Close the Gap

ECO welcomes you, Ministers, to Nairobi and to the COP and COP/MOP – you have arrived just in time.

We need you to close the gap between the urgent calls for action on climate change from around the world, and the low level of ambition demonstrated so far here in Nairobi. 

Indeed, there is work to be done. As you know from the avalanche of press reports on the changing climate and the rising tide of public concern, pressure for real action is growing by the day.  Since Montreal a lot has happened, yet even more remains to be done.  There is much on your agenda here, but ECO would like to direct your attention to one key issue which we think is critical to the success of this COP and COP/MOP, and to the future of our collective efforts to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. 


ECO particularly needs you to ensure that this process responds to the increasing alarm raised by scientists around the world.  The gorilla sitting in the middle of your table that many do not want to publicly acknowledge is the need to establish a time bound process to negotiate the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  You need to lay the political ground work amongst your colleagues here for a COP/MOP3 decision in 2007 on a broad negotiating mandate, to be concluded by 2008. We know this is not formally on the agenda here in Nairobi, but this is certainly the last COP/MOP where it is possible to NOT adopt a comprehensive mandate for these negotiations, and still have a chance of finishing in time so that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods.  At COP/MOP3, many processes conclude, and should logically be brought together to create such a mandate. These include the tropical deforestation issue, discussions under the UNFCCC Dialogue and the workplan under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I commitments. 

PLEASE. Make it clear in your speeches and meetings that you understand and share this sense of urgency. Call for a negotiating mandate to be agreed at COP/MOP3.

The main outstanding issue here is a decision on the first review under Article 9 of the Kyoto Protocol, which needs to be done at this COP/MOP.  Part of the text we have seen is, let us be frank, a shame on this process.  A perfunctory first review, with virtually no preparation, does no credit to anyone and belittles the seriousness of this issue.  Leaving this aside, the current chairman’s text, which calls for the second review to be done at COP/MOP4 in 2008, with no real preparatory work bodes ill for the adoption of a Mandate in 2007 at COP/MOP3.  Will not the 2008 time line be used as an excuse not to adopt a Mandate at COP/MOP3?  Or is this the real purpose of such a timetable? 

Such a timeframe in our view would foreclose any chance of completing the Kyoto Second Commitment period negotiations in time for commitment periods to be contiguous. If that does not happen you can kiss the carbon markets goodbye. Ministers, you need to fix this.

At the first climate change COP in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of vulnerability to human induced climate change, there is a special need to send a signal that the world is getting serious about dealing with the escalating costs of adaptation.  Damages from climate change are going to be large, particularly in Africa, even if we are successful in limiting warming below 2oC increase in comparison to pre-industrial levels. While there have been some small steps forward here in addressing this issue, the gap between what is currently on the table and what is needed is enormous. You need to start to close the gap.

  Harper and Howard Act to Save Climate
ECO is pleased to share leaked minutes from a secret meeting detailing Prime Ministers’ Harper and Howard’s Nairobi strategy. Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and John Howard are joined in their mutual dismay at the direction of the climate change negotiations. These two philosopher-statesmen have dug deep into their infinite intellectual resources and brought forth ideas so profound that to the common mind they may appear to be simply nonsense.
  A Human Urgency
In addition to the climatic urgency of these negotiations, there is also human urgency. Poor people are on the frontline and face the direct impact of climate change. While they need strong mitigation to stand any hope of survival, they also need development in order to enjoy a better quality of life.
  “Fossil of the Day” Award
Canada, USA and Australia were jointly awarded the only Fossil of the Day yesterday for blocking progress on the new mechanism of Technology Transfer proposed by the G77 and China. It has been 14 years of workshops, reports, seminars, discussions, etc. without any substance or real form of action! Are these countries going to do anything productive, ever?
  Thousands March on Climate Change
Kenyan voices calling for action on climate change were heard loud and clear on Saturday, as around 2500 people took to the streets of Nairobi, including women, school children and Maasai pastoralists.
Overheard in Nairobi After a long day of negotiations, Tusker strolled into a restaurant for a quiet dinner away from the bustle at the conference centre. While enjoying his meal, he overheard snippets of conversation from diners at the next table, one of whom happened to be Canadian Minister Rona Ambrose. Unaware of Tusker’s presence, she asked her fellow diner: “So what’s this Russian proposal all about?”

Download file: http://ECOCOP12En09.pdf

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