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Mid-week Mexican Multimedia

Ay curumba!

This video was made by our Campaigns team for a hand-in of our Tearfund action on climate change from 10,000 UK supporters. We are asking Chris Huhne to listen to our concerns while he is in Mexico (if he comes back after the tuition fees vote that is!):

End of week one in Cancun: Good COP or Bad COP?

As the climate talks reach a half way point, everyone is starting to assess the negotiations and the progress that has been made.

It’s been a fairly frustrating week for Superbadger and the Tearfund team as we are seeing much more negativity that we would like. This year’s summit was being promoted as a ‘stepping stone’ for more significant progress during COP17 in South Africa next year, but so far the negotiations seem to be at a standstill, with many countries such as the US still taking the ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ approach, which is unhelpful.

Tearfund’s Head of Policy, Laura Webster, said, ‘We came into these talks hoping that the foundations for a fair global climate deal would be laid. Instead, we are at the half way point and there is still a disconnect between the urgent need to halt runaway climate change and the current pace of the negotiations.’

Let's play a little good COP, bad COP, shall we?

  • Good COP: Forestry talks have been progressing well according to Brazil’s ambassador for climate change, Sergio Serra, who hopes it will help fund safeguards to prevent further deforestation in the Amazon.
  • China have been cooperative in their domestic efforts in cutting emissions, regardless of what other countries are doing, which is fantastic for a developing country. However, they are being very secretive and not being the most constructive player in the negotiations themselves.
  • COP 16 is seeing strong leadership from Mexico, also a developing country, as they attempt to steer the negotiations through rocky waters.
  • In-between: The EU released a report on Fast Start Finance, as posted on the blog a few days ago, which outlined a proposal to inject some quick cash into a climate fund over the next few years, which is great to see. However, there are still some sticking points about where the money is coming from and going to – as a large proportion of the money is being channelled out of existing aid budgets instead of from innovative new sources. So, not bad, but also not good! However, they are speaking out positively on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which is good news.
  • Bad COP: From the first day of negotiations, Japan have been openly opposed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the first period of which was agreed upon by a number of countries back in 1997 and will end in 2012. Without a second commitment period, we could see little to no progress in cutting emissions, which would be devastating for developing countries who are hit hardest by climate change. Head over to the Superbadger Action page to badger the Japanese embassy to put pressure on Japan during these talks!
  • On Monday, Canada bagged all three Fossil of the Day ‘awards’, given out by NGOs to countries they feel have done the most to hamper international climate talks each day during the conference. Canada received these awards because after they killed a progressive climate change bill without even bothering to debate it, and failing to have any plan to meet its targets! Canada have been one of the biggest ‘blockers’ for any progress here in Cancun, so we’re hoping they will step up their game for week two, though they have said they cannot act on climate change until the US does!

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a week here at the talks, so what we really need for week two is positivity, and most of all a fair, ambitious and binding deal that will benefit developing countries and poor communities.

Tearfund also want to see more countries agreeing to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, because without it, the world could very easily see a sharp rise in global temperature towards a predicted 4 degrees above baseline, which would have devastating effects for all countries.

We are also hoping that the fact that progress may not happen during the Cancun talks, does not scupper the chances of getting a fair and adequate climate fund in place for developing countries.

Rich countries cannot continue to behave as though they are uninformed of the stark climate realities caused by of years of their industrialisation. As week two gets underway we must start to see more urgency.

‘Fast Start’…but is it a good start?

Over the next few days at the COP16 climate talks in Cancun, countries and country blocs are going to be making moves in the negotiations – these are expected to be small steps and no one is expecting anything ground breaking over the next few weeks (though we can hope and pray!). 

The first blog-worthy opening move has come from the EU – on Tuesday 30th November the EU launched a progress report on fast start finance (FSF) designed to help developing nations fight climate change and develop sustainably. Superbadger thinks this is a good start, and hopefully this will spur on other countries to make similar moves.

If only...

The report itself, though, seems a little vague on its figures. The EU has said it has channelled 2.2 million euros this year into this fast start scheme, but less than 50% of this amount is being allocated to helping developing countries adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. One thing it has made clear is that much of the money will be coming from existing aid budgets, which means that the poorest communities will actually not benefit from this scheme as much as they should. Especially since the EU is proposing that some of this money come in the form of loans rather than grants, which is not great for the poorest countries who are not in a position to pay it back.

What we need to see next is the EU pushing for a more money for adaptation and more innovative ways to bring in this climate cash, rather than pinching from the aid pot. 

However , it’s great to see the UK and EU take a leadership stance on climate finance, but we can’t be leaders if no one is following – so hopefully we’ll see more of a domino effect over the next few days and see the EU develop their proposals in the months ahead.

In short? Good but not good enough!


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.

New actions on Facebook…

The floods cover an area greater than that of England.

Hello badgers,

Attention Superbadger users, I have a flurry of action for you, over at http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger.

We saw a great campaign victory earlier this year when Haiti received debt cancellation to help rebuild after the earthquake. The same principle should apply to Pakistan now. We’ve all seen the devastating floods in Pakistan. We’ve given generously and that money is helping.

But at the same time, Pakistan’s government is sending $8 million every day out of the country again in debt repayments.

If the UK and other rich countries stopped taking the money, it could help a lot of people who’ve lost everything rebuild their lives. We badgered them to do this for Haiti, and they did. It’s time to ask again.

You can take action over on Facebook by clicking, http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger.

Thank you for all you do and enjoy the week – oh and a little heads up that I’m sending a crack squad out to the Millennium Development Goal summit in a few days time.  They will be keeping me updated from the UN and we’ll be posting their reports here as well.

Superbadger signing off…

Mr Badger Goes To Westminster

Well today was a very exciting day! SuperBadger and some of his Tearfund colleagues spent their lunchtime outside one of the most famous doors in the world – 10 Downing Street!

Along with Ben, Jay, Helen, Heather, Jack and Sarah, SuperBadger was on a mission to deliver over 10,000 campaign actions to the Prime Minister, asking him to prioritise development and climate change. Thousands of you have taken action to remind the PM that we care about the poor, and that we want our government to show leadership on tackling injustice.

Luckily, the team just about managed to avoid the rain and managed to take some pictures of the hand-in, and even made some short video clips – keep your eyes out for these, coming soon!

Tearfund staff at Number 10

It’s great to be able to take our campaigns direct to the government, and really encouraging to know that key decision makers do see and hear our petitions, and do act on them!

Keep your eyes peeled for new actions coming soon at http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger and, until next time, happy badgering!

Credit to the debtors

There’s been so much going on in recent weeks and months that it’s easy to forget that over the last 5 months, Haiti has been trying to rebuild.

But SuperBadger was delighted to hear recently that more of Haiti’s debts have been cancelled! Both the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank have cancelled large chunks of debt owed to them by Haiti and made further funding available as grants, rather than loans, to aid the recovery.

Photo: Richard Hanson/Tearfund

On 22 March, the IADB cancelled debts of $441 million owed to by Haiti. The IADB is the largest source of development financing in Latin America, and was the largest creditor to Haiti. This cancellation will clearly make a huge impact on Haiti’s ability to recover in the coming years. On top of this, the IADB have also pledged over $2 billion in grants to Haiti over the next decade!

A week later, the international community came together at the donor’s conference and pledged $5.3 billion to fund the initial phase of Haiti’s reconstruction over the next 18 months. As part of this, the World Bank cancelled Haiti’s remaining debt of $39 million.  

SuperBadger hopes these will be precedents for highly indebted countries hit by disasters in future – many of them are prone to disasters, so this is a situation that’s highly likely to happen again.

All of this is fantastic news, and SuperBadger is hopeful that Haiti’s other creditors will  follow the lead of the IADB and World Bank, to ensure that the country’s recovery and reconstruction isn’t hampered by crippling debt repayments. You might remember that back in January, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, we badgered the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Tear Up the IOU and release Haiti from their crippling debts of $890 million, as well as also urging the UK government to cancel all outstanding debts. The IMF has agreed to cancel these debts, but we still haven’t heard the details of the deal. As soon as details are released, SuperBadger will let you all know. Hopefully it will be more good news!