Kick-off Briefing on Tianjin Climate Talks

Media/Webcast Advisory
Monday, October 4, 2010

Kick-off Briefing on Tianjin Climate Talks
Previewing the UNFCCC Negotiations

[Tianjin, China] Climate Action Network will host a briefing to preview the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Tianjin, China, on Monday, October 4, 14:30. Panelists will assess the state of negotiations, expectations for Tianjin and the road to Cancun.

NGO experts on the panel include Angela Anderson, U.S. Climate Action Network; Ailun Yang, Greenpeace China; and Raman Mehta, Action Aid India.

What: Preview of the UNFCCC climate negotiations kicking-off in Tianjin

Where: UNFCC Press Conference Room, Meijing Conference Centre, Tianjin. Also webcast live at http://bit.ly/c3bs5W

When: 14:30, Monday, October 4, 2010

Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations

NOTE: A Chinese language briefing will also be held in the same venue at 15:30.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 450 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 <http://www.climatenetwork.org/> .

For more information contact:

Hunter Cutting: +1 415-824-0975



Stand and Deliver

Next Sunday, October 10, the day after the close of the Tianjin conference, the world will take action – over 5,000 actions, to be precise, in more than 165 countries around the globe.

The 10/10/10 Global Work Day organized by 350.org and many others will highlight the public appetite for action that has only grown stronger since Copenhagen.            

And herein lies one of the great ironies of our time.  Public support for action on climate change is mounting in every country, and yet at exactly the same time, the climate negotiations are increasingly coloured by calls for lowering expectations and questions about the credibility of the multilateral process.

There is a climate crisis, and there is a crisis of confidence in the international process. Both require urgent action. Following the stalemate of Copenhagen, this week’s meeting and the Cancun COP are critical.

Let’s not fool ourselves – a failure to
deliver now will land the UN process in a royal mess. Failure to deliver tangible
results in Cancun could well see a repeat of the WTO experience . . . meeting after
irrelevant meeting.

The Kyoto Protocol is the first needed and legally binding response. A second commitment period for the KP is one essential building block toward a fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) deal that needs to be finalized at COP 17 in South Africa.

We hear a lot in the KP discussions about the importance of ‘the other track’. ECO has no doubt on this point: only by showing good faith in the KP can Annex B parties secure progress in the LCA. They must stop stalling and commit at Cancun to the second commitment period of the KP.  It is crucial to the world’s effort to limit climate change.

Trust-building is essential.  And make no mistake, developed country leadership is central to that. The current pledges by Annex B parties and existing loopholes put us on a path that far overshoots the threshold for dangerous climate change. But all countries must show their commitment to the UN process by showing political will and flexible positions.

We must learn the lessons of Copenhagen and move beyond ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’.  Reverting to the pre-Copenhagen grab bag of text is a recipe for recreating the Copenhagen stalemate.

To make real progress in Cancun, it is imperative to seek convergence and reduce the wide range of options in the text to workable proportions. That will allow for political decisions to be made at Cancun, where Parties must agree a clear mandate for a full fair, ambitious and binding deal to be concluded in South Africa.  It is no exaggeration: the credibility of this process and the fate of future generations are both at stake.

What are substantive examples of tangible progress?  Here is a starter kit to help go further and faster.

In the area of adaptation, the insurance mechanism can be put on track; a committee can start working with the most vulnerable countries on an insurance mechanism, and regional adaptation centers can be set up.

In the area of deforestation, the level of ambition should be quantified.

On finance, the governance of the new fund with a strong relationship with the Convention can be agreed, as well as the sources and scale of funding.

On mitigation, pledges should be formalized, and in doing so, the gigatonne gap needs to be recognized, and a process launched to deal with the gap.

On technology, a work programme can be agreed that empowers the committee to deliver specific technology action programs on solar concentrated power, building efficiency, and many others.

Finally, to fulfill the mandate contained in the Bali Action Plan, a decision on the next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is needed. This decision should include clarity on the legal outcome to be delivered in South Africa.

This week, ECO again suggests, Parties should make offers, not demands.  The purpose here in Tianjin is not to force fouls, but to use teamwork to create a safe climate. 

Dear negotiators, we have said this before: you are the only team we have that can save the planet.

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Agenda for Adaptation

With a new negotiating text for negotiations under the LCA track, ECO finds many valuable elements but we nevertheless have some important concerns.  First and foremost, there seems to be the tendency, by developed countries in particular, to push towards the weaker options. 

In order to make the adaptation framework a driver for action in developing countries, rather than an empty shell, Parties must strive to provide clear linkages in the adaptation framework between plans and implementation, institutions and finance.  What is needed is a legal commitment to fund adaptation in the vulnerable countries according to their own priorities and preferred measures.

There are more than enough arguments for scaling up action. Here are three good suggestions made by the LCA Chair, fully supported by ECO.  Achieving progress on these issues in Tianjin will make a big step towards a successful and effective agreement in Cancun.

1. On institutional arrangements, ECO supports the establishment of an Adaptation Committee. While the Nairobi Work Programme generated important knowledge and lessons learnt, it is limited to scientific and technical work.  An Adaptation Committee not only can benefit from the NWP but also would have the task and the mandate to give additional impetus for large scale implementation, as well as providing the COP with the insights needed for more concrete direction-setting.

2. On the issue of monitoring and reporting of both finance and activities, ECO considers that developed countries should report on the support they deliver, and developing countries should report on their actions, progress achieved and lessons learnt.

However, the two types of reporting have to be considered separately. Based on their obligations, developed countries must report in the context of a defined, stringent monitoring system of finance (MRV). Reporting by developing countries on their actions is required to provide information and outcomes of the funded activities and analysis of the effects, but should not be used to deny future funding. Including local-level monitoring is crucial to ensuring that local populations targeted by the actions are given the opportunity to present their views.

3. Finally, the chair wants ideas on how to address loss and damage from climate change. ECO supports the demand put forward by the particularly vulnerable countries facing climate impacts for which adaptation will not be possible, for an international mechanism to address their losses and damage.  This should be established as soon as possible, but it must prioritise the particularly vulnerable countries and people. Conversely, inclusion of response measures is not acceptable at all; to begin with it would divert resources from the most vulnerable. The negotiating text (option 1) already provides a good overview of the required functions. While more time for technical considerations may be appropriate, an open-ended process of further consideration and a vague commitment of cooperation, as suggested through option 2 in paragraph 8 of the adaptation text, would not be appropriate. ECO highlights how important it is to move forward right here, right now.

The outcomes at Cancun will have a serious impact on the future of the UNFCCC process, with the most vulnerable countries having the most to lose from falling short or even outright failure.

Parties must carefully weigh the shortcomings in the current text and find a way to agree a framework that will signify success in the UNFCCC process. 

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CAN Intervention - KP Closing Plenary - 6 Aug 2010

Kyoto Protocol: Closing Plenary
CAN intervention

6th August 2010

Distinguished Delegates,

Tuesday's workshop left no doubt that we are on the way to exceeding the dangerous
threshold of 1.5 degrees if current Annex B pledges become their commitments for the
second period and current loopholes remain.
The projected abatement shortfall is between 7 and 10 Gigatonnes.
If you want to come to a global agreement to avoid dangerous climate change, you will
take any opportunity close this gap.
We hear a lot in this working group about the importance of the other track. To the
Annex B parties assembled here our message is simple. If you wish to secure progress in
the LCA track in December, you must act here. You must commit to the second
commitment period of this hard-won Protocol. You must indicate before the next
negotiating session, your intention to do so. The effect this has on both tracks in these
negotiations will be worth it.
Only by doing so will the other outcomes you seek so intensely, and which the global
community at large seeks to intensely, be achieved.
The Kyoto Protocol is crucial to the world's efforts to successfully limit climate change.


EU: Time to Lead

Remember the days when the EU had a clear impact on international climate negotiations? It had focused, ambitious positions, communicated well in advance before coming to the UNFCCC talks, and it was convinced of the benefits a low-carbon economy would bring to its citizens. Those were the times when the EU could act as a strong and reliable partner for any progressive coalition of Parties.

Today the EU environment ministers gather in Luxembourg to discuss ways in which the EU can take the UNFCCC talks forward. As always ECO has plenty of good ideas, and is not shy in sharing them. So, European Union, here’s what you need to do now. For starters, the EU should upgrade its reduction target well before Cancún to at least a unilateral 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 well in time before Cancún. Really, no one was impressed last year by the EU’s leverage game with the conditional pledge, which only resulted in a series of ridiculous conditional pledges from other Annex I countries.

The recent EC Communication previously highlighted in ECO shows very clearly that a 30% target is easy to achieve and is in Europe’s own economic interests, regardless of what others do. Secondly, finding friends is vital. Looking critically at the current political environment and the domestic situation in the US, the best way forward to get a comprehensive legally binding outcome – sooner rather than later – will be for the EU to seek a joint understanding with climate leaders among the developing countries. Importantly, the EU needs to clarify its continued commitment to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. Thirdly, the vital ingredient needed for effective progress in Cancún is clarity on financing.

To begin with, the EU would be well advised to deliver on previously made promises, such as offering full transparency of new and additional fast start finance, including member state reporting. Securing adequate and predictable funding for developing countries will enable further negotiations on three important building blocks of technology, adaptation and REDD that can – with the money available – be finalised in Cancún. The EU’s impact has been clearly evident in progressing discussions on this matter in the past. An immediate priority must be exploring the options for sources of public finance, with a view to making choices by Cancún.

In the EU, revenues from EU ETS would easily provide an important source of additional and predictable funding. Last but not least, internal divisions on hot air and LULUCF accounting rules need to be addressed in support of environmentally sound international rules under the UNFCCC.

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Homework for Bonn III: 
New LCA Text

Just before ECO was going to bed, a fresh revision of LCA text landed. ECO congratulates the Chair for moving swiftly forward in facilitating the negotiations. Now delegates have something to take back home to their ministers, to prove that they weren’t just playing football with the Secretariat and the NGOs, and that they indeed have managed to recover from the Copenhagen hangover and started to negotiate.

The text includes hobby horses from all corners, but not every single idea from everyone, which is an indication that the Chair is doing her job. Now the ball is on the ministers’ side again. They must start filling the blank holes in the document and making choices, so that Parties can return to the Maritim in August well prepared and ready to hit the ground running – that is to say, start negotiating substance from day one. With only two negotiating weeks left before Cancun, the August session must take appropriate time for negotiating the crunch issues such as the legal form of the agreed outcome, which is an issue that cannot be left for the last hours of Cancún. Another crunch issue with high priority is the gigatonne gap between the current pledges and the 2 C and 1.5 C benchmarks. By August we expect countries to come forward with clear proposals on how to tackle this issue, which is of joint responsibility.

The core message for developed country ministers, after the lengthy elaboration of their pledges and related loopholes in the KP groups this session, is that they simply must score higher. ECO has looked at your potentials and knows that most of you have not even tried serious targets yet.

Finally, Parties should continue supporting the Chair in her challenging task of facilitating the negotiations. The fresh text, which compiles the views of the Parties, deserves to be reviewed with fresh eyes, after some refreshing football. Any attempts to derail the process with bad faith and delay tactics will earn a red card.

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Fossil #1: Saudi Arabia, 
Kuwait, Qatar, Oman

First place fossil goes to these four Parties for risking the good faith and integrity of the negotiations by blocking all attempts to secure a technical review of the 1.5 target and suggesting that vulnerable countries use Google to get information that they need/want. They did this in the teeth of emotional pleas from vulnerable countries and 
numerous rounds of diplomatic efforts to reach a compromise.

Saudi Arabia even gave us a list of traded goods which would be in peril from a 1.5 target. See if you can spot which one is their true concern: rice, cocoa, tomatoes, coal, oil.  (If you’re stuck, look up their chief export on Google.)

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