What Next -- Climate Watch

New Swedish Society for Nature Conservation report on REDD

new hope for the forest_lowres_shadow
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.
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Big names behind US push for geoengineering

Here's a Guardian article by John Vidal on the push for geoengineering by US based interests.

By John Vidal
Thursday 6 October 2011 07.04 EDT

Big names behind US push for geoengineering

A coalition representing the most powerful academic, military,
scientific and corporate interests has set its sights on vast potential
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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.
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20 years to…where?

Check out this great editorial by Sunita Narain, reflecting on Rio +20 and arguing for global feed-in tariffs!


By Sunita Narain
Next year, in June, world leaders will get together in the joyful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to mark 20 years of UNCED—the Earth Summit (see Down to Earth, May 15, 1992).

Unbelievably, it will be 40 years since the Stockholm conference, when the question of the environment first caught global attention. At Stockholm, developing countries—then prime minister Indira Gandhi was the only leader from this part of the world to attend the meet—were uncertain. They were just feeling their way to articulate what the environment meant for them, how their own development would need resources and how their growth could lead to pollution. Mrs Gandhi’s famous phrase, “poverty is the biggest polluter”, has been interpreted in many ways. At Rio in 1992, this set of countries, sobered, decided to put their foot down: they asserted their right to sustainable development.

This Rio+20 comes at a crucial time in global affairs. A possible double digit recession in the US, financial crisis in the Eurozone, peak oil prices, everything is provoking a rethink on the current growth model. What are the interconnections between this model, built on consumption for wealth creation, and the challenge it poses to sustainability? We know, today, an underlying cause of the financial strain is dependence on cheap loans or cheap production to induce consumption, to fuel growth. The world has not been able to design a growth model that meets the aspirations and purchasing abilities of people, indeed the needs of all. There are limits to such growth, a fast-growing world is learning. It is not possible to emulate the lifestyle of the already-industrialised without compromising the survival of the Earth. Such limits will require the world to share the Earth, so that growth can be afforded and sustainable, for all.

The world is in danger of losing its development dividend. The poor, already living on the margins of survival, are even more vulnerable with each natural disaster. The gains of development investment are now lost. So, on the one hand, the world has to reinvent the growth paradigm because it is costing growth itself. On the other hand, the world has to reinvent growth for it is costing the Earth.

What should the planetary blueprint look like? First, we need new economic indicators to measure prosperity in an inclusive and carbon-liable world. It is increasingly accepted the current method to measure economic progress in terms of gross national product does not provide the right signals for valuing growth, just and sustainable. Bhutan has adopted Gross National Happiness to indicate a way to wellbeing, outside of wealth. In 2008, responding to concerns about the inadequacy of current measures of economic performance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy set up the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. The choice of the economic measure is important, for it makes the world assess economic performance and social progress in a new light. But what are the “right” indicators, which will value the next-generation, low-carbon development paradigm? This is a key issue, still needing resolution.

Second, the world must buy into the demand for a global framework for equal rights and entitlement to global atmospheric space for all, which will, in turn, build in conditions for limits on consumption and production. The world’s atmospheric budget must be shared. Such sharing will create the right conditions for critical economic choices related to changes in consumption and production patterns. Such acceptance of limit has to be a key economic-political driver the world over. If we can’t put it in place, there will be no real incentive to move away from the current, unsustainable, economic growth model.

Third, can we transition to green energy? For it, do we have the guts to build a global feed-in tariff mechanism? It is well understood the transition to low-carbon growth will require massive investment in new renewable technologies, as also in distribution systems which reduce transmission costs and losses. The challenge is compounded: the global majority of households remain energy-deprived and energy-insecure. The world has to find energy options, affordable to all and sustainable.
It is also clear the South has the opportunity to leapfrog into new energy solutions, for it has still not invested, completely, in the fossil-based energy systems that threaten the Earth. The transition to low-carbon energy futures can be paid through a global feed-in tariff mechanism, which would pay for the differential cost of generating more expensive energy-using renewable technologies. Many countries have adopted domestic feed-in tariff regulations. Germany, where consumers are relatively wealthy, requires power utilities to pay the differential. In India, where energy insecurity and energy costs are high and consumers poor, the approach is to bundle cheaper energy with expensive energy to cut prices. These approaches will make us learn the options for the future.
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Panama opening assessment

UNFCCC negotiations – 3 October 2011

Panama – Best and Last Chance to get Negotiations Back on Track
Check out this 4-page civil society assessment explaining the key issues at stake at the Panama climate negotiation session 1-7 October 2011 – the last session before COP17 in Durban.
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Sorry for the gap...

As you will notice, there is a gap of almost of year below -- due to a technical glitch. The missing entries will, hopefully, be gradually recreated!
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New SEI report: Developing countries pledge more climate action than developed nations

SEI_Developing countries more_shadow
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.

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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.

Cancun outcomes_420pxl_shadow
Click on the map for a hi-resolution version for viewing online or printing (comes out best in A3-format).
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Rich accused of 'holding humanity hostage' - John Vidal

Cancún climate summit: Rich accused of 'holding humanity hostage'

Latin American leaders claim poorest nations imperilled by lack of
action on global warming

   * John Vidal and Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
   * guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 19.24 GMT
   * Article history

Egyptians' sun symbol in Wadi Natrun desert Egyptians form a giant sun
in the Wadi Natrun desert to highlight global warming ahead of the
climate talks. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

In the absence of Barack Obama, David Cameron and most developed
country leaders, a group of Britain's least-welcome heads of state
plans to grab centre-stage at next week's global climate summit and
accuse wealthy countries of a collective lack of ambition.

At the 194-nation summit in Cancún, Mexico, Hugo Chávez, president of
Venezuela, Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, and Bolivia's Evo
Morales, all of whom were accused by Gordon Brown of "holding the
world to ransom" at last year's political debacle at Copenhagen, plan
to charge the rich nations with imperilling the poorest people in the
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World Bank: "Carbon offsets sales have not worked"

Carbon offset sales have not worked - World Bank
A new World Bank study conducted by the Independent Evaluation Group find offset sales are not working and suggests five solutions

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UN Advisory Group on Climate Finance Report Falls Flat

November 5, 2010

CONTACTS: Ben Lilliston, IATP, 1-612-870-3416, ben@iatp.org
Janet Redman, Institute for Policy Studies, 1-508-430-0464
Ilana Solomon, ActionAid USA, 1-202-370-9927
Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth U.S., 1-202-222-0717

UN Advisory Group on Climate Finance Report Falls Flat

Recommendations Downplay Role of Public Finance, Rely Too Much on Private Finance

A new report on climate change financing options released today by a U.N. Advisory Group unwisely emphasizes carbon markets and other private finance options, while irresponsibly advocating an increased role for multilateral development banks (MDBs). Despite concluding that public sources of climate finance are available and promising, the report’s findings downplay the role that public finance can and must play in helping developing countries deal with climate change.
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John Prescott: No binding targets at Cancún - Friends of the Earth's reaction

Friends of the Earth press releaseEmbargo: For immediate release, Thursday 4 November 2010Contact: Henry Rummins, Friends of the Earth press office - 020 7566 1649JOHN PRESCOTT: NO BINDING TARGETS AT CANCUN - FRIENDS OF THE EARTH REACTIONCommenting on John Prescott's suggestion on Radio 4's the Today Programme that negotiators should ditch attempts to secure binding emissions reduction targets
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Geoengineering Moratorium at UN Ministerial in Japan Risky Climate Techno-fixes Blocked

News Release
29 October 2010

Geoengineering Moratorium at UN Ministerial in Japan
Risky Climate Techno-fixes Blocked

NAGOYA, Japan – In a landmark consensus decision, the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will close its tenth biennial meeting with a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments. “Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” stated Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group.

The agreement, reached during the ministerial portion of the two-week meeting which included 110 environment ministers, asks governments to ensure that no geoengineering activities take place until risks to the environment and biodiversity and associated social, cultural and economic impacts have been appropriately considered. The CBD secretariat was also instructed to report back on various geoengineering proposals and potential intergovernmental regulatory measures.

The unusually strong consensus decision builds on the 2008 moratorium on ocean fertilization.
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Caught! EU business lobby funding climate legislation blockers in US Senate

Caught! EU business lobby funding climate legislation blockers in US Senate
Monday, 25 October 2010 10:12

Today CAN Europe [1] released a new report [2] based on an analysis of publicly available campaign finance records, definitively proving that polluting European companies are funding climate legislation blockers in US politics. Their overseas support is all the more galling because the same companies argue that additional emissions reductions in Europe cannot be pursued until the United States takes action.

“It’s disturbing that these European polluters fund anti-climate crusaders in the US while simultaneously fighting against strong climate legislation in Europe,” said Tomas Wyns, CAN Europe Senior Policy Officer. “This newly released data proves the anecdotal rumours about European companies that have been circulating for some time.” The report was created using information that became available throughout the month of October, based on data released by the US Federal Elections Commission and accessible via the Open Secrets database [3]. CAN Europe uncovered what appears to be a clear pattern of European polluters influencing United States climate and energy policies through targeted donations to candidates who oppose action on climate change.
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Dale Wen om US WTO case in China Dialogue

Here is a comment regarding the US United Steelworkers complaint against China regarding clean tech subsidies. It was published at the China Dialogue web site:

Pointing the finger the wrong way
By Dale Jiajun Wen

October 19, 2010

America’s largest union has persuaded Obama to investigate China’s cleantech subsidies – a protectionist move that will only hinder green progress and foster climate scepticism, writes Dale Jiajun Wen.
“If China is blamed no matter what it does on climate, what better evidence is there to convince people that climate change is merely a western conspiracy to constrain the growth of developing countries?”

On September 9, the biggest union in the United States, United Steelworkers, filed a 5,800-page petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, alleging that the Chinese government has violated international trade laws by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in illegal subsidies to its green-technology producers and exporters.

The organisation asked the US government to initiate an investigation and bring this case before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – and on Friday last week (15 October), Barack Obama’s administration obliged, announcing the launch of a probe into the complaints.
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