than carbon budgets. And yes, ECO’s talking about those north of Latin America. This includes no clear idea how international credits used by states and provinces are going to affect the national level.  ECO was intrigued at issues for California being considered “within the noise” of measurement. Yes, who could possibly be concerned about accounting problems within an economy the size of Australia?

 And talking of the latter – ECO believes the EU’s urgings were heard loud and clear.  Australia and New Zealand, you’re wanted in the KP.  As they say in those parts, “Come on Australia.” 

All in all, some in the Umbrella group must have been wishing they had their brollies to hide behind. Can’t imagine how “banking and borrowing” can be used with inventories and point targets? Well no problem in adding a ban to the UNFCCC rule book then... And funny how those with issues with their emissions trajectories seem to be the keenest for flexibility and most concerned that harmonisation might prevent full participation. A tip to New Zealand – choirs and rugby sides seem to manage it. 

So to clarify all that clarity, ECO supports South Africa's proposal for a common accounting workshop before Doha to assist the successful conclusion of 1(b)(i).  

ECO was rather more encouraged to see some of the good progress on NAMAs presented by developing country panellists. And just a reminder to those who seem to have forgotten exactly what NAMA stands for – it’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation ACTIONS. It’s apparent that here, too, provision of detailed information is important because it gives more clarity on what measures countries are undertaking. And this clarity will provide confidence and facilitate access to further support. On this note, ECO is having a bit of difficulty seeing the support – more of this in a minute.

Now, even with the focus on actions rather than outcomes, it is still vital that we are able to understand what emission reductions have been achieved below BAU. Not to hold developing countries to a particular goal, but to track emission reductions on a country level in the context of collective efforts.

Panel 2 on means of support seemed to have a great deal of agreement.  Capacity building and, again, this cleverly invisible means of support for developing countries to be able to develop and design effective long-term NAMAs (aligned with low carbon development pathways) was emphasised time and time again.

 Particularly notable was how this was coming almost equally from both sides of the 1(b)(ii) equation – from developing countries in order to be able to act, and from developed countries in order to ensure value for their hard-to-find money. Given this last factor, ECO is left absolutely baffled as to why many developed countries seem to believe they have a logical basis for their determination to block the capacity building negotiation in the LCA. (But hey, ECO has gotten used to being baffled by flights of logic from developed countries many times before.) And let’s face it – some of those non-KP developed countries seem to need a bit of capacity building to help them produce their QELROs.


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