Everyone needs to take part in the battle against climate change, and we all agree that includes the private sector. Still, it was a shock to learn that the COP Presidency invited fossil industries to sponsor these climate talks, even while these very same companies do their utmost to fight against climate policies.
Corporate sponsorships to 'brand' stadiums have been around for a while. All the same, ECO wasn't quite ready for this new trend at the COP. Branding is all about visibility and alliances. And money. So what message are we seeing here in Warsaw?
Just look around you. Fossil industry logos are everywhere in the conference center – on the water dispensers, in the meeting hall and on the welcome bags for COP guests. And the USB stick – you guessed it! It’s full of presentations about the “excellent” environmental performance of these companies! But somehow the most important facts are missing:
* Alstom and PGE (the Polish majority state-owned energy utility) plan to build a huge new 1,800 MW coal power plant in Poland – a monster which would emit about 350 million tonnes of CO2 in its lifetime.
* The car maker BMW made headlines recently because of its generous donations to Ms. Merkel’s party, the political player who watered down the latest EU-wide regulation to reduce CO2 pollution from cars.
* Arcelor Mittal, a global behemoth, was not only a tireless lobbyist against ambitious EU climate legislation, but has also been vocally against carbon pricing regulation in South Africa.
Of course, bags and pens aren’t really what we need from these companies. Instead, the best gift would be to keep the fossils in the ground – and fossil interests out of climate negotiations.
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
COP 19 app reads "climate changes are natural phenomena, which occurred already many times on Earth." This among other reasons, earned Poland Nov 12 Fossil of the Day Award.
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
The list of reasons to award Poland as the first place fossil is probably the longest any country has ever earned.
Reason 1: Continuously opposing the European Union from taking more ambitious climate action
Reason 2: Co-hosting a Coal Summit coinciding with the COP but not organizing any debate on renewable energy opportunities
Reason 3: Inviting polluting companies that openly oppose an ambitious climate action to sponsor the COP
Reason 4: Allowing the dirty side of European industry, Business Europe, to represent the business voice at the pre-COP
Reason 5: Writing mad postings on the official COP19 website about the economic opportunities the melting Arctic will bring as well as chasing the “pirates, ecologists and terrorists” on the sea
Reason 6: Presenting delegates with standard climate denialist rhetoric through their mobile device app, repeating the old chestnut that “climate changes are natural phenomena, which occured (sic) many times on Earth”.
Poland, it is not ok to misuse your position as a COP President to advance your own coal agenda. Stop it.
Ray of the Day for the Renewable Energy Loving Polish People
The Polish government is holding the world back and acting as the PR department of the coal industry.
But the Polish people want to grasp a renewable future, not be stuck in a coal-based past. No less than 89% of Polish citizens want more energy to come from renewable sources and more than two-thirds of Polish people (70%) want an energy policy that gives support to renewables. 73% of Polish people want Poland to be more involved in global actions to prevent the negative effects of climate change.
With this ray we say: Thank you, Poles, for supporting a future without climate chaos. It is about time that Prime Minister Tusk and his government listen to their people and go for an energy revolution based on energy efficiency and renewables. All renewable power to the Polish people.
About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced 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.
About the rays: CAN, gives out the 'Ray of The Day' award to the countries who are a ray of hope over the past days of negotiations at the UN climate change conference. This ‘Ray of Solidarity’ is in the same spirit.
[Warsaw – Poland] – November 11, 2013: The major UN climate negotiations of the year opened today against a backdrop of tragedy with more than 10,000 people expected to have been killed in the most extreme Typhoon to have ever hit the Philippines.
According to the IPCC, such typhoons are expected to become more frequent and more extreme if the climate continues to change.
Speaking at the Climate Action Network opening press conference, Dr Alicia Ilaga from the Filipino delegation, said the devastation caused by the Typhoon highlighted how important it was that these talks agree to establish an mechanism in the UN to deal with the loss and damage caused by climate change.
“I bleed for my country, I bleed for my people who have been buried and washed away,” Dr Ilaga said. “We are investing in renewable energy, we are trying to adapt, but we cannot bear this burden on our own.”
Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. That industry is having unprecedented access to these negotiations at the behest of the coal-dependent Polish Government, through corporate sponsorship and the Coal and Climate Summit being held next week.
Julia Michalak EU policy officer from CAN Europe said that if the Polish Government wanted to be taken seriously on the international stage, it needed to prove it deserved to host this year’s climate negotiations.
“The Polish Government can show it cares about future generations by abandoning plans to build new coal mines, ceasing to block EU climate action including discussions around an ambitious 2030 carbon pollution reduction target,” Michalak said.
While the tragedy of the Philippines disaster cast a pall over the opening of the climate negotiations in Warsaw, it should give parties a wakeup call to come up with concrete steps to urgently reduce carbon pollution and provide funds for poorer countries to take their own climate actions.
“The Polish government’s flagrant fossil fuel agenda should not deter parties from pushing hard for positive outcomes in Warsaw. This is no time for low expectations. We expect vision and leadership on the path to Paris in 2015,” said Tasneem Essop, WWF Head of Delegation to COP19.
ON DEMAND WEBCAST of PRESS CONFERENCE AVAILABLE HERE: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop19/templ/play.php?id_kongres...
For more information or for one-on-one interviews with NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or email@example.com.
Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries.
Climate Action Network-International
Friday, June 14, Bonn – Germany: Climate Action Network called for nations to agree a 2014 deadline for releasing their new carbon pollution reductions pledges before the close of the main climate talks in Warsaw this November.
The call came as the latest round of talks closed in Bonn today having made incremental progress on the shape of a comprehensive climate deal to be agreed in 2015. But Greenpeace UK political advisor Ruth Davis said a deadline for pledges was vital for the negotiations to remain on track.
“This deadline is needed partly to give enough time to assess the pledges against the latest climate science, and partly so that countries can compare their efforts,” Davis said. “Having enough time to negotiate these targets is vital to avoiding the kind of last minute scramble that made the 2009 Copenhagen summit such a disaster.”
These negotiations were held against a backdrop of the worst-on-record flooding in Eastern Europe and extreme weather in the US. German and New York officials stated this week that they would spend billions fortifying their cities against future extreme weather, showing that the costs of climate change are already being tallied in rich countries as well as poor.
With climate change already impacting millions across the world, the Climate Action Tracker initiative said this week current pledges put the world on track for 4 degree C warming. This would result in devastating impacts for the planet and its people.
With that in mind, Lina Li, from Greenovation Hub in Beijing, said the Bonn talks failed to make major progress on an international mechanism to cover the loss and damage caused to communities by the effects of climate change. Also missing in action was substantial progress on the review which would assess whether the agreed global temperature limit of 2 degrees Celsius was adequate.
Areas for substantial discussion in Warsaw include the thread that pulls the climate negotiations together: financial support for developing countries to adopt a low carbon development strategy that reduces emissions and helps them adapt to climate impacts.
“While most countries have shown a cooperative spirit in the talks so far this year, the Warsaw negotiations will be a test of whether this can be maintained as we move towards more substantial discussions,” Li said.
Dorota Zawadzka-Stępniak, from WWF Poland, said the Polish government needed to invite the holders of the purse strings - finance ministers - to Warsaw to discuss real commitments to increasing financial pledges.
“For the Polish presidency to be a success, Poland must stop blocking enhanced climate action in the EU and adopt a progressive attitude towards its domestic climate and energy policy,” Zawadzka-Stępniak said. “We need to embrace a low carbon pathway and make a strategic shift in the Polish energy system in order to be a credible partner in the negotiations.”
International Communications Coordinator
Climate Action Network – International
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568
Delegates: whilst you sat around the Maritim fountain enjoying the balmy weather, Germany suffered historic flooding. It’s a pity the flooding was the physical variety, and not a flood of ambition washing over these negotiations.
The SBI drowning in Russian bile was the disappointing low point of the last fortnight. Really? In two weeks you can’t agree on an agenda?! And you wonder why the public thinks you might be wasting their precious tax dollars. Perhaps Russia might like to pick up the bill for these last weeks, not to mention the bill for the extra climate impacts caused by this stalling.
While we’re on the subject of bills, let’s reflect on how much lower the climate damage bill will be if you raise your ambition (you might recall this is the objective of Workstream 2 – where we’ve yet to see an over abundance of concrete outcomes). The science is clear: the less you mitigate, the more you will pay to adapt – and to deal with ever more frequent climate related disasters.
But, happily, Warsaw offers you the opportunity to address this dearth of ambition, thus plugging a hole in the leaky climate boat.
ECO recommends two Ministerials at Warsaw. First - the Ambition Ministerial. Let your Ministers know that we are actually expecting them to work hard to close the yawning ambition gap whilst at Warsaw, not just tour the many mermaid statues. Workstream 2 needs to see concrete decisions on ways to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, as well as a clearly marked out timeframe for increasing developed country targets, and enhancing developing country action in 2014.
ECO was VERY pleased to hear of the Polish Government’s plans to engage Finance Ministers at Warsaw and the enthusiastic welcoming of this by many countries. Engaging Finance Ministers early and often will be important. We would encourage Finance Ministers to come to Warsaw ready to put $$$ on the table. A roadmap to scale finance ambition up to the US$100bn by 2020 will be an essential outcome at Warsaw.
The other essential roadmap to agree at Warsaw is a decision laying out the structure and timeline for further negotiations on the 2015 agreement. Yes, you made some progress here in the roundtable format. But as you agree yourselves, we need a more concrete and less watery path – starting in Warsaw. You might want to focus on this, amongst other things, in your September submissions.
To achieve the comprehensive, global plan we all need in 2015, let's seriously start down the path to agreeing to negotiating text by the end of 2014.
Between now and Warsaw we’ll have our first cool refreshing drink of impending doom from IPCC working group 1. Could the AR5 report on the physical science (spoiler: we're all in deep trouble as things currently stand) finally give you the momentum to agree at Warsaw a process to develop an Equity Reference Framework and to develop and put forward your country specific commitments during 2014 (allowing sufficient time to assess them against science and agreed equity indicators)?
We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen, which we approached without any shared understanding of what was a fair share of effort and how we would capture it.
We also need progress in Warsaw on development of common accounting standards for both mitigation and finance.
So for now, sit back, relax, enjoy that final Weizenbier before you head home, content in the knowledge that you will be busy, very busy – filing submissions and getting ready to “move to a more focused mode of work at Warsaw” – which needs to not be a "transition COP" but a real step forward on both short term and long term solutions for the climate problem.
Sitting in Monday’s briefing for observer organisations, ECO was delighted to hear the incoming President identify progress on climate finance as a “clear priority” for COP19.
We couldn’t agree more! With the Fast Start period behind us and only a handful of countries with new money on the table, we’re in need of some giant strides between now and the end of Warsaw.
At a minimum, all developed countries must set out, in a way that ensures comparability, the climate finance they will provide over the period 2013-2015, that is comparable and commit to a roadmap for scaling up public finance and reaching US$100bn per year by 2020. The Green Climate Fund must not be left an empty shell – for a fourth COP in a row. And if we’re to confront the enduring “adaptation gap”, Parties should agree that at least 50% of all public climate finance between now and 2020 will be spent on adaptation.
So Poland, now is the time for a good hard think about what it will take to deliver this kind of progress by November. ECO’s advice: It’s time to bring in those who hold the purse strings. That’s right, we’re talking finance ministers. If you’re serious about some big decisions on finance, which ECO believes you are, then we need to involve Finance Ministries and Treasuries in the conversation as soon as possible. That means bringing them into the process before or early in COP19, not just having them swoop in at the end and try to cut last minute deals.
Then there’s the “in-session high-level ministerial dialogue” to prepare for. This is one opportunity we cannot afford to let slip. ECO is looking forward to seeing Finance Ministers sitting down to work out their new commitments and make decisions on promising new sources of public finance. If you put out the invitation, we’ll be sure to do our part in encouraging them to come along.
And when it comes to pathways for scaling up, ECO suggests you have a word with those lovely chaps chairing the Long Term Finance Work Programme. It’s time to gather these almost two years of deliberations into some clear decision options for Ministers, including on new and innovative sources of public finance.
Parties have been emphatic these last two weeks about the need for an ambitious deal that is guided by science as well as equity and capable of keeping warming to within 1.5-2oC. But developing countries simply cannot unlock their mitigation potential unless there is the necessary financial support. Furthermore, vulnerable countries must be given confidence that their escalating adaptation needs will be met.
Finance will be the glue that holds the 2015 deal together. Real progress on this front will be a major step towards an ambitious outcome.