Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:36

Canada’s government must be working overtime chatting up reporters here in Copenhagen. The news they’re so eager to spread is that, according to Yvo de Boer, Canada has been “negotiating very constructively” this week.

The Canadian delegation is obviously as surprised as we are that anyone has good things to say about Canada, the home of one of the weakest mid-term emission targets in the industrialised world.

It cannot be Canada’s record on Kyoto compliance that impressed the UNFCCC’s chief official. (In case anyone has forgotten: Canada’s emissions are now a solid 34% above that pesky Kyoto target.)  The lack of financing pledge probably hasn’t won Canada any new friends either.

We also doubt de Boer was impressed by Canada’s decision to show up in Copenhagen without a serious plan for domestic emissions reductions. (Note to Canada: “waiting for the US” is not actually a plan. Nor is “massively expanding the tar sands.”)

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 03:09

“And that is why helping farmers feed their own people — or nations educate their children and care for the sick — is not mere charity. It is also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 23:43
Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 11:35

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 09:06
Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 04:44

ECO could not help but hear the roars of applause in the hallways yesterday as Tuvalu reentered the COP in the afternoon.  What prompted such a boisterous response? Tuvalu, supported by AOSIS and other most vulnerable countries, called for a Contact Group to discuss its proposal of a new protocol under the Convention.  Amidst pressure from various Parties, they stood behind their call. In a time where bold and yes, perhaps risky, action is required to ensure a fair, ambitious and binding agreement, Tuvalu’s momentous actions are to be commended.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 04:43

Back in 2007, Liverpool Football Club were finalists in the UEFA Champions League. This year they didn’t even qualify. Take a peek at their targets, and you see that Europe must be experiencing a similar feeling to Liverpool. Back in 2007, when Europe signed up to a 20% cut in its emissions by 2020, the world was a different place. Bush was in the White House, and his allies in Australia and Canada hid behind his intransigence. In contrast, Europe was leading the pack. Well, gone are those days. Now Japan has tougher targets than Europe, Norway too.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 04:40

Those of us who don’t like playing Russian roulette with the planet are looking for aggregate developed country targets greater than -40% from 1990 levels by 2020. In that light, the nominal pledges from developed countries, adding up to a humble 13-19%, look quite bad. But if one includes loopholes that could still make their way into the final deal, they look still worse. You may think you can fool the public with creative accounting, but you definitely can’t fool the atmosphere.

Sadly, ECO concludes that when loopholes are used to the fullest extent, aggregate developed country pledges allow their emissions to increase from 1990 levels by 2020. Even partial use of these loopholes results in a terrible outcome for the planet.

  • Full banking and use of ‘hot air’ (surplus AAUs) from the first and second commitment periods may add up to an extra 6% of the Annex I aggregate emissions to the atmosphere, according to several studies.
  • Creative free-for-all LULUCF accounting may add another 5% to the atmosphere, in line with several studies.
  • Emissions from aviation and shipping are currently just a footnote to Annex I national totals, but they are certainly seen by the atmosphere. These emissions are best tackled through a global cap, but if this is not achieved they will continue to rise, requiring deeper cuts elsewhere to keep the climate safe. If we don’t get a global agreement, the expected overall increase in bunker emissions until 2020 would add a further 6% to developed country emissions in 2020.
Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 04:40" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true
Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 04:37

ECO had heard rumours about the possibility of a Mexican and Norwegian marriage on climate finance, but did not expect to see polygamy in the UN hallways. And it seems UK and Australia could not resist this love affair either.

ECO wants to congratulate these odd bedfellows coming together. Any clarity on what Parties actually mean is most welcome, in this opaque and mystifying atmosphere. ECO is feeling mildly optimistic about the explicit references to the Norwegian proposal and bunkers as finance sources from these countries. We have been tearing our ever-greying hairs out on the lack of progress around innovative mechanisms. However, ECO must remind the Parties involved that there may not be any offspring, even from a four-way union, unless this work is linked to an explicit reference to the scale of money needed. It is recognition of scale which will concentrate minds on the need for innovative sources, not vice versa.

ECO is also seriously concerned about the wishy-washy language on additionality. If there are new sources, shouldn’t the money they raise come on top of existing ODA targets? Otherwise this promise of funding is just an empty gesture and one which has devastating consequences for the poorest.