What Next -- Climate Watch

The 99 Percent Have Found Our Voice


Here below an inspired letter by John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.
Could any of us have imagined that in six short weeks, the people of this country would have found our voice? Most of you reading this have likely participated in Occupy activities in your town or city. IPS board member Barbara Ehrenreich worked with IPS interns to create a massive list of phone numbers of mayors of Occupied towns. They came up with over 400 places where people are standing up to be heard.

These are days of action.
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CAN Durban positions

CAN expectations_Durban
Short version (2 pages) of the Climate Action Network (CAN) expectations for Durban.
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The case for Global Feed-in Tariffs: SSNC Submission to Rio +20 Zero draft

Here is the submission by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation to the drafting process for the Rio +20 outcome document. The submissions presents and argues for a global system of national feed-in tariffs linked to a global fund as the most effective, visionary and practical way to simultaneously tackle climate change and development/energy access over the next 10-15 years.

For a link to all the submissions to the zero draft (countries as well as civil society), click here.
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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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Billionaires get carbon allowances to offset green tax on private jets


Corporate jets used by billionaires the Duke of Westminster and Lord
Ashcroft are among the aircraft to be allocated free "carbon
allowances" to offset the cost of a new green tax.
Corporate jet owners will be able to take advantage of free carbon
allowances, potentially selling them on for cash if they don't use. 
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What happened in Panama?

TWN Panama_18_cover_shadow
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 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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