Tag: Forests-Sinks

Make the CALL...

On the eve of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), a barbarian horde of chain saws is marching on the Brazilian forest. Commander and Chief, President Dilma, is the only one who can protect Brazil from this threat. The Brazilian Congress passed a bill which leaves the forest unprotected. According to highly conservative estimates from a governmental research institute, an area twice as large as Germany would fall to the chainsaws. If the bill is not vetoed, at least an additional 30 gigatonnes CO2 equivalent will be emitted through this deforestation. The proposed amendments would also provide broad amnesty for outlaws of the forest.

While President Dilma has stayed silent, more than 85% of the Brazilian public wants deforestation to stop no matter what, and massive demonstrations have been rocking all parts of the country. The message is clear: Brazilian society will not accept a chainsaw massacre in their forests. One of President Dilma´s election promises included a veto of any proposal which would give amnesty to forest crimes and/or lead to further deforestation. If she goes back on this promise now, she would also be rescinding on Brazil’s Copenhagen commitment to cut Business as Usual emissions by 2020 by up to 39%. Now is the time for her to act. Her own credibility, and the fate of the Brazilian forests and climate efforts, rests in her hands.

ECO urgently implores all Parties that truly wish to address climate change and deforestation to pick up the phone and give President Dilma a call to remind her of the promises she has made. A full veto would be the only way for her to keep her word. Make the call:                                         

+55 1161 3411 1200   or   +55  61 3411 1201

...For Dilma to Veto It ALL

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Brazilian Hot Air Samba Confuses Negotiators

It’s about as big as the combined yearly CO2 emissions from Europe and the US. Yes, we are talking about the gigantic, 10 gigatonne loophole that could undermine the whole purpose of a second Kyoto commitment period. ECO is clear, Parties must pop this “hot air” bubble this year, unless they have 10 gigatonnes of unannounced additional mitigation action up their sleeves.

Total A1 pledges until 2020 amount to only about 18 gigatonnes in cumulative pollution reductions. If all the hot air were used, these weak pledges would be cut in half. It is difficult to see how developed countries would then be able to convince developing countries to take on substantial reductions past 2020 if their own actions are so weak.

ECO is thrilled that the African Group and AOSIS have started to waltz and have tabled proposals on how to address the surplus AAUs.

ECO especially likes the AOSIS proposal. It makes use of the surplus dependent on a country’s level of ambition in CP2. If a country’s emission pledges are the same or higher than their 2008 emission, they will not be able to use any carry over. If their QELRO is below 2008 emissions and if they do not meet their pledge, they can use a small fraction of their surplus to help meet their pledge.

The African proposal is good but less stringent. It allows for countries to sell 2% of their surplus per year. In an 8-year commitment period this would mean potentially 16% of carry over being sold. In ECO’s rough calculation that’s more than 1 gigatonne. It is a start but still too high.  They get a thumbs up for including offsets from the CDM and JI in the limitation of the carry over. ECO also welcomes their suggestions that half of the revenue of the AAUs sold is used for mitigation action in the seller country and that the other half goes to the Adaptation Fund.

After consulting three Nobel Prize winners and a Fields Medal laureate, ECO still cannot figure out what the Brazilian proposal is all about. It seems to say that hot air due to the current economic crisis represents real emission reductions and should therefore be carried over fully. It also implies that the proceeds could go directly into the pockets of European companies and not be spent on adaptation.  Europe, with its apparent second term Polish EU presidency, is still practising its noble silence.

ECO commends the countries that have shown leadership on this issue! ECO calls on the G77 to develop a technically and environmentally sound proposal this week. This is the year the AAU surplus issue has to be resolved once and for all. Otherwise, we will not be able to start with CP2 in January 2013.

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FOSSIL OF THE DAY: Week 1

 

First Place Fossils go to the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and China.

The first 1st place Fossil goes to the USA, for its continuing attempts to block negotiations on sources of financing, and refusing to discuss how it will continue to scale up financing in 2013 and onwards, towards the agreed goal of US$100 billion by 2020. We know that the USA faces some deep denial issues internally, as well as avoidance issues in the negotiations around issues like equity, capacity building and an international mechanism on loss and damage. Until the US is willing to have a frank and honest discussion leading to substantive decisions, it will be an impediment to this process.

An additional 1st place fossil goes to Canada for – can you guess???? – reneging on their commitments to fight climate change by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after Durban overtime, the Canadians had no such luck. Barely off the plane, Canada’s Environment Minister wasted no time in confirming the COP’s worst kept secret that Canada was officially pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Many delegates probably had already given up on Canada at that point, but those of us that live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to whatcan only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. While Canada’s actions are clearly in a world of its own when it comes to bad behavior in the Kyoto Protocol, there are others that are behaving in fossil worthy manner. Here, we’re looking at Japan and Russia for refusing to participate in the second commitment period and Australia and New Zealand for missing the critical May 1 deadline to submit their QELROS. Australia and New Zealand are on notice that we expect these submissions by the end of Bonn – though the sooner the better, as it is causing trouble in the KP.

And the final1st place Fossil goes to China for holding in abeyance the work programme on scaling-up pre-2020 ambition under the ADP. We agree with China that the ADP must not allow developed countries to jump ship from the KP and LCA to a weaker regime, but Parties can't hold critical parts of the Durban package in abeyance, which amounts to punting them to the other side of the moon. We can't hold the fight against climate change in abeyance!

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Chutney With Your Lamb?

New Zealand has landed in a pickle over its forest accounts.  The age structure of NZ’s plantations means that major harvesting is due to start late this decade and continue into the 2020s. Combine this with the new afforestation/reforestation debit-credit rule and the gains NZ wrangled in LULUCF look likely to evaporate – its carbon accounts skewed into the negative. ECO might even have a rare twinge of sympathy for NZ.

But ECO has no sympathy for New Zealand when it comes to gross emissions.  They’ve continued rising since 1990 and are projected to continue rising, even with its much-talked-about-but-rather-weak Emissions Trading Scheme.

Worse, having agreed in Cancun that developed countries should write a low carbon development plan, New Zealand is showing no sign of writing one.  It certainly has no plan to get gross emissions on a downward trajectory.

Instead New Zealand is planning just everything possible to increase emissions: dairy farming expansion, unprecedented levels of coal mining, a major road building programme, more oil and gas exploration, and, to cap it all (no pun intended) off, the state owned mining company wants to dig up 1.5 billion tonnes of lignite and turn it into fuel and fertiliser.

It’s no wonder New Zealand wants rules for setting QELROs that would enable it to meet its 20% by 2020 target and end the second commitment period with over 22 million spare AAUs – a tidy sum for a small country.

So, where does all this leave New Zealand’s decisions on CP2 of Kyoto, its 2020 target and its QELRO? NZ is quietly desperate to accommodate its planned increase in gross emissions and expected blow-out in net emissions.  With no intention of actually reducing gross emissions, NZ’s only course of action is to play with the accounting system. This means trying to ensure maximum carry-over of surplus AAUs from CP1 to CP2, securing access to the cheapest carbon credits possible (euphemistically “full recourse to carbon markets”) and a handout of AAUs from new accounting rules.

It looks like New Zealand’s decision on CP2 will depend on who New Zealand wants to be friends with and whether the accounting system is sufficiently favourable. Failing to meet a voluntary commitment under the Copenhagen Accord has political consequences, but failing to meet a binding commitment under CP2 has political and economic consequences. So no surprises then that New Zealand has not submitted its QELRO, is focused on the accounting and has also created an impossible hurdle (see the demand for a "balancing agreement" in its recent submission) in case an excuse is needed to bail from the Kyoto ship.

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Distracted Driving

The uninitiated ECO reader may think a driver is a less ostentatious term for a chauffeur, but in REDD+ a driver is an underlying cause of deforestation or forest degradation.

This week in Bonn, SBSTA has this on their agenda. ECO thinks it’s vital that all parties explore ways to identify, assess and address drivers. Otherwise we risk wasting REDD+ financing and failing to achieve our goal. Ultimately it is global demand that drives most deforestation and forest degradation. All parties therefore have a responsibility to act on this, as spelt out in the Cancún decision on REDD+.

What does this mean? Drivers should be dealt with at the level they occur, be it local, provincial, regional, national or global. In the forest country itself, issues of governance become significant, as does the need to satisfy the demand of local populations for things like cooking fuel. Marginalised, forest dependent communities should not bear the brunt of blame and retribution for their impact on forest areas when the impact from outsiders is much larger.

You can’t solve problems in a forest for long simply by taking the chainsaw from a logger. You also need to address demand for paper products or luxury furniture that is motivating the logging company. The same issues of deforestation apply to our consumption of products from oil palm, beef or soy production, which are produced mainly for international consumption.

This year, a decision is needed on the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation. One that recognises REDD+ host countries require financial assistance to do this, and identifies the need for all parties, north and south, to take responsibility for their role.

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CAN Intervention - AWG-KP Opening Plenary - May 15, 2012

Thank you Chair
I am speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network. The lack of ambition and leadership shown by most developed countries is putting humanity and the natural systems on which we rely at risk.
 
The IEA recently found that projections for energy use and emissions could be putting us on course for a 6C temperature increase, which would have a high probability of activating a number of potential global-scale tipping points.
 
Keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C, much less 1.5ºC, requires emissions to peak by 2015 while science tells us that developed countries must reduce emissions by more than 40% by 2020. Low pledges from developed countries are further weakened through loopholes, attempts to shift the ambition discussion to post-2020, andby Parties walking away from the Kyoto Protocol.  We are utterly dismayed and disappointed with the decision by the Canadian government to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Repealing all environmental legislation on the statute books will not make climate change go away. We urge Australia and NZ to fulfill their commitments and not follow in Canada's dirty footsteps.The legal and governance structure of the Kyoto Protocol is crucial to ensuring that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. 
 
We call on Parties:
 To immediately raise ambition at least to the top ends of the pledges.
 To agree on an adjustment procedure to enable developed countries to increase their 2020 pledges at any time until 2020 without requiring ratification by all Parties. 
 To translate pledges into QELROs with the highest possible environmental integrity without de facto weakening of the pledges. 
 To eliminate loopholes that threaten the environmental integrity and viability of a second Kyoto commitment period. These include surplus AAUs, weak rules for CDM and JI offsets and LULUCF, and possible double-counting of financial flows related to offsets as climate finance.
 
Thank you Chair
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CAN Submission: Workplan for the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

CAN welcomes the establishment of the Ad Hoc Working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.  Now that Parties have agreed to negotiate a legally binding instrumentto be adopted no later than 2015, it is time to negotiate the substance. 

CAN sees two distinct timeframes within the Durban Platform – the work to increase ambition in the short term, as identified in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the Durban Platform, must occur in parallel with negotiations for reaching an ambitious comprehensive global climate change agreement by 2015 at the latest.  CAN has detailed the actions necessary to increase ambition before 2020 in an earlier submission.  Evading near term responsibility will undermine the chances of a successful 2015 agreement and have a catastrophic impact on the climate.

Parties must learn from the disaster at Copenhagen and ensure that in 2012 they agree on a clear workplan towards 2015 including a timeline for achieving key issues, marked by clear milestones and deadlines.  Parties must commit to meeting these milestones and deadlines and honour this commitment.  Parties will need to conclude a number of agenda items in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  Parties must build into the workplan a balanced package of decisions to be agreed annually.

Equity, including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC), needs to be at the very heart of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action for it to be able to deliver adequately for the climate.

The internationally legally binding protocol now under negotiation must include common and accurate accounting, MRV, strong compliance and enforcement, all respecting the principles of equity, including CBDRRC.  It must have fair targets and actions that are consistent with a 1.5ºC global carbon budget.  It should build on, develop and improve the rules already agreed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention.

After the disaster of Copenhagen, leaders do not have another ‘trick up their sleeve’.  Countries must deliver this comprehensive deal by 2015 at the latest, putting in place the first steps in the pre 2020 ambition workplan, ensuring that warming stays below 1.5oC, hence preventing catastrophic climate change.  There is no atmospheric nor political space for a second failure.

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