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Putting the “2 (degrees)” back in Workstream 2

It is well-trodden ground that there is a huge gap between what Parties say they want (staying below 2°C and keeping the door open to 1.5°C) and what Parties have pledged to contribute between now and 2020 to achieve that planetary necessity.  

In theory, Workstream 2 has already identified how to bridge the gap through: 1) improving developed countries’ woefully inadequate 2020 emission reduction targets; 2) identifying ways to enable and support developing countries in upping their own pre-2020 ambition; and 3) joint complementary action in addition to the first two areas on everything from phasing out HFCs to fossil fuel subsidies.  The task now is to JUST DO IT.  
 
ECO thought “doing it” would require no explanation, but some recent happenings in many developed countries are getting their positions all wrong.  
 
First and foremost – and we really thought this was obvious – the thing that needs to go up is the target, not the temperature.  For the EU this means moving to 30% - a move which really shouldn’t be that difficult considering that it has already achieved its 20% target almost 8 years ahead of schedule and will actually achieve more than that (around 25-27%) by 2020.  How can the EU host 2 COPs over the next 3 years and ask the rest of the world to do more while it decides to take a break? In addition, the EU’s incompetence at repairing its own emissions trading scheme is pretty mournful. A modest measure to temporarily limit the surplus of allowances in the EU carbon market was recently rejected by some within the European Parliament. 
 
The rest of the developed world is no better, and many are far, far worse.  There are rumours that Japan is planning to lower its ambition from its current 2020 pledge. Australia is not likely to do anything about its tiny 5% pledge and, depending of the outcome of the upcoming national elections, things could hit rock bottom, even though the Australian public is strongly in favour of climate action. The US pledge could be labelled ambitious, if the ambition was to overshoot 4°C, while the country is barely on the path to achieve its very weak 2020 target. And Canada – well, their only ambition is to withdraw from as many international treaties as possible (if you hadn’t heard, they’ve also withdrawn from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification). 
 
This drooping ambition level needs to stop. By 2014 ALL Parties (Kyoto Parties and free-riders alike) will have to increase the ambition of their 2020 pledges. Without this, you won’t get a global agreement in 2015, and – worse – you will not prevent dangerous climate change from destroying entire civilisations and threatening the future of your children.
 
There is also a role for developing countries in increasing near-term ambition. It is worth assessing what additional ambition more advanced developing countries can muster as well as what precise support will enable all to do even more. Jointly, developing and developed countries should use Workstream 2 to create an upward spiral of increasing support (finance, technology and capacity building) and ambition triggered and enabled by such support. This could also help avoid that, due to, for example low levels of climate finance, developing countries may find themselves in situations where they lock-in low ambition because of inadequately supported actions.
 
Finally, there are the complementary actions. The COP in Warsaw would ideally invite other bodies (Montreal Protocol, ICAO and IMO, G20 and so forth) to foster actions in their spheres of expertise and influence to result in additional emission reductions. Those actions would need to come in addition to what Parties have committed to do based on their 2020 targets, pledges and NAMAs, rather than as means to achieve them. This is why ECO and some Parties have used the expression “complementary”, a word whose proximity to the somewhat less ambitious “complimentary” should not create the false impression that avoiding catastrophic climate change is an issue of voluntary action – it is not. It is an obligation Parties have towards the millions of people suffering climate change already today, and towards the hundreds of millions if not billions who will be suffering tomorrow, whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by inaction, complacency and pretension currently at display at these negotiations.
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Climate action takes on split personality ahead of first UN talks of 2013

With this year’s first session of the UN climate negotiations to open on Monday, international politics surrounding the planetary climate crisis were taking on a split personality, according to NGO experts speaking at a press briefing today by Climate Action Network-International and the Global Call for Climate Action. 

According to Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists' director of strategy and policy, on the one hand, there are some signs of progress on climate action.
 
More developing countries appear keen to adopt low carbon development plans, renewable energy costs continue to decline, and the US and China just launched a process to develop a set of joint actions that “set the kind of powerful example that can inspire the world."
 
In addition, several key high-profile political actors, such as IMF chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, are calling for increased action on climate change.
 
But on the other hand, there are several signs that the world is not coming to grips with the severity of the situation, Meyer said, such as continuation of some US$1 trillion a year in fossil fuel subsidies, increasing efforts to develop unconventional oil reserves and expand coal exports, and the growing gap documented by UNEP between the reductions in emissions required by 2020 in order to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Centigrade, and the much higher level expected as a result of current national pledges of action. 
 
"To top it off, we aren’t seeing the bold leadership needed by our political leaders to deal with the climate crisis, particularly those from developed countries,” Meyer said.  “This must change – and soon – if we are to get the much more ambitious set of international and national actions that are required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” 
Hope in the face of the climate threat was coming increasingly from developing countries. 
 
Lina Li, climate policy researcher from the Greenovation Hub in Beijing, said after some positive domestic developments on the climate front, there was potential for China to do more on the international stage. 
 
"The North-South paradigm that underpinned the international development and environment agenda is posing more questions than answers. Conventional wisdoms are being challenged while new imaginations are yet to be articulated. China’s new role, with the ongoing geographic power shift, will be identified within this context. This is one of the key questions that need to be addressed if we are going to achieve a fair deal in 2015," Lina said. 
 
Meanwhile, this year's major climate negotiations will be held in Poland in November, a country renowned for blocking further climate action in the EU, according to Julia Michalak, climate policy officer for Climate Action Network, Europe. 
 
"It’s difficult for the country that keeps looking back-ward to move the international process forward. Poland keeps mentioning its past achievement and has no vision on how to design its own climate policy, so it’s difficult to imagine it can offer a lot to international process."
 
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CAN Intervention - Long Term Finance Consultations - May 22, 2012

Distinguished delegates. Thank you for the opportunity to speak. My name is Lies Craeynest from Oxfam International, and I will speak on behalf of the Climate Action Network.

Thank you co-chairs for your proposal on how to implement the decisions made in Durban on the Long Term Finance work programme. Many delegates from developing countries have spoken about the need for a balanced approach in taking forward the Durban agreement, and have stressed that the discussion on raising mitigation ambition pre 2020 needs to go hand in hand with the discussion on  mobilising the means of implementation to do so. We agree. 
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Fossil of the Day Awards - Bonn - June 6, 2011

FOSSIL OF THE DAY AWARDS
Bonn, Germany, June 6, 2011

The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 600 NGOs worldwide, gives out two 'Fossil of The Day' awards to the countries who perform the worst during the past days negotiations at the UN climate change conference.

The awards given out on June 6, 2011 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:

First place fossil goes to Saudi Arabia for using their pet issue of response measures to thwart the urgent need for progress.
 
The Saudi’s brought the SBI to a halt by reneging on the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements which clearly separate response measures from adaptation, seeking to hold the entire process hostage to its oily self interest.  
 
As the world struggles to feed itself, island nations are faced with threats to their survival and scientists’ revelations that the arctic is melting faster than expected – now is not the time to revert to old, discredited tactics to block progress.

About the fossils:

The Fossil-of-the-day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, also in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum.

During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 600 non-governmental organisations, vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in recent days of talks.

www.climatenetwork.org

 

Expectations For Bonn

Friends, delegates:

We find ourselves at a crucial time.  A record increase in greenhouse gas emissions last year, to the highest carbon output in history, puts your target of keeping warming below 2 degrees in jeopardy.  It puts the more important temperature threshold of 1.5 degrees – the limit needed to keep the sovereignty of many small island states intact – in even more grave danger. 

Parties, delegates, this is your moment.  The threat of climate change has never been more evident; just ask the hundreds of millions of people in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa who are already experiencing a food crisis.

Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA, says that disaster can be averted, if governments heed the warning. "If we have bold, decisive and urgent action, very soon, we still have a chance of succeeding."

The decisive action you must take, delegates, is to be productive at this Bonn intersessional, set yourselves a workplan for this year, that allows substantial progress to be made at Durban.  This work includes the following:

Advance the Adaptation Committee so that it becomes a driver for promoting coherence on adaptation under the UNFCCC. Agree on a Work Programme on Loss and Damage in Bonn and a further phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. Also advance modalities and guidelines for national adaptation planning that follow an inclusive and integrated approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems.

Bonn must take concrete steps to close the gigatonne gap. The first baby step towards that end is for developed and developing countries to clarify their pledges, including their assumptions on LULUCF, AAU carry over and carbon offsets, so that we know what amount of GHGs the atmosphere will see in 2020.

Ambition in the LULUCF sector can be increased by measures that include incentivizing emissions reductions below historical levels to add to overall effort and assist with deep, early cuts and increased targets. Parties must also move to address the bioenergy / biofuels emissions accounting loophole, ensuring that all bioenergy emissions are accounted for, either in the energy or LULUCF sector.

Parties must also talk about conditions that countries have attached to the high end of their pledged ranges – how will we know when these conditions have been met?  All that done, what do developed country Parties propose to do about the fact that their pledges are (far) below the 25-40% range and in some cases even below something Kyoto 1 targets.

Developing countries should be invited to make submissions on key factors underlying their BAU projections as well as the level and form of international climate finance needed to implement NAMAs that are conditional on such finance.

REDD+ negotiations need to start promptly in Bonn on all of the subjects that were mandated in Cancun.  By the end of the year, the COP needs to be able to decide on a mechanism for REDD+ that delivers adequate, predictable and sustainable

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Fossil of the Day Awards - Bonn - June 6, 2011

FOSSIL OF THE DAY AWARDS
Bonn, Germany, June 6, 2011

The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 600 NGOs worldwide, gives out two 'Fossil of The Day' awards to the countries who perform the worst during the past days negotiations at the UN climate change conference.

The awards given out on June 6, 2011 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:

First place fossil goes to Saudi Arabia for using their pet issue of response measures to thwart the urgent need for progress.

The Saudi’s brought the SBI to a halt by reneging on the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements which clearly separate response measures from adaptation, seeking to hold the entire process hostage to its oily self interest.

As the world struggles to feed itself, island nations are faced with threats to their survival and scientists’ revelations that the arctic is melting faster than expected – now is not the time to revert to old, discredited tactics to block progress.

About the fossils:

The Fossil-of-the-day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, also in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum.

During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 600 non-governmental organisations, vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

www.climatenetwork.org

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