Tag: Latin America
As you may recall, today marks my last day as Director of the CAN-International Secretariat.
I said a lot in my announcement to CAN members at the end of last year about how much I've learned and grown in this position. If I could somehow express those sentiments even more strongly now I would, having continued to learn so much from so many of you in the last few months of my post here. I'll be carrying with me wonderful memories from Durban, of touching moments reminiscing with friends, of whispering in our outdoor meeting so a certain bug-eyed climate denier couldn't hear us, of dancing on the beach, hugs and handshakes, smiles and frustrations.
There are, as could be expected, things I will not miss from the past few years -- those 6am conference calls, the countless hours spent in airplane lounges or trying to find that one elusive comfortable posture on cramped airplanes. I won't necessarily miss arguing with the UNFCCC for more intervention slots or negotiating where a comma should go to avoid a dreaded "byline" on CAN positions. But, by a large margin, there are many more memories, lessons, and experiences that this position has afforded me that I will cherish.
When I'm asked what I've enjoyed about my job I almost universally tell the same story -- how it all boils down to the people I've been privileged to get to know, to work with, and to call my friends. We at the Secretariat often say CAN is only as strong as its members. If that hypothesis holds, I can safely say -- having gotten to know so many of you so well -- that CAN is an incredibly strong coalition. It's a crazy moment to be sitting in the back of a plenary of a UN negotiation at 4am in a foreign country and look around the room and feel like you are surrounded by family. It's those moments walking down the halls of the Maritim where you feel like you will never make it to your destination because you feel compelled to stop every four feet to talk to someone you bump into. The idea that I literally can go to any continent on the globe and find someone that is part of this family is something that I don't think I'll ever wrap my head around. It's something I'll always hold dear, perhaps even more so than our successes along the way.
And for these experiences, the friendships, and all the lessons I have taken from so many of you, all I can say is thank you.
One of the things I've been struck by is how personally invested CAN members are in this work. This isn't a job to many of us; it's not a 9 to 5 thing that we can set aside from our "normal" lives. For better or worse, it's our life's work and it's something we are all truly passionate about.
With that in mind, it becomes clear that our enemies are not eachother (despite the fact that sometimes it might feel that way), or the more radical or conservative colleagues we find in the network. Our enemies are out there. They are the fossil fuel interests who are making more money than ever known to man, and spending equal amounts on making sure they can continue to make that money. They are the conservative politicians who have either been bought off by those corporations or somehow otherwise genuinely fear government policies and regulations, when we know that for a truly global problem, a comprehensive government approach is needed. There are those who choose to turn the other way -- perhaps aware that the problem exists, but not willing to admit it because doing so would make their lives inconvenient.
Our enemies are not eachother and they never will be...and that's what makes CAN so important. We need our fellow CAN members not just for support, but because it's only together that we can win. This is why I'm so happy to know that I am leaving CAN in as strong a position as I could ever have hoped to leave it. We have an amazing Secretariat that works tirelessly with the full understanding that their efforts will often be left out of the limelight, but knowing how important they are all the same. We have more members from more countries and constituencies than could have been dreamed of 20 years ago, and our positions, analyses, and strategies reflect this in the most positive of ways. We have the respect and attention of governments all around the world, even if sometimes it feels as though they choose to ignore us.
A friend of mine in the movement once wrote that she knows we're going to win because we're cooler than they are. And I couldn't put it better myself. Putting aside the fact that we're have the truth on our side...we're more fun, more dynamic, more challenging, more passionate, more inspiring, more critical, more friendly, more caring, more creative than THEY are. And sometimes we throw some wicked parties too.
I know you all aren't going anywhere from my life and my heart--and this cause--and you can rest assured I'm not going far. This is a fight we're in together, no matter what roles we play. And I know, like you, I plan on seeing it to the end.
As I leave this role, I'm so tempted to use that clichéd phrase, "it's not goodbye, it's see you later." But I won't...instead, I'll just say:
CAN-International Director, October 2008 - February 2012
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)
COP17 is supposed to advance the elaboration of a binding agreement to resolve the adverse impacts of climate change. Unfortunately after one week of negotiations here in Durban the future still looks bleak and full of uncertainties given the lack of agreement on some of the key issues.
This week saw the delivery of the COP pass from the Mexican Presidency to South Africa, who have dedicated sessions with informal consultations on various issues including a transparent and inclusive format. But there is no clear indication as to what kind of agreements we can expect from the various issues in the negotiation tracks.
On the one hand, the likelihood of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2CP-KP) is becoming increasingly remote because countries resisting the 2CP have intensified their position as Canada has done by announcing her intention to abandon the KP. The African group has threatened to wash their hands of the entire process if no agreement is reached for a 2CP. The reality is that failure to agree a mandate, or a clear signal for the KP to continue, or for a legal framework that allows the constitution of a legally binding agreement will be disastrous for the entire UNFCCC regime.
Similarly, this week was crucial for the definition and design of the Green Fund because the countries must decide whether to open the text that resulted from the meetings of the Transition Committee or approve it and go forward with other definitions. Since it was not accepted by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the text came to Durban hoping for approval. However, the ALBA group conformed for Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba, noted that the text needed correction before they could give approval. The problem is that re-opening the text could delay the operationalization of the fund in Durban.
In the finance discussions there are two other issues that needs to be defined to create the international architecture – one is the issue of sources, and the other is where the resources are to be derived from. This is because although developed countries provide the funds from their public resources, there are other sources that may contribute to raise the funds necessary to achieve the goal of 100 billion dollars that must be provided by 2020.
All of these issues show the importance of civil society in this process because the governments are making decisions that don't necessarily reflect our social vision. We will continue to push for the creation of an integrated global regime that is effective, inclusive, transparent and democratic whilst dealing with climate issues in view of human rights, gender equity, and sustainability.
This report explains who participated in the CAN Pre-COP workshop in Ethiopia in October 2011. The discussions that took place are highlighted and regional follow-up work to these discussions is currently underway.
Ministers – thank goodness you are here. Your delegations may have been burning some midnight oil in the last few days – but they have left the hard decisions for you! Here’s what your agenda for the next 4 days looks like:
1. Don’t just “Mind the Gap” – do something! Ministers, at Durban you must show that you live on the same planet as the rest of us and acknowledge that the current mitigation pathway puts us on track for over 4° C warming. You must explicitly acknowledge the 6 to 11 Gigatonne gap, agree to a 2012 work plan to close the gap by increasing developed country targets to at least 40% by 2020, and provide guidelines and timeframes for NAMAs to be registered and supported where required. The ambition work plan must include clear markers through 2012, including submissions, technical papers and a dedicated intersessional meeting, to ensure we don’t have another year of wishy washy workshops with outcomes.
2. Commit for the long term. Negotiators have made no progress at all in setting a peak year and a long term global goal for emissions. Ministers now should explicitly agree that each country contribute their fair share to the globally needed mitigation effort, leading to a peak by 2015 and a reduction of global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 by 2050.
3. Stop spinning wheels in the Review. Ministers need to ensure that the Review will be effective, and limiting the scope will help it get off the ground as an effective instrument. We must focus on the important things: reviewing the long-term goal and the overall progress towards achieving it. Leave the biannual reports under MRV to cover the inputs like the means of implementation.
4. High Time for legally binding. A 5 year long second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is an absolute necessity as it contains important architectural elements which are crucial to ensure that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. Nobody believes that a temperature rise of 4° C might be OK. So now is the moment to act decisively. An LCA mandate to agree a comprehensive legally binding instrument can build on the KP. Parties need to go beyond their long stated positions and immediately kick off negotiations toward a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement to be agreed no later than 2015.
6. KP is essential – but it must have integrity. When added together, loopholes in the KP could wipe out Annex I ambition for the second commitment period.
In LULUCF, hidden and unaccounted emissions could significantly undermine Annex I targets, and cause us to doubt your commitment. Ministers must therefore ensure emissions from forests and land use are accurately accounted and reject the options on the table with the lowest environmental integrity.
All of the parties to this relationship know that the hot air / carried over AAUs is a bad joke that threatens to sour our relationship. To keep it pure we need you to retire your surplus AAUs, or at least reduce them to 1%. Flexible mechanisms need clear rules and governance structures to avoid double counting of both emissions and finance, strengthen additionality testing and ensuring the standardization frenzy does not leave us with a highway for free-riders. Let’s start by keeping CCS and nuclear out of the CDM and let’s exclude coal power projects. Last but not least, we do indeed need stakeholder involvement in the CDM. Don’t back down, we are counting on you!
PS: CDM’s little brother JI has been up to a bunch of no-good stuff: hot air gussied up in new clothes (ERUs) is still hot air.
7. Fill the Fund. Operationalising the GCF in Durban is essential but not nearly enough – an empty fund is no good to anyone. We need initial capitalization of the GCF from developed country Parties in Durban. Reaching $100 billion per year by 2020 will require a commitment to scaled up finance from 2013 onward and clear progress on innovative approaches to generate finance. In Durban, parties should move forward on the establishment of mechanisms in the shipping and aviation sectors in a way that reduces emissions, generates finance, and ensures no burdens and costs on developing countries. Countries must also agree to a detailed one year work programme under the UNFCCC to consider a full range of innovative sources of public finance and report back to COP 18 with a proposal for action.
8. Gear Up and Deliver Technology. Technology is heading in the right direction, but speed is needed! Don’t be held back by other laggards. The Tech Mechanism could be operational by the end of COP 18.
9. Feel the Love for Transparency and Stakeholders. Your negotiators excised stakeholders’ right to participate from the IAR text and subject to heavy bracketing in ICA. But we know, Ministers, that you recognize the worth of engaging stakeholders to create a better process – rather than having us only campaign from the outside. Current text also falls short on common accounting rules for Annex I countries and clarification of pledges for all countries. Surely we’ve learned from the financial crisis! Robust reporting, such as Biennial Reviews and Biennial Update Report guidelines, including tables for reporting actions, and a common reporting format for finance must be agreed in Durban, so countries can complete their biennial reports in time for the first review. And where would this relationship between us and the planet, be without compliance for our commitments!
10. An ambitious adaptation package at the African COP. Good agreements on Loss and Damage and the Nairobi Work Programme have already been reached. Wrapping up the package will require agreement on a strong Adaptation Committee including active civil society observers and direct reporting to the COP (as well to the SBs when COP does not meet). Furthermore, guidelines for National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries must be adopted, plus modalities on how other developing countries can take these up. The prioritisation for LDCs must of course not be undermined.
A strong role for local, affected communities and civil society in national planning processes, building on the principles agreed in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, is essential. Finally, Parties must ensure that the Adaptation Fund does not dry up because of decreasing CER prices and lack of new pledges to the Fund from developed countries.
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.
This year marks a decade since the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was established at COP 7 in Marrakesh to finance the most urgent adaptation needs of least developed countries. Unfortunately little is said about the LDCF and there is less to celebrate. Ten years on, and only $415 million has been pledged towards a total $2 billion identified to prepare and implement national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), the fund’s purpose.
Negotiators in Durban cannot reverse what has been a lost decade for adaptation finance. But they can and must secure an outcome in Durban that leads to reliable, sufficient and predictable flows of adaptation finance to developing countries in the decade ahead.
Apart from a few exceptions, we haven’t seen much evidence yet that climate finance won’t be falling off a cliff when fast start finance runs out at the end of 2013. Finance for adaptation in particular is an overriding priority for LDCs, SIDS and the most vulnerable countries. But it remains an orphan in the bigger finance picture past, present and future. The current nose-diving of the international carbon price also means that the Adaptation Fund, which takes a fixed share of 2% from CDM projects, is at risk of having barely any money next year.
With emissions levels surpassing the IPCC’s worst case scenarios, it’s clear that huge amounts of money will be needed to address impacts of both more frequent extreme weather events and slow onset events. With emissions levels surpassing the IPCC’s worst case scenarios it is clear that huge amounts of money will be needed to address the impacts of both more frequent extreme weather events and slow onset events.
Yet only 18% of US) and 30% of EU fast start finance is being spent on adaptation in 2011. Australia provides a better example, with over half its climate finance spend dedicated to adaptation this year).
The amalgamated LCA text has the potential to start addressing some of these significant shortcomings. There is concrete text on the table assuring developing countries there will not be a gap after 2012, and that climate finance will scale up between 2013 and 2020.
Another important matter is the balance between mitigation and adaptation finance, in particular option 2 which would guarantee at least 50% of all climate finance is earmarked for adaptation.
Finally, a work programme is needed to identify predictable and reliable long term sources of finance. As currently stated in the text, this should lead to concrete decisions by COP 18 and provide the best chance to agree the most promising sources of climate finance, including innovative sources such as a financial transaction tax, and a global price on emissions from international shipping and aviation that has no net incidence of cost on developing countries.
Negotiators can aim to land in a zone where clear guarantees can be given to developing countries that they will not be left ‘high and dry’ (or maybe that should be ‘hot, low and wet’) without any money to address the climate impacts that they have done nothing to cause. As all Parties have committed to set up the Green Climate Fund here in Durban, let’s make sure it is not an empty shell.