Tag Archives: UN climate talks

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.

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COP16 Personal Ads

Found in this morning’s daily NGO newsletter:

ANNEX ONE COUNTRY SEEKING TREATY FOR NO-STRINGS ATTACHED HOLIDAY ROMANCE IN MEXICO.


Currently struggling with a 13-year relationship, just looking for a good time in the Cancun sun.
Likes: Excellent food, movies, comic books, robots and big industry.
Dislikes: Commitment, cooperation, compliance, science and targets.

If interested, please email: scared_of_commitment@awg.kp

Dispensing with the technical terms, this ad is a sarcastic jab at Japan, who today announced that they would reject a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, put in place 13 years ago in 1997, which expires in 2012. If this is not confirmed, there is a chance that there may be a period without any global commitment to cut emissions – which would be catastrophic for the least developed countries and small island states, and of course, eventually the rest of the world.

Later on a reply was posted on the CAN mailing list:

Dear Annex I Country,

I read your ad with much interest – I am currently holidaying in Cancun and would be open to a no-strings attached romance. But you should also know that I have been, for a few years now, looking for a long term commitment. I am at a (tipping) point in my life where I have a strong desire for a reliable companion to fill a (gigatonne) gap in my heart.
Likes: beach, forests, humanitarian work, science, strong ambitious rich men
Dislikes: all-inclusive hotels (such a model of overconsumption – ugh!), long plane rides, oil lobbyists, carbon markets

Yours truly,

Terra Treaty

P.S Your email address scared_of_commitment@awg.kp does not work – GO FIGURE!

Let’s hope this gets some attention!

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.

“Not by doing what we can get away with…”

Increased security. Hours of speeches. Frantic negotiations. This can only mean world leaders have arrived in Copenhagen!

Gordon Brown giving his speech at Copenhagen (Photo via Flickr)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has delivered his speech at the climate talks. Here’s Tearfund’s reaction:

‘We welcome the Prime Minister’s persistence in pushing for developed countries to ‘address the gaping sorrows of the left out millions in Africa, the torment of our island states, the fear gripping the planet’s most vulnerable communities. Not by doing what we can get away with but by demanding the most of ourselves.’

‘We sincerely hope this high level political will has a domino effect of raised ambition from other developed countries’, said Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy Paul Cook.

With two full negotiating days left the aid agency is urging the EU to go further and play a leadership role and drive industrialised nations’ ambition towards reaching agreement on three key areas: tough emissions reduction targets, generous climate finance (additional to current aid commitments) and securing a legally binding deal by Friday.

‘The sums of money for climate finance and emissions reductions targets being tabled are currently inadequate. The welter of scientific evidence demands far greater political will and we must do everything we can to prevent a crisis of leadership from rich nations. At this stage in the talks whilst the Prime Minister still needs to go further in his targets, his acknowledgement of the urgency is definitely a positive step in the right direction. Cook concluded.’

Superbadger will be listening to see what other world leaders have to say. The targets announced so far are not ambitious enough, rich countries must ramp up their efforts – let’s continue to pray for a F.A.B deal to be agreed.

Take action today at http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger/index.php

Lead the way Prime Minister

NEW SUPERBADGER ACTION

Time is ticking.

With just a few days of climate negotiations remaining we need to see much more progress. There’s no time for stalling.

As world leaders knuckle-down in the final stages of the climate talks in Copenhagen, they must show leadership and use their influence to bring climate justice.

This is vital if we’re to get a fair, ambitious and binding deal that protects the poorest and most vulnerable people hit hardest by climate change.

Who better to push for this than world leaders, including our prime minister, Gordon Brown. They have the power to drive the negotiations forward but this requires leadership.

Be our climate leader!

The talks are progressing far too slowly and what’s on the table falls far short of what’s scientifically needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. Prime Minister Gordon Brown must show leadership and political will to seal a climate deal that prevents these impacts.

With the burden of climate change on his shoulders, Gordon Brown must take the lead in Copenhagen to persuade other rich nations to seal a deal that is…

F air     A mbitious      B inding

You know it by now! Campaign for it. It’s so easy.

Badger Gordon to show global leadership in Copenhagen

Lots of Danish love,

Superbadger

Paws for progress

With only a few days left until the climate talks come to a close, badger thought it was time to paws to update you on progress at the talks…

1. Emissions cuts

What we want:  at least 40 per cent emissions cuts on 1990 levels by 2020.

Progress so far:  almost no progress has been made – targets remain very weak for developed countries. This situation has not been helped by the EU’s failure to make an early move to an at least 30% target – which could have triggered better targets from others (though even these would not be adequate). Currently pledges are only around 8-12% cuts on 1990 levels by 2020, and once some of the sneaky loopholes on counting forests, and selling ‘hot air’ are taken into account these cuts could amount to almost zero. Work goes on to try to strengthen commitments by developed countries, and to close loopholes…

 2. Climate finance to help poor countries adapt to the changing climate and develop sustainably

What we want:  at least £200 billion per year by 2020. This finance must be additional to existing aid commitments.

Progress so far:  Offers from rich countries fall far short of the £200 billion needed by 2020. There is growing support among EU countries for this finance to be additional to aid commitments. The EU has agreed to provide some short term funding (up to 2012) but this money is not new and additional. We need rich nations to champion finance and make offers that are additional to existing aid commitments. If there’s no agreement on long term climate finance there will be no fair deal in Copenhagen.

Superbadger, and many other NGO participants, can’t access the climate talks today. As you’ll see from the photo, he’s found somewhere nice to work with his colleague Emily – look out for not one but two SuperBadger actions today here!