Tag: climate change

CAN International: Media Advisory – Webcast Notice - December 7th

Negotiations Briefing Update: Cancún Climate Talks

Assessing progress on the Kyoto Protocol, the Climate Fund, and MRV

[Cancún, Mexico] Climate Action Network will host a media briefing to assess progress in the UNFCCC climate negotiations underway in Cancún, Mexico, on Tuesday, December 7, at 10:30 AM local (16:30 GMT), in Room Luna of the Azteca building of the Moon Palace.

NGO experts on the panel will include Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists; Ailun Yang, Greenpeace China; and Raman Mehta, Climate Action Network South Asia.

What: Briefing update on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Cancún

Where: UNFCCC Press Conference Room Luna,Moon Palace, Cancún

Webcast Live: http://webcast.cc2010.mx/    (www.unfccc.int)

When: 10:30 AM local (16:30 GMT), Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 550 non-governmental organizations 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 contact:

Hunter Cutting: +52(1) 998-108-1313



Climate Change is about survival as well as the right to development. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean, people are facing compounded loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, water shortages, extreme weather conditions, increase in sea level…just to mention a few examples.

The coastal villages in Ghana, the communities living along the bank of the Volta River, dammed at Akosombo are now refuges in their own country. The young kids have to walk several miles searching for water and the list continues…

Here in Cancún, governments will have to go beyond the “business as usual” approach and focus on addressing the root causes of GHG emissions in order to set forward a bold pathway to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding outcome to save mother Earth and allow all the people, particularly children, women and youth to live a life worth living.

The key challenge in Cancún is to continue the process of constructing a strong foundation for a meaningful long term-global action.

Climate sustainability addresses poverty, inequality and environmental degradation through relevant strategies for mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology sharing.

Governments must demonstrate political will and embrace the two track approach: the Convention & Kyoto Protocol for a successful CANCUN outcome. Major long term achievements are needed. CANCUN should be the place where those responsible for climate change commit to reduce greenhouse gases to ensure a sustainable future.

Samuel Dotse

Southern Capacity Building Program Fellow


Christian Aid: It's time for governments to use their financial imaginations - response to UN report on climate change


Today’s United Nations report on how to raise $100 billion a year to tackle climate change in poor countries relies too heavily on hopes that the market will help the world’s poorest people cope with global warming and get the clean energy they need, Christian Aid warned today. 

However, the charity also praised suggestions by the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing that governments should tax the aviation and shipping industries as one way of raising the money needed – and urged governments to back other such innovative sources of public funds. 

‘So far, market responses to climate change have failed to meet the needs of the poorest people in developing countries, who are least responsible but worst affected by climate change,’ said Sol Oyuela, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change and Poverty. 

‘So it’s important that governments play a key role in funding and regulating climate action. Especially today, when many governments don’t have ambitious climate policies, it is crucial that most if not all the $100 billion comes from new sources of public funding, such as taxes on planes, ships and financial transactions. It’s time for governments to use their financial imaginations.’ 

Christian Aid believes that this is not just a question of who’s most able to protect the most vulnerable families, who lack spending power – it is also a matter of justice. It is rich countries which are overwhelmingly responsible for climate change and it is their governments which should now take responsibility for coming up with the $100 billion. 

Ms Oyuela added: ‘We know that the financial crisis has put huge pressure on public funds around the world difficult but the effects of climate change are so devastating for poor countries – we are talking about worsening  poverty, hunger, conflict and disease – that we cannot ignore their desperate need.’ 

In the UK, Christian Aid believes that there is no excuse for government inaction on climate finance now that the Advisory Group has published its report. If the coalition is committed to tackling climate change and global poverty, then it should take the lead with other rich countries to ensure that the $100 billion comes from innovative sources of public funds. It should also start actually raising the money. 

Ms Oyuela added: ‘We would also like to see the UK government give serious backing to the Advisory Group’s suggestion for a tax on aviation and shipping. Such a tax would have a double benefit: it would put downward pressure on emissions from planes and ships while also raising some of the billions which people living in poverty urgently need.

‘Christian Aid has one other message for the UK government: every penny of the money that we contribute towards the $100 billion should be clearly additional to the funds we already spend on international development. 

‘Climate funding is a matter of justice, not charity. The men, women and children who currently benefit from UK aid spending should not be forced to pay our contribution towards global climate funds, which is what will happen if ministers raid the aid budget to pay for climate change.’ 

- Ends -

For more information and to arrange an interview with Sol Oyuela, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446, 07545 501 749 orrbaird@christian-aid.org


Oxfam: UN report shows climate funds can be raised without costing the taxpayer

A new report from the UN’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF) shows that raising the public money to help poor countries protect themselves from climate change is possible without costing the taxpayer, Oxfam told the UK government today.

“This report clearly shows that money to tackle climate change and help poor communities adapt can be raised without dipping into taxpayers’ pockets. The next step is for political leaders to lay out a clear roadmap for making this funding a reality.” said Tracy Carty, Oxfam Climate Change Policy Advisor.

The AGF was established by the UN Secretary General in February 2010 to advise on how developed countries could deliver on their promise to raise $100bn per year to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate and reduce emissions.

The sources of money identified in the report must now be championed by Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and other members of the AGF group.

“Clear backing from the UK Government will be essential for fair levies on uncapped emissions in international shipping and aviation and a Robin Hood Tax on banks with money earmarked for climate change. But in order to do so the UK must urgently clarify its position on these crucial sources of public finance identified in the AGF report.” said Carty.

Countries meeting at the UN climate change talks in Cancun later this month must now establish a global climate fund to manage this money and agree a process for deciding how they will finance it by the next climate summit in South Africa in 2011. By using these innovative sources, governments can raise enough money from public sources without siphoning from existing development aid money. As some members of the UN panel recognized, private finance cannot meet the needs of developing countries for adaptation.

Carty said: “The $100bn committed to in the Copenhagen Accord must come from public sources of funding rather than private to ensure it reaches communities desperately in need of money to help them adapt to climate change and develop in a low carbon way.”

Oxfam warned that the report’s inclusion of the World Bank as a potential finance source should not be used to undermine international negotiations on the establishment of a new, independent global climate fund that is fair and accessible. For the fund to be effective poor countries must have a say in decisions on how the money is managed and at least half of the funding should address climate change impacts on the most vulnerable.

Related Member Organization: 

CAN Submission: Cancun building blocks- Summary, October 2010

Cancun Building Blocks: Essential steps on the road to a fair, ambitious & binding deal outlines the balanced package of outcomes from Cancun, and the benchmark by which CAN’s 500 member organisations, and their millions of supporters, will judge the Cancun negotiations.

These building blocks were chosen not only because they provide a pathway for preventing catastrophic climate change but also because they pave a road which can be travelled, even taking into account political constraints. 

Success in Cancun will require meaningful progress in each area, agree­ment to work toward a legally binding deal in both tracks, including an indication that the Kyoto Protocol will continue, work plans agreed on each key area, and a long term vision for future negotiations.

Cancun Building Blocks include:

  • Agree a shared vision that keeps below 1.5o C warming, links it to the short and long term actions of Parties.
  • Establish a new climate fund along with a governance structure that is transparent, regionally balanced and ensures the COP decides policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria. Agree on a process to se­cure sufficient scale and sources of finance.
  • Establish an adaptation framework along with its institutions, goals and princi­ples and a mandate to agree a mechanism on loss and damage.
  • Put in place a technology executive committee and provide a mandate to agree measurable objectives and plans.
  • Agree to stop deforestation and degrada­tion of natural forests and related emissions completely by 2020, and ensure sufficient finance to meet this goal.
  • Implement the roll-out of a capacity building program.
  • Acknowledge the gigatonne gap be­tween current pledges and science-based targets, and ensure the gap will be closed in the process going forward.
  • Agree a mandate to negotiate by COP17 individual emission reduction commitments for industrialised countries that match an aggregate reduction target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Agree that each developed country will produce a Zero Carbon Action Plan by 2012.Minimise loopholes by adopting LULUCF rules that deliver emission reduc­tions from the forestry and land use sectors; market mechanism rules that prevent double counting of emission reductions or finance; and banking rules that minimise damage from ‘hot air’ (surplus AAUs).
  • Agree on producing climate-resilient Low Carbon Action Plans for developing countries, and establish a mechanism to match NAMAs with support. Mandate SBI and SBSTA to develop MRV guidelines for adoption in COP17.
  • Commission at COP 16 a technical pa­per to explore the mitigation required to keep warming below 1.5°C, and outline a process to negotiate how that effort will be shared between countries.
  • Agree a clear mandate that ensures that we get a full fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) deal at COP 17 in South Africa – one that includes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Estimating least-developed countries’ vulnerability to climate-related extreme events over the next 50 years - 2010


When will least developed countries be most vulnerable to climate change, given the influence of projected socio-economic development? The question is important, not least because current levels of international assistance to support adaptation lag more than an order of magnitude below what analysts estimate to be needed, and scaling up support could take many years. In this paper, we examine this question using an empirically derived model of human losses to climate-related extreme events, as an indicator of vulnerability and the need for adaptation assistance. We develop a set of 50-year scenarios for these losses in one country, Mozambique, using high-resolution climate projections, and then extend the results to a sample of 23 least-developed countries. Our approach takes into account both potential changes in countries’ exposure to
climatic extreme events, and socio-economic development trends that influence countries’ own adaptive capacities. Our results suggest that the effects of socio-economic development trends may begin to offset rising climate exposure in the second quarter of the century, and that it is in the period between now and then that vulnerability will rise most quickly. This implies an urgency to the need for international assistance to finance adaptation. 

No Time to Lose

Dearest delegates, we gather you’ve been working hard behind those mostly closed doors. But let’s face it, following the failure of Copenhagen to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding agreement, the refusal all this year to set aside differences and focus on areas of convergence may yet scupper the UNFCCC talks. At Cancun, you will bear a heavy responsibility.
If one were to believe the international media, the story of Tianjin has been a high stakes standoff between the US and China, ‘I won’t do till you do’ stalling, and negotiating paralysis. So let’s unpack that a bit.
On the one side there is the United States, the emissions superpower that so far has not submitted itself to internationally binding carbon reduction commitments, and really has to do far more than a measly 4% reduction target on 1990 levels. A commitment on long-term finance would suit the Americans much better than a tone of righteous indignation. And though it pains us to say it, as in Bali, the US should step aside if it is not able to make real commitments, and let the world conclude an ambitious deal.
On the other side, China has been working hard at home to implement a commendable low carbon vision. China could propel the negotiations forward by agreeing to international consultation and analysis of its low carbon actions.
There are, however, more than two countries in the world and every country has something to offer in the negotiations. Whilst things have not gone smoothly this week, we gather that Parties made some incremental progress. However, incremental progress does not cut it with the planet, nor will it be sufficient at Cancun.
Creating momentum requires commitment. At Cancun we need to refuel and take aim at the most ambitious level of agreement possible across all elements. Crucially, we need to map out the next important step of our journey to a fair, ambitious and binding deal in South Africa. A failure to plan our route – with a timeline, workplans and format for negotiations – will have us meandering along the dirt tracks as if we had all the time in the world, whilst climate destruction takes the fast road.
A positive development at this meeting is that negotiators have begun to grapple with the package for Cancun. The fact that a vast majority of Parties are seeking a legally binding outcome in the LCA track is self-evident.
But we are also pleased that so many Parties have expressed willingness to recommit to the Kyoto Protocol with a second commitment period. That must be crystal clear in the Cancun package.
It is essential that the stand-off in the legal matters group ends, otherwise there may be unintended consequences to the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
Parties gave assurance in Bali that there would be no gap between commitment periods. But that’s not what is happening, and carbon markets, already soft since Copenhagen, will likely weaken further.
Here are essential elements of the package to contemplate between Tianjin and Cancun:
Discussions on finance have focused on the establishment of a new fund under the Convention. The COP should also establish an oversight body to perform crucial functions such as ensuring coherence of the financial mechanism, coordination, and assuring a balance of funding.
We know that some countries have been working hard to bridge the divisions on these issues. At Cancun we expect that Parties will establish a Fund with democratic governance, providing direct access for developing countries, and functioning under the guidance and authority of the COP.
Technology often tops the lists of potential outcomes in Cancun, yet the details have remained elusive in Tianjin. The key question is the institutional arrangements of a multilateral mechanism, with the aim to scale up and speed up the use of climate friendly technologies. Here again, governance should be placed under the authority of an entity whose mission is focused on limiting warming to 1.5o C.
Mitigation clearly is a most essential element of the package. Despite this, negotiators chose to dive into contention rather than seeking convergence. A focus on developed country pledges, the NAMA mechanism, as well as NAMA design, preparation and implementation took form only on Thursday.
In preparation for Cancun, Parties should replace their ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse with a willingness to agree rules that will ensure the environmental integrity of their emissions reductions.
Before Cancun, we recommend catching up on the science. Preventing dangerous climate change clearly requires more substantial emissions reductions. A balanced Cancun package will require Annex I parties to show how they are going to meet their moral obligations and to act in line with the science. We recommend acknowledging the gigatonne gap between current pledges and science based targets, and agreeing a route to South Africa that addresses ways to close the gap.
Everybody appears to agree that capacity building is both vital to success and key to movement in Cancun. The principles were well-established as early as COP 7, and developing countries (particularly LDCs, SIDs and Africa) have been clamouring for years for a dedicated capacity building framework with real resources and a genuine desire to succeed. And yet still nothing happens. How long will it take at this rate?
The logging industry must be thrilled at how forest negotiators mangled the
LULUCF accounting rules this week. The proposal forwarded to Cancun undermines the environmental integrity of Kyoto by hiding increases in emissions and awarding false credits to loggers.
Because so much time was spent on devising these accounting tricks, minimal
attention got paid to emissions from land-use change beyond forests – another potential loophole. The only proposal for managing forests that has any environmental integrity was given short shrift.
Furthermore, the damage this proposed decision can do to REDD accounting is not to be underestimated. To prevent another Marrakesh, the damaging impact of forest accounting on the targets will have to be addressed in the broader KP numbers discussion.
From time to time this week, the curtain has lifted on the Dante-esque world of the REDD+ Partnership. We have been mesmerised by the heroic, if misguided, struggle between the co-chairs and the rest of the world. However, we are also saddened that what could be a valuable institution has become a farce. We can only hope that things will get better.
A focused atmosphere prevailed in the adaptation talks, which are progressing on content and may eventually deliver a compromise agreement. ECO reminds parties that the adaptation framework must include operational elements and result in action on the ground.
To move forward, Cancun must clarify the functions of the adaptation committee, enable a tangible solution on loss and damage, finally put response measures back in its box, and search for balance between adaptation and mitigation funding, including a pre-allocation scheme.

Related Newsletter : 

Tianjin 2010 ECO 6

In this issue

  1. No time to Lose
  2. The EU Chooses
  3. LULUCF: The second agenda
  4. Fossil of the Day: New Zealand

Learning from the global fund

One may well wonder, what could the climate change debate possibly learn from other fields?  ECO looked around a bit and discovered some interesting things about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The recent replenishment meeting of the Global Fund ended earlier this week in New York.  And despite the lingering recession in many parts of the world economy, the respective contributions resulted in pledges of $11.7 billion over the next three years, an increase of 20% compared to 2008-2010. That is good news and shows that the international community is still able to take action when urgent global challenges have to be addressed.

Of particular note for the climate debate is that the Global Fund is the pioneer in direct access. Donors seem to trust its approach, which so far has financed programmes in 140 countries. The United States is #1 among donors and has pledged $4 billion for the next period.

Furthermore, the Global Fund has some innovative institutional features which ECO thinks should be considered in the setup of the new climate fund. 

First, the Fund itself is an administratively autonomous international financing institution, with its own Secretariat based in Geneva. The only formal link to an existing institution is that the World Bank serves as Trustee.  The Global Fund was set up very quickly, with the Secretariat being established six months after the principal decision to establish the Fund, and the first grants were approved three months later.

On the national level, multi-stakeholder country coordinating mechanisms are the key players. These include the government and stakeholders such as NGOs, scientists and the private sector. This is an instructive example given the diverse responses that climate change will require on all levels of society in developing countries.

On the international level, the Fund is steered by a board composed of 20 voting members –  14 from governments/regional organisations and one each for the private sector, private foundations, developing country NGO, developed country NGO, and a representative from local communities. Representatives from international organisations are members of the Board without voting rights. It is a global partnership to
address a true global challenge.

Of course, the climate fund can’t just be a copy of the Global Fund. For one thing, the scale of climate resources must very soon be significantly higher than the $3 billion a year in the Global Fund budget. 

In order to fully prepare for the future, one must learn from the past. For instance, the US proposal, supported to some degree by other countries, that would set up the climate fund as a kind of reinvention of the GEF, does not do so.  Instead, the future climate architecture should take note of lessons like those offered by the Global Fund.

Related Newsletter : 

Turning Opportunities Into Problems

The REDD+ Partnership has spent hours and days agonising on whether and how to involve stakeholders in the decision on how they should participate in the Partnership’s deliberations. This has proved far more controversial than one would expect in a voluntary partnership.

Originally an item to be discussed and resolved last Saturday and Sunday in meetings prior to the current UNFCCC session, under the inept chairing of Papua New Guinea and Japan this issue was held over to Monday and yet again to Tuesday.

Then, despite the fact that almost every partner in the room wanted to resolve the stakeholder participation question first, the co-chairs fell back on the excuse that the Partnership must operate by consensus, side-stepped the issue and pressed forward to other matters.

ECO has been observing this unfolding drama with fascination and growing alarm, and has a simple point to make.  Consensus is not the same as unanimity.  It doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree fully with everything; it means reaching a decision that everyone can live with. Under that definition there was a working consensus in the room, as indicated in statements by well more than a dozen partners, all voicing similar opinions on moving the agenda.

Many in civil society use the principle of consensus all the time and know how to do this stuff, just as with participation and consultation and representation and empowerment and capacity building and a whole host of other things that REDD needs. To which is added substantive expertise from decades of experience working on forest and land use issues. 

Civil society can be, and wants to be, an asset in the REDD+ Partnership process. Why are the co-chairs treating that as a problem not an opportunity?

Related Newsletter : 


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