Tag: Climate change Impacts

IPCC: 1.5 Still Alive

Parties in Doha requested expert advice to ensure the scientific integrity of the 2013-2015 Review. Well, yesterday they got it, fresh from IPCC Working Group I. In the first of two dialogues in Warsaw, IPCC experts provided advice on the adequacy of the 2oC goal in light of the ‘ultimate objective’ of the Convention.

Working Group I confirms what we already knew: warming is unequivocal, human influence is clear, and limiting climate change and its impacts requires substantial and sustained emissions reduction – in fact, down to zero.
But there is good news as well.  The “peak and decline” trajectory of the lowest concentration pathway (RCP2.6) could limit the increase in global mean temperature to 1.5oC and would increase the likelihood of meeting the long term global goal of keeping below 2oC. That’s not easy, but it’s still within reach.

The findings show that even 2oC warming will increase the potential for dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, and delaying emissions reductions would speed the pace and severity of impacts such as sea level rise and storm intensity. The WG I report gives Parties one less excuse to delay or hedge their mitigation commitments and actions up to and beyond 2020.

Working Group II will not release its full report on impacts until March 2014, but it is already evident that failing to reduce emissions quickly means that the ultimate objective of the Convention would not be met: sustainable development, food security and ecosystem adaptation would all be sacrificed. The joint contact group of SBSTA and SBI at COP 19 should advise that Parties' commitments and actions must be tabled at COP 20 and their adequacy must be benchmarked against the IPCC findings.

The second session of the IPCC expert dialogue is at 3 pm today, and it will continue to address findings of the highest importance.

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Drought in Ethiopia Requires Financing From Developed Countries...Do It by Durban!

Photo Credit: Manjeet Dhakal

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment
Ethiopia

We are now in Panama, for the intersessional which is the last meeting before the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban. The 17th COP will be in Durban, South Africa, which make this a very important COP for Africa.  Africa along with Least Developed Countries and the Small Island States are the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Even though Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries that is showing a rapid economic growth, it is still being affected by drought.

At the moment the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, is confronted with recurring climate change related disasters, in particular prolonged droughts and floods. This drought is said to be the worst in 60 years. Drought is not something new for Ethiopia nor the Horn. However, it has become more recurrent and severe in the last decades.  Climate change is making the matters and problems worse for us who are under-developed.

In order to address the impacts of climate change, countries are negotiating under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In its 15th and 16th meetings an agreement was reached that developed countries will be supporting adaptation and mitigation actions of developing countries. We are now approaching the end of 2011, where the fast start finance of $30 billion for the years 2010-2012 is about to end. The other decision we have is the one on long-term finance to mobilize $100 billion by 2020. So far there are no pledges from the developed countries for the year 2013 and onwards.  That is a worry for us coming from the developing world. We have learned some lessons from the fast start finance, which is not new and not additional to the ODA, but is just relabeled as climate finance, given in the form of loans instead of grants. There is an imbalance between adaptation and mitigation with more money going to mitigation actions instead of adaptation.

Forty member countries of the transitional committee are designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) of whose works will be presented in Durban to be approved by the Conference of Parties (COP).  However, most developed countries do not want to have any form of discussion on long-term finance which is supposed to fill this fund. With all of these climate related disasters happening in most parts of the world, especially developing countries being the most vulnerable and having no capacity to adapt, adaptation finance is very crucial for us. It is a matter of survival and should be taken seriously by others. Developed countries need to get more serious and commit themselves to discuss the sources of finance that will feed into the new fund. If we want an outcome in Durban, most discussions and texts need to happen here in Panama.

It is good to note that, developing countries at the local and national level are also working to raise funds for their adaptation and mitigation actions. In my organization back home, Forum for Environment-Ethiopia, we have started an initiative to raise funds, which can be used for some local adaptation actions. We have started implementing the green tax initiative in which 1% of our salaries are deducted every month. We have done this for the past year and have raised small amount, which has not been used yet. Now we want this to be taken up by other organizations at the country-level to show our commitments by raising more money and taking  local initiatives. We have started the process of engaging others to hopefully have a larger impact. Progress in Panama in all issues, especially finance, is very important for us to achieve something in the African COP in Durban.
 

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Assessing dangerous climate change through an update of the IPCC ‘‘reasons for concern"

 

Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [United Nations (1992) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf. Accessed February 9, 2009] commits signatory nations to stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that ‘‘would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI) with the climate system. ’’ In an effort to provide some insight into impacts of climate change that might be considered DAI, authors of the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified 5 ‘‘reasons for concern’’ (RFCs). Relationships between various impacts reflected in each RFC and increases in global mean temperature (GMT) were portrayed in what has come to be called the ‘‘burning embers diagram.’’ In presenting the ‘‘embers’’ in the TAR, IPCC authors did not assess whether any single RFC was more important than any other; nor did they conclude what level of impacts or what atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases would constitute DAI, a value judgment that would be policy prescriptive. Here, we describe revisions of the sensitivities of the
RFCs to increases in GMT and a more thorough understanding of the concept of vulnerability that has evolved over the past 8 years. This is based on our expert judgment about new findings in the growing literature since the publication of the TAR in 2001, including literature that was assessed in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), as well as additional research published since AR4. Compared with results reported in the TAR, smaller increases in GMT are now estimated to lead to significant or substantial consequences in the framework of the 5 ‘‘reasons for concern.’’
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CAN Intervention - COP 12 - 7, Nov, 2006

Time is of the essence. The scientists who first brought the issue of climate change to our attention are beginning to show signs of panic. This issue is running away from us, and as you have seen in this workshop, we simply have no time left to dither and delay. The impacts of climate change will get much worse unless urgent action is taken, and taken quickly. For many regions, the scale of unavoidable changes in the next few decades will likely exceed the limits of adaptation possibilities. If we do not act now, what is unavoidable will likely become catastrophic.

CAN - AWG intervention CMP2

7 Nov 06

On behalf of the Climate Action Network, thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to provide input to this important discussion.

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

Time is of the essence.

The scientists who first brought the issue of climate change to our attention are beginning to show signs of panic. This issue is running away from us, and as you have seen in this workshop, we simply have no time left to dither and delay. The impacts of climate change will get much worse unless urgent action is taken, and taken quickly. For many regions, the scale of unavoidable changes in the next few decades will likely exceed the limits of adaptation possibilities. If we do not act now, what is unavoidable will likely become catastrophic.

Before us now is the challenge of agreeing to emission cuts commensurate with the threat of global climate change. If we are to avoid dangerous climate change, we need keep average global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, global emissions will need to peak well before the end of the next decade, and decline thereafter. This means that industrialized countries will need to reduce their emissions by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020. As the Stern review shows, the damages associated with climate impacts are orders of magnitude greater than the costs of mitigation. Any delay significantly raises the costs of both.

Parties must recognize that an analysis of global emissions pathways, with reference to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the issue of cumulative emissions, are essential to the deliberations on commitments beyond 2012.

It must also be said that the current lack of demonstrable progress of some countries tends to undermine faith in this process. There is a clear need for Annex 1 to show leadership. Those whose good faith is no longer clear - and we name Canada here, as its present government has walked away from its Kyoto obligations - must revisit their positions for the common good of humanity and the planet. Those who seek to lead must do so: the time has come for the European Union to come out into the open and talk the talk and walk the walk, and do this well before Finnish Saunas become a place to go and cool down from the mid summer heat…

To establish a sound scientific basis for these negotiations, CAN is seeking intensive one-year analysis phases under both Article 3.9 and Article 9. We know that the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group must be connected to work on the Article 9 review, which should include exploring and elaborating the obvious links between the two processes. And we have read the submissions and know that some do not want any Article 9 review at all; or if there is one, it should be a moment in time, with a further date to be set, perhaps once the irreversible has taken place.

In CAN’s opinion, the Chair’s list is a good, comprehensive assessment of the issues that need to be discussed as part of the post 2012 process. The necessary science is already in the literature and can readily inform this analysis. It is, therefore, not necessary to wait for the publication of the final version of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment.

The analysis phase must set the stage for the agreement of a negotiating mandate for a comprehensive post-2012 agreement at COP/MOP 3 in 2007. The outcomes of the Dialogue must also inform this mandate. The negotiations should result in a single coherent agreement to be agreed in 2008, with commitments adequate to address the enormity of the climate challenge. This end date is needed in order to avoid a gap in commitment periods.

Finally this meeting should adopt an ambitious work plan, in accordance with the scale and the urgency of the threat of climate change to people and the planet, which lays the groundwork for deeper, absolute binding emission reduction targets for Annex I countries. In 2007 Annex I Parties should come prepared and put numbers for such targets on the table.

Thank you Mr. Chairman
 

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