Tag: Copenhagen

CAN Statement On Allegations of Spying During Copenhagen Talks

CAN Statement On Allegations of Spying During Copenhagen Talks

The world's largest network of NGOs working on climate change, Climate Action Network (CAN), today called on the United States and other governments accused of spying on climate negotiators during the Copenhagen summit in 2009, to publicly renounce such underhanded tactics.

CAN condemns such actions. The work currently underway to secure a comprehensive, global plan to save the climate – which is supposed to be delivered in 2015 and include all countries - already suffers from a dearth of trust between nations. If we are to achieve this monumental deal for the planet, all countries must work on repairing these burnt bridges.

Governments of the world must acknowledge that climate change will only be solved when they all work together – openly and honestly – towards a common goal that reflects the planetary emergency facing us, rather than in the interests of fossil fuel corporations.

The IPCC's recent first installment of the fifth assessment report – released in September – said that in to have a good chance of avoiding the very worst impacts of climate change, carbon pollution would need to peak in the next few years, and that if we failed to reduce emissions, we were on track to use all of our remaining carbon budget in the next 30 years.

The countries who have been accused of spying – including the US, UK, Canada and Australia – are among those who have done the most to cause the climate crisis and can also be leaders in delivering solutions.

But we need a radical shift in ambition and trust to tackle the planetary emergency – and that starts with the attitudes of the governments to this problem over the next two crucial years for the climate.

The allegations come off the back of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address this week which failed to raise to bar on climate action. 

Civil society is watching and we expect these governments to close the gap between current levels of inaction and what climate science is saying needs to be done.

Please contact Ria Voorhaar for more information on rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org or  +49 157 317 355 68.

 
 
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Scientific Reality Check Desperately Needed

Lack of ambition? Actions don’t meet the urgency? There is help for that: the Review agreed in Cancun is a key tool to re-inject ambition and a sense of urgency as well as collective responsibility into the climate regime – all of which seems to have been lost in recent years. It is the scientific reality check on our political debate.

That is why ECO insists that the terms of reference for the Review be finalized at Durban! This means that Parties will have to decide on a suitable body to conduct the Review and its further modalities as soon as possible. Getting the timing right is also critical: the Review must be completed in good time to provide action-oriented recommendations to COP 21 in 2015. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report will be one crucial input to the review; its Synthesis Report needs to be finalized before COP 20 in 2014 so that it, together with the reports from the individual IPCC working groups, can fully inform deliberations on the Review.

ECO reminds Parties that the Review is not a technical paper, but a report on the adequacy of the 2°C limit and the evidence base for possibly strengthening it to a 1.5°C limit. Moreover, there is already little doubt that the Review will illuminate the unconscionable inadequacy of the current pledges.

Of course, the Review will not be the only input available to Parties as they consider options for building a more comprehensive and ambitious climate regime. National communications and biennial reports, along with updated mitigation pledges from both developed and developing countries, will illuminate both the progress being made, as well as the remaining gap that must be closed if we are to keep global temperature increases below the 2°C agreed by leaders in Copenhagen, much less the 1.5°C limit called for by over 100 countries.

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Building Capacity Building

Just as CAN's approach to mitigation has always been for Parties to focus on the reality of "What the atmosphere actually sees", so CAN's approach to capacity building (CB) in the LCA has always been for Parties to concentrate on the realities on the ground.  These realities are four-fold:

1) The vast majority of Parties are mid to small sized developing countries with under-developed economies containing immense potential for human and economic development;

2) Most of these economies are already in the frontline of initial climatic impacts that their populations are already experiencing, can witness, and can understand;

3) Governments and populations of these countries understand the implications of established science;  things will only get worse without action, and mitigation action capable of limiting warming to 2 degrees or less will require: a) robust action from wealthy economies and b) deviation from business-as-usual high-carbon development pathways for developing countries;

4) Very few of these countries have the political, economic or institutional capacity right now to rapidly design and build low-carbon development pathways on their own and unassisted;

Unfortunately, up to now the CB negotiations in the LCA have largely turned around almost anything else except these basic realities - despite CAN's insistent pressure and constant calls for focus. (With the significant exception of a short period during the Bangkok and Barcelona sessions before Copenhagen when CB was negotiated on its own and suddenly started to make significant progress.)

The Panama session is crucial for CB in the LCA.  By contrast to progress on both technology and finance, negotiations on institutional arrangements for CB were almost completely unproductive at Cancun. Some forward movement was established at Bonn this June. However that progress now needs a new sense of purpose and focus if we are to get a decision at Durban.

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Money – Now, New, and on the Table

In Copenhagen and reaffirmed in Cancún, developed countries collectively pledged USD 30 billion in ‘fast-start’ finance from 2010-2012 to support developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts, and helping to maintain Parties confidence in the process.

Based on the fast-start finance reports submitted by developed countries, about USD 16.8 billion has been committed or allocated in 2010. However, opaqueness remains. Several countries are clearly not meeting the agreed criterion that the finance should be “new and additional,” and constitute a “balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation.” On balanced allocation, e.g. France has stated that 80% of its fast-start finance will go to mitigation and REDD+, with the rest to adaptation. This imbalance is not unique and implies that adaptation will remain heavily underfunded. Denmark has a better track record, with 48% of its fast-start finance in 2010 supporting adaptation and capacity building.

Furthermore, countries are not being entirely comprehensive, comparable or complete in reporting information on their finance. While countries do report on whether e.g., grants or loans have been used, they do not provide information on the terms (concessionality) of loans when used, nor on which projects are supported by loans versus by grants. While there is no political agreement on how to define ‘additionality,’ countries should at least be transparent about the baseline they are using to define this. Enhanced reporting guidelines are clearly needed, building towards a common reporting format in the longer term.

Despite this opaqueness, we can and should give developed countries credit for making a perceivable effort to get fast-start finance flowing   and reported on, despite a lack of formal guidance on how to do so. The EU yesterday hosted an open forum on their fast-start finance, which reflected on lessons learned – from the donor side and from the recipient sides – for improving the future provision of, access to, and reporting of financial support. Such stocktaking will help ensure the transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of finance in the future, and build much-needed trust between developed and developing countries in the international climate negotiations.

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This is Our Home Too!

ECO would like to take you down memory lane for a moment and recall the monumental obstacles civil society observers faced in Copenhagen. Thousands were denied access despite being registered to attend the conference, while others were arbitrarily removed from the conference venue for actions taken by other members of their delegations.  There was no opportunity to appeal these decisions.  This experience highlighted the need for Parties and the UNFCCC Secretariat to address these and other participation concerns.

Today, the SBI will consider this issue once again in an all-day workshop to further develop ways of enhancing civil society engagement. The Parties and the Secretariat have each acknowledged that vibrant public participation increases transparency and trust, and “allows vital experience, expertise, information and perspectives from civil society to be brought into the process to generate new insights and approaches.” But, current processes are not adequate to guarantee these benefits.

ECO, on behalf of our civil society family, makes the following demands:

  • Fewer “closed” negotiating sessions, making them the exception rather than the rule (i.e. negotiating sessions, including informal meetings, should be open to observers by default).
  • Increased opportunities for interventions by not requiring  observers  to  submit  interventions  in advance, and by guaranteeing interventions at the end of all sessions with an opportunity to intervene during the session at the chair’s discretion.
  • Observer submissions included in official documentation.
  • In addition to the formal negotiating process, clear, effective and uniform processes for participation in institutional bodies and mechanisms under the UNFCCC framework, such as the Transitional Committee of the GCF and the Adaptation Fund. 
  • Access to documentation at the same time as Parties.
  • Increased transparency and accountability regarding restrictions on access, which should be imposed only in exceptional circumstances and based on clearly defined criteria.
  • An independent committee to consider problems/disputes relating to observer participation.
  • ECO looks forward to fully and effectively participating in today’s workshop, and to making progress towards enhanced participation.  After all a house becomes a home when everyone has a say in how it is run.
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Angela Anderson, USCAN, in Tianjin

Angela Anderson - CAN United States at the UNFCCC Climate Talks in Tianjin China

Angela Anderson - United States CAN at the UNFCCC Climate Talks in Tianjin China talking to OneClimate.net

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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:
FINANCE
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
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
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.
CAPACITY BUILDING
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?
LULUCF
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.
REDD
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.
ADAPTATION
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.
 

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Time to Review the 1.5 Track

A group of workers were building a railway between two towns. Let’s say one town was called Copenhagen and the next was called Ourcommonfuture.  The railway workers had assembled sleepers (crossties) and rails and knew the distance between the towns.
After a while, some of the railway workers looked at the pile of construction materials. Some of them realised there weren’t enough materials,  and those who most needed to arrive at platform 1.5 in the next town asked for a review of the problem. If you were working on the new track would you agree to the review?
The railway bosses at Copenhagen 
secured broad agreement that we must limit warming to below 2 degrees, with a review of implementation and levels of ambition (considering 1.5) by 2015.  So ECO’s question for delegates is this: If your political leaders are serious about the Copenhagen goal and the review, then a workshop under SBSTA is a good way to focus on the technical and scientific challenges of reaching the goal, the size of the gap between current abatement efforts and the goal, and the opportunities to make up that shortfall.  These are essential elements to making sure we can reach our common future.

If there’s a gap in abatement effort, we need to understand it and find ways to resolve it. The world needs to look at sources like bunkers and industrial gases, consider the role of finance, and seek other ways to reduce the gap between what is happening and what needs to happen.  ECO looks forward to a 1.5 review coming out of SBSTA today. That will give us greater hope that we may reach the final destination.

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