Tag: Brazil

Walking the KP Talk

 

ECO often chastises parties for too much talk and not enough action. However, yesterday’s vexed AWG-KP contact group on legal matters showed that sometimes refusing to talk blocks forward progress. If we are ever going to secure a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding targets and timetables within reach – countries will need to talk about the legal steps to get there.

Therefore, we just don’t understand the refusal of the African Group, Bolivia, Brazil, China, India and Saudi Arabia to discuss legal matters in the KP (well, we do understand the Saudis and we simply don’t agree). Such inflexibility makes a second KP commitment period that much harder to secure.  

ECO has heard many developing countries say they don’t want to kill the KP, and we surely want it to live too.  In fact, lessons from the first commitment period ought to be reflected in amendments that make it even stronger.  Inserting numbers in an Annex is crucial, but should not be the totality of the discussion.  Let the legal talks and ambitious emission cuts begin!

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Brazil emerges as leader

In the fifth edition of the Germanwatch-CAN Europe Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), Brazil climbed to fourth place, as Sweden slid down its LULUCF projected baseline and landed in fifth. As the top three places were left vacant, Brazil earned the top rank among 57 countries surveyed for the CCPI.

At the other end of the scale, Saudi Arabia and Canada finished last and second last respectively at 58 and 59. Saudi Arabia’s negative rating was for blocking a fair, ambitious and binding treaty to protect the most vulnerable developing countries. Canada earned second last place for its weak domestic climate policy, huge per capita emissions and lack of any kind of constructive engagement in the UN climate talks.

The USA also fared poorly – it was ranked 53 – as President Obama and the Congress have yet to make good on the mandate of renewal (and renewables) which swept him to office.

The Germanwatch CCPI is an independent report, ranking the 57 largest emitters on their efforts to protect the climate. This year, like last year, witnessed blank spaces for the first three ranks. This was because no country was on a path to keep warming as far below 2°C as possible. For details, visit germanwatch.org

City preps and countries posture ahead of Copenhagen talks

As Copenhagen prepares for December, a strange combination of Christmas lights, clean energy expos, evergreen wreaths, and security barriers have begun to crop up around the city.  It's an exciting time to be in Copenhagen reflecting on a year of intense pressure, activity, and engagement around the world.

Over the past several months (and years), a growing movement has coalesced around the conference here next month and it's hard to believe it's finally almost here.  In June, the sleepy German town of Bonn saw hundreds of activists descend in the rain upon the normally quiet Subsidiary Bodies negotiations at the UNFCCC's home.  Thousands around the world participated in the September 21 Global Wakeup Call.  Then in Bangkok in October thousands marched outside the UNESCAP building calling for climate action.  October 24th saw the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history, spearheaded by 350.org, with over 5000 even in 181 countries around the world.

And now, rumors of tens of thousands are looming on Copenhagen, including, by my count so far, at least 15 Heads of State who have committed to attending the talks (although Yvo de Boer said in Barcelona that he expects at least 40).

The last time I wrote, it was a dark and gloomy day in Copenhagen.  But today was beautiful - the sun was out, the weather warm, and the bustle on the street was electric.

The last time I wrote, I was convincing myself, and others, that all was not lost for December.  Now, on this bright and sunny day, I'm as convinced as ever that world leaders can achieve an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen if they try.

Even in the past week, we've seen movement around the world.  The Alliance of Small Island states continue to raise its collective voice of conscience against a weak outcome in Copenhagen.  We've heard that the Chinese would be willing to bring a number to the table in Copenhagen.  We've seen South Korea confirm a voluntary emissions reduction target of 30 percent below business as usual by 2020.  The European Union has said that it would like a binding agreement in Copenhagen.  France and Brazil came out with a "climate bible" - an agreement between two nations to work together on climate change.  This follows Brazil's previous announcement of voluntary emissions cuts of 36-39% by 2020 below business as usual in a "political gesture" some weeks ago.

Even the Danish government, which had caused so many hearts to sink with its proposal of a "politically binding" outcome in Copenhagen, seemed to change its tune...if only just a bit.  The Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, Connie Hedegaard (who will chair the negotiations in December), spoke in a press briefing at the close of the preparatory meeting last week, assuring the world that her aim is a legally binding outcome from the negotiations.

Finally, eyes continue to focus on the US.  In the joint announcement between the US and China, President Obama indicated his team could bring further commitments to the table in Copenhagen.  As Copenhagen creeps towards December, the question remains, will Obama come to Copenhagen?...and if so, will he come bearing gifts or a lump of coal?

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