What Next -- Climate Watch
How many Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide…?
Check out this pedagogic inforgraphic showing illustrating the very small carbon budget that remains, and the implications of a warming climate.
The big environment and development organisations support strong condemnation letter by social movements
Strong internvention by Naderev M Saño, Philippines
Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol
Delivered by Comm. Naderev M. Saño
Climate Change Commission
Red Lines! A letter to ministers and negotiators in Doha
"Governments, rich and poor, must not agree to a “deal” that keeps the planet on track for 4°C and even higher levels of warming, condemning millions of our people to death, starvation, and forced migration."
"Governments cannot be distracted by a post-2020 agreement.We need climate action now for this critical decade.Any government that walks away from these positions will be condemned. They will be condemned by global civil society.They will be condemned by their people.They will be condemned by history.They will condemn us all to devastating and irreversible climate change, withlife on planet Earth at stake."
At Stake at Doha: A rules based international climte regime
"This effort to dismantle the climate architecture as it applies to rich industrialized nations, to avoid existing commitments and to shift the burden to developing countries threatens a “lost decade” of inaction setting the world on course for a 6°C temperature rise and catastrophic climate impacts."
The inconvenient truth
Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment, February 1, 2012
Many years ago, in a desperately poor village in Rajasthan, people decided to plant trees on the land adjoining their pond so that its catchment would be protected. But this land belonged to the revenue department and people were fined for trespass. The issue hit national headlines. The stink made the local administration uncomfortable. They then came up with a brilliant game plan—they allotted the land to a group of equally poor people. In this way the poor ended up fighting the poor. The local government got away with the deliberate murder of a water body.
I recall this tragic episode as I watch recent developments on climate change.
Post-Durban, India has its task cut out
Major Clash of Paradigms in the Durban Climate Talks
Here is a detailed account and analysis by Meena Raman of Third World Network of what happened in the dramatic end of the Durban COP17 negotiations, and implications for the future. The article was originally published in South Centre's South Bulletin (
Download a pdf-version of the whole issue here. Link to South Centre web page here.
Major Clash of Paradigms in the Durban Climate Talks
[South Bulletin 58 Article]
By Meena Raman
The main outcome of the two-week Durban climate change conference was the launching of a new round of negotiations known as the Durban Platform aimed at a new regime (whether a protocol or other legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and involving all countries.
The draft decision on this was provided at an informal plenary late on the night of Saturday 10 December long after the Conference was scheduled to end and when many Ministers and senior officials had already left Durban.
It was given to participants as part of a package of four decisions on a take-it-or-leave it basis with little time for the members to consider or discuss among themselves in an unusual and unprecedented set of procedures.
Time out: Analysis of Durban and its outcome by Centre for Science and Environment
What really happened in Durban? Check out this extensive coverage by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, in their magazine Down to Earth, 31 December issue.
The 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change met in Durban in December 2011. Negotiations were heated and acrimonious, as the world desperately searched for new ways to avoid the toughest of questions -- how to drastically reduce emissions to keep the world somewhat within safe levels and how to do this while ensuring equity. With uneasy answers, the easy solution was to push the world to another round of messy negotiations for a new treaty, protocol or legal instrument or something like that. But one move of the developed world was to change the nature of the original treaty that differentiates between past polluters, responsible for the first action, and the rest. The aim at Durban was to erase equity as the basis of any global agreement to cut emissions. Ironically, the world chose the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela to set the scene to build a new apartheid in climate talks. Down To Earth and the Centre for Science and Environment bring you an analysis…
To continute read, download the 17-page pdf-version of the thorough feature story with graphs, boxes and explanations. Or click here to find the original story at the CSE website.
You may also want to read this prophetic reflection by Sunita Narain of CSE, only a few hours before the COP finally ended.
And -- here's a link to a Guardian article by Sunita Narain "The EU's climate evangelism has got us nowhere: Europe must stop trying to bend developing countries to agree to a legal deal in the hope that this will bring the US on board", published 9 December.
Sivan Kartha on the Durban outcomes: "Deeply worrying"
We have a glass, and time will tell whether it is half-full, half-empty, or purely decorative. We will see whether the yet-to-be-negotiated "protocol, legal instrument, or agreed outcome with legal force" is actually be capable of ramping up global ambition.
And on that score, I'm deeply worried. Yes, Durban gave us (something like) the "legally binding" language that we wanted. But, as far as I can see, Durban also took us several LARGE steps backward in terms of "trust-building", which many of us have believed for a long time is inexpendable if a real global solution to the crisis is to be found. And this further undermining of trust makes it less likely that the dearly sought language on "legally binding" will actually lead to something meaningful.
Specifically, here's how I fear trust has been undermined:
On the "Durban Platform for Enhanced Action"
The decision to establish an Ad Hoc Working Group on the "Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" (DPEA), i.e. the controversial "Durban Mandate", was a remarkable show of bad process in the last hours of the conference -- already on 30 hours overtime with many Ministers (particularly from developing countries) already on their way home.
The implications will be felt for a long time to come…
We are likely to see an erosion of the science-based "top-down" (i.e. starting with emissions reductions as deemed required based on science) principled climate regime of the Kyoto Protocol -- with a further shift towards the US-championed voluntary, bottom-up "pledge" system where countries just notify what they intend to do: currently this amounts to only 13-18% cuts by the rich countries (which could in reality amount to zero cuts due to the extensive "loopholes" that the rich countries refuse to remove). It's naive to believe that pledges will be sufficient to ramp up commitments towards the 40-50% that is needed by 2020, and the the 90-100% needed by 2050!
The mandate for the new agreement is remarkable open, which paves the ground for endless negotiations with little prospect to reach anywhere near the regime -- the Bali Action Plan -- that was still the basis for negotiations when the Durban meeting started. There are also reasons to be very worried from an equity and climate justice perspective -- although the new platform is placed under the Climate Convention with its fundamental principle of "common but differentiated responsibility", USA and other Annex 1 countries will press hard to erode any equity related mechanisms.
In short, by opening up for the Durban mandate, the world has given a blank check to the US and others to effectively stall and weaken the future climate regime -- while squandering the relative firm basis that already existed: the Bali Action Plan. Considering the effectiveness of the US negotiations since Copenhagen (they have likely attained most of their stated goals), and the dismal domestic political situation (with climate change denying Republicans dominating Congress, and Obama acting more destructive than George W Bush as he actively steers the world onto the wrong path rather than just standing aside), it is naive to believe there could be anything meaningful coming out of open-ended negotiations on the DPEA over the next few years.
Christian Aid Press release: "Durban Climate Talks: A disastrous outcome for poor people"
DURBAN CLIMATE TALKS: A DISASTROUS OUTCOME FOR POOR PEOPLE, WARNS CHRISTIAN AID
'This Durban outcome is a compromise which saves the climate talks but endangers people living in poverty,' said Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's expert on the UN negotiations held this year in Durban, South Africa.
'It is a disastrous, profoundly distressing outcome - the worst I have ever seen from such a process. At a time when scientists are queuing up to warn about terrifying consequences if emissions keep rising, what we have here in Durban is a betrayal of people across the world.
INDIA - 'Grim Reaper' of Durban -- Really?
INDIA - 'Grim Reaper' of Durban -- Really?
By Sivan Kartha
The common wisdom is that we've come here to save Africa. Africa, we hear every day, is a continent populated with poor people on the front lines of climate change, where immediate adaptation is a priority and climate delay means death. India, we hear, is the grim reaper. And the purpose of COP17 is, in large part, to compel India to step back from the brink and help save Africa. India should stop being an obstructionist like the US, and should come to the rescue of Africa.
Well... some comparisons are in order.
Dale Wen: Reality Check on India and Climate Politics
Dr. Dale Jiajun Wen
Martin Khor, the Executive Director of the South Centre, recently published an article titled “Is China still a developing Country?” After laying out all the facts and numbers in per capita terms of indicators including GDP, Human Development Index, and carbon emission, etc all of which unequivalently showing China is still a developing country, he finished the article with following sentence “China's fight to retain its developing-country status is of interest to other developing countries, for they will be next, if China loses that fight.” The politics of the ongoing Durban climate negotiation seems cannot wait to confirm his prediction.
Media reports are starting to portray India as the blocker. There are headlines like “Durban climate talks 'roadmap' held up by India”, “China readies big climate offer, India mulls support”. And some NGOs are calling leadership from India. Let us have some reality check.