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What Next -- Climate Watch

The politics of climate change and the global crisis

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Check out this new book by Praful Bidwai, who's been associated with the What Next initiative since the very beginning. The book came out just before the Durban meeting and discusses, among other things, climate change in both an international equity context as well as the Indian domestic equity context. Below a brief about the book from the Transnational Institute website.
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Climate justice policy briefs: Loopholes, pledges and the Bali Mandate

Below three One-page Climate Justice Policy Briefs that highlights key issues at stake in Durban:

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A comparison of pledges: Who plans to Act?

There is a serious lack of emissions reductions ambitions by the rich countries. There has so far been NO discussion or negotiation in Durban about increasing ambitions form the paltry Copenhagen "pledges" – which amounts to only 13-18% reductions by the rich, Annex 1 countries, compared to 1990. The Policy Brief "A comparison of pledges: who plans to act?" summarizes the Stockholm Environment Institute overview study from June 2011 which shows that four independent studies come to the same conclusions: Developing countries have committed to MORE reductions than the rich countries!

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Targets could disappear into loopholes

On top of these shamefully low pledges by the Annex 1 countries, these countries refuse to remove the current loopholes from excess allocations to the former Eastern European countries ("hot air"), disingenuous accounting of forests, and double counting of off-sets. Research shows that all of the current Annex 1 pledges could be covered by loopholes, negating any pressure to really reduce emissions -- and possibly even allowing for net increase of emissions by the rich countries.

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Building on the Bali Mandate
The controversy about whether to allow a new Durban Mandate or insist on the fulfillment of the current Bali Mandate through the Bali Action Plan constitute a fundamental crossroads.. At the core, this controversy is about the very nature of the climate regime: whether to open up for a voluntary "pledge and review" system with less clear equity concerns, or to keep a principled, top-down, binding approach with clear differentiation between developing and developed countries.


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New report: Reclaiming Power -- An energy model for people and the planet

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Check out this new report speaking in favour of a system of globally funded feed-in tariffs to promote energy sovereignty and community empowerment in developing countries while simultaneously redirecting investments to fossil-free, renewable energy as a way of tackling climate change in a bold, transformative manner. The 16-page report is produced by Friends of the Earth England, North Ireland and Wales in collaboration with What Next Forum, and was released during COP17 in Durban.

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At stake in Durban: A climate deal for the 1% or the 99%?

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Crucial read -- a critical assessment of what's at stake in Durban and what has led us here.
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Ashton: There is no plan B

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Here's an op-ed/commentary from UK government representative, published in The Guardian 14 November 2011. Note the support for the Kyoto protocol as a principle, but also the way a Kyoto second commitment period is made conditional on agreement on a new treaty. This is however much less articulated here compared to the later speech by the UK Minister of Environment Chris Huhne on 24 November.

Some notable quotes from the piece below. Full article here.
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Time for Climate Justice: Christian Aid's Durban positions

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Here is a six-page Durban position paper from Christian Aid -- Time for Climate Justice. Also, check out their new report Low-carbon Africa: Leapfrogging to a green future
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The unfrackable case against carbon credits from coal fired-power plants

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Off-set carbon credits from coal-fired power plants -- doesn't that sound like nuts to begin with? Well, obviously not to everyone, as such offset credits are currently allowed within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under UNFCCC. However, recent studies have delivered some serious blows to the methodologies used. Check out this report in Payal Parekh's blog that refers to an SEI study showing inflated credits by 71%, and the CDM Methodology Panel concluding 51-62% overestimation of greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants in the CDM pipeline.
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Guardian article: World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

Here is a must-read article from the Guardian, referencing Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, who concludes that the world is getting locked into a scenario where, within five years, it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change. There needs to be a dramatic transformation of our energy systems, and it needs to begin immediately, so that further "locking-in" of destructive fossil fuels are avoided.

The analysis thus speaks in favor of the idea for a global investment programme -- a "Marshall plan" -- for a Global system of national Feed-in Tariffs financed by a global climate fund that an increasing number of organizations are calling for.

Link to full article here.

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A compilation of material on Climate Justice

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This compilation (available as pdf) includes 13 climate justice briefs and a 7-page document, originally produced for the World Social Forum 2011, with a narrative of the the politics on climate change – including exposure of the Copenhagen and Cancún failures – as well as elaboration of climate justice principles and the need for major popular mobilization. The material was developed through collaboration among many climate justice oriented organizations and provides a valuable departure point for looking ahead towards the Durban negotiations.
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Soil carbon and carbon trading -- controversy heating up!

One of the major controversies in Durban will be the issue of soil sequestration in relation to carbon markets. The World Bank is heavily promoting the idea of linking agricultural soil sequestration to off-set carbon markets under the banner of 'climate smart agriculture'. It sees the Durban negotiations as an opportunity to open up for such a development by getting agriculture back in the texts.

An increasing number of organizations are however mobilizing against this, on the grounds of environmental integrity and climate justice. They argue that off-sets effectively opens up for increased emissions, as permanence (what happens with the carbon stored in the soils over time?), additionally (how can one know the carbon would't have been stored in the soils in any case due to e.g .government action or civil society and community efforts?), and inherent difficulties in measuring soil carbon makes the whole set-up extremely risky.

In addition, the economics is shaky, with farmers projected to only earn one or a few dollars a year, while private interests in the north gets cheap carbon credits to avoid and delay own actions to cut emissions.

At the spotlight is the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project, run by the Swedish NGO Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC)/Kooperation utan gränser.
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What happened in Panama?

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What happened at the climate talks in Panama -- the last negotiation session before COP17 in Durban 28 Nov -9 Dec 2011? Check out the Third World Network detailed reports from the negotiations through their 18 (!) TWN Panama News Updates. Downloadable as PDF-documents from the TWN website.
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New SEI report: Developing countries pledge more climate action than developed nations

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Check out this new report "Comparison of Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 pledges under the Cancun Agreements" from Stockholm Environment Insitute (SEI) concluding that developing countries are pledging more climate action than developed countries. The study was done by Pete Erickson and Sivan Kartha, SEI, and presented at the Bonn negotiations in June 2011.

Here is a link to the SEI webpage with a summary of the report.

You can read an Oxfam press release based on the SEI analysis here.

You can also watch a video (at the UNFCCC website) from a South Centre press conference at the Bonn negotiations with Sivan Kartha presenting the report.

http://sei-international.org/news-and-media/2022
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Cancún outcomes

Here is a summary of the key outcomes of COP 16 in Cancún. Positive outcomes are in green, negative outcomes are in red, and neutral/ambivalent outcomes are in grey. So, according to this mind map one could summarize the Cancun meeting as around 85% bad and 15% good. However, some of the bad outcomes are very significant, particularly the move towards a paradigm shift of pledge & review rather than the clear, legally binding principles of the Kyoto Protocol.

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Click on the map for a hi-resolution version for viewing online or printing (comes out best in A3-format).
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"A Challenge for the U.S. to match China's efforts to address Climate Change"

Here is a recent letter send to Todd Stern, US Special envoy on climate change, from a number of Chinese academics and civil society organisations, arguing that the US must stop using China as an excuse for inaction, and showing that the Chinese efforts on climate change are more serious and stringent those of the US, while China still is a developing country in many respects. See also this fact sheet
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Comparison between China and the US

Here is an interesting table comparing the US and China on a number of issues – a quite embarrassing reading for the US. Issued as fact sheet to accompany a letter to the US delegation by a number of Chinese civil society organisations.
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Inspiring and visionary – the case for global feed-in tariffs!

New SSNC publication! 'A Green Energy Revolution for Climate and Development – Visions and Arguments: A compilation of material' (approximately 10 MB)A compilation of material speaking in favour of a bold public investment approach – a 'Global Marshall plan' – to simultaneously tackle climate change and poverty/development through a global system of feed-in tariffs
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Bonn III loopholes assessment

A major focus of the 'Bonn III' UNFCCC negotiations 2-6 August was the huge loopholes for the rich (Annex 1) countries. Conservative assessments by e.g. the Stockholm Environment Institute show that current rules (loopholes) in combination with the inadequate pledges for emissions reductions could allow the rich countries to INCREASE their emissions by 9% by 2020. There is an urgent need to quickly
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En energirevolution för klimat och utveckling – globala feed-in tariffer!

Två-sidigt faktablad på svenska som presenterar idén om ett globalt system med garantipriser (feed-in tariffer) för förnyelsebar energi som en lösning för både klimat- och fattigdoms/utvecklingskrisen.Ladda ner här – och kopiera och sprid!
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