Tag: bonn climate talks

WWF's Tasneem Esssop on the UN climate negotiations in Bonn

To change everything, we need everyone, but the politicians at the UNFCCC don't seem to have gotten the memo. With just 5 weeks before the major UN climate talks of the year in Lima, it's about time they felt a sense of urgency, says Tasneem Essop, head of delegation for WWF. The time is now, the place is Lima. 

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Alden Meyer - what does Bonn mean for Lima's COP20?

UCS's Alden Meyer on what the Bonn UNFCCC session means for COP20

Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, comments on what the UNFCCC session in Bonn in October 2014 means for climate action.

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Greenpeace's Martin Kaiser on European climate action

We Must Phase Out Coal - Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace

Greenpeace's Martin Kaiser on what the EU 2030 climate action targets mean for the UN climate talks as it moves towards a comprehensive international agreement to limit climate change.

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Governments at Bonn climate talks apparently lose memo on people’s support for climate action

Bonn, Germany  - Saturday, October 25, 2014: Growing momentum for climate action has not been transferred from the streets of New York, where last month 400,000 people marched together, to the halls of the UN climate negotiations this week, according to Climate Action Network’s members.   

Christian Aid’s Mohamed Adow said: “The scientists have spoken - the climate is changing, it’s caused by us, and we have the solutions. Economists have confirmed the transition to a low carbon economy has multiple benefits.” 

“The people have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers to  support accelerated climate action, but governments in Bonn have not taken these cues,” Adow said. 

Governments - who gathered for the final session before the major talks of the year in Lima get under way on December 1 - missed an opportunity to shift gears in negotiations towards the global Paris agreement on climate change due at the end of next year.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists said: “"we're leaving Bonn with not much more clarity than when we arrived on how we will get the key decisions needed in Lima to confront the threat of climate change."  

“From floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons, and heat waves, the world is already suffering from the consequences of our past inaction.  Countries must bring more to the table in Lima than the least common denominator, if they are to build the climate-friendly future that their citizens deserve, and are increasingly demanding," Meyer said. 

The mood of the meeting was affected by the release of the European Union’s new climate action targets for 2030 on Friday. According to Greenpeace’s Head of Delegation, Martin Kaiser, unless national legislation and regulation is put in place, the continent will effectively forgo the opportunity to phase out coal use by 2030. 

“This decision is not in line with a scaling up of the transition towards 100% renewable energy which scientists have said is vital if we are to secure a safe climate. For ordinary Europeans, this decision will mean that many will remain unnecessarily dependent on dirty sources of power with all the security, health and cost implications that this brings.”

In Lima, countries have to decide what they should include as part of their climate action commitments towards the Paris agreement which they need to put on the table early next year. They have to work out a meaningful way the UN process can contribute to countries scaling up climate action before the Paris agreement comes into effect in 2020. 

Tasneem Essop, WWF’s Head of Delegation to the UNFCCC says,  “There has to be a sense of urgency and we need parties to move from talk shop mode to negotiation mode, and we can only do this if we can start negotiations on the first day of the Lima COP. To coin a phrase from the People’s Climate March in New York last month – to change everything, we need everyone. The time is now, the place is Lima and we are the people and leaders who must act once and for all to curb runaway climate change. This is a moment that will go down in history. We must be on the right side of history.”

Governments can show they mean business before arriving in Lima by putting money on the table for developing countries to take their own climate action, at the Green Climate Fund’s pledging conference in Berlin next month. 

With 2014 on track to be the hottest year in history, it’s time for negotiations to feel the heat. Scientists will bring compelling evidence of the need to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy to governments’ attention in Copenhagen next week as they sign off on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s synthesis of its Fifth Assessment Report. 

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, Climate Action Network, on: +49 157 3173 5568, rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org.

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Bonn III: Creative Accountants for Rent

As regular readers will know, ECO prides itself on seeking out the most shocking, least noble attempts by parties to avoid their responsibilities for tackling climate change, no matter how well hidden. And after thirty years of fearless reporting, there aren't many tricks of the climate negotiating trade that haven't been exposed on these pages.

In this year alone, who could forget the shameful 'bar to zero' exposé that rocked the LULUCF closed sessions? Or the moment the news broke that the Japanese 2020 mitigation target was not as ambitious as their choice of base year suggested or their government claimed?

So it is with great excitement this week that ECO stumbled upon the latest trick from developed countries, this time seeking ways to avoid their obligations to provide adequate new and additional public climate financing to developing countries.

It is old news that developed countries are often found seeking to "double count" carbon offsets - both towards their own mitigation targets, and towards financing for mitigation in developing countries. But the EU and US have this week given the story a new twist.Confounded by accusations of "double counting", the big brains in the EU have been working over-time to find ways to get recognition under a Copenhagen deal for all the money they send out of their own countries to buy offset credits for mitigation projects in the South. ECO can understand why - after all, if they don't count funds flowing through offsetting, developed countries would actually have to fulfill their commitments to find and pay the new and additional public money they owe.

They found the solution in a single word: 'rent'. CDM offset credits are sold at the marginal price set by the market, but most are generated at much lower costs, meaning a significant economic rent, or profit, is earned on the sale. It is this profit margin that the EU have been considering counting towards their public financing obligations under a Copenhagen agreement.

It seems the idea is catching on fast. On Wednesday night, US chief negotiator Jonathan Pershing was heard to claim the US would be trying a similar trick. At a stroke it seemed Annex I financing obligations could be slashed without any further effort required beyond clever accounting.

Except there is just one problem. The rent that accrues from the sale of CDM offset credits is captured not by developing country governments, but by private sector companies operating in developing countries. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee whatsoever that this money will be used to take additional mitigation measures in developing countries nor to fund adaptation to climate impacts amongst the poorest and most vulnerable people. It takes real creative accounting to consider this climate value for climate money.

So ECO would like to suggest some homework for the EU, US and any other developed country delegation considering this latest scam as they leave Bonn: think again about what climate financing is needed for. ECO suggests that a minimum of US$150bn annually by 2020 in public finance is needed to cover the incremental costs of mitigation and adaptation for developing countries to meet the <2˚C target. And not a penny of public money less.

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