Tag: South Asia

Climate change threatening South Asian development: World Bank

Climate change will overturn hard won gains in reducing poverty in South Asia as changing weather patterns make accessing water and food resources even more difficult, according to a new report released by the World Bank today. 
Extreme weather such as heat waves, devastating floods and droughts, and more intense tropical cyclones will hit the region with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan bearing the brunt of the climate impacts, according to new research. 
What the Report says about life in South Asia at 4C:
India: Devastating floods like the 2005 deluge in Mumbai which killed 500 and caused USD 1.7 billion in damage will be become twice as likely in the region. Dry areas will get drier and wet areas wetter. 
Bangladesh: Potentially the most vulnerable country in the region, with an increase in cyclones, extreme flooding and higher than average sea level rise all impacting  Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries of the world. The impacts of extreme flooding are expected to be at their worst at just 2.5C of warming. The salinisation of water and heat waves will lead to a reduction in crop yields, as well as the availability of drinking water, impacting the health and wealth of the population. 
Sri Lanka: Most vulnerable to unprecedented heat waves and coastal erosion which can impact tourism.
Maldives:   The islands are famously vulnerable to sea level rise - with 115cm expected by the end of the century.  This can be reduced to 80cm if temperature rise is kept under 2C. 
Pakistan: Most vulnerable to drought and extreme heat waves - if the world warms by an average of 4C, Pakistan’s average temperature will rise 6C. Also, flash flooding in the Indus Delta. 
Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia said the report highlights the threat that climate change poses to the hard won gains in development made in this region in recent years. 
“South Asia needs support from the international community to adapt towards a low carbon approach to development that is compatible with meeting the human rights and needs of its growing population,” said Hina Lotia from LEAD Pakistan.
The report, Turn down the Heat - Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience - takes an in-depth look at what climate change means for South Asia. The report warns that even climate change of 2ºC will pose a “significant challenge to development” in the region.
“South Asia will require comprehensive plans to adapt communities to climate change with investments in infrastructure, flood defenses, and drought resistant crops are necessary,” said Ziaul Mukta from Oxfam GB 
He warned that if warming increased by 4ºC on average, rainfall patterns will be affected. Overall, dry areas like Northwestern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan - currently a major food producing area like Punjab in Pakistan and India, Tarai belt in Nepal and Northern parts of Bangladesh for the sub continent - will get dryer resulting in reduced crop production. While wet areas, like Southern India and parts of Bangladesh, will get wetter, leading to flooding and an increase in diseases.
Not only will climate change affect the provision of safe drinking water and water for agricultural irrigation, access to energy could become even more difficult as less water is available to run hydropower stations and cool other existing electricity stations. Only 62 per cent of the region’s population currently has access to electricity.
Heat waves will disproportionately impact the elderly and the urban poor. Events like the heat-wave in Andhra Pradesh, India, in May 2002 which caused 1,000 deaths in a single week as the mercury hit 51ºC will become much more common.
Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) is calling on South Asian governments to collaborate of initiating joint monitoring of the impacts and undertake joint actions to address the climate induced disasters. Since the sub-continent nations are dependent on shared natural resource ecosystems, much can be achieved through ‘Regional Cooperation’ among neighboring stakeholders.
About CAN
Climate Action Network – South Asia (CANSA) is a platform of 103 organisations across South Asia geared to redress policy divides and insufficient systematic scientific evidence & collective action. CANSA endeavors to compose policy solutions to bridge the gap between policies and practice among policy makers and civil society, and more importantly between the civil society organisations. In order to achieve this objective, CANSA envisages empowering through the improving knowledge and instilling skills for policy advocacy through platforms on experiential knowledge exchange in each country and among South Asian CSO partners, to frame common understanding on Climate Action. It is a regional node of Climate Action Network International (CANI) which a global network of over 850 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
Ms. Vositha Wijenayake
Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
Climate Action Network South Asia

Aviation Sector Emissions and Impacts on South Asia

Vositha Wijenayake
Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator
CAN South Asia

The emissions from aviation have become a key concern for most states currently, including those of South Asia as they contribute to around 2.0-2.5% of the current total annual global CO2 emissions.

Emissions from aviation in developed countries (domestic and international) account for approximately 3.5% of their total emissions. A rough estimate indicates that 62% of the total emissions from the aviation sector are generated from international flights. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reported that international aviation emissions from developed countries rose by 65.8% between 1990 and 2005 (based on inventory data reported by countries). Although the growth in the aviation sector in developing countries will continue to increase, the demand for aviation will be especially strong in China, India and the Middle East.

Given the above data, it is obvious that we cannot remain ignorant of that is happening in the aviation sector. As India plays a key role in the regional emission reduction, as well as the regional politics in terms of climate change action, it is important to reach agreement on how to move forward in promoting aviation emission caps that would not be adverse to developing states, as well as beneficial in solving the issue of harmful emissions.

Furthermore it is known that to limit the increase in temperature to 2 ˚C would require reductions in all sectors, including aviation. While capping pollution from the aviation sector is important and urgent, reductions in other sectors too need to be scaled up significantly.

The two key principles that could be considered to be at the heart of discussion on finding a way forward to address GHG emissions from international aviation are:

(i) UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability (CBDR & RC); and,

(ii) The laws and regulations for the operation of aircrafts as well as airports and other charges should be applied without distinction amongst national and foreign aircrafts. This is commonly referred as the non-discriminatory principle.

Furthermore, “rather than focusing on the importance of finding the appropriate forum to address emissions from international aviation, it is important to address the key concern of developing countries on the following aspects, to find a solution irrespective of the forum.*”

To facilitate outcome under the ICAO, the UNFCCC should adopt a decision requesting ICAO to develop measures to address GHG emissions from the aviation sector and reiterate that any approach used under ICAO will not prejudice outcomes under the Ad hoc Durban Platform on a new agreement for the post-2020 regime. It should also be reassuring that countries will not resort to unilateral trade measures.      

*Reference to speech made by Mr. Sudhir Sharma at the side event on Aviation Emissions organized by Bread for the World during the UNFCCC session in Bonn, June 2013.

Related Member Organization: 

Adaptation Fund: Progressive But Poor!

ECO would like to cast a bright light on whether there is sufficient progress in responding to the needs of the poor and vulnerable at an implementation level. We note that the Adaptation Fund is now established. It has approved funding for 27 adaptation projects with several projects more waiting to be funded. Furthermore, we see that 15 developing countries have already had their National Implementing Entities accredited and can directly access the Fund, and several more countries are in the process of accreditation. 

ECO also recognises that the Adaptation Fund has become a forerunner, having recently been ranked as the top climate finance institution by Publish What You Fund: the Global Campaign for Aid Transparency. Just two weeks ago it became the first climate fund in the International Aid Transparency Initiative. It has also been an early-mover in adopting an overarching results framework. The Fund has managed to speed up the project approval process while reducing implementing entities´ fees. 
ECO wonders why, with such accomplishments, the Adaptation Fund is the one multilateral fund that has received the least contributions from developed countries in recent years.  And to make matters worse, the price for emission reduction certificates (the key income source of the Fund) is now below US$1, largely due to the virtual collapse of the European Emission Trading Scheme. At current CER prices and estimated issuance levels, the Adaptation Fund would receive only $4 to $8 million in additional revenue to 2020. 
ECO is concerned that there has hardly been any progress in delivering the Fund’s target of $100 million by the end of 2013.  There are no new pledges and funding seems to be scarce. ECO calls on Parties to send a strong signal that they are committed to addressing the needs of the vulnerable developing countries by putting additional money into the Fund swiftly. 
ECO particularly would like to see countries like Japan, Norway, France, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, USA, Canada and others, who have not as yet contributed to the Fund, to do so immediately. Australia´s 2010 pledge has still not been deposited. ECO finds it ironic that Germany, the host of the Adaptation Fund, has only made one pledge of 10 million EUR in 2010, which is much lower than that of Spain and Sweden.
Related Newsletter : 

Which Way, Japan?

ECO is concerned to hear that Japan may not keep up its 25% reduction target by 2020 compared to 1990, and instead is considering reducing it to around 5 to 9% (domestic reduction target). 

Of course, Japan has already undermined the momentum of the negotiations by rejecting the Kyoto CP2. If Japan now lowers its voluntary pledge under the Cancun agreement, that reduces ambition and credibility.
ECO worries that perhaps Japan’s voice might be not taken seriously anymore. 
To some extent, the country has already lost its credibility in the last two years. Now is the time for the Japanese Minister to step up and announce that Japan aims to do everything possible to keep the 25% target intact. It should also pledge appropriate funding for the period 2013 to 2015. This is the only way to regain its positive and constructive role for the global effort to tackle climate change.
Related Newsletter : 

Bridging the Gap

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal (CEN), Nepal

It has been nearly three years since I started following the climate change negotiations. I first attended the UNFCCC intersessional meeting in Barcelona organised just before COP15, a well-known Copenhagen climate summit. After that, I got selected as a Southern Capacity Building Fellow of CAN International for two years (2010 and 2011). Southern Capacity Building Program is more about strengthening capacity of civil society members from developing countries on climate change negotiation. I attended every COP and intersessions during 2010 and 2011 as a fellow.

After having some experience at the grassroots level and this short engagement in the UNFCCC process, I find it very challenging to link the expectations of communities with the progress of ongoing negotiations. Last week, after attending the Bangkok intersession, I faced a similar situation- having to update the communities within my country about the current state of negotiation. The Bangkok intersession was about exchanging of ideas on key issues to build on Durban decisions and finding ways to bring one of the Ad-hoc working groups to conclusion. This is not easy to convey to the grassroots people, who were waiting for action, not discussion.

Furthermore, the Bangkok session focussed on how to raise ambition and strengthen international cooperation while finding ways to frame the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) to deal with what will be implemented by 2020. Similarly, AWG-KP and LCA were focussed on fulfilling specific mandates from COP 17 and to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the successful completion of the group’s work in COP18. In reality, this makes little sense to the communities.

Unless such discussions and decisions at the international level do not adequately address the expectation of vulnerable communities at grassroots level, people will attach less importance to such meetings. The time has come for negotiators to take decisions to save the Earth and not only to sustain their national economy in the short run. By lengthening the process, we are only contributing towards the problem and not the solution. The ultimate goal of such international conventions and the development of a treaty is to make this Earth liveable for every living being. But, one way or another, we are stuck with petty discussions and negotiating in pieces – this is very problematic.

This is not to say that nothing happened in the Bangkok meeting: some progress was made. The AWG-KP produced an informal paper outlining the elements for a Doha decision and increased clarity on options to address the transition to the second commitment period. Similarly, the work of the AWG-LCA was captured in an informal overview note of the AWG-LCA Chair to help clarify areas of convergence.

But again, how can I share these updates to the people back in my country who are waiting for some concrete decisions for action? How should I explain to the farmers that we are advocating for actions at the global level, after having been told their agriculture yield will be impacted by climate change? Also, how could I convince the Sherpa in the Himalayas, who have recently replaced flat stone roofs with slope roofs, because nowadays they’ve started getting rain instead of snow? These are only a few examples, but again: how can I convince them that we have pushed the global deal for 2015 -that will be only implemented by 2020? Must they just adapt with what they have? It seems so, because we have no progress on reducing emissions, building on financial need or building the institutions on adaptation, technology or finance. 

Related Member Organization: 

Keep up your end of the bargain, Parties.

In Durban, Parties agreed to a package – the adoption of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a successful conclusion of the LCA, urgent action to close the pre-2020 mitigation gap between the 2 degrees goal and the collective pledges now on the table, and collective movement toward a fair, ambitious and binding agreement in 2015. Parties must honour this political bargain.

Let's start with the KP. Those trying to get another bite of the negotiation cherry by dragging out submitting their carbon budgets (QELROs) have to understand that this will be perceived as acting in bad faith. Australia – ECO remembers the brinkmanship with your QELRO last time. So for you, as well as New Zealand, Ukraine and others on the fence on the Kyoto second commitment period, ECO demands to see your QELROs up front. And, of course, just any old KP second commitment period won’t suffice. We must have a robust, ratifiable agreement that respects the original intention of the KP to raise ambition and create real environmental integrity. The AOSIS and Africa Group proposals will facilitate this endeavour. Effectively eliminating surplus AAUs and ensuring the environmental integrity of the CDM is also essential – you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

On to the LCA. There are a number of elements that jump to the head of the queue in importance. We need a positive decision on finance – including ensuring that the discussion on scaling up Long Term Finance following the report of this year's work programme, among others, has a home in 2013 and beyond. And who needs an empty fund? We hear that the EU, Australia, Japan and Canada already have budgets they could allocate. Don’t be shy!

Enhanced post-2012 climate finance is essential to enable developing countries to implement low-carbon development strategies and facilitate desperately needed adaptation. Deciding to hold back on finance until the last moment – or not coming forward at all in Doha – will undermine confidence and faith in moving the climate negotiations forward.Japan, Canada, Russia and the United States, do not think that by jumping overboard from the Kyoto Protocol that you’re diving into balmy waters. You're still on the hook to do your share of closing the gigatonne gap, by putting forward quantified economy wide emissions reductions AT LEAST as stringent as the QELROs of Kyoto Protocol parties, and using common accounting to an equal standard as the Kyoto Protocol. We also expect to see your QEERTs well before Doha.

On these and the other LCA issues, it is essential that the LCA Chair, and the spin-off group facilitators, be supported to develop text proposals to put forward in Doha. Finally, on the ADP, you all need to do your homework between now and Doha on the ADP work programme. Doha must agree to a plan of work, including a clear timeline and milestones. So let’s take inspiration from our setting here in Bangkok – these milestones can incorporate a period of “contemplation” on some issues. How equity and CBDRRC will apply in the 2015 protocol will require a work stream that allows discussion and agreement on principles before being applied to all of the elements that will constitute the final deal. On other elements, including ways to urgently enhance short-term ambition, Parties must pick up and start negotiating immediately in Doha and beyond.

Leaving the workplan “loosey goosey” will result in a repeat of the Copenhagen tragedy. Rather, parties must agree on specific issues to manage each year while ensuring compilation text by COP19, complete negotiating text by COP20 and draft a fair, ambitious and legally binding protocol to be circulated by May 2015.This is indeed an ambitious agenda for Doha. But it is the least the peoples of the world demand, and expect their political leaders to deliver at a time when the impacts of climate change – and the costs in terms of both human suffering and economic development – are more evident than ever.


Aren’t You Lowering Ambition, Japan?

Japan will soon make a decision on new energy and climate policy in light of the Fukushima nuclear accident. ECO supports the voices of the majority of Japanese people, who say, “No, thank you” to nuclear. Nuclear is not a solution.

However, we realized with surprise, Japan considered that mitigation is not possible without nuclear. Believe it or not, the projection of GHG pollution in 2020 for Japan is from 0% to -7% from 1990 levels when Japan chooses a nuclear-free future. This is nearly at the level of the first commitment period Kyoto target (-6%)! Is nuclear really a mitigation solution? ECO believes NOT. Japan could surely reduce CO2 while reducing its dependence on nuclear. Rather, it’s better and faster to realise a low-carbon society through shifting the tremendous nuclear investments to renewables and energy efficiency.

ECO is anxious to know whether Japan intends to discuss raising ambition as a matter of urgency. We have no time to delay. No room to lower efforts. In the last session in Bonn, ECO urged Japan to reaffirm its 25% reduction target by 2020 in Bangkok. Your silence is deafening. So, take the ambition discussion back home, identify any possible reduction potentials other than nuclear (here's a preview – you will find a lot) and come back with an ambitious target. Through that, Japan could make a sizeable contribution to Doha and to the world by transitioning toward a safe, low carbon economy. The international community is watching you.


And a note to Japan: contrary to what you stated in Sunday's 1(b)(i) workshop, double counting of credits IS a VERY big problem. A 1-2 GtCO2e bit problem, according to the UNEP Bridging the Emissions Gap Report, “if double counting of emissions reductions by developed and developing countries due to the use of the carbon market is not ruled out, and if the additionality of CDM projects is not improved." ECO reminds Japan that they noted (here it comes again) – with grave concern – the existence and size of the gap. Japan needs to do its part to close it – and avoiding double counting is a an important part of that.



Banking on Bunkers

Today, Parties will meet under the LCA Sectoral Approaches spin-off group for the last time before Doha to discuss how to address the fast-growing emissions from international transport. Parties must make sure Doha provides a signal to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on how to reconcile the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) of Parties, with the practices and principles of these sectoral bodies, which have a long history of regulating ships and aircraft on the basis of equal treatment of all.

Negotiating positions of many parties have remained frozen in time for the past decade or so – sadly unlike the Arctic. For those who haven’t been hunkered down in bunkers, ECO will explain. At one end of the range there’s the US and Japan, who want the IMO and ICAO to proceed with no input from the UNFCCC. At the other end, a group of developing countries who want the UNFCCC principles to override those of the sectoral bodies, which are independent and autonomous bodies under the UNFCCC, thereby treating these inherently global sectors in the same way as nationally based emission sources. This could mean for example that ships owned or operated by companies based anywhere in the world could easily escape regulation simply by reflagging to another country to avoid compliance.

Singapore has presented a helpful compromise, saying that emissions from international aviation and shipping should be addressed through global measures under ICAO and IMO, while taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC. This is sensible and appropriate as far as it goes, but even more helpful would be to give an indication of how CBDRRC might be taken into account. It seems risky to leave the interpretation of UNFCCC principles entirely up to other bodies – after all, even seasoned climate negotiators find it tricky! The most promising way to address CBDRRC could be through provisions involving revenues and/or handling of allowances from a global multilateral approach. Differentiation in terms of revenues could allow, for example, support to improve energy efficiency and technology transfer and cooperation within the shipping sector. This can ensure any burden on developing countries is addressed appropriately,  with the use of remaining revenues from developed countries for climate finance through the Green Climate Fund.

So there you have it, Parties. This would give you something to think about. But don’t take too long; remember this is your last day before COP18 and the ice is melting…


Global environment conference: Youth to represent Pakistan at Rio+20


At a press briefing to mark the World Environment Day at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that Ali is an excellent combination of perseverance and intelligence and will effectively represent the interests, priorities and concerns of Pakistani youth as well as highlight a soft and positive image of Pakistan at the conference.



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