Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 03:49

ECO never tires of pointing out the obvious to delegates, but we promise we do it for your own benefit. So here we go again. What if you could find a way to control the fastest growing sources of emissions and generate billions of dollars of climate finance at the same time. You’d do it, wouldn’t you? ECO respectfully suggests you do just that for international aviation and shipping emissions, right here in Copenhagen.

Parties agree the emissions cannot be attributed to specific countries. The emissions are international, so the mitigation framework must be global. That’s okay, Article 4.1c of the Convention allows for this, but Article 4.3 lays down some conditions. To ensure the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is respected, revenues created from bunker regulation — some estimates suggest US$25-37 billion per year — should be used to defray incremental costs and support climate action in developing countries.  Analysis shows that the impacts on trade would be minimal. Special exceptions can and should be made to exclude routes to and from the SIDS and LDCs, this is fully in the power of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) to do.

A key priority in the next seven days is ensuring that developing countries receive new, additional and stable finance to support their efforts. As many delegates have put it, no money, no deal! Bunkers can help bridge that gap by creating complementary money in addition to assessed contributions by Annex I countries. What a great double dividend: we achieve climate benefits while generating new climate money (through a levy or the auctioning of emission permits).

Submitted by ECO Editor on Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 03:48

Just a few days after US President Barack Obama accepted his Nobel Peace prize, a spectre hangs over the Copenhagen negotiations – the Kyoto Syndrome. This is based on the received wisdom that the Clinton Administration blew it by agreeing to Kyoto without building the foundation for the US Senate to ratify the Protocol. In fact, the real lesson from Kyoto is that the Senate needs to move, not that the President should back off.

The Kyoto Syndrome inhibits the US delegation from making agreements on critical issues for fear of “getting too far ahead of Congress.” But some of these issues – like targets and financing – could torpedo the negotiations.

President Obama has said that he will commit the US to the goal passed by the House – a reduction in emissions of only about 4% from 1990 levels by 2020. That is embarrassingly low compared with the conclusion of leading scientists that industrialised nations should reduce emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 03:46

ECO wants an Adaptation action framework with scaled-up implementation, particularly through reliable developed countries support, coming out of Copenhagen. Priority must be given to the needs of communities in vulnerable developing countries. And the inclusion of their perspectives in the development and planning of adaptation policies. Agreeing on this focus here would send an important signal.

These thrusts will not contradict the principle of being country driven. For instance, the identification of vulnerable people would be made at the country-level. While adaptation finance is seen as a form of compensation for harm caused, its character is that of restitution finance. This means it is bound to a certain purpose, namely to fund adaptation. ECO is concerned that such language has disappeared in the most recent co-chairs’ adaptation paper.

Many have spoken out on this matter. African environment ministers in the “2009 Nairobi Declaration on the Africa Process for Combating Climate Change” stressed that “Africa’s priorities are to implement climate change programmes with a focus on adaptation […], with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups, especially women and children.”

Similarly, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Panama demanded that the “poorest and most vulnerable populations such as women, children and indigenous peoples,” should be the first to benefit from adaptation funding.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 03:45

As Jørgen arrives at the Bella Center Metro station every morning, he is always greeted by friendly people distributing flyers on the need to be a vegetarian. Jørgen likes them, having become a vegetarian ever since Lord Nicholas Stern said it was the best way to protect the planet from climate change. Jørgen was also pleased all food outlets at the Bella Center offered a vegetarian main meal every day at a non-Danish price.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 03:43

The highly-popular NGO party will be held tonight at Vega located at Enghavevej 40 in Copenhagen. Open to all COP participants, the party will commence from 20:00. Entrance is free and your conference badge is required. There is a compulsory 15 DKK cloakroom charge. So come and join us tonight.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 17:03
Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:42
Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:41

Upon arriving in Copenhagen, US Special Envoy on Climate Todd Stern said: “Emissions are emissions. You’ve just got to do the math. If you care about the science, and we do, there is no way to solve this problem by giving the major developing countries a pass.”

ECO does care about the science and we have done the math. Stern and other developed countries may be interested in the conclusions.

IPCC AR4 highlighted the need for 25-40% cuts on 1990 levels by 2020 for developed countries and substantial deviation from business-as-usual (BAU) for developing countries by 2020. Subsequent peer reviewed science identified this substantial deviation as being in the range of a 15-30% deviation from BAU (subsequently adopted as the de facto yardstick by EU and others). As the IPCC  has  also pointed out, these mitigation targets give the world a 50-50 chance of averting a rise above 2˚C. More importantly, the disparity between woeful developed country ambition and the levels of actions proposed by developing countries are fairly stark.

According to recent estimates of Project Catalyst, an initiative of Climate Works, it is developing countries that are within their proposed emissions reductions range, and towards the upper end of it.

Using the high range figures for proposed mitigation actions and plans, Project Catalyst estimates that every developing country stating a target fell within the 15-30% range. And two exceed it – Brazil with 39% deviation from BAU and Indonesia with 41%.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:40

Today, the chair of the Adaptation Fund (AF) will explain the achievements of the Adaptation Fund Board this year in a side event. ECO urges all those who still perceive the AF as a politicised negotiating body and not as an existing institution caring for effective adaptation to attend the event and update your knowledge.

At Bali two years ago, three innovative characteristics were already agreed: automatic funding through a 2% levy on CDM projects, majority developing country representation on the Board, and the mandate to provide direct access to funds.

The Board has recently added two other innovative features: a strategic priority directing Parties to give special attention to the most vulnerable communities when submitting proposals, and transparency in decision making (including live webcast of all meetings and the future possibility for public comment on submitted proposals).

The Board will soon approve the first projects. But resource limitations at present continue to make it difficult to adequately respond to programme-based needs.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:38

The sixty-first anniversary of the Human Rights Day was celebrated yesterday across the world. It was especially relevant to the negotiations in Copenhagen as the realisation of all human rights depends on a viable climate. Climate change threatens livelihood, health, access to water and survival. Hence, the Copenhagen outcome must especially acknowledge and protect human rights.

ECO applauds delegates for the most recent Shared Vision text acknowledging that climate change has implications for a range of human rights. However, this good start misses some crucial elements. Shared vision must require mitigation and adaptation activities to be undertaken in a manner that respects, protects and promotes human rights. Vulnerability based on poverty, gender, age, indigenous or minority status and disability should be added to the text acknowledging geographic vulnerability. And more than “seeking” stakeholder participation, shared vision must guarantee access to information, effective participation and access to justice.

Climate justice for the poorest and most vulnerable requires integrating human rights into all aspects of the agreement, not just the shared vision. The mitigation and adaptation texts must reiterate Parties’ existing human rights obligations. Adaptation text must recognise the fundamental human rights of internally or internationally displaced people.