Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 03:04

Tuesday's awards go to:

First Place – Ukraine

Ukraine won first place yesterday for having the single worst carbon emissions reduction target in the world: a -20% reduction from 1990 levels, which means a 75% increase from current levels. The semi-technical term for this sort of “reduction” is hot air.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 00:36

sternWhether countries can agree to limit emissions sufficiently to allow the world to keep warming well below 2C is surely the most critical Copenhagen outcome. So it is timely to look at what is on the table so far, and to hold it up against what the science requires.

Over the last few days, three independent studies have set out to do just that. They all conclude that we are currently off track – although they reach differing conclusions on how big the gap is.

On Sunday, Nicholas Stern and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) came out with what, on the face of it, seems like great news. UNEP declared that here at Copenhagen, countries “may be closer than some observers realise to agreeing the emission cuts required to give the world a reasonable chance of avoiding global warming of more than 2˚C.”

ECO is delighted that Lord Stern and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner are adding an optimistic note to the negotiations, and are also convinced that a fair, ambitious and binding deal is within reach. But optimism also needs to be balanced by

First, the study’s benchmark is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to 44 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, down from today’s levels of around 47 Gt. But this gives at best a 50% chance of staying below 2˚C – it is like playing Russian roulette with three bullets in the gun.

Lord Stern’s team reckons that if the high end of all the offers on the table from both industrialised and developing countries were to be delivered, global emissions would stand at around 46 Gt in 2020. This implies that even according to Lord Stern’s estimates, there is still a gap of 2 Gt that needs to be bridged.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 00:23

moscow university

An intriguing article entitled “Present from Russia” appeared yesterday in the respected Russian financial newspaper, Vedemosti.

It described how Russia was preparing a Chri

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 00:18

horse sprinting track

Never has ECO seen such enthusiasm from industrialised countries (especially the umbrellas), on the LCA plenary floor, to get out of the starting blocks and support developing countries to take climate action with ‘fast start’ finance. Such eagerness to move down the track got ECO very excited.

But on closer inspection, our excitement was dashed. ECO looked again and saw that the track drops off a cliff after a few metres.

Climate finance certainly needs to get moving fast, and ‘fast start’ finance sounds very stirring and athletic. But this is not just a race for sprinters, it’s a marathon!

In 2007, the Bali Action Plan (BAP) endorsed by all Parties launched a comprehensive process “to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012.” According to the BAP there is no funding now without funding later.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 00:09

forest redd
Industrialised countries have come to Copenhagen with a plan to weaken their national targets through LULUCF loopholes.

Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 00:02

fossillogo_small_w

Climate Action Network (CAN) launched its highly-popular “Fossil of the Day” awards ceremony yesterday on the opening day of the climate negotiations. The awards are given to the country or countries doing the most to obstruct progress in the global climate talks.


First Place – Industrialised Countries

Industrialised countries (“Annex I” countries, in climate-ese) won first place for coming to Copenhagen with a profound deficit of ambition for cutting carbon emissions and keeping warming well below 2˚C.


Second Place – Sweden, Finland and Austria

These countries roared into the fossil leader board for backing a devious EU proposal to cook the books by not fully accounting for emissions from forest management.

Third Place - Canada

Canada earned its first fossil for Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s proclamation that his nation “won’t be swayed” by Copenhagen “hype.” And yet, if there is a country on the face of this planet that so desperately needs to be swayed, it is Canada.

Fossil awards are presented daily in a Hollywood-style glittering ceremony at 6 p.m. at the exhibition area of the Bella Centre. Take the time to be razzled and dazzled daily. For full citations, go to www.fossiloftheday.org

Submitted by ECO Editor on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 14:18

Jørgen is somewhat disconcerted that his government has changed its laws regarding demonstrations. An individual can now be held in custody for civil disobedience and, more importantly, for being involved “in action that is blocking […] and refusing to move.”

At the same time, Jorgen wonders if this law extends into the conference rooms at the Bella Center.

In the event it does, delegates from Canada, Saudi Arabia and other similarly-inclined countries would be wise to choose their negotiating strategies carefully. Otherwise, they may have to face the unintended consequences of the new Danish law.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 14:13

protest-saudi-arabia-climate-change-talks-photo.jpeg

ECO was pleased to announce back in Barcelona the launch of a new service meant to deliver mail from all over the world to notable delegations. Its first recipient was a well known head of delegation. He received a message reminding him that poor people cannot drink oil.

Subsequently, only a short time ago, ECO was informed of a leakage of information - perhaps a hacking case? –that happened over that service. The leaked letters revealed highly confidential information that there would be massive booing in the meeting rooms in Copenhagen if any supportive reference to climate scepticism was made in the negotiating sessions over the next two weeks.

This warning apparently is linked to a statement by a head of delegation (in fact the same one mentioned above), over another recent case of illegal mail hacking. His comments had seemingly doubted the “relationship between human activities and climate change.”  It is worth reminding here that its author’s country has approved every single line of all four policymakers’ summaries of the IPCC assessment reports.

protest-saudi-arabia-climate-change-talks-photo.jpeg

ECO was pleased to announce back in Barcelona the launch of a new service meant to deliver mail from all over the world to notable delegations. Its first recipient was a well known head of delegation. He received a message reminding him that poor people cannot drink oil.

Subsequently, only a short time ago, ECO was informed of a leakage of information - perhaps a hacking case? –that happened over that service. The leaked letters revealed highly confidential information that there would be massive booing in the meeting rooms in Copenhagen if any supportive reference to climate scepticism was made in the negotiating sessions over the next two weeks.

This warning apparently is linked to a statement by a head of delegation (in fact the same one mentioned above), over another recent case of illegal mail hacking. His comments had seemingly doubted the “relationship between human activities and climate change.”  It is worth reminding here that its author’s country has approved every single line of all four policymakers’ summaries of the IPCC assessment reports.

Related Newsletter :
Submitted by ECO Editor on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 14:09

The attention of the world will focus on Copenhagen over the next two weeks, and eagerly awaits the outcomes of this conference. As we come together at this defining moment in time, the Climate Action Network (CAN) presents the essentials for a successful climate deal.

It has to be FAB – Fair, Ambitious and Binding.

In effect, the agreement which comes out of Copenhagen must safeguard the climate and must be fair to all countries. Specifically, it must include the following commitments.

  • Keep warming well below 2°C

    o Reducing greenhouse gas concentrations ultimately to 350ppm carbon dioxide-equivalent.

    o Peaking emissions within the 2013-2017 commitment period and rapidly declining emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

    o Achieving this in a way that fully reflects the historic and current contributions of developed countries to climate change and the right of developing countries to sustainable development.

  • Industrialised countries as a group must take a target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020

    o Reductions for individual countries should be assigned based on historic and present responsibility for emissions as well as current capacity to reduce emissions.

    o The use of offsets must be limited. As long as developed country targets fall short of ensuring that domestic emissions are reduced by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, there is no room – or indeed need – for offsets.

    o Accounting for emissions and removals from Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) must be based on what the atmosphere sees.

    o Major sources of emissions must be accounted for, for example forest and peatland degradation.

    o LULUCF credits must not undermine or substitute for the significant investments and efforts required to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Related Newsletter :
Submitted by ECO Editor on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 12:38

Working in a coalition of roughly 500 organizations from nearly 80 countries can be tough.  With so many different points of view and unique perspectives and expertise, coming to agreement on something as complex as solving climate change can be difficult to say the least.  But then again, isn't that what we're asking over 180 countries to do next month in Copenhagen?

Well, I'm happy to say that at least as far as the Climate Action Network - International (CAN) is concerned, we've done our job and it's in the form of CAN's "Fair, Ambitious & Binding: Essentials for a Successful Climate Deal." In this document just released today ahead of the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen, we, as the world's largest network of organizations fighting for solutions to the climate crisis, share our collective views on the key elements of a successful climate agreement.  Now it's up to the leaders around the world to do their part in Copenhagen.

This vision has not come easily, but in the effort it has taken comes its strength.  We have brought together within CAN some of the most dedicated and expert analysts and advocates in world to come together around the key essentials for a successful outcome from the United Nations climate negotiations.  While some specifics may still be debated by even our own members in CAN, this document serves as the collective voice of what is needed from our leaders in Copenhagen and beyond.  And it's a powerful vision coming from hundreds of experts around the globe.

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