Tag: Forests-Sinks

CAN Input: Rio+20 Agenda, April 2012

The current negotiating text for Rio+20 does not fully and explicitly recognise the urgent need to act on climate change as part of a global action plan for delivering sustainable development.

This paper outlines the elements CAN believes essential to be dealt with by leaders at the Rio+20 Summit. In summary Rio plus 20 must:

1. Increase political will and ambition

a       Ensure strong legally binding commitments and real urgent action to rapidly transition to  a low-carbon and climate resilient future that includes development of renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed clean energy (excluding coal-based power plants, nuclear power plants and mega-hydropower plants);

b       Acknowledge the lack of delivery on previous commitments agreed at Rio, including the UNFCCC commitments for all countries to reduce emissions to allow ecosystems to adapt and to ensure that food production is not threatened, and that developed countries would provide sufficient finance and other support to enable developing countries to undertake mitigation and adaptation. Acknowledgement of the now urgent need to address the current environment, development and climate change crisis by committing to ambitious levels of binding action, in line with science and equity and with clearly measurable outcomes and milestones.  Rio+20 can provide political impetus to the relevant fora - the UNFCCC and others - on the appropriate level of ambition of these commitments;

c       Recognise that delivering sustainable development requires tackling both the roots of the environment crisis and the poverty crisis simultaneously;

d       Fully recognise  historic responsibility and equity issues associated with addressing the current global environment and development crises and that solutions to these crisis must be based on principles of equity including common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability;

e       A renewed emphasis on the poorest people and those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, acknowledging that all countries will be impacted by climate change, with developing countries the least able to cope;

2. Facilitate a fair green economy

a       Support a rapid global transition to fair green and sustainable economies;

b       Endorse the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative with a strong call for action and a 2020 milestone;

c       Commit to reorient wasteful consumption patterns towards sustainable ones, including by adopting indicators other than GDP that integrate social and environmental costs and benefits, promoting themore efficient use of resources and improving waste reutilization;

e       Commit adequate and predictable new and additional long-term finance to support developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change with a particular focus on addressing the current structural underfunding of adaptation needs;

d       Remove fossil fuel subsidies, beginning with production subsidies;

f       Support the integration of an increased focus on resilience in the context of climate impacts,  market shocks, food price hikes and increasingly frequent and/or intense weather-related disasters; increased action on disaster risk reduction and the inclusion of food security, rights and justice;

3. Agree to true Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

a       The Sustainable Development Goals currently being discussed need to i) be universal, ii) be based on equity and fundamental human rights, iii) embed climate change as a cross-cutting issue,  and iv) be formulated through open and inclusive processes;

4. Protect forests and REDD

a       Agree to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests, as well as restoring degraded natural forests by 2020 at the latest;

5. Realise sustainable agriculture and food security

a       Build the adaptive capacity of smallholders to the long-term impacts of climate change and ensure agricultural policies address food security and take into account environmental limits, carrying capacity, equity and social issues, particularly gender equity.

CAN Submission - Views on Options and Ways to Further Increase the Level of Ambition - February 2012

 

Views on Options and Ways to Further Increase the Level of Ambition

28 February 2012

Submission to the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action 

Current unconditional pledges and lenient accounting rules are set to result in global emissions of 55 GtCO2e in 2020. According to the Climate Action Tracker current pledges put the world on a pathway towards 3.5°C of warming and several potential global-scale tipping points. These tipping points include possible dieback of the Amazon rainforest, irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheets, risk of release of methane hydrates in ocean floor sediments and permafrost thawing. The window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change is rapidly closing.  

An emissions pathway consistent with keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C with likely probability requires global emissions to peak by 2015 in accordance with the most ambitious scenario assessed by the IPCC.  According to UNEP, global emissions in 2020 should be not higher than 44 GtCO2e, compared with 50 GtCO2e today.  After 2020, global GHG emissions would have to steeply decline by at least 80% by 2050 below 1990 levels, and continue to decline thereafter towards net negative emissions to have a likely chance to not exceed 1.5 degree in the long-term. While in theory there may be emission pathways consistent with current pledges (i.e. leading to 55 GtCO2e in 2020) and still keep long-term warming below 2°C, in practice such a scenario would require a rate of global reductions between 2020 and 2050 around 3.8% per year, which is economically and hence politically very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Proposals to not increase ambition for the 2013-2020 timeline beyond current pledges should be treated as what they are: attempts to dodge responsibility. 

At the same time CAN urges Parties to see a transition to emissions pathways consistent with 2°C/1.5°C as offering opportunities including early-mover advantages for new markets and clean technologies, driving innovation, investments, employment and economic – low emission – growth. Additionally, tapping into the abundant potentials for domestic renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and shifts towards more sustainable lifestyles support national energy security, lowering dependencies on energy imports, as well as increased health benefits through reduced air pollution. 

CAN Submission: How to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, Febuary 2012

 

CAN-International welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the work of SBSTA by giving our views on the issues identified by SBSTA at its thirty-fifth session, recorded in document FCCC/SBSTA/2011/L.25, paragraph 5. 

Summary 

For REDD+ to succeed, it must reduce, and ultimately reverse, the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation.  REDD+ policies must address national- and local-scale drivers within REDD+ countries, but they will not significantly reduce deforestation and forest degradation unless they also minimize internationally- driven, demand-side pressures on the world’s forests.  Forest loss is caused by many factors but, according to the latest analyses, international demand for commodities such as agricultural commodities, biofuels, wood products and minerals is the dominant driver of emissions in many countries.  Countries responsible for this international demand need to take steps to reduce those pressures in conjunction with efforts by forested countries to reduce domestic drivers of deforestation and degradation.

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Topics: 

New Zealand Earns First Place Fossil, United States and Canada Share “Colossal Fossil”

Durban, South Africa –  At the final day of the United Nations climate negotiations for 2011, countries received their biggest shaming yet for blocking greater progress in the talks. With the final outcome of negotiations not yet decided, it was at least clear enough which nations had done their worst in the last day and the entire two weeks. New Zealand took the infamous 1st prize for its strongest statement yet against continuing Kyoto. But Canada earned yet another Colossal Fossil for scoring the most dirty points at these negotiations, though they earned isolation and a minute of silence more than another fossilized award. Instead, the United States of America took the Colossal Fossil, too, for coming in second place in overall Fossil points and showing serious lack of action for such a major polluter. The Fossils as presented read:

“New Zealand wins the 1st place Fossil. The New Zealand government got a Fossil this week for severely mixed messages about its Kyoto Protocol 2nd Commitment Period stance. This time, it made it clear, describing Kyoto as 'actually an insult to New Zealand'. The only insult is to the citizens of New Zealand and the rest of the world, who will have to suffer the costs of climate change.”

“Canada wins a Colossal Fossil by mathematical majority. The Canadian government has made headlines and earned criticism from the international community in Durban for refusing to sign onto a second Kyoto commitment period, calling critical climate financing 'guilt payments', and bullying least developed countries into leaving the Kyoto Protocol. And over the two week negotiation period, Canada has won a staggering total of 6 Fossil of the Day awards. Mathematically, they are the undisputed winner of the 2011 Colossal Fossil award.

But when environment minister Peter Kent announced Canada’s third fossil of COP 17 on the floor of the House of Commons, members of his Conservative government cheered and applauded. The minister brought that reckless arrogance with him to Durban, where he’s maintained a hard line and refused to budge on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and fought hard to put polluters before people.

Canada remains the only country in the world to have weakened its emissions targets after returning from COP 15 in Copenhagen and the only country to have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol and then say that it has no intention of meeting its targets. The Government killed the only major federal renewable energy program in the country while plowing over 1 billion dollars a year of subsidies into the oil sector.

The Government’s lack of ambition or action to combat climate change is no laughing matter. Climate change is one of the most serious issues that humanity has ever faced, and it is already affecting millions of people – including vulnerable communities in Canada.

(minute of silence)

While a colossal fossil might be a fitting reward for such egregious behaviour, we’d prefer to confer that title on a country whose actions are still having an effect on the negotiations taking place, and not a laggard who’s been pushed to the sidelines of this debate. Until Canada is prepared to become a real leader on climate change, it’s time to turn our backs on the government’s policies and move on with a coalition of the willing built from people, cities and provinces that understand the urgent need for action.”

“And so, the United States of America wins a Colossal Fossil for sheer (un)ambition. For a country that in 2009 claimed to come back to the negotiations full of hope and change, it has mostly just brought more of the same – no commitments, no Kyoto, plenty of rhetoric, and minimal money. Whether because of a conservative Congress or an administration that hid behind it when its President and negotiators could have done more, we can only 'hope' that the U.S.A. 'changes' its stance and doesn't spend the next 4 years earning Colossal Fossils like Canada spent the last 4. This is not the kind of international cooperation CAN had in mind.”

Region: 

Report on CAN Pre-COP Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - 19 to 21 October, 2011  

This report explains who participated in the CAN Pre-COP workshop in Ethiopia in October 2011. The discussions that took place are highlighted and regional follow-up work to these discussions is currently underway.

Pledges v Loopholes

Just in time for the arrival of ministers, we have removed the fuzziness from our loopholes chart. Current loopholes could easily negate all Annex 1 pledges and in the worst case leave plenty of left-overs to nibble on during a third commitment period. A couple key examples will suffice.

According to UNEP, surplus AAUs from the first commitment period amouns to 9-13 Gt CO2e. Given that current Annex I pledges amount to about 18 Gt of emissions reductions, it almost goes without saying that this loophole needs to be closed if we want to stop tinkering at the margins and start getting serious about 2°C.

The two countries with most hot air are Russia and Ukraine. To entice them and other economies in transition to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, they were allowed to keep emissions to 1990 levels.

It seemed cheaper at the time to take out a huge loan on the atmosphere, and now like a subprime mortgage this is coming back to haunt us.

Both Ukraine and Russia have made 2020 pledges that are above business-as-usual projections. These weak targets could add another whopping 4 Gt of ‘hot air’ until 2020.

We agree that banking can provide an incentive for early action, but that only holds true if the pledges are deep enough to require countries to go substantially below their BAU.

And then there’s New Zealand. Climate Tracker rates their commitment for 2020 as ‘inadequate’, the lowest ranking a country can get. On Friday, New Zealand won a Fossil for its efforts to water down the integrity of market mechanisms. Sorry, this does not look like ‘over achievement’ to us.

But don’t cheer too quickly if you’re from somewhere else in Annex I. Only five countries did not share the dubious distinction of being rated  ‘inadequate’ by Climate Tracker. 

May we remind all delegates: your country may get away with ruses and ploys in the world of politics. But nature does not go for accounting tricks: it is the future of your own children you are gambling away.

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