Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change / Cambio Climático / Mudanças Climáticas’

The Guardian: Antarctic ice melting at record rate, study shows

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Antarctic ice melting at record rate, study shows
The evidence comes from a 364-metre ice core containing a record of freezing and melting over the previous millennium

Summer ice is melting at a faster rate in the Antarctic peninsula than at any time in the last 1,000 years, a new study has shown. Photograph: Nasa/AFP/Getty Images

Summer ice is melting at a faster rate in the Antarctic peninsula than at any time in the last 1,000 years, a new study has shown. Photograph: Nasa/AFP/Getty Images

Read entire article at: The Guardian

COP-18: Pronunciamento de Sônia Guajajara na Coletiva de Imprensa em Doha, no Qatar

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

COP-18: Pronunciamento de Sônia Guajajara na Coletiva de Imprensa em Doha, no Qatar


Falar de direitos indígenas, direitos territoriais em tempos que a prioridade é o crescimento econômico por meio do avanço tecnológico e do avanço das produções, torna-se uma competição injusta e desleal. Não digo que somos contra o desenvolvimento do país, mas ele não pode crescer deixando seus filhos pra trás nem tão pouco desconsiderar os Direitos existentes.

O Brasil tem se apresentado normalmente como um país líder e economicamente relevante no contexto mundial, que avançou supostamente na implementação de políticas de inclusão social, por tanto na superação da pobreza e das desigualdades, lamentavelmente na realidade não é isso, especialmente com relação à proteção e promoção dos direitos dos povos e comunidades indígenas.

O modelo de desenvolvimento adotado pelo Brasil tornou-se irreversível, implicando na priorização do crescimento do país baseado no processo de reprimarização da economia, das comodities provenientes da industria extrativa, sobretudo mineral, e do agronegócio. O modelo de desenvolvimento do Brasil baseia-se claramente na industria extrativa agroexportadora. Esse modelo requer necessariamente da ampliação de infraestruturas, ou seja, da implantação de grandes empreendimentos, que inevitavelmente impactam terras e territórios, a vida socioeconômica, física, cultural e espiritual dos povos indígenas e de outras populações locais.

Em função desse modelo, o governo tem sido omisso e conivente com a ofensiva aos direitos indígenas praticados por meio de medidas administrativas, legislativas e jurídicas antiindígenas nos distintos poderes do Estado. Há uma notória pactuação com setores políticos e econômicos contrários aos direitos indígenas, interessados nos territórios indígenas e suas riquezas (minerais, hídricas, florestais, biodiversidade), em troca de apoio à sustentabilidade e governança requerida pelo Executivo.

Como as leis antiindígenas que estão sendo defendidas:

PEC 215/00. Esta PEC tem o propósito de transferir para o Congresso Nacional a competência de aprovar a demarcação das terras indígenas, criação de unidades de conservação e titulação de terras quilombolas, que é de responsabilidade do poder executivo, por meio da FUNAI, do IBAMA e da Fundação Cultural Palmares, respectivamente. A aprovação da PEC 215 – assim como da PEC 038/ 99, em trâmite no Senado, põem em risco as terras indígenas já demarcadas e inviabiliza toda e qualquer possível demarcação futura. O risco é grande uma vez que o Congresso Nacional é composto, na sua maioria, por representantes de setores econômicos poderosos patrocinadores do modelo de desenvolvimento em curso.

Projeto de Mineração. A bancada da mineração, tem o propósito de aprovar, o Projeto de Lei 1610/96 que trata da exploração mineral em terras indígenas. O texto do relator, ignora totalmente salvaguardas de proteção da integridade territorial, social, cultural e espiritual dos povos indígenas, desburocratiza a autorização da pesquisa e lavra mineral em terras indígenas, com fartas facilidades e condições que permitem o lucro fácil e avolumado das empresas envolvidas. Pouco contato, ao submeter o seu destino aos princípios da segurança nacional; relativiza ou afasta de forma ridícula a participação do Ministério Público Federal do seu papel de proteger os direitos indígenas; enterra a autonomia dos povos indígenas, ao submeter a sua decisão de não querer mineração à deliberação de uma comissão governamental deliberativa que deverá dizer qual é a melhor proposta para as comunidades, ressuscitando dessa forma o indigenismo tutelar, paternalista e autoritário. Enfim, minimiza o alcance do direito de consulta estabelecido pela Constituição Federal e a Convenção 169 da OIT;

Medidas administrativas e jurídicas contrárias aos direitos indígenas.

O Governo Federal tem publicado nos últimos dois anos uma série de Decretos e Portarias contrários aos Direitos indígenas, como:

Portaria 2498/2011 que objetiva a participação dos entes federados (Estados e municípios) no processo de identificação e delimitação de terras indígenas; ao editar esta medida, o governo ignorou o Decreto 1775/96 que institui os procedimentos de demarcação das terras indígenas e que já garante o direito do contraditório alegado para a criação desta Portaria.

Portaria 419/2011, que regulamenta a atuação do órgão indigenista, a Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), em prazo irrisório, nos processos de licenciamento ambiental, para facilitar a implantação de empreendimentos do Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento – PAC (hidrelétricas, mineração, portos, hidrovias, rodovias, linhas de transmissão etc.) nos territórios indígenas.

Portaria 303/2012. Esta Portaria, busca estender para todas as terras indígenas as condicionantes decididas pelo Supremo Tribunal Federal na Ação Judicial contra a Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol (Petição 3.888-Roraima/STF). O Governo editou a Portaria mesmo sabendo que a decisão do STF sobre os embargos declaratórios da Raposa Serra do Sol ainda não transitou em julgado e estas condicionantes podem sofrer modificações ou até mesmo serem afastadas pela Suprema Corte. A Portaria afirma que as terras indígenas podem ser ocupadas por unidades, postos e demais intervenções militares, malhas viárias, empreendimentos hidrelétricos e minerais de cunho estratégico, sem consulta aos povos e comunidades indígenas e à FUNAI; determina a revisão das demarcações em curso ou já demarcadas que não estiverem de acordo com o que o STF decidiu para o caso da Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol; ataca a autonomia dos povos indígenas sobre os seus territórios; limita e relativiza o direito dos povos indígenas sobre o usufruto exclusivo das riquezas naturais existentes nas terras indígenas assegurado pela Constituição Federal; transfere para o Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade o controle de terras indígenas, sobre as quais indevida e ilegalmente foram sobrepostas Unidades de Conservação; e cria problemas para a revisão de limites de terras indígenas demarcadas, que não observaram integralmente o direito indígena sobre a ocupação tradicional.

Todas estas medidas, contrário ao que alega o governo, têm criado um clima de apreensão e tensionamento que agrava a insegurança jurídica e social já instalada há décadas, aumento de conflitos agrários entre indígenas e agricultores, aumento da exploração ilegal, exatamente em razão da morosidade do Estado em reconhecer, demarcar e proteger as terras e territórios dos povos indígenas.

Casos atuais de violências e violações de direitos:

Recentemente dia 07/11 – Um indígena do povo Munduruku – MT, foi assassinado brutalmente durante uma operação da Polícia Federal em território já demarcado;

No MS, indígenas Kadiwéu são despejados de terras homologadas há mais de um século e Guarani-Kaiowá sofrem ataques dos mais diversos tipos e são assassinados dentro de suas casas, como se não bastasse, os pistoleiros matam e desaparecem com os corpos e ainda culpam os indígenas pela violência;

No RS, Indígenas Kaingang e Mbyá vivem às margens das estradas acampados sob o intenso frio do Sul do país, sobrevivendo há décadas em pequenos pedaços de terra entre as cercas do latifúndio e o asfalto das estradas e ferrovias.

No Vale do Javari – AM, cerca de 4 mil indígenas não tem saúde, ou em situação calamitosa, doenças consideradas erradicadas matam diariamente como é o caso da Hepatite B instalada na região. Hoje 85% da população está contaminada com o vírus e tem um índice gravíssimo de morte.

Awá-Guajá – MA, a expansão da Ferrovia Carajás pela mineradora Vale, promoverá o desaparecimento das florestas e da fauna que são fonte de vida desse povo e que hoje, ainda têm suas terras invadidas por madeireiros que abrem estradas clandestinas e adentram na mata acabando também com a Terra Araribóia.

Tembé – PA, madeireiros invasores atearam bala contra lideranças indígenas e Policiais que faziam o monitoramento da Terra. Um indígena ficou desaparecido por 36 horas na mata ( há duas horas atrás foi encontrado), e o clima de tensão na região se agrava a cada dia por falta da insegurança e ataques freqüentes em represálias a quem defende a floresta.

No Nordeste, criminalização constante e violência constante contra os indígenas.

Não posso seguir relatando porque meu tempo está terminando, mas ressalto que estes são apenas alguns dos muitos que estamos enfrentando.

E porque estou falando tudo isso aqui? Muitos devem está se perguntando, e o que isso tem haver com o Clima que é o foco da Conferência? Todas essas ameaças e violações de direitos estão intrinsecamente ligados ao assunto em pauta, pois todos sabem que os povos indígenas são os que mais contribuem para a preservação das florestas, do meio ambiente, da natureza, comprovadamente as Terras indígenas apresentam uma barreira contra o desmatamento e consequentemente evita emissões de gases de efeito estufa, uma vez que as maiores emissões do Brasil estão ligadas ao desmatamento, degradação e queimadas.

Sendo nós povos indígenas os protagonistas na preservação das florestas, e que milenarmente temos uma relação harmoniosa com a natureza, se perdermos nossos direitos sob os Territórios, haverá um impacto significativo para o aumento ainda mais das emissões e consequentemente um aumento do desequilíbrio do clima no planeta, pois perdendo nossos territórios as florestas perdem seus legítimos guardiões.

Revogação Já da Portaria 303, PEC 215, PEC 038 e todas as medidas governamentais que restringem nossos direitos!!

( Esse pronunciamento teve como base a Carta da APIB:

Documento de Denúncia da APIB oficialmente submetido às Nações Unidas)

Sônia Guajajara Vice Coordenadora –COIAB

Membro da Direção Nacional da APIB

Watch Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

A possoble Oscar contender, Beasts of the Southern Wild tells the story of six-year-old Hush Puppy, played by Quvenzhané Wallis, a suborn but strong willed girl and her dad Dwight Henry, during a time of crisis when a Katrina-like storm threatens their New Orleans swamp home.

To watch FilmBeasts of the Southern Wild

Climate talks resume, amid weather chaos (COP18)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Climate talks resume, amid weather chaos

Doha, 26 November (Martin Khor*)

Civil society protest at UNFCCC (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Civil society protest at UNFCCC (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

It’s that time of year again when the spotlight falls on climate change.

The annual United Nations Climate Conference opens this week in Doha, Qatar with 15,000 people expected to take part.

Actions are more sorely needed than ever before.  The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 18) meets amidst stark evidence of climate change’s damaging effects.

The most publicised recent event is Hurricane Sandy that caused US$50 billion of devastation in the United States’ eastern coast, including the flooding in New York’s subway system.

“It’s the climate, stupid!” said the cover of Bloomberg Business Week in its pre-election issue.  Its writer said that climate change should have been the biggest election issue. Yet, “the issue is missing in action on Congress’ calendar and in the presidential debates. After Sandy, that is insane.”

It is hoped that American public opinion will change after Sandy.  Climate denialists and conservative politicians have prevented the US from making credible emission-reduction commitments in the climate talks. Indeed, the US is the biggest blocker of global action.

It has promoted the voluntary system of pledges, where each country simply states what it wants to do, instead of a top-down approach preferred by most other countries, in which scientific estimates are made on what needs to be done and then each country is assigned to undertake required cuts comparable to one another.

The world is on track for a disastrous rise of 4 degrees Celsius in average temperature, warned a World Bank report last week, far above the 2 degree C threshold. Even at today’s 0.8 degree C (above the pre-industrial level), extreme weather events such as floods, drought and storms are already causing havoc.

Sobering data was provided by the latest UN Environment Programme report on emissions gap. Annual global emissions have shot up from 40 billion tonnes in 2000 to the present 50 billion tonnes and is projected at 58 billion tonnes in 2020 if there is no action.

This needs to be brought down to 44 billion tonnes in 2020, to stay within the 2 degree limit. But even if countries fulfil the best of their emission-reduction pledges, the 2020 level will be 52 billion tonnes.

UNEP estimates the emissions gap to be 8 to 13 billion tonnes by 2020. This is the difference between what should be the emissions level in 2020 and what it is projected to be. It is thus a measure of the extra effort needed to cut emissions.

Unfortunately COP18 in Doha is unlikely to produce a breakthrough. It is supposed to close the work in two working groups (Kyoto Protocol or KP and Long-term cooperative action under the Convention or LCA) and pave the way for work to start in a third group (Durban Platform or DP).

The DP working group can get into real work only if the other two groups finish their work successfully, and this now seems unlikely.

Under the KP group, COP18 should see developed countries finally binding their commitments to reduce emissions by certain percentages for the next 5 or 8 years under the Kyoto Protocol’s second period (the first period ends in December 2012).

But there are multiple problems.  Canada quit the protocol altogether, just as the US did years ago. Japan, Russia and New Zealand refuse to take part in this second period, and Australia has not yet made up its mind.

That leaves the European countries.  The European Union will only commit to a low number (20% cut by 2020 compared to 1990) and has hinted that instead of this figure being committed in a binding way to be ratified by the Parliaments of its member states, it might propose to do so only through a decision at the COP.

Meanwhile the other developed countries that are not in the Kyoto Protocol are supposed to make a comparable commitment in the LCA group.  However the US has led the move to a “pledge” system, in which countries can pledge as they please.

The US is adamant in closing the LCA group (formed in 2007 to negotiate the Bali Action Plan) even though it has not yet finished its work on mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology.

The US dislikes several things about the Bali Action Plan:  its provision that all developed countries have to make a comparable effort in mitigation, its recognition of the difference in mitigation obligations between developed and developing countries, and the principle that developing countries’ actions depend on their obtaining funds and technology.

The developing countries want the LCA group to complete its work or else to have its outstanding issues properly transferred (together with the principles and framework underlying these issues) to other bodies, before the group closes down.

But they face resistance from several developed countries, which want to get rid of many key issues put forward by developing countries (such as the effects of intellectual property on technology transfer, and to ensure that climate change is not used as a ground for unilateral trade measures).

These developed countries also want to continue the negotiations on certain issues, especially mitigation, but without the principles or understandings already agreed to in the Climate Change Convention and in the LCA group.

They hope that if the KP and LCA groups close down, they can get the new DP group to discuss climate actions on a clean slate, with all countries having to take on similar obligations.  The differences between developed and developing countries would be erased or minimised.

But this is precisely what the developing countries do not want. For them future negotiations on the actions countries should undertake must be guided by the Convention’s principles of equity which recognises “differentiated responsibilities” between developed and developing countries.

They fear that the developed countries are refusing to live up to their commitments to cut emissions and instead are preparing the ground for passing the burden onto the developing countries.

They are also concerned that the developed countries have not kept their promise to transfer technology.  And the new funds to support developing countries are also absent or far below the promised or required levels.

On the other hand, the developed countries want to see the developing countries taking on similar emission-reduction obligations. They fear that otherwise the developing countries will catch up economically, and they will lose their economic dominance.

COP18 will see the continuation of this diplomatic wrangling. The deadlock or at best slow progress in the climate talks is in contrast with the urgency of action needed to combat the rising temperature and the growing number and intensity of extreme weather events.

The Link between Emission Cuts, Right to Development and Transformation of Capitalist System

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

By Pablo Solon, Focus on the Global South

Pablo Solon at UNFCCC (Rebecca Sommer)

Pablo Solon at UNFCCC (Rebecca Sommer)

Humanity is running out of time. If there are no deep and real cuts in the next five years the impacts of climate change will lead to a situation ten times worse than what we have seen with hurricane Sandy and other climate change related events in India, Russia, Philippines and Africa in this past year.

That’s what happens with 0.8ºC of global warming, and the current climate negotiations are leading us to a 4ºC to 8ºC scenario.

More than two-thirds of coal, oil and gas should be left under the soil

sky pollution (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

sky pollution (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Different studies say that to limit the increase in temperature to 2ºC, all countries can only emit 565 gigatons of CO2 between 2010 and 2050[1]. At the current rate of 31 gigatons of global CO2 emissions per year, we are going to expend that budget in 15 years.

According to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of the known reserves of the world’s coal, oil and gas should remain underground to have 50 percent chance of staying below the 2ºC limit.[2] If we want 75 percent chance, we have to leave 80 percent of these reserves under the soil.[3]

Above the clouds (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Above the clouds (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

To not surpass the limit of 565 gigatons of CO2 until 2050, less than 200 gigatons of CO2 can be sent to the atmosphere from 2010 until 2020. Given this calculation, it is unacceptable and illogical to have a “new” agreement that will only be implemented in 2020, while during this decade, when deep cuts are needed, there will be a “laissez faire” situation in emission reductions with a Kyoto Protocol that is much weaker and has shrunk.

Climate negotiations should agree to leave under the soil more than two-thirds of fossil fuel reserves and negotiate mainly how countries are going to exploit and consume the available reserves taking into account a) their historical emissions and b) their per-capita emission in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.

The United States, as the main historical emitter, has to reduce its emissions more than the others. All developed countries called Annex 1 parties should cut, until 2020, between 40 to 50 percent of their emissions based on 1990 levels. These commitments should be translated into concrete targets in coal, oil and gas usage per year.

The right to development must not be used to promote more consumerist and capitalist societies

The right to development should be understood as the obligation of the states to guarantee the basic needs of the population and their right to enjoy a fulfilled and happy life in harmony with nature, and not as free ticket for a capitalist consumer society that only caters to the excesses of the few while causing the critical financial, social and ecological situation that we are facing now.

China, Brazil, South Africa, India and other emerging economies should also have targets for emission reductions because at present they are becoming great emitters of greenhouse gases. These binding targets should be lower than the targets of Annex 1 parties, following the principles of historical and common but differentiated responsibility.

Developed countries must immediately transfer funds and technology to assist developing countries to undertake mitigation action and to adapt to climate change. Their contributions should be assessed according to their historical and current contributions to GHG emissions and represent at least 10 percent of their military budget for 2013. These funds are necessary not only for GHG emission reduction but also for adaptation and for prevention of damages and losses in developing countries permanently suffering from the effects of typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes, floods and droughts.

monoculture plantation Brazil (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

monoculture plantation Brazil (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Stop the false solutions

Ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and limiting fossil fuels use, although key steps and very important, will not be enough. We also need to stop the advancement of all kinds of false solutions that are equally detrimental to humans and nature like: agrofuels, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Synthetic Biology,deadly nuclear power, and Geo-engineering, land and forest grabs by big business in collusion with governments in the name of forest protection, and carbon credit trading schemes that traders and polluters love.

The corporations behind these inventions are arrogantly and irresponsibly playing with nature and the planet. The goal of Synthetic Biology to create more life forms than those that exist in nature will have catastrophic consequences. The plan of Geo-engineering to pollute the atmosphere with a different gas to counter balance the effect of greenhouse gases will only worsen the situation of the whole Earth System.

No more speculation with carbon markets

Earth peoples at NO REDD demonstration during COP16 (Photo © Earth Peoples)

Earth peoples at NO REDD demonstration during COP16 (Photo © Earth Peoples)

Emission cuts have to be real, without loopholes like carbon markets, offsets or hot air. The European Union ETS (Emission Trading System) has demonstrated that the financial sector does not care about climate change. Carbon credits from ETU, CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) or REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests) are in reality permits to pollute that allow those who are actually contaminating our atmosphere to renege on their obligations. The development of new carbon mechanism for forests, soil and coastal vegetation will only worsen the climate crisis and create new financial bubbles. It is unacceptable that rich countries use climate funding to promote carbon markets through REDD and CDM.

Joint social and environmental struggles to change the balance of forces

The climate crisis caused by the capitalist system is going to be amplified now by its current financial/economic crisis. The capitalist system is seeking to get out of this economic crisis through a process of reconfiguration that implies a new process of exploitation of humans and nature through:

a) reduction of social benefits and wages that workers have won through long history of struggles,

b) grabbing by corporations of the remaining material part of nature (land, water, forest, minerals, etc.),

c) financialization and commodification of the processes and functions of nature (payment for environmental services like REDD, compensation for biodiversity loss, and others), and

d) development of technologies to control, patent and profit from biodiversity and ecosystems (e.g. Synthetic Biology and Geo-engineering).

Corporations have captured governments. To confront the interests and power of corporations, our struggle must have as starting point the daily life of the people affected by climate change and not the UNFCCC negotiations.

W-Shoshone, Carrie Dann, at sacred hot spring that died up due to gold mining (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

W-Shoshone, Carrie Dann, at sacred hot spring that died up due to gold mining (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

The right to food and water is key component of this fight. A new, intensifying food and water crisis is being triggered worldwide because of climate change. Corporations are seeking to make more profits through food derivatives, GMOs, agrofuels, public-private partnership arrangements in water and other resources, and through other measures. It is only possible to address the issue of food and water if we join social and environmental struggles.

Grassroots mobilizations against coal plants, fracking, tar sands, big dams, land grabbing, water privatization, agrofuels, GMOs, REDD are already showing the way. We need to strengthen these fights, link them and find connection with the social struggles against austerity plans.

Transforming the unsustainable capitalist system

Forced relocation - Peabody Coalmine: Empty Navajo Hogan (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Forced relocation - Peabody Coalmine: Empty Navajo Hogan (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

The big challenge of putting a process in place for collective and gradual transformation from fossil fuel-addicted system of consumption and production towards a low carbon society requires also the transformation of the unsustainable capitalist system. The carbon, oil and gas sector can’t be led by the logic of private profit. The power of fossil fuel corporations has to be dismantled and societies, not the state-bureaucrats, have to take control over these resources and enterprises.

To change the patterns of consumption and production we need to move beyond the all-dominating, profit-driven and unsustainable capitalist system that exploits people and ruin ecosystems. We need to keep a livable planet—this planet!

The alternatives to cool the planet come from below

A “one size fits all” model like neoliberalism or centralized bureaucratic socialism is not the answer. Instead, diversity should be expected and encouraged, as it is in nature.

Ovambo women planting before rain season (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Ovambo women planting before rain season (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Social groups around the world have a series of alternatives that can help cool the planet. Alternatives like food sovereignty and agro-ecology instead of agro toxics and agribusiness; public transport instead of unsustainable production of cars; durable goods with less use of energy and natural resources instead of products designed for over consumption; local production and consumption to avoid the waste of energy in global transport; de-globalization for the people instead of globalization for the corporations; new balance between agriculture and industry as well as between countryside and city to reverse massive urban slums of rural refugees; social and not private management of the fundamental services. Many of these living alternatives have already been tested to work, while some need the space to be implemented and prove their superiority over the proposed false solutions.

Pablo Solon holds at COP 17 protest banner "Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth" (Photo © Earth Peoples)

Pablo Solon holds at COP 17 protest banner

To reestablish balance in the Earth System, we need to abandon the anthropocentric vision of capitalism and recognize that we are only one component of nature and that in order to live a healthy life we need to respect the vital cycles, the integrity and the interdependence of nature by recognizing and upholding the rights of Mother Earth.

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[1]http://www.wearepowershift.org/blogs/readers-guide-bill-mckibbens-terrifying-new-math-rolling-stone-most-important-thing-ive-writte

[2]International Energy Agency: No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to
2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, World Energy Outlook 2012,

[3]The current proven reserves of oil, coal and gas all together have a potential of 2,795 gigatons of CO2, which is five times more than the 565 gigatons budget. This implies that at least 2,230 gigatons of CO2of proven reserves of oil, coal and gas should be kept where they are and not be burned. http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble

How Climate Change Causes Earthquakes and Erupting Volcanoes

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

To read article in the Guardian click: here

COP17: The Durban Package: “Laisser faire, laisser passer”

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Climate Change Conference ended two days later than expected, adopting a set of decisions that were known only a few hours before their adoption. Some decisions were even not complete at the moment of their consideration. Paragraphs were missing and some delegations didn’t even have copies of these drafts. The package of decisions was released by the South African presidency with the ultimatum of “Take it or leave it”. Only the European Union was allowed to make last minute amendments at the plenary.

Several delegations made harsh criticisms to the documents and expressed their opposition to sections of them. However, no delegation explicitly objected the subsequent adoption of these decisions. At the end, the whole package was adopted by consensus without the objection of any delegation. The core elements of the Durban Package can be summarized as follows:

1) A Zombie called Kyoto Protocol

· A soulless undead: The promises of reducing greenhouse gas emission for the second period of commitments of the Kyoto Protocol represent less than half of what is necessary to keep the temperature increase below 2°C.

· This Zombie (second period of the Kyoto Protocol) will only finally go into effect next year (COP 18).

· It is not known if the second period of the Kyoto Protocol will cover 5 or 8 years.

· United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand will be out of this second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

· This will be known as the lost decade in the fight against climate change.

2) New regime of “Laisser Faire, Laisser Faisser”

· In 2020 a new legal instrument will come into effect that will replace the Kyoto Protocol and will seriously impact the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

· The core elements of this new legal instrument can be already seen due to the results of the negotiations: a) voluntary promises rather than binding commitments to reduce emissions, b) more flexibilities (carbon markets) for developed countries to meet their emission reduction promises, and c) an even weaker compliance mechanism than the Kyoto Protocol.

· The new legal instrument will cover all the States, effectively removing the difference between developing and developed countries. The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” already established in the Climate Change Convention will disappear.

· The result will be the deepening of the “Laisser Faire, laisser passer” regime inaugurated in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban which will lead to an increase in temperature of more than 4°C.

3) A Green Fund with no funds

· The Green Fund now has an institutional structure in which the World Bank is a key player.

· The 100 billion is only a promise and will NOT be provided for by the developed countries.

· The money will come from the carbon markets (which are collapsing), from private investments, from credits (to be paid) and from the developing countries themselves.

4) A lifesaver for the Carbon Markets

· The existing carbon markets will live regardless of the fate of the Kyoto Protocol.

· Also, new carbon market mechanisms will be created to meet the emissions reduction pledges of this decade.

· It is a desperate attempt to avoid the loss of the carbon markets, which are collapsing due to the fall of the carbon credits, from 30 Euros per ton to 3 Euros per ton of CO2.

· Developed countries will reduce less than what they promise because they will buy Emission Reduction Certificates from developing countries.

5) REDD: a perverse incentive to deforest in this decade

· If you don’t cut down trees you won’t be able to issue certificates of reduction of deforestation when the REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism comes into operation.

· CONSEQUENCES: deforest now if you want to be ready for REDD.

· The safeguards for indigenous peoples will be flexible and discretionary for each country.

· The offer of funding for forests is postponed until the next decade due to the fact that demand for Carbon Credits will not increase until then because of the low emission reduction promises.

¡Amandla! ¡Jallalla!

In the actions and events of the social movements in Durban, two battle cries emerged: “Amandla” and “Jallalla”. The first one is a Xhosa and Zulu word from South Africa which means “power”. The second word is an expression in aymara which means “for life”. “¡Amandla¡ °Jallalla!” means “¡Power for life!”

This is the “power for life” that we must build, that transcends borders, from our communities, neighborhoods, workplaces and place of study in order to stop this ongoing genocide and ecocide.

(*) Pablo Solón, international analyst and social activist. United Nations Ambassador and Chief Climate Change Negotiator from the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

http://www.facebook.com/solonpablo?sk=wall

http://pablosolon.wordpress.com/


Climate Change negotiations: Durban’s Platform for [Potential] [In]Action

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

By Alex Lenferna

At 5am this morning, the final session of Durban’s COP 17 came to a close over a day and a half  behind schedule, with some delegates having not slept for close on 40 hours after two weeks of grueling negotiations. Many decisions have been rushed through in the last minute, and while there is a self-congratulatory air among those key to the design of the architecture of what is now being referred to as the Durban Package, there is much dismay in the air as well. The Durban Package has come to a number of rather controversial decisions around many of the major issues carried over from the Cancun Agreements, but many of the elements have also been postponed and unfulfilled. Furthermore there is an air of confusion around the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), as many aren’t sure what was just signed onto, as many of the final decisions involving relatively new texts were rushed through at such a fast pace that understanding was hard to attain.

While I was assured by the South African lead negotiator, Alf Wills, that the Durban Package is a comprehensive deal that has taken into account the necessary compromise and has produced a credible outcome, I am not sure I am convinced. The decisions that were passed, despite the COP president’s constant insistency on a transparent and inclusive process, were decried by numerous parties as being one of backdoor intimidation and marginalization guided by the interests of a few parties, with many pointing or alluding towards the USA. In the final plenary discussions on both the Kyoto Protocol and Long Term Cooperative Action, disagreements were gaveled past and disputed texts were forwarded to the main COP plenary despite objections. In the COP plenary decisions were pushed through at an incredibly quick rate, so much so that it was not clear that all parties understood what was going on and many objections from the earlier sessions were not dealt with. At one stage the Russian ambassador declared, that although he did not know what was going on, or what was being passed, he would nevertheless not block progress. Just how many other parties were similarly confused as decisions were gaveled through remains to be seen. So what did they actually decide on, and how is it going to affect our future? I think many of the negotiating teams are going to be spending the next few days figuring out just that, but here is what I have been able to decipher throughout the rushed process.

Firstly, one of the major objectives of the conference was to secure a 2nd commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP). While parties were successful with this in so far as we now have a 2nd commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP2C), the KP2C is weak and unambitious and does not include many of the major polluters. As far as the legal form of the emission reduction targets under KP2C is concerned, it was decided that quantifiable emission reductions targets, which are only set to be decided on in May 2012, will be “an agreed outcome with legal force”. This statement while seemingly politically potent does not necessarily mean that the targets are legally binding, and is has varied meaning depending on the context. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, simply referred to the implementing reduction emissions in a “legal way”. According to Wills, ambiguity in the text is necessary in order to ensure agreement among divergent parties, but to me because of the ambiguity that means that parties are agreeing to disagree at a later stage, and thus are not really agreeing at all. This will most certainly be a hot spot of controversy in the climate negotiations to come.

Furthermore, the USA, Canada, Japan and Russia are all not party to KP2C and because of lack of ambition in emission reduction targets the KP2C will cover less than 15% of global emissions. Unless ambition is increased drastically at some point then KP2C could potentially lock us onto a pathway to dangerous climate change to the tune of 3.5 degrees, as opposed to the 2 degrees currently aimed for and the 1.5 degrees many claim is necessary for a safe climate future. This, however, is where tonight’s establishment of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (AWG-DPEA) comes in to play. According to the Durban Package, the results of a review set to take place from 2013-15 will inform a work plan to raise ambition. Given the resistance of many nations to increase their reduction ambition targets, the AWG-DPEA will have its hands full trying to raise ambition to the necessary level.  Furthermore, there are serious problems with monitoring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Land Use and Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), which is a critical structure under the Kyoto Protocol. Given that current LULUCF loopholes in forest management would allow developed countries to increase their emissions by up to 6 gigatonnes by 2020, the fact that these loopholes weren’t properly addressed remains worrying. What is clear is that the KP2C as currently proposed is weak, lacks much ambition and, as it isn’t legally binding, gives much room for countries to wangle out of their already flexible emission reduction targets.

With a weak KP2c in place this puts a lot of pressure on a post-Kyoto global climate change regime. Decisions on that rather controversial topic, however, have been postponed until COP 18, which is set to take place in the rather controversial Qatar. Throughout COP 17 there has been a stand-off between most developing countries and the EU, who want the new regime to come into place as early as 2015, and developed countries plus China and India, who would like it to only come into force in 2020. The new regime, it is hoped, will be a global climate regime that brings all parties into a legally binding ambitious framework that aims to bridge the ever-increasing gigatonne gap. One thing is clear, if we lock in the low ambition of the KP2C until 2020, the possibility of halting climate change below 2 degrees becomes increasingly difficult, if not politically impossible.

One of the other major outcomes that was expected from COP 17, was the establishment and, so it was hoped, a plan to fill, the Green Climate Fund (GCF). There has been progress on this front, however, nowhere close to the hopes going into COP17. The GCF has a structure in place, however, who will oversee the fund and how they will do so, as well as it’s legal status remains highly controversial, with many (mostly developing) nations vehemently opposed to the Global Environment Fund (which falls under the World Bank) operating the fund because of issues of manipulation that are associated with the World Bank, as well as its perception as being a puppet of the first world. Other countries, unsurprisingly within the developed world (especially America), are more in favour of the proposal.  This is not the only shortcoming, for reliable sources of long-term finance for the GCF are yet to be secured. The much called for financial transactions tax and maritime and aviation tax were hoped to be secured as potential sources, but all that is secured is a reference for a working group to work on securing innovative sources of finance from both the public and private sector. The GCF thus, apart from a few noble pledges from Germany and Norway, remains a largely empty shell, and it’s not clear how funds are going to be scaled up to provide the agreed upon $100 Billion by 2020. Many are unhappy with the progress and Nicaragua, a bit more upset than most, went a step further and argued that by waiting until 2020 we are squandering a crucial window period for meaningful action on climate change. Their spokesperson decried our inability to bail out nature, when we so readily bailed out banks in 2009, as being indicative of a skewed sense of priority.

One of the more worrying developments that was also passed last night, was the inclusion of carbon capture and storage underneath the clean development mechanism. This inclusion, because of the possibility of encouraging and subsidizing further fossil fuel developments that lack environmental integrity, will certainly be an issue of much contention among environmental groups for years to come. Another disappointment was that the programme on National Adaptation Plans is another decision that has been postponed until COP18. Furthermore the heavily contentious issues of hot air or assigned amount units has also been delayed until COP 18. There were many other decisions that were made and not made at COP 17, but to go into them all would get too “wonky” (i.e. too deep in policy), these, however, were the major decisions that were made at COP17.

Given these decisions, how do we go about assessing the progress that was made? Alden Meyer from the Union from Concerned Scientists had the following to say:

“While governments avoided disaster in Durban, they by no means responded adequately to the mounting threat of climate change. The decisions adopted here fall well short of what is needed. It’s high time governments stopped catering to the needs of corporate polluters, and started acting to protect people.”

I am very much in agreement with Meyer. The decisions made under the Durban Package lack much needed ambition, and the gap between political will and scientific dictate is massive. Legal and other ambiguities abound, which will provide fertile soil for disagreement as well as ducking and hiding from responsibilities, both political and ethical, in the future. What we have in Durban is a roadmap, but if the Bali Road Map is something to learn from, we need strict rules and guidance, as well as adequate provisions and will power, in order to ensure we get to the end of the road. The Durban Package so far lacks most of that, and if we are to salvage the road map we are going to have to work incredibly hard to ensure that the correct turns are taken along the way. We need to increase ambition and ensure that it is enforceable, and the sooner the better. For as Faith Biriol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, points out, “delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent to compensate for the increased emissions.”   The Durban Package hasn’t delivered much on the need for immediate action, and thus unless we can drastically alter the rules of the road map or the direction thereof, we may be heavily locked into Biriol’s false economy, complete with the suffering, food insecurity, displacement and global instability that is set to come with climate change above 2 degrees Celsius.

The Durban Package for the moment has created a very loosely bound not-quite-global climate regime, which grants many nations the ability to not contribute to their fair share under a view of climate change guided by the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and equity. During the final hours, the Indian Environment Minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, even went so far as to say that equity had been forsaken and CBDR inverted. A compromise was reached after she said so, but for a large part, her statement is still relevant. Our climate regime is far from a just one and the major polluters with the greatest historical responsibility as well as some of the major emerging polluters are under little pressure to change that.

Having arrived at this point the importance of domestic pressures in order to establish the building blocks of a truly just climate regime is of utmost importance, for we cannot deliver a more ambitious package unless civil society acts more decisively to pressure their governments into more meaningful climate action and to take more meaningful action themselves. An important step in order to do this, is an increased recognition of the inextricable link between environmental and social justice, which is fueling movements the globe over. It’s time to reinvent, redefine and grow the global climate movement and work together, globally and locally to ensure that our governments do not use the Durban Package to lead us to disaster. It is ambiguous and flexible enough that they may be able to do so, but it is also ambiguous and flexible enough to provide the climate movement with a few grapples upon which to hoist their movement to the next level. Durban has shown us that we cannot rely solely on international governance to answer our calls for climate justice, we need to take a more active role in doing so ourselves in order to avoid looking back and blaming a faulty international governance system for runaway climate change, when true power for change, lay within our own hands.

It’s 09h30 and I’ve been awake for longer than I care to think about, but I know that rather than allow Durban to drive me to despair, having met truly great people who are fighting for social and environmental justice, I am inspired I am disappointed with our current global governance systems, but I have seen youth stand bravely against the most powerful entities in the world in order to fight for their future and progressive thinkers of the older generation stand with them. Having seen all of this, I aim to continue to fight for climate justice never forgetting inextricable link between social and environmental justice. I will play my part in defining what the Durban road map will actually take us. Will you heed the call for justice and do the same? Because we the people of the world, the rich and the poor, the vulnerable and secure, the present and the future, everyone needs you, I implore you to do so.

Alex Lenferna is the lead tracker of the South African Government during COP 17 under adoptanegotiator.org, as well as chairperson of the South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (www.ru.ac.za/rugreen). Follow Alex as he tracks South Africa’s progress within COP 17 on Twitter (@al_lenferna), Facebook/Alex Lenferna or (www.adoptanegotiator.org).


VIDEO: Pablo Solon explaining the problems with the United Nations Climate Change negotiations draft text during COP17 to journalist John Vidal from the Guardian

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

To watch VIDEO: Pablo Solon explaining the problems with the United Nations Climate Change negotiations draft text during COP17 to journalist John Vidal from the Guardian (filmed by Rebecca Sommer, Sommerfilms)

Pablo Solon explaining the problems with the United Nations Climate Change negotiations draft text during COP17 to journalist John Vidal from the Guardian (Photo+video ©Rebecca Sommer)

Pablo Solon explaining the problems with the United Nations Climate Change negotiations draft text during COP17 to journalist John Vidal from the Guardian (Photo+video ©Rebecca Sommer)

VIDEO:Indigenous Peoples Not Allowed To Speak at UNFCCC COP 14

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO:

(filmed by Rebecca Sommer © SommerFilms for EARTH PEOPLES)

Below the statement, which was not read in the Plenary room:
Statement of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change
SBSTA
December 10, 2008
Chair,
We acknowledge the efforts of some Parties who have supported and worked with us to reflect our rights and our full and effective participation in this COP14. However, we DENOUNCE those Parties, including Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia who continue to exercise, outmoded, outdated colonial power structures that the rest of the world left behind decades ago.
We remind the parties that UNFCCC is NOT a consensus document AND perhaps a time has come for a simple majority vote that lets these four nations know how isolated their position is.
On the 60th Anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights IT IS APALLING that any UNITED NATIONS BODY is still denies extending the Rights enshrined in this document to the Indigenous Peoples of the planet. It is a abrogation of BOTH the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Reference to the draft text ON SBSTA 29 agenda item 5, on REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action]. In the annex of this document, 1 (c ), we are profoundly disappointed that the Indigenous Peoples fundamental rights, INCLUDING the UNDRIP and other existing Human Rights instruments (Convention ILO169) are not included in the operative paragraphs of the latest document of SBSTA29 .
We, are just not ONE SINGLE indigenous people, as the document states. WE ARE a multitude of indigenous Peoples from multiple countries, with multiple languages, diverse cultures and background and experiences. TO REDUCE all this, to the concept of a singular unitary experience IS A DENIAL OF THE RICHNESS OF DIVERSITY THAT EXIST WITHIN, the framework of indigenous peoples as a collective of individual nations.
For this reason, WE, appeal to the UNFCCC and Parties take affirmative action to reaffirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples as codified in UNDRIP and other relevant Human Rights instruments (EG. Convention ILO 169). Any decision or measure that will be adopted at this COP, in particular the REDD process, must reaffirm the principle of free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples AND OUR RIGHT of the Indigenous Peoples TO SAY NO,. In that regard, Indigenous Peoples must be included as parties to official decisions, should be centrally involved in and benefit from, all climate change and forest programs and policies at all levels to ensure that they deliver justice and equity and contribute to sustainable development, biodiversity protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We, demand an IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION of all REDD initiatives and carbon market schemes in Indigenous Peoples territories UNTIL Indigenous Peoples Rights are fully RECOGNIZED, PROTECTED AND PROMOTED.
Thank you.