Eco Digital Blog
ECO had expected more of the EU this week. Meeting in Brussels right in the middle of the two-week Copenhagen negotiations, leaders of the EU’s 27 member states had a golden opportunity to give a much-needed boost to the UN talks by upping their tabled 20% emission reduction targets for 2020 to 30%. This would have been an important step to move closer to the 40% emission cuts that developed countries need to make by 2020 to keep warming well below 2˚C. This is something the EU can readily achieve, bearing in mind that the original 20% target can already be met without any further domestic effort.
Sadly however, the EU chose to stick to its line that others must move before it raises its own target, once again undermining its self-proclaimed climate leadership. It also applied this defensive approach to the question of long term finance. It merely repeated the need for such money while remaining deafeningly silent on the question of how much the EU will actually contribute. Long term finance is what developing countries are eagerly waiting for in these talks and a serious EU offer could be a real game changer.
Of course, fast-start money is important too. So the EU’s announcement of €2.4 billion per year over the period of 2010-2012 would have been a positive first step, if it wasn’t for one fatal flaw. The fast-start pledge seems to consist mostly of a recycling of past commitments, including on ODA, that have been given a shiny new ‘climate’ branding. Very little new money has been put on the table. These negotiations must show that a clear shift has taken place. The usual recycling of past promises just won’t wash.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.