Tag: Latin America

Mexico is leading and being aggressive in addressing Climate Change

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

Mexico has been considered one of the most active players in the process of international negotiations on climate change in recent years. In Poznan, Poland during the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP14), Mexico committed to cut its emissions to 50% below the 2002 level by 2050, while the government noted that Mexico’s emissions might be reduced to 30% below the 2000 level in 2020. Also under the discussion of the Copenhagen Agreement Mexico announced the reduction of 51 millions of tones in 2012 . These goals, which have been held by different actors, are aspirational; that is, they are subject to a number of conditions being met.

One of the major constraints that the Government of Mexico has highlighted is the financial constraint. According to the Mexican government, the aspirational goals will be met only provided that they receive international financial support to do so. According to the government, Mexico has sufficient political will but not the resources necessary to make the fight against climate change a reality in the country.  

Mexico and many developing countries noted that the fulfillment of their goals depends on having access to international financial resources. However, for many students of the subject it has become clear that while the flow of such resources is necessary, the strengthening of national structures, development of plans and programs, cooperation, collaboration and coordination among stakeholders at national level is equally vital if you really want to advance in the field.

In the case of Mexico, it is clear that large amounts of money are required to invest in strategic sectors. However, the problem is not always a lack of resources —sometimes the fault lies instead in the management of existing resources.  Some researches  have raised a number of ways in which Mexico could achieve compliance with measures to reduce emissions and thus reduce the vulnerability to which it is exposed.

Because of that, I decided to work on this. For Mexico financing is one of the key elements for the transition from a highly polluting economy to one that is low-carbon and sustainable. But not only that, in Mexico, investment in and promotion of adaptation action is now an urgent priority, as several states are already living the impacts of the climate change (Tabasco, Oaxaca, Veracruz, etc).  Mexico must promote a financial system to attend to the full suite of climate problems that it is facing now.

In this sense the activities that I have been developing in the international negotiation have help me to understand the better way to help my country and to help the world. This Southern Capacity building program has been an excellent experience to share with colleagues from other southern countries our concerns and necessities in our region. In my point of view participating in this process gave us more details about the effects of the climate change in the world, and also gave us the opportunity to learn about the solutions that the countries are discussing, even in the backdrop of slow, frustrating, uncertain, and a really tiring negotiation process. It is exciting to now that we can participate as a civil society and that we can push for the creation of a solid and constructive perspective to take all of these information and put it in practice in our countries. Our job is basically to try and make things happens in the international level and again try and influence the national policy making process. We also need to consider other things such as legal framework and other important tools to make things happen back home.

With this experience I intend to strengthen the actions I am implementing within my country as Director of the Air and Energy Programme, including:

A.    International Negotiations of Climate change (2007-currently): This Project has as a goal to follow the Mexican roll in the negotiation, to evaluate the congruence between the national and the international policy in this matter, achieving:
➢    Building communication channel with high level decision makers on public policy and legal framework, such as the Mexican delegates of the United Nations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Energy, Treasury, etc.) networking with legislative actors (Special Committee on Climate Change in High and Low Chambers, Environment Committee, etc.) networking with international organizations (Environmental Defense Fund, E3G, World Resources Institute, Oxfam International, Greenpeace International, etc.), as well as with academic institutions such as Technology of Monterrey, National University of Mexico, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, among others, such as International Foundations.

B.    Climate Policy project (2008-currently work): This project has as a goal to promote a long-term national policy on climate change and a low carbon growth path. Some of the activities that I already undertook were:
➢    Promotion, analysis and enforcements of legal instruments (Law for the Use of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition and its regulations, General Law of Climate Change, etc.).
➢    Promotion, analysis, discussion and participation in public policy instruments such as the Special Programme of Climate Change (PECC Spanish version) and the Special Programme of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition. Creating a observatory to guarantee the compliance of these instruments.
➢    Analysis of the public policy and legal barriers to attend climate change with the National Ecology Institute in Mexico (current research).
➢    Consolidation of a dialogue on climate change with the Federal government and the legislative sector towards Cancun and beyond, for the fulfilment of the goals to reduce emissions in the Country (30% in 2020 and 50% in 2050).
➢    Consolidation of a social dialogue to promote a national policy on climate change.
➢    Promotion of a public policy package for the expansion of sustainable transportation in Mexico, including aspects such as the creation of a standard vehicle efficiency, public transportation such as Bus Rapid Transit systems (BRT's) and the introduction and use of clean fuels, mainly.

C.    Climate Finance: Financing the Changing without changing the climate (2009-current project):
➢    Creation of a network for the promotion of a financial architecture for climate change in Mexico with the participation of 15 organizations.
➢    Elaboration of an analysis of the Federal budget for climate change in 2011 achieving the assignation of 300 millions of pesos from the legislative power.
➢    Elaboration of a proposal text for the international negotiations in Cancun about the creation of the Green Fund including gender perspectives, a transparent system to ensure the use of the resources and a criteria methodology to invest in sustainable technology.

D.    Media Positioning: This project has as a goal the media positioning of our agenda to promote the sustainable development and the combat against climate change in Mexico involving media to make press , with this project we achieved:
➢    Transparency in the Mexican climate national policy, and the inclusion of the civil society in the discussion.
➢    Information dissemination about the importance of the sustainable mobility, the distribution of clean fuels, the publication of a vehicle efficiency standard, the use of renewable energy, and the energy efficiency as a tools to combat climate change.
 

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Region: 

CAN Intervention - SBI Closing Plenary - 17 June, 2011

Thank you Chair,
My name is Sandra Guzman from the Mexican Centre of Environmental Law and I am speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network.
 
We call on Parties to acknowledge the role of civil society, in the designing of the CDM appeals procedure. The CDM has often been criticized for its inability to reduce emissions and contribute to sustainable development. There lacks effective public participation, and meaningful public participation is a first step to address the wider impacts that flawed CDM projects have on global climate change.

On the other hand, while we heard very positive statements in last week's workshop on NGO engagement, we are disheartened that these words could not be turned into more robust action on this issue. It is extremely unfortunate that some parties seek to hide behind closed doors and turn away from more substantive and productive engagement with civil society. We are here to help, if only parties will allow us. We look forward to continuing discussions on proposals that could not be agreed to here at SBI's next session.

It is now and here where Parties can make the difference.
 
Thank you, Chair.

 

Region: 

A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks

16 June, 2011

A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks
Bonn, Germany – With just over a day left in the United Nations climate change
negotiations here, countries showed they still have plenty of energy left to delay
progress in the fight against climate change, while other nations showed they
recognized how important civil society is in moving the negotiations forward.
Frequent “winner” Saudi Arabia took another Fossil, joined this time by a surprise
blocker, Antigua and Barbuda, for trying to diminish civil society's role in the talks.
Meanwhile, four nations and the European Union earned a rare Ray of the Day for
supporting the very same civil society groups. Both were overshadowed by the fossil
for Japan's renewed refusal to extend its namesake Kyoto Protocol.

The Fossils as presented read:

"The Second place Fossil goes to Saudi Arabia and Antigua and Barbuda for blocking
attempts to enhance NGO participation. Saudi Arabia is a frequent winner of these
awards and really needs no explanation. They have a long history of blocking just
about everything from legal issues to adaptation, agendas to observer participation.
The Saudis should be isolated for their obstructionist ways and not allowed to dictate
text on this or any other issue. As for Antigua & Barbuda, it breaks our heart to give
your individual country the fossil, but to suggest that we would be moving too fast to
allow NGOs to make interventions without submitting written statements in advance
is just ridiculous! In the fight against climate change, speed is of the essence! For
prompting a lack of engagement and transparency, you two get the fossil!"

"Japan earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday, we heard again Japan’s well known
position that it will not inscribe a target under a second period of the Kyoto Protocol
under ANY circumstance. It is very regrettable that we see no room for flexibility.
The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period is the heart of a Durban package and
Japan’s unchanged position will jeopardize the success of the Durban meeting.
Market mechanisms, which Japan favors so much, may not be used anymore if Japan
doesn’t have a target under the Kyoto Protocol. Is this really OK, Japan? Lack of a
target under the international legal framework would weaken implementation of
domestic policies and actions and lose international competitiveness in a low carbon
economy. We don’t really understand."  

"The Ray of the Day goes to a group of countries who have stood strong for
transparency in the face of attacks from countries hoping to hide behind closed doors.
They clearly recognize the productive and important role NGOs play in this process
and have done all they can to suggest improvements, propose compromises, and shine
a light on this process in the hopes of supporting not only civil society but in so doing
also the global effort to address climate change. On a side note, if more Parties had
similar positions on transparency to these, perhaps we could avoid protracted fights
on agendas and other matters in the future, simply in order to avoid embarrassment.
For these actions in support of transparency, accountability and civil society, we
award this Ray of the Day to the EU, Mexico, Bolivia, Philippines, and Australia."
_____________________________________________________________________
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
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.

###

Topics: 

Farewell Bonn, Hello… Who Knows?

At the time ECO went to press, we’d heard all sorts of rumors about where the next intersessional might be: Panama, Bangkok, Mars? But despite this week’s lunar eclipse, our thoughts are firmly earthbound. ECO is confident that parties can see the sense in holding another intersessional, including workshops, technical negotiations, and the resumed sessions of the two AWGs. But, dear delegates, please leave behind the tedious haggling-over-the-agenda sessions. An additional meeting must be used productively so that Durban has a better chance of delivering the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. 

First, developed countries must acknowledge there is no alternative to a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. Period.

We deplore the current stance taken by Japan, Canada and Russia. The hypocrisy is staggering. Japan presided over the COP that produced the KP. Russia’s support for the KP brought the treaty into force. Canada deftly launched the negotiations for a second commitment period (CP2) in Montreal. Where are those climate ambitions now?

The rest of the pack – the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – used Bonn to elaborate their conditions for joining a KP CP2. We expect these countries to declare their full support for extending Kyoto’s commitments beyond 2012, and to come to Durban with pledges that top their current commitments. The world shouldn’t accept anything less!

The unvarnished truth, however, is that what is on the table now is not going to deliver a safe climate. Even the US has acknowledged that developed countries need to decarbonise their economies by 2050, based on low-carbon development strategies; as agreed in Cancún. These low carbon development strategies should contain a 2050 decarbonization goal, a plan to get there, and initial reduction targets of more than 40% by 2020, based on     common     accounting     rules     and

enhanced   national   communications  and biennial reporting as essential ingredients.

A second piece of the puzzle should be tackled by developing countries.

As AOSIS noted in their workshop presentation, developing countries also have a role to play in closing the gigatonne gap. ECO looks to all developing countries who have not yet submitted pledges to the UNFCCC or have not elaborated their plans further, including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s not on their shoulders alone. But they need to make it clear how they can reach their ambitions through a mix of supported and unsupported actions. 

The third major element of the Durban package is finance.

Finance negotiators have been hard at work on designing the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee. But all too many are missing the big picture: that the best-designed financial institutions in the world will be quite useless without substantial finance to govern. Concrete decisions must be made at COP17 to move us firmly onto a pathway to increase climate finance so as to reach $100bn per year by 2020, as committed by developed countries in Cancún.

Here in Bonn, the US has worked furiously to block much-needed discussions on all sources of finance, from budgetary contributions to supplementary innovative financing options such as bunkers, FTTs and SDRs. Discussion is also needed on common but differentiated responsibility for climate finance, no net incidence and compensation. We’re relieved to see some countries are asking for workshops to pave the way to a appropriately ramped-up 2013-2020 climate finance plan; all developed countries need to come to Durban prepared to put forward their mid-term financing commitments from 2013 onwards.

Finally, Durban must launch negotiations on a complementary legally binding agreement to Kyoto.

This agreement should address the major elements of the Bali Accord: comparable mitigation commitments by the United States, expanded financial commitments by developed countries, and developing country action.  Virtually every country says they support a legally binding agreement; in Durban, they must rise above their well-known differences on the exact form of such an agreement and commit to turning those words into action. 

Topics: 

A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks

       
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  16 June 2011
Contact:
Kyle Gracey
kylegracey@gmail.com
+1 814 659 2405


A Slew of Fossils and Rays Awarded On Second to Last Day of Bonn Talks

Bonn, Germany – With just over a day left in the United Nations climate change
negotiations here, countries showed they still have plenty of energy left to delay
progress in the fight against climate change, while other nations showed they
recognized how important civil society is in moving the negotiations forward.
Frequent “winner” Saudi Arabia took another Fossil, joined this time by a surprise
blocker, Antigua and Barbuda, for trying to diminish civil society's role in the talks.
Meanwhile, four nations and the European Union earned a rare Ray of the Day for
supporting the very same civil society groups. Both were overshadowed by the fossil
for Japan's renewed refusal to extend its namesake Kyoto Protocol.

The Fossils as presented read:

"The Second place Fossil goes to Saudi Arabia and Antigua and Barbuda for blocking
attempts to enhance NGO participation
. Saudi Arabia is a frequent winner of these
awards and really needs no explanation. They have a long history of blocking just
about everything from legal issues to adaptation, agendas to observer participation.
The Saudis should be isolated for their obstructionist ways and not allowed to dictate
text on this or any other issue. As for Antigua & Barbuda, it breaks our heart to give
your individual country the fossil, but to suggest that we would be moving too fast to
allow NGOs to make interventions without submitting written statements in advance
is just ridiculous! In the fight against climate change, speed is of the essence! For
prompting a lack of engagement and transparency, you two get the fossil!"

"Japan earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday, we heard again Japan’s well known
position that it will not inscribe a target under a second period of the Kyoto Protocol
under ANY circumstance. It is very regrettable that we see no room for flexibility.
The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period is the heart of a Durban package and
Japan’s unchanged position will jeopardize the success of the Durban meeting.
Market mechanisms, which Japan favors so much, may not be used anymore if Japan
doesn’t have a target under the Kyoto Protocol. Is this really OK, Japan? Lack of a
target under the international legal framework would weaken implementation of
domestic policies and actions and lose international competitiveness in a low carbon
economy. We don’t really understand."  

"The Ray of the Day goes to a group of countries who have stood strong for
transparency in the face of attacks from countries hoping to hide behind closed doors.
They clearly recognize the productive and important role NGOs play in this process

and have done all they can to suggest improvements, propose compromises, and shine
a light on this process in the hopes of supporting not only civil society but in so doing
also the global effort to address climate change. On a side note, if more Parties had
similar positions on transparency to these, perhaps we could avoid protracted fights
on agendas and other matters in the future, simply in order to avoid embarrassment.
For these actions in support of transparency, accountability and civil society, we
award this Ray of the Day to the EU, Mexico, Bolivia, Philippines, and Australia."
_____________________________________________________________________
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
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.

###

Topics: 

CAN position - HFC-23 abatement projects - Jun 2011

Following the request by the Conference of the Parties (COP)1 the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), will discuss options to address the implications of the establishment of new HCFC-22 facilities seeking to obtain Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for the destruction of HFC-23. CAN strongly urges delegates to adopt option 1) Making new HCFC-22 facilities ineligible under the CDM.

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