Tag: Latin America

Sandra Guzman calls on countries to step up ambition

Sandra Guzman
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)

Mexico

Panama is the last stop towards the COP17 and is a meeting that should clearly define the future of the climate regime. We are less than a year until the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) is completed, and because of the lack of definition of clear strategies to achieve the emissions reductions needed to combat the problem, this not only risks the failure of the negotiation process, but also risks the survival of humanity.

For me, Panama is not only a stop in the process, but also an opportunity to raise the voice of Latin America that has been so quiet in these negotiations. This is not a lack of willingness of the actors in the region, but rather, there is a lack of human skills and language issues.

There are many actors in the region who wish to participate and contribute with ideas and proposals, however, cultural issues are a barrier for a small percentage of players who also speak English. This hinders their interaction with various actors: other Governments and other international organizations.

Therefore, we need to take into account that climate change will affect us all and that means we all have to make efforts to address the problem, it is not enough to simply recognize that there are different views in the process. It is necessary to create the mechanisms to achieve the understanding between actors and then build a common language that allows us to address the underlying problems.

In Panama, we should leave with a clear message that there will be consolidated climate regime to establish clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as definitions and clarity on key issues such as technology transfer, capacity building, adaptation and others that are vitally important to move forward. Without doubt, one of the great needs that must be addressed is the definition of clear targets for reducing emissions, both by developed countries and developing countries, which play a key role in the scheme of emissions and they are positioned as future leaders of the problem.

The goal of stabilizing emissions at 450 ppm to avoid a temperature rise more than 2 ºC, is necessary and we can not afford to reduce that ambition. We are at a critical juncture; we cannot allow countries to put aside what brought us to negotiate the future of mankind and not individual interests and diversions that do nothing but deepen the problem.

Taking into account all of these, the other important issue that is a key point to achieve all of this is the financing mechanisms. Where the money is going to come from? How we are going to guarantee the creation of a strong architecture, but with money inside? This is a crucial issue in Panama and is surely going to be a key point in Durban.

Time is running out and with it the lives of many people worldwide. Everyone needs to wake up and push to make things happen. We cannot continue in this scheme of vagueness and lack of will. We cannot wait. Government, business, academia and organizations cannot let the erratic visions take over the discussions. It is our commitment to make things happen, and it is our commitment that this is done better.

The next challenge is to bring this to the national level and try to get everyone domestically to discuss the implementation of public policies in our countries. I have been working in the strengthening of a climate policy in my country, México, preparing suggestions, studies and talking with key actors. My roll in México is to make things happen by having dialogues with the legislative power, the federal government, local governments, academy and civil society. We have already achieved the allocation of 300 million dollars to go towards fighting climate change, which is not enough, so we will push for more.
 

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Scientific Integrity in the UNFCCC?!

ECO appreciates the critical role of the IPCC, which provides scientific input to the UNFCCC process and led to the Convention itself and its Kyoto Protocol. But how will this link continue in future?

Yesterday’s technical briefing by the IPCC was meant to explore how this link will continue in the future and how the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) will serve as a key input into the 2013-2015 Review.

ECO applauds the use of communication technology (Skype) at this technical briefing to cut down on emissions from air travel and foster lower-carbon meetings. The IPCC Chair Pachauri promised improved policy relevance of AR5 compared to any previous report, strengthening links between the IPCC Working Groups –especially on adaptation and mitigation- to address cross-cutting issues. So far, so good. But how about the actual input for the Review process? AOSIS (Granada) asked this key question at the very end of the briefing: How will we merge the IPCC timeline with the Review’s requirements? Will the IPCC Synthesis Report be published at least a month before the concluding COP20, allowing for preparation of a decision at COP21? Apparently, IPCC will ask this question at its next meeting in Uganda this November. For ECO there’s only one possible answer: it must.  

But ECO wonders if the Parties are clear on how the IPCC will input into the 2013-2015 Review. To ECO it seems that more opportunities for Parties to discuss the review with the IPCC are critical to help answer the many questions that remain unasked and unanswered on this key element of hope for our collective future. ECO appreciates the critical role of the IPCC, which provides scientific input to the UNFCCC process and led to the Convention itself and its Kyoto Protocol. But how will this link continue in future?

Yesterday’s technical briefing by the IPCC was meant to explore how this link will continue in the future and how the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) will serve as a key input into the 2013-2015 Review.

ECO applauds the use of communication technology (Skype) at this technical briefing to cut down on emissions from air travel and foster lower-carbon meetings. The IPCC Chair Pachauri promised improved policy relevance of AR5 compared to any previous report, strengthening links between the IPCC Working Groups –especially on adaptation and mitigation- to address cross-cutting issues. So far, so good. But how about the actual input for the Review process? AOSIS (Granada) asked this key question at the very end of the briefing: How will we merge the IPCC timeline with the Review’s requirements? Will the IPCC Synthesis Report be published at least a month before the concluding COP20, allowing for preparation of a decision at COP21? Apparently, IPCC will ask this question at its next meeting in Uganda this November. For ECO there’s only one possible answer: it must.  

But ECO wonders if the Parties are clear on how the IPCC will input into the 2013-2015 Review. To ECO it seems that more opportunities for Parties to discuss the review with the IPCC are critical to help answer the many questions that remain unasked and unanswered on this key element of hope for our collective future. 

Breaking news: 5.8% increase in global CO2 emissions in 2010

Parties, we have a problem!!!

Global CO2 emissions did a full swing after the recession, growing more than 5% in 2010, according to a report published last week by the Netherlands Environmental Protection Agency. The highest increase in the last two decades fuels the climate crisis. Without accounting for the land-use sector, global CO2 emissions reached 33 billion tonnes, a 45% increase since 1990. , driven mostly by a 7.6 % increase in coal consumption. This means the world now uses coal for a third of its energy demand – the highest share since 1970. Use of other fossil fuels soared too, with natural gas consumption increasing by 7% and oil consumption jumping by 3%. (This increase takes place mostly in the developing countries, in order to reach decent living standards.)

The report, which uses data from the Statistical Review of World Energy, shows that the growth of emissions was driven in part by economic growth in China and India, with 10% or 9% increases in 2010 respectively. While India’s per capita emissions remain fairly low, China’s 6.8 tonnes per head per year already overtake those of large historic and de-facto polluters such as France, Italy and Spain. This follows at least in part because of moving manufacturing industries into developing countries, the output of which are largely used by developed countries.

So, clearly all Parties, especially those bound by the existing commitments for emission reduction need to do their share in Durban to lay the foundation for a solution to the problem (hint, hint: KP 2nd commitment period, LCA mandate for legally binding instrument, close the gigatonne gap, operationalize the Green Climate Fund, develop the technology mechanism and a robust MRV framework). Inspiration can also be found in more and more countries - in particular in the developing world - working towards a shift to low carbon economies. While the upward spiral of emissions in China is concerning from a global point of view, the country managed to double its wind and solar capacity for the 6th year in a row. If the developed countries and other major emitters followed China’s lead and achieved similar renewable energy growth rates, along with a push for energy efficiency, the World’s prospects of staying below 1.5° C or 2°C would be much better than they are now.Parties, we have a problem!!!

Global CO2 emissions did a full swing after the recession, growing more than 5% in 2010, according to a report published last week by the Netherlands Environmental Protection Agency. The highest increase in the last two decades fuels the climate crisis. Without accounting for the land-use sector, global CO2 emissions reached 33 billion tonnes, a 45% increase since 1990. , driven mostly by a 7.6 % increase in coal consumption. This means the world now uses coal for a third of its energy demand – the highest share since 1970. Use of other fossil fuels soared too, with natural gas consumption increasing by 7% and oil consumption jumping by 3%. (This increase takes place mostly in the developing countries, in order to reach decent living standards.)

The report, which uses data from the Statistical Review of World Energy, shows that the growth of emissions was driven in part by economic growth in China and India, with 10% or 9% increases in 2010 respectively. While India’s per capita emissions remain fairly low, China’s 6.8 tonnes per head per year already overtake those of large historic and de-facto polluters such as France, Italy and Spain. This follows at least in part because of moving manufacturing industries into developing countries, the output of which are largely used by developed countries.

So, clearly all Parties, especially those bound by the existing commitments for emission reduction need to do their share in Durban to lay the foundation for a solution to the problem (hint, hint: KP 2nd commitment period, LCA mandate for legally binding instrument, close the gigatonne gap, operationalize the Green Climate Fund, develop the technology mechanism and a robust MRV framework). Inspiration can also be found in more and more countries - in particular in the developing world - working towards a shift to low carbon economies. While the upward spiral of emissions in China is concerning from a global point of view, the country managed to double its wind and solar capacity for the 6th year in a row. If the developed countries and other major emitters followed China’s lead and achieved similar renewable energy growth rates, along with a push for energy efficiency, the World’s prospects of staying below 1.5° C or 2°C would be much better than they are now.

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¡BIENVENIDOS A PANAMÁ! / WELCOME TO PANAMA!

ECO thanks the government and people of Panama for hosting the final negotiation session before COP 17 in Durban. For the first time in 20+ years of negotiations, Central America is hosting a UNFCCC meeting. Delegates should know that the region is severely threatened by climate change impacts: four Central American countries are among the 10 most affected countries worldwide, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2011 of Germanwatch. ECLAC (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) estimates that the cumulative costs induced by climate change for Central America by 2100 will be as much as 73 billion dollars. Climate change is clearly a problem relevant to all of Latin America; the region's negotiators should do their utmost to make this meeting in Panama a success.

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