What Next -- Climate Watch
The Climate Convention (UNFCCC) -- A visual introduction
Doha Assessment: Doha climate talks bury international action in the desert
'Hot-air' release at Doha climate talks dispels tension
Climate Justice Advocates Slam Doha's Emerging 'Sham Of A Deal'
08 December, 2012
With terms like "sluggish" "tough-going" and "extremely sour" used to describe the tone and progress of the UN climate talks in Doha on Friday, the hope for an agreement that could actually meet the ever-escalating challenges of global warming caused by human pollution was seemingly at an all-time low.
Climate campaigners and civil society groups are convinced that the commitments being exchanged among the international delegates are not nearly enough, exposing the ongoing futility of trying to get rich nations to take responsibility for their outsized carbon footprints or increase their meager financial commitments to developing nations.
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.
Urgent letter to Connie Hedegaard from European youth and civil society
Dear Commissioner Hedegaard,
We, European youth and civil society, are writing to you in these critical final hours of the UN climate talks in Doha to demand that the EU acts now and changes its position at the UNFCCC.
We have witnessed over the past two weeks the EU’s consistent refusal to live up to its responsibilities, and we condemn this lack of progress. The EU claims to be a climate leader but it is acting as a blocker.
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
CAMPAIGNERS SAY: “REJECT THE TEXTS!”
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."
Statement of Asia Social Movements on Climate Change at the Asia Social Movements Assembly
Link to full text of statement here:
We have seen climate change related phenomena with intensity never seen before, like Hurricane Sandy, in many parts of the world in the past year.We no longer have the luxury of time as incidents of increasingly severe storms, floods, droughts, disruption of water cycles and other similar eventsare becoming the “new normal” for many countries. It is also becoming apparent that climate change is instigating more forced migration, and will createmore climate refugees. An estimated 200 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050. In 2010 alone, it was estimated that more than30 million people were forcibly displaced by environmental and weather-related disasters across Asia and this number will continue to rise. Climatechange has also been wreaking havoc on crops and farmlands, worsening the already growing food crisis and pushing even more people into hunger.
And yet, despite the increasing devastation wreaked by climate change on farmlands, livelihoods, and homes, the UN Framework Convention onClimate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations are moving backwards instead of moving closer to a global agreement that will stabilize and cut greenhousegas emissions. The premise of the climate negotiations has always been based on the principle that developed countries need to live up to theirhistorical responsibility and yet from Cancun to Durban to Qatar, negotiations have instead focused on how developed countries can escape theirprevious commitments. Now, with the current proposals on the table, not only are developed countries going to be able escape commitments bywatering obligations down to voluntary pledges but they will also be able to create more carbon markets and loopholes in order to not take any action atall. Estimates from a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have calculated that even without all the loopholes, these currentpledges will lead to an increase in the temperature of up to 5 degrees centigrade.
The politics of climate change and the global crisis
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.
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.
Equity: The next frontier in climate talks
Down to Earth Editorial:
Equity: The next frontier in climate talks
by Sunita Narain
In 1992, when the world met to discuss an agreement on climate change, equity was a simple concept: sharing the global commons -- the atmosphere in this case -- equally among all. It did not provoke much anxiety, for there were no real claimants. However, this does not mean the concept was readily accepted. A small group of industrialized countries had burnt fossil fuels for 100 years and built up enormous wealth. This club had to decide what to do to cut emissions, and it claimed all countries were equally responsible for the problem. In 1991, just as the climate convention was being finalised, a report, released by an influential Washington think tank, broke the news that its analysis showed India, China and other developing countries were equally responsible for greenhouse gases. Anil Agarwal and I rebutted this and brought in the issue of equitable access to the global commons. We also showed, beyond doubt, that the industrialised countries were singularly responsible for the increased greenhouse gases.
In 1992, it was accepted
Third World Network: News Updates from COP17 Durban
For detailed coverage of all the key discussions sessions and negotiations at COP17, Durban, the 28 (!) Third World Network News Updates are indispensable. Links to pdf versions in reversed chronological order below. For Third World Networks homepage with News Updates and Briefing papers from other negotiations sessions, go to: http://www.twnside.org.sg
Update No. 29: Movement of Technology Mechanism in Durban Outcome
by Elpidio V. Peria (21 Dec 11)
Update No. 28: Kyoto Protocol "second commitment period" remains uncertain
by Chee Yoke Ling (16 Dec 11)
Update No. 27: Decision on Green Climate Fund adopted
by Meena Raman (15 Dec 11)
Update No. 26: AWGLCA Chair transmits report for adoption despite strong protests
by Meena Raman (14 Dec 11)
Update No. 25: Major clash of paradigms in launch of new climate talks
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.
Friends of the Earth International: Diastrous “Durban Package” accelerates onset of climate catastrophe.
13 December 2011
CLIMATE: DISASTROUS “DURBAN PACKAGE” ACCELERATES ONSET OF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 13 DECEMBER 2011 – The UN climate talks in Durban were a failure and take the world a significant step back by further undermining an already flawed, inadequate multilateral system that is supposed to address the climate crisis, according to Friends of the Earth International.
Developed countries engaged in a smoke and mirrors trick of delivering rhetoric but no action, failed to commit to urgently needed deep emissions cuts, and even backtracked on past commitments to address the climate crisis, said Friends of the Earth International.
- The outcome of the Durban talks, heralded by some as a step forward, in fact amounts to:
- No progress on fair and binding action on reducing emissions
- No progress on urgently needed climate finance
- Increased likelihood of further expansion of false solutions like carbon trading
- The further locking in of economies based on polluting fossil fuels
- The further unravelling of the legally-binding international framework to deliver climate action on the basis of science and equity.
While there was resistance from developing countries to the destructive proposals on the table in Durban, the final Durban outcome amounts to:
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.
UNFCCC press release on Durban
Here's the UN press release immediately following the conclusion of the Durban COP17 negotiations. Quite a different conclusion than the many critical assessments of civil society.
Naturskyddsföreningen om Durban
Läs Naturskyddsföreningens kommentarer om Durbanmötet.
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.
Globally funded Feed-in tariffs in focus at Durban COP17
The bold, visionary idea of establishing a system of globally funded feed-in tariffs to simultaneously tackle climate change and poverty/energy access gained lots of traction during the Durban COP17. Several side events highlighted the approach with numerous researchers, civil society activists as well as government representatives pointing to the unique effectiveness of feed-in tariffs to rapidly drive massive investments in renewable energy.
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) organized a well attended side event on 2 December with the International Network for Renewable Energy (INFORSE) and Helio International. The INFORSE presentations provided a number of concrete, successful cases of renewable energy initiatives on the ground, while the SSNC presentation (by Niclas Hällström) focused on the idea of enabling local, bottom-up initiatives through global financing in line with common but differentiated responsibility.
Here' are Niclas and SSNC's powerpoint presentation on the idea of globally funded feed-in tariffs.
Climate justice policy briefs: Loopholes, pledges and the Bali Mandate
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!
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.
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.
Press release: African Group sets out key demands as talks enter final stages
COP17, Durban, South Africa - The African Group of negotiators have set out their five key demands as UN climate talks in Durban move into the high level stage of negotiations today.
The Group, which represents 54 African countries and is chaired by Mr. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are demanding:
- A multilateral agreement that respects the principles and provisions of the Convention, and matches the ambition and substance set out in the Bali Action Plan
- A second and subsequent commitment periods under the Kyoto Protocol with ambitious, science-based mitigation targets for developed country Kyoto Parties and provisional application to avoid a gap in the legally binding regime; and comparable efforts by developed country non-Kyoto Parties (United States) under the Convention, including ambitious, legally binding, economy-wide emission reduction commitments;
- Agreement on long-term sources and scale of finance commencing in 2013, including a process for determining the levels of finance necessary for implementation of the Convention in a predictable and identifiable manner;
- Full operationalization of the outcomes and institutions agreed in Cancun including the Green Climate Fund
- Agreement on a work programme on adaptation to establish an international mechanism on loss and damage from climate change for developing countries.
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.
Brev till Lena Ek från Naturskyddsföreningen och dess internationella partners
"Principen om gemensamt men olika ansvar måste sättas i förhandlingarnas centrum. De rika länderna har överlägset högst utsläpp av växthusgaser, både per capita och historiskt. Det är därför naturligt att dessa länder tar sitt fulla ansvar och kraftigt minskar sina egna utsläpp, samtidigt som de måste hjälpa fattiga länder att ställa om till fossilfritt och bekämpa fattigdomen. Det är de som gjort minst för att bidra till klimatförändringarna som drabbas värst av dem."
ETC Group Media advisory: Technology!
At stake in Durban: A climate deal for the 1% or the 99%?
Niclas funderingar inför Durban
Europa får därmed en nyckelroll. Med rätt strategi skulle EU kunna visa vägen mot en konstruktiv väg framåt – där USA och Annex-1-länder som inte tar sitt legala ansvar isoleras, medan grunden för samarbete med u-länderna, och inte minst Kina, stärks. Detta ger grund för att i senare skede ytterligare skärpa ambitionerna och regelverken (enda sättet att få USA att verkligen ändra sig är nog att stressa dem genom att de hamnar efter i omställningen mot en grön, klimatsmart ekonomi).
Vad som krävs nu, i Durban, är ett verkligt säkerställande av andra åtagandeperioden – utan att låsa fast de låga "pledges" – och ett tydligt åtagande att fullfölja Baliplanen (som ju faktist täcker 100% av världens utsläpp), dvs INGET Durbanmandat om något nytt heltäckande avtal. När Baliplanens frågor ger tillfredsställande resultat (teknologi, finansiering, osv) får man bedöma vilken legal form detta ska ha – COP-beslut eller LCA treaty eller någon mellanform.
EUs och Sveriges nuvarande linje med en starkt villkorad andra åtagandeperiod för att få med stora u-länder på något "nytt" leder endera till krasch därför att t.ex Indien och andra u-länder på goda grunder inte kan acceptera detta (och en upprepning av "scapegoating" Kina och nu också Indien) – eller, om det mot förmodan skulle tryckas igenom, bryter väg för ett nytt "single treaty" som sannolikt blir ett pledge and review system utan ambitioner eftersom USA då är med och effektivt sätter villkoren och leder ett race to the bottom, precis som man gjort sedan Köpenhamn.
Climate Justice Media Background Note for COP17, Durban
26 November 2011
For Immediate Release
DURBAN CLIMATE CONFERENCE
Media Background Note
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa, between 28 November and 9 December 2011, represents a critical moment in the international climate change negotiations.
The Conference should confirm whether the world continues with the Kyoto Protocol and its binding international emission commitments or instead rejects binding commitments and moves towards a non-binding approach that risks 'climate anarchy' with no set limits on climate pollution.
Durban is also the deadline for agreement on details of climate financing, particularly the 'Green Climate Fund' which has been the focus of intense negotiation throughout 2011.
This note provides further background on:
- Durban in the context of what the science requires and past promises.
- The importance of the Kyoto Protocol to the negotiations.
- The fault lines in the climate finance negotiations.
Call-out for 'Occupy COP17'
#OccupyCop17: Climate Justice General Assembly
Governments of the world are, for the 17th time, assembling to discuss how we react on an international scale to a changing climate. During these last 16 years a sane response to an unsustainable global culture has not been found.
Inside their assembly and inside their declarations the needs of the 99% are not being heard. Private corporations are occupying our seats in the UN climate talks and governments corrupted by corporate influence are claiming to represent our needs.They are abusing and pillaging the consensus process, once put in place to ensure even the smallest and most vulnerable had a say.
We, as a planet, have been shown we can no longer rely on the same structures that have allowed for famines, floods, hurricanes and massacres to escalate relentlessly. There is a historic responsibility, and a global necessity for action.
Vulnerable countries consider 'occupying' Durban talks
Is China still a devleoping country?
The article is written by Martin Khor, Director of the South Centre, and originally published by South Centre in SUNS #7265, 22 November 2011.
Is China still a developing country, or has it joined the ranks of the advanced developed countries?
This has become a topical question, especially after US President Barack Obama reportedly told the Chinese President Hu Jintao last week that China had to act more responsibly, now that it has "grown up."
This interesting one-to-one conversation took place at the APEC Summit in Hawaii. And when Obama met Chinese premier Wen Jiabao at the East Asia Summit hosted by ASEAN in Bali last week, he must have said something similar, in between scolding him for not allowing the Chinese currency to shoot up.
By telling China that it has become a grown-up adult, Obama meant that China should now be treated just like the US or Europe in terms of international obligations
Say no to soil carbon markets@COP 17 sign-on letter to African Ministers
Ashton: There is no plan B
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.
Time for Climate Justice: Christian Aid's Durban positions
Guardian article: World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
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.
Canada -- Terrible position ahead of Durban
Basically, the Canadian position (and that of so many other "developed" (Annex 1) countries) is a rejection of the fundamental equity principle of the climate convention itself: "Common but Differentiated Responsibility". The whole point of the Kyoto protocol is that it put higher demands on the countries with historical responsibility and capability to take the lead, while the other components of the Bali plan from 2007 include all the other emissions: the US agreeing to deliver "comparable efforts" to the Kyoto countries, and the developing countries doing their fair share enabled by appropirate finance, technology, capacity building etc.
The Bali plan thus includes 100% of global emissions. Annex 1 countries must take the lead; only then can they put legitimate demands on others (see an excellent short reflection on this by Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute). There may be a case for reconsidering the division of the world into two Annexes, but that can not be done now, with the developed countries shifting goalposts and escaping their obligations and unfulfilled promises since decades.
BASIC nod to India's stand on climate talks
The Times of India article on BASIC
BASIC nod to India's stand on climate talks
Nov 2, 2011, 01.03AM IST TNN & Agencies
By Nitin Sethi
NEW DELHI: Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan notched a victory at the BASIC talks in Beijing with China and other countries cutting across groups strongly backing India's demand for centre-staging discussions on equity, IPR and trade in UN climate change negotiations on Tuesday.
While noting that the emerging economies, along with other developing countries, had committed more to fight climate change than the rich countries, India's restored stance on climate change also found support from China and Brazil.
On the EU 2015 climate 'roadmap'
- Although the EU has changed rhetoric/strategy to now endorsing a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol (contrary to the 'single treaty' line that what was pushed under the Swedish presidency ahead of Copenhagen), it is essentially a very similar strategy: EU says it will only accept a second commitment period if there are guarantees all major economies will be included with binding commitments in a new roadmap (essentially a 'single treaty'). However, this is clearly shifting the goalposts, and includes no guarantees for adequate financing and technology for enabling developing countries to meet the huge adaptation neeeds and move to low-carbon societies. EU needs to fulfill its obligations to enter a second commitment period with ambitious targets unconditional of what other countries do. Only then can it begin to legitimately discuss other arrangements for subsequent periods – which needs to be based on clear equity principles.
- According to the AFP citation, Hedegaards says the "Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012". This is a blatant error that has been repeated innumerable times by Western journalists, politicians and even in official UNFCCC communications. The Kyoto protocol does NOT expire. Period. The first commitment period comes to and end, and should be followed by a second commitment period according to the legally binding provisions in the protocol.
- See also the arguments around the "limited scope" ("only a third of global emissions") of the Kyoto protocol in this related post. The Kyoto protocol is part of a package of mechanisms that together cover 100% of global emissions.
How to rewrite the Durban script
Another good editorial by Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi, now reflecting on the upcoming Durban negotiations.
By Sunita Narain
How to rewrite the Durban script
It’s that time of the year again. Climate change talks are heating up, with the next conference of parties scheduled in Durban in end-November. There is heat but no light. The negotiations are stuck despite the clear signs of climate change: dangerous and potentially catastrophic extreme weather events.
Not much is expected in Durban, except the usual shadow-boxing. The European Union is leading the pack of climate champions. It wants the world to fast track negotiations for a single, legally binding treaty on cutting emissions. It does not say (loudly) that its real plan is to junk the Kyoto Protocol, which demands that industrialised countries cut emissions marginally, roughly 6 per cent below the 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The agreement in this Protocol is that rich countries, major historical and current emitters, go first, creating ecological and economic space for the developing world to grow. In time, the rest would follow. To facilitate actions in the developing and emerging world, technology and funds would be committed. All this done well would lead to a real deal. But it was not to be.
CAN Durban positions
What happened in Panama?
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.
New Swedish Society for Nature Conservation report on REDD
Good new report – "New Hope for the Forest: REDD biodiversity and poverty reduction" – published by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). Now available in English as electronic download.
The report provides a clear and concise overview and framing of the key controversial issues in relation to REDD, with a number of concrete action points directed to the Swedish government. Among other things, the report shows the many traps inherent in the system, and warns against any (future) linking to the market based solutions. The report also includes relevant extracts from many of the sources that are referred to in the text, making the publication a resource in itself.
G77 Pushes USA To Be Honest
4 October 2011
G77 Pushes USA To Be Honest -- Inaction at home and at UN climate talks
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA - Today - As UN climate talks continue, developing countries redoubled efforts to build bridges to find agreement in time for the annual UN climate summit in Durban this November (CoP 17).
Jorge Arguello, Chair of the Group of 77 and Chna (G77) said: "We want to stop hearing about red lines and start hearing about what the developed world are prepared to do."
"Climate change is not the kind of problem you can just wish away. The US and others have to stop explaining why they won't take action and face the consequences of what their inaction entails." Argüello said.
Panama opening assessment
Click on the map for a hi-resolution version for viewing online or printing (comes out best in A3-format).
Cochabamba Proposals Will be Brought to Cancun
Cochabamba Proposals Will be Brought to Cancun
(October 10, 2010 - Tianjin, China) The proposals of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth have been maintained and expanded upon in the new negotiating text on climate change that emerged from the last round of negotiations in Tianjin, China.
Throughout the process in Tianjin, attempts were made to substitute the negotiating text, which contains the positions of all countries, with a text that would be limited to recognizing the principal elements of consensus for Cancun.
In some working groups, such as the one dealing with "various approaches for mitigation actions," a proposal was presented which only contained the pro-market option. Following a long debate in which the right of all countries to have their proposals reflected in the negotiating text until a consensus is reached ultimately prevailed, a new text was agreed upon. That text now includes, among various options, the position of Cochabamba against the carbon market, and a passage asserting that the rights of nature must be recognized in mitigation actions.
TWN Tianjin News Update 12 and 13
Third World Network update no 12: "'Developing countries stress on Party-driven text for Cancun".
Third World Network update no 13: "BASIC countries set out expectations for Cancun conference".
TWN Tianjin News Update 11
Third World Network update no 11: "'Parties voice concern over limited progress in Tianjin climate talks".
TWN Tianjin News Update 10
Letter to negotiators from Climate Justice Now!
Here a 2-page letter to the climate negotiators gathered in Tianjin, highlighting the key points from the climate justice now network and the Cochabamba conference that were eventually included in the formal negotiating text following the previous negotiations in Bonn, August 2010. The letter urges the negotiators to ensure these options/positions – including more stringent targets for developed countries; equitable distribution of atmospheric space; the righs of Mother Earth, and more substantial financing for developing countries –– stay in the text for further negotiation in Cancún.
Download English version here; French version here.
Tianjin Sends Out Signals of Climate Hope and Scepticism
Can the EU lead?
Civil society assessment of EU's diminishing leadership in the climate negotiations, and what it needs to do to reclaim a role as leader.
According to the assessment this includes: Trust-building with developing countries, commitment unequivocally to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, to lead by example by unilaterally increasing its emissions reduction target, and to support the establishment of a financial mechanism under the authority of and accountable to the UNFCCC (COP).
Full 2-page assessment here.
TWN Tianjin News Update 8 and 9
Third World Network update no 8: "'Long way to go on fast start finance – says development NGO".
Third World Network no 9: "Divergent views remain over Kyoto Protocol second commitment period".
Climate Action Network-Europe on Tianjin negotiations
After Tianjin, EU has work ahead for an ambitious outcome in Cancun
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – [Brussels, Tianjin - 9 October 2010] – This week in Tianjin, China, government delegates attended the last full session of climate negotiations before the 16th Conference of Parties (COP-16) to the UNFCCC  in Cancun in December, providing further clarity on what is necessary for a balanced package of decisions in Cancun.
This week, the EU put forward a proposal containing their own vision of what constitutes a balanced package in Cancun.  The EU proposal was helpful and, considering the difficult mandates the EU negotiators have from their Ministers and capitals back home, it did play a constructive role in Tianjin. Now we expect Ministers at next week’s Environment Council meeting to adopt ambitious policy positions to allow the EU to play an even more constructive role in these negotiations.
“The negotiations are at a critical juncture and while we can see a renewed efforts being made, the EU is still not putting forward positions that will help do its job to bridge the big divides that still exist on important issues. Simply identifying the issues is not enough to inspire a result,” said Ulriikka Aarnio, Senior Policy Officer for CAN Europe. 
What role for the US? A question for the rest of the world
Civil society assessment of US climate policy and arguments for why the rest of the world should reject the US led "new paradigm" of voluntary pledges and stick to the Bali Road map and the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol.
"The world therefore faces a simple question: What to do with the United States? If developed countries opt for a Copenhagen Accord-type non-binding system of voluntary pledges, with no science- and equity-based aggregate target, then they will be dangerously backsliding from a legally binding system simply to secure a commitment by the United States to do whatever it was going to do anyway – nothing more and nothing less. If this is the case, then the “basic bargain” the US offers seems a bad one."
Full three-page assessment here.