UNFCCC CLIMATE TALKS IN DURBAN:
CIVIL SOCIETY EXECUTIVES SET EXPECTATIONS FOR SECOND WEEK OF NEGOTIATIONS
[Durban, South Africa] Climate Action Network – International will host an exclusive media briefing, webcast live, to outline civil society expectations for a successful outcome of UN climate talks in Durban.
A panel of civil society executives will discuss the overall status of the negotiations and outline possible scenarios for a Durban outcome, highlighting how much is at stake at these talks and what Ministers arriving in Durban need to do in the second week in order to secure a successful conference.
The briefing takes place at the UNFCCC conference venue, on Monday, December 5, at 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG), NGO Press Conference Room.
It will be webcast live at: http://bit.ly/CANwebcasts
Civil society leaders on the panel will include: Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International; Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International; Celine Charveriat, Director of Advocacy & Campaigns, Oxfam International; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Unions
What: Briefing on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Durban
Where: Kosi Palm (ICC MR 21 ABCG) NGO Press Conference Room, UNFCCC conference venue, Durban
When: 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT), Monday, December 5, 2011
Who: Kumi Naidoo – Executive Director, Greenpeace International
Jim Leape – Director General, WWF International
Celine Charveriat – Director of Advocacy & Campaigns, Oxfam International
Sharan Burrow – General Secretary, International Trade Unions
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. For more information go to: www.climatenetwork.org
For more information please contact:
David Turnbull, CAN International, +27 (0) 78 889 6827 (local mob)
Every day at 18:00 local time CAN gives the Fossil of the Day to the Parties that obstruct the negotiations the most. You can watch the Fossil ceremony at the CAN booth in the DEC building and get the press releases every day at: http://www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day
You might have noticed ECO is having some targeted bilateral discussions in these pages. Today is with Norway. Time and time again we have reminded Parties of the urgent need to clarify the content of the pledges put on the table by developed countries.
On this issue, Norway has been an unwavering ally, and its credibility has been boosted by the transparent clarification of its own pledges. And no wonder, Norway regularly leads the league tables on transparency.
Throughout these negotiations, Norway has repeatedly made clear that out of its total emission reduction target of 30-40% emission reductions by 2020, about two-thirds will be achieved through domestic measures. But rumours have reached distant Durban that prominent political figures now want Norway to backtrack on this promise to the international community, by abandoning its pledge to achieve two-thirds of its target domestically.
So, Norway, that’s why we are having this little chat. You of all countries should not have to be reminded that promises are made to be kept, and levels of ambition should increase rather than decrease. Nothing could be more damaging to a country’s credibility in these negotiations than the perception that it is not taking the necessary action back home.
The world expects from Norway’s own position that its plans and policies will keep the promise of meeting at least two-thirds of its 2020 target through domestic action. What we don’t need is another Annex I country running away from its responsibilities. As Norway asks other countries to clarify their pledges, Norway should clarify whether it is a leader or an also-ran when it comes to reducing its own emissions.
If Durban is to be at least somewhat successful then Saturday’s release of the BASIC Experts paper on fair-shares global effort sharing will be recognized as a key breakthrough. That can help decide a 2nd commitment period for the KP while putting on the agenda serious consideration of a next generation mandate that’s fair enough to support real ambition.
The BASIC Experts paper does not pretend that the global carbon budget hasn’t already been essentially exhausted. Nor does it say that development-as-usual is still a viable option and we can muddle along with bottom-up accounting and a bit of technological optimism. These are things that just can’t happen if we actually intend to stabilize the climate system. But in addition,
developmental justice is a precondition of high ambition, and this report does foresee that soon we’ll be ready to face this bottom-line reality.
The BASIC authors can be commended for illuminating the salient core of the climate-equity debate. That outcome has clearly involved compromise, and it has clearly had a cost. For example, the paper focuses on a 2000-2050 global emissions budget of 1440 Gt CO2, one that many among us view as dangerously high.
All the same, the benefits of compromise are also visible. The authors were able to mark out a first-order consensus that, while vague, indicates a way forward. If ‘equity’ is defined as the human right to sustainable development, then only two approaches to a global fair-shares reference framework – cumulative per-capita budget sharing and “responsibility and capacity index” based effort sharing – are at all promising, and the BASIC paper clearly moves these two approaches forward.
There certainly are problems as well. The report, for example, gives almost no attention to economic stratification within countries. Even South Africa, while speaking for an approach that includes economic capacity as well as historic responsibility, passes too lightly over that subject. But all told it’s the accomplishment here that are highly notable. The BASIC Experts report is a signpost to the debate that’s actually needed.
Mamady Kobele Keita
Climate change team leader
Durban 2011 - COP17 started last Monday, bringing together delegates from the parties to the climate convention (UNFCCC) and global and civil society organisations. For us, from Africa, the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change, the expectation is clear: reach an agreement that will help our poor communities to adapt, whilst maintaining their livelihoods through a sustainable climate funding regime. Indeed, none of the commitment were respected by Annex 1 countries in terms of finance or emissions reduction objectives. And even if the world’s global emissions are under control, we have no guarantee that the current impacts, from the historical emissions, will be reduced. Floods, droughts, and sea-level rise will increase. The situation is becoming worse since some countries have announced their intention to no longer support the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding agreement we have in the UNFCCC process. This is really bad news for the developing countries that are not responsible for the increase of GHG and global warming but are suffering from the adverse impacts to their livelihoods and environment.
So my expectation from these Durban talks is, fundamentally, on institutional arrangements for an efficient, sustainable and scaled-up financing system to help developing countries implement their adaptation programs.
To attain this objective, I’m participating in the process as one of the new recruits to CAN’s capacity building fellowship programme for civil society in the global south. My aims are threefold:
1. to mainly focus on advocacy directed at developing countries delegates;
2. to campaign against Annex1 countries who are blocking positions;
3. and to share critical information with developing countries delegates to help them to understand the loopholes contained in the negotiations texts.
As a delegate of the African civil society organisations, I will be sharing information I gather from the negotiations with the thousands of African populations who didn’t get opportunities and/or resources to attend this meeting. To communicate this information I will use Climate Action Network (CAN), the Climate and Development Network mailing list, the Guinean Adaptation Group, the Guinean Sustainable Development NGOs Forum, the mailing list of the national Climate Development Mechanism, and my personal blog (kobele.blogspot.com).
In Cancun, Parties decided that CCS is eligible in the CDM – provided that certain issues such as leakage and liability are resolved. As delegates are negotiating the details of modalities and procedures for this very questionable project type, it looks like Big Fossil is winning once again. This despite the fact that the viability of CCS as a mitigation technology has yet to be proven.
Here in Durban, only a small number of developing countries have raised concerns about the potential long term impacts of CCS. All others have remained suspiciously silent (hello small islands of the world – where are you?) or are eagerly approving paragraph after paragraph. Somehow it doesn’t seem likely that they really wanted to negotiate night and day to ensure that the fossil fuel industry gets yet another cash cow to milk!
The current text does not exclude ”enhanced oil recovery” – EOR. This is a method to increase the amount of oil that can be recovered from an underground oil reservoir. By pumping CO2 underground, previously unrecoverable oil can be pumped up. This can increase the recoverable oil by 30 to 60%. Once all of the oil has been pumped, the depleted reservoir is used a storage site for the CO2.
On top of the huge profits from the sale of oil and the large fossil fuel subsidies, oil producers could make millions by selling CDM credits for the CO2 they store. Dear delegates, please get your priorities right! CCS in the CDM is unproven at commercial scale with plenty of scientific uncertainties. More work needs to be done for these lingering issues to be resolved. We do not need yet another loophole for generating carbon credits. Before rushing into setting up a new source for millions of carbon offsets, you might want to get yourselves some QEROs first!
We cannot afford to wait any longer to begin serious mitigation efforts. The emissions reductions pledged in the Cancun Agreement currently set the world on a trajectory for a 4.3° C temperature increase by 2100. According to the new UNEP “Bridging the Gap” report, an additional 6 to 11 Gt CO2 in emissions reductions are needed in order to reach a 2° C goal. The good news is, UNEP shows how to reach the goal with economically and technologically feasible solutions, though the timeframe for success is narrow. If rigorous action is postponed until 2020, success will drift beyond our reach.
Without political incentives to invest in alternative energy, governments will continue to rely on fossil fuels to meet growing energy demands, locking in carbon intensive technologies over the next eight years. According to the International Energy Agency, for every $1.00 avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 in order to compensate for the increased emissions. Of course, any shortfall in mitigation will drive up adaptation costs and real impacts on lives to a much greater degree.
We need to give our world time for the transition to a low carbon economy. Emissions must peak by 2015 and sharply decline thereafter. The task is formidable. According to UNEP, “the highest average rate of emission reductions over the next four to five decades found in the [integrated assessment model] literature is around 3.5% per year.” But based on the C-ROADS model, emissions reductions would need to decline even more, at a rate of at least 4% per year between 2020 and 2050 to reach the 2° C target – a ramp-down rate well beyond historical experience.
Time is of the essence. Clifford Mahlung, a delegate from Jamaica, said, “We’ve already waited too long. I know countries need a little more time to get over their economic woes -- but eight years?” And we need to agree strong package here in Durban to launch that effort now, as the climate clock is running faster and faster.