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What Next -- Climate Watch

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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Bill McKibben: "We won. You won" On the Keystone XL pipline victory

Below an inspiring letter from Bill McKibben of 350.org.
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Dear Friends,

We won. You won.

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that we’ve been fighting for months has been effectively killed. The President didn’t outright reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit, but a few minutes ago he sent the pipeline back for a thorough re-review that will delay it til 2013. Most analysts agree: the pipeline will never get built.
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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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Canada -- Terrible position ahead of Durban

Below is an official statement from Canada ahead of the Durban climate negotiations. As rightly acknowledged, this position will cause "turbulence" in the coming weeks. The rejection of taking on a second commitment period target under the Kyoto protocol is an act against Canada's legal obligations, and an outright provocation to developing countries.

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.
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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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Feed-in Tariffs Best to Deal with Climate Change Says IPCC Working Group III on Renewables

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Here below is a compilation of quotes from IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation speaking in favour of feed-in tariffs as the best way to stimulate investments in renewable energy, thus further strengthening the arguments for a Global system of national Feed-in Tariffs finance by a global climate fund.
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ETC Group's Submission to Rio+20: Tackling Technology

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Here is ETC Group's submission to the Rio+20 Zero Draft with a focus on technology assessment, geoengineering and small-scale peasant-led agriculture. Short summary below and link to the full 22-page submission here.

The most dramatic technological transformation in history – involving information technologies, biotechnologies and engineering – has occurred since the first Rio Earth Summit in 1992; during the same period, however, governments have systematically downsized or eliminated their capacity to understand science and monitor technologies. While technology has thus far played an extraordinarily prominent role in preparatory documents for Rio+20, technology’s potential contribution to sustainable development and/or new Green Economies cannot be realized as long as the world lacks trusted and transparent mechanisms -- at global, regional and national levels -- for technology evaluation. The absence of such mechanisms incites distrust and invites disaster.
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BASIC nod to India's stand on climate talks

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The Times of India article on BASIC
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-02/pollution/30349503_1_g77-rich-countries-basic-meeting

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.
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On the EU 2015 climate 'roadmap'

Below an AFP account of the EU 2015 climat 'roadmap'. When reading it, do note the following:

  • 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. 
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How to rewrite the Durban script

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Another good editorial by Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi, now reflecting on the upcoming Durban negotiations.

http://www.cseindia.org/content/how-rewrite-durban-script


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.
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"Mirrors on the Horizon" -- on Bolivia and development


Attached is a very interesting reflection on the current situation in Boliva by Elizabeth Peredo – in particular in relation to the recent conflict around the proposed road construction through TIPNIS national park. Below her own words introducing the reflection piece:


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"Today the Bolivian Plurinational Assembly has approved a new Law emerged from the national march and mobilization for protecting the TIPNIS from the construction of the big road. Hopefully, at the same time of solving peacefully the conflict, this will open a national democratic debate on development, on the kind of country we want to build, on the indigenous rights and on the political power dynamic.
I include [here] an article written some weeks ago (already translated into english) that hope will contribute to understand some tensions and challenges we are living in our country and specially the need to get an autocritical attitude to face this crisis."

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A few extracts:

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The 99 Percent Have Found Our Voice


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Here below an inspired letter by John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.
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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

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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

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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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