Tag Archives: COP15

Previously, on ‘Climate Change’…

…tick-tick, tick-tick…(trying to do the ’24’ sound effect but I don’t think its coming across that well)

So, here we are in Cancun, Mexico, for this year’s international climate talks. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago we were in Copenhagen for COP15. Dubbed ‘Hopenhagen’ by some, people were confident that last year’s talks would be successful, and the outcome would be F.A.B (Fair, ambitious and binding). Hundreds of world leaders were in attendance, leading us to believe that some good would come from this.

What actually resulted was two weeks of seemingly dead air, a last minute shuffle into a meeting room, a weak, non-binding climate change agreement, and a lot of angry environmentalists. Developing countries’ hopes were dashed after such a huge build up. The consensus, though, was that it was better than nothing, and that some progress is better than none. But nowhere near good enough for the world’s poorest countries.

This year also saw ‘Climategate’, which Superbadger blogged about back in March. Climate sceptics claimed that the e-mails of Professor Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia provided proof that scientists at the university’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were manipulating and hiding data to strengthen scientific evidence of man-made global warming. Even though the scandal was proved to be unfounded, public scepticism continued to rise.

The United States, a key player for progress, was also a big talking point this year. The disappointing outcome of the US elections in November effectively ruled out the possibility of getting any climate bill through the Senate – which will make international negotiations difficult.

This year, finance is high on the agenda. Many countries are keen to commit to a fund, which would help counter and also deal with the effects of climate change. However, there are many sticking points – there are differences of opinion about which body should control this fund,  how much countries will contribute, and where this money will come from. The likely outcome of this year is that some progress will be made, but Cancun will only serve as a ‘stepping stone’ to more progress during COP17 in South Africa 2011.

The effects of climate change in southern Nepal in 2008 (Credit: Tearfund)

A fair, ambitious and binding deal is now more important than ever. Climate change is hitting the world’s poorest people now, and changing people’s lives for the worst.  The poorest have done the least to contribute to global warming, but are the first to feel its effects. Superbadger and Tearfund are pushing for real, tangible progress in these talks.

So, this year, developed countries need to step up to the plate and commit to a fair deal for everyone. In the word’s of the running joke here at these talks every year, ‘lets hope its not a cop out’.

Hasta luego, mis amigos! We’ll keep you posted.

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Weak deal leaves poor countries in limbo

Not fair. Not ambitious. Not binding. After two weeks of UN climate talks, world leaders have failed to reach the FAB deal that developing countries desperately need.

Developing countries are first and worst affected (Photo courtesy of Tearfund)

Tearfund‘s policy experts have analysed the outcomes so far. Here’s their take:

After two weeks of negotiations United Nations climate talks have failed to reach the ambitious legally binding deal that developing countries desperately needed. It is not yet clear whether a weak US-led compromise text will be accepted by some countries, notably the EU and the world’s poorest countries.

‘A small group of developed countries and advanced developing countries, such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa have cobbled together a weak political declaration on climate change that will fail to cut emissions significantly or provide enough money for developing nations to adapt and develop sustainably.

‘Instead they have cobbled together a flimsy declaration to plaster over the cracks, which is not worth the paper it is written on. This is not a comprehensive deal, and it is not a deal for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. Many will wonder if they have been sold down the river,’ said Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy, Paul Cook.

‘The human cost of delay has failed to register with the developed world. They have bought themselves time while millions of people facing starvation, disaster and homelessness continue to pay the price. The longer we postpone agreeing a full legal outcome the more we condemn many people to the devastation of lives and livelihoods.’

The loose agreement contains a vague commitment to both keeping temperature rise below two degrees and targets for emissions cuts for developed countries, and little concrete in the way of finance for poor countries.  The non-binding declaration promises short-term finance for developing countries of $30billion up to 2012 and $100billion by 2020, but it is not clear that this money will be new, additional or public.

Tearfund believes that finance for adaptation and mitigation to help poor countries fight climate change and adapt to its consequences needs to be at least $200billion a year by 2020 and developed countries must cut their emissions by 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Tearfund is wary of the fact that some leaders will want to claim that this is a two degree deal, but warns that the low ambition on reducing emissions means that we are heading for a three or four degree world.

‘Poor countries should be outraged; they rightly expected rich nations to play a leadership role in the negotiations. Instead they ignored the science and looked after their own national interests. Following a fortnight of negotiations and a packed year of climate meetings, don’t be fooled – there is still nothing binding and nothing fair in place.’

If you want more informtation, click here.

Talks in crisis

Negotiations continue… perhaps into the night.

Here’s the latest from Tearfund‘s Policy Advisor Sara Shaw:

These talks are in deep crisis. Weak political declarations being discussed by Heads of Government are barely worth the paper they are written on. There is an atmosphere of confusion and rumours of Heads of Government staying on to try and rescue the situation. The question is, will any deal that is brought forward in the ultimate hours be fair, ambitious and binding? This seems unlikely. Poor countries need a deal that keeps global temperature rise as far below two degrees as possible and delivers at least $200 billion a year of new and additional public finance to help them adapt and develop sustainably. This does not appear to be on the cards at this stage. Yet, in these last hours, leaders must rise above political self interest and seek to do something historic for the good of the planet and its people.’

Superbadger will endeavour to report the latest on the talks over the next few hours, and the outcome when it’s announced.

Stay tuned.

Busy Bella Centre

Judith – one of Tearfund’s campaigners in Copenhagen for the UN climate talks shares her reflections after visiting the conference centre:

“The Bella Conference centre, where the Copenhagen climate talks are taking place, felt a bit like a combination of an international airport plus a recent Baptist Assembly – but was 5-10 times bigger!

It was good to be there after the long queue for registration to meet Tearfund staff in person, and to spend time praying together.

As in the rest of Copenhagen, there were so many symbolic globes, each decorated differently. We stood by the globe in the conference centre to pray. We prayed for the climate talks, for all those tirelessly negotiating to get a deal, and for the poorest and most vulnerable people suffering most from climate change.

On Sunday the Bella centre closed – I hope the delegates are able to rest so that they will be able to agree a strong and fair deal this week that protects poor people.”

Judith and the rest of the campaigners are now on their way home. More updates from badger soon!

Climate justice in Copenhagen?

My name is Zoë, and I am one of the Tearfund campaigners in Copenhagen for the COP15 Climate Summit with SuperBadger.

Marching through the streets of Copenhagen with thousands of people from all over the world, representing hundreds of organisations, all calling for climate justice. It couldn’t get more exciting than that, could it? We are hoping and praying for a fair, ambitious and binding deal which will protect the poorest, as our Tearfund placards say. We marched with two members of Tear Netherlands, met a man from Mission East (a Danish Christian NGO), and also two more people from 24/7 Prayer. We prayed this morning that God would cause us to bump into the right people at the right time, and it certainly happened!

The march today was my second one in a week, as I took part in The Wave last Saturday in London. There were many more bicycles today in Copenhagen, and some very inventive and creative costumes and placards.

We have all enjoyed Danish pastries and the driverless metro trains. The Danish people we have met have been very friendly, hospitable and welcoming.

It is so exciting to be here, where there is the potential for history to be made, if world leaders manage to seal a strong and fair deal.

That’s all for now folks. Keep praying!

Dear EU, Stop playing up and start stepping up!

The hallowed halls of the Bella Centre, Copenhagen see all kinds of goings on. Perhaps one of the most loved (or feared if you find yourself on the receieving end of it) is the ‘Fossil of the Day’ award. This is awarded daily by civil society  to the country or group  who have done the most to frustrate or derail the climate talks here. 

Yesterday saw the EU awarded 3rd place for failing to announce a more ambitious emissions reduction target, failing to put money on the table for long-term finance and announcing a load of short-term climate financing that is largely repackaged aid money.

The EU's flag and Fossil of the Day award, all together now 'boo...'

Canada receive 2nd and 1st place for several reasonds including its spectacular claim that it’s emissions reduction target of -3% was in fact based on the science! The IPCC calls for emissions reductions of 25%-40%.

Superbadger is outraged by these lacklustre performances. He felt compelled to point out to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso a couple of things that he could do that would help to right the EU’s wrongs. Please badger him now!

Here come the climate heroes!

It’s the 5th day of climate talks and SuperBadger got some beauty sleep last night to make sure he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today ready to welcome some very important people to Copenhagen – Tearfund’s Climate Campaigners!     

The welcome flags are flying (although of course the campaigners aren't)

  This elite team of campaigners have travelled through the night across 5 countries to bring their message loud and clear  ‘Climate Justice Now! Protect the Poorest!’. They will be blogging here over the next few days so keep an eye out for some exclusive views from the campaigning frontline.     

Getting ready for their arrival, Superbadger got thinking about other people coming to Copenhagen. Well over 100 Presidents and Prime Ministers will arrive next week but UK Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Miliband is already here (look out for an opportunity to badger him in the next week or so). International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander is also coming. In fact, he sent a special message to Superbadgers followers all about it:       

On Saturday thousands of Tearfund supporters came together in London, Glasgow and Belfast to make their voices heard as part of The Wave demonstrations. From Superbadger to those who cycled all the way across the country – thank you! Your commitment and your concern is vital as the Copenhagen talks get underway, European Development Ministers, including myself, have now also committed to attend Copenhagen next week to specifically discuss the issue of the impact of climate change on the world’s poorest people. I wanted to let you know why I will be going and what will be on my mind.    

Along with the Prime Minister, my colleague Ed Miliband, and the rest of the government – we are hearing the clear voice of people around this country, and around the world, who want us to fight for an ambitious deal that works for the world’s poorest people.      

 When I go to that meeting, I will be thinking of what I have seen for myself of the impact that climate change is having in the developing world. In Kenya I met a man who told me that the seasons he remembered as a child have gone. In Bangladesh I met families who have had their homes swept away by the rising waters. In Ethiopia, I met women who had been forced by drought to walk further each day to collect water until they were walking 5 hours simply to drink from a watering hole shared by people and animals alike.      

 These experiences have convinced me that one of the most critical issues for our discussions should be the additional financial support that the developed world must provide for poor countries, to help them cope with climate change. Climate change threatens to make poverty the future for millions. I believe that getting the right global deal on carbon and climate finance, could be more vital to tackling global poverty than even the Gleneagles summit of 2005.   

This letter shows that campaigning works! It’s great to hear the UK government talking about the importance of the deal at Copenhagen for poor people. After all, isn’t it what we’ve been badgering them about all year? SuperBadger is feeling inspired to make sure that Mr Alexander follows through on his word so if you haven’t yet please take the latest action here.

We wouldn’t want the UK government accidentally negotiating for anything less than what poor communities themselves are calling for would we? Let’s make sure that Mr Alexander knows that this means $200 billion of climate financing annually by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. This must be new and additional public funding, not aid repackaged as climate finance. Get badgering!