What Next -- Climate Watch

Niclas funderingar inför Durban

Ur min horisont är ser det rätt mörkt ut – framför allt USA och Japan, Ryssland och Canada beter sig fullständigt oansvarigt, och har den absolut största skulden. Deras positioner är orättfärdiga och ytterst provocerande för alla andra.

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.
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Climate Justice Media Background Note for COP17, Durban

26 November 2011
For Immediate Release
Alex Rafalowicz

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.
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Call-out for 'Occupy COP17'

Below is the Call-out for a General Assembly from www.occupycop17.org


#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.
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Vulnerable countries consider 'occupying' Durban talks

Diplomats from some developing countries may "occupy" the UN
climate negotiations that begin on Monday in Durban by staging
sit-ins and boycotts over the lack of urgency in the talks.

See full article in The Guardian.
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Is China still a devleoping country?

Below an article that provides perspectives on one of the most critical and contested issues in connection to the climate negotiations: that of China's role and responsibility. See also material from the What Next seminar China's Action on Climate Change and Possibilities for EU-China Collaboration (scroll down to 6 September).
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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
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Say no to soil carbon markets@COP 17 sign-on letter to African Ministers

There's increasing heat around the issue of soil sequestration in agriculture linked to off-set carbon trading markets (see also this post). Below a link to a sing-on letter directed to African Ministers that lays out the arguments against carbon trading in soil sequestration.

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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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Caravan of Hope: From Burundi to Durban

Did you know 300 African climate justice activists are travelling through the continent for the Climate talks in Durban? And stopping along the way to engage with politicians, media and the public in every county they pass. Check out this inspiring story from the road – published in The Guardian.

And check out the homepage of the organizers: the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) here.
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EU carbon permit prices could crash to 3 euros next year, says UBS

Swiss investment bank UBS concludes that the carbon markets are failing – both in terms of investments as well as having any meaningful contribution to climate and environment. Quotes below from report market analysts Point Carbon. “By 2025, the ETS will have cost consumers 210 billion euros. Had this amount been used in a targeted approach to replace EU’s dirtiest plants, emissions
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Naomi Klein: Capitalism vs. the Climate

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Here is a new article by Naomi Klein on Climate Change, published in The Nation on 9 November. Well worth reading!

Article in plain, easy-to-read pdf-format here.

Commentary on the article in Swedish from the magazine Effekt here.
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Time for Climate Justice: Christian Aid's Durban positions

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

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.
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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