Posts Tagged ‘UNFCCC’

“Reject the Texts” Campaigners occupy UN Climate talks in Doha and demand governments turn down inadequate proposal

Saturday, December 8th, 2012
[DOHA, QATAR] – December 7, 2012,  in the dying hours of UN climate negotiations (COP18), hundreds of campaigners occupied the conference centre halls to call on countries to “Reject the Text”.

After two weeks of negotiations, final “Ministers'” texts are emerging that are, according to civil society insiders “A million miles from where we need to be to even have a small chance of preventing runaway climate change.”

“As civil society movements, we are saying that this is not acceptable. We cannot go back to our countries and tell them that we allowed this to happen, that we condemned our own future.  We cannot go back to the Philippines, to our dead, to our homeless, to our outrage, and tell them that we accepted this.”  Lidy Nacpil who is based in the Philippines which is currently experiencing devastation as a result of Typhoon Bopha said.

The campaigners put the blame for failure squarely on the shoulders rich industrialised countries, such as the US, Canada and Japan, who have refused to sign up to deep climate climate pollution cuts and outright rejected a new commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Asad Rehman, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth International also dismissed the proposals advocated by the European Union  on ‘Kyoto2.

“It’s an empty shell, an insult to our futures.  There is literally no point in countries signing up to this sham of a deal, which will lock the planet in to many more years of inaction.” Mr Rehman said.

“What the world and its people need is more urgent action on cutting climate pollution, more help to those transforming their economies and more help to those already facing climate impacts. This text fails on every count”. Mr Rehman said.

Analysis of the proposed texts reveals that the ‘deal’ on the table:

  • Fails to cut emissions. No countries have increased their emission cut targets. Many developing countries are demanding cuts of 40-50% by 2020 to have a chance of limiting temperature rise to no higher than 1.5C.  Without this, we face runaway climate change and far greater global temperature rises.
  • Rich countries have failed to make any collective financial commitments to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change and make the transition to a low emissions future.
  • Instead of strengthening the regulations and rules for reducing emissions, the texts promote business interests and false solutions such as more carbon markets, despite the evidence of the failure of the existing ones.

“Things have got so bad that the negotiations are impossible to rescue.  We cannot accept what is on the table. We call on countries to stand strong and reject the texts,” said Kwesi W. Obeng of the Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.

“Our message to the world is build the transformation of our food and energy systems in every country, deliver real national emissions cuts and build a global climate justice movement that will hold world leaders accountable to their citizens and not the polluters,” said Mithika Mwenda of the Pan African Climate Alliance.
Negotiations will continue in the coming hours with all countries given the opportunity to accept or reject the Ministers’ proposals. Observers are unsure if agreement will be possible.

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.

Is the UN process thoroughly illegitimate at this point?

Saturday, May 26th, 2012
Is the UN process thoroughly illegitimate at this point?
Statement by EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard on the conclusion of the climate change talks in Bonn

Parties to the UNFCCC met in Bonn over the last two weeks for its mid-year climate change talks. Commissioner Hedegaard made the following statement as the session concluded:

”The European Union is almost the only player taking a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and so keeping it alive. Because we believe climate change needs to be addressed in a legally-binding international framework, we are willing to do this, even when other major economies are at present only willing to enter into voluntary commitments.

But – and it is a big but – we need other major economies and significant emitters to play ball. The world cannot afford that a few want to backtrack from what was agreed in Durban only five months ago. Durban was – and is – a delicately balanced package where all elements must be delivered at the same pace. It is not a pick and choose menu.

It is very worrisome that attempts to backtrack have been so obvious and time-consuming in the Bonn talks over the last two weeks. Regrettably, only procedure, no substance was discussed.

This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported that global emissions have reached their highest ever level. At the same time, in Bonn, some of the world’s largest emitters have wasted too much energy in trying to move backwards rather than in securing progress. This is not just irresponsible. It is untenable for a UNFCCC process that wants to remain relevant – the only process the world has that everybody says they support.

It is good that a significant group of developed as well as developing countries that share a wish to secure and deliver ambition in the end broke the deadlock in Bonn. But it is frankly too little and it is getting very late. Given the urgency of the problem, it is disturbing to watch climate negotiations moving at a pace that is clearly not going to deliver the necessary results in Doha. This is clearly in nobody’s interest”


Monday, December 12th, 2011

TO WATCH VIDEO CLICK HERE: Hundreds of Activists Protest Inside COP17 demanding CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW!

This video filmed by Rebecca Sommer (© Sommerfilms) shows parts of the CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! (CJN!) movement’s press conference, and our protest inside the halls at the last day of the UN Climate Change negotiations COP17. Kumi Naidoo , executive director of Greenpeace (member of CJN!) was banned from UN premises after leading this protest. Many others, such as Anne Petermann (member of CJN!) have been thrown out as well., their UN badges revoked because they participated ion the protest. Background why the people protested: A central piece of what is being negotiated here at COP17 is the Green Clmate Fund, with a goal of raising $100 billion for adaptation and mitigation projects, but most of the funding is being linked to programs like carbon markets and offsets (REDD+, CDM), which allows companies to continue polluting and ignores the need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, and not simply try to offset them with other projects.
Protesters have said they want that their voices are heard.
They are calling for the World Bank to be taken out of climate finance, a reference to the predominance of private financing and market mechanisms in all funding solutions for climate change reduction projects being discussed at the conference. A central piece of what is being negotiated is the Green Clmate Fund, with a goal of raising $100 billion for adaptation and mitigation projects, but most of the funding is being linked to programs like carbon markets and offsets, which allows companies to continue polluting and ignores the need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, and not simply try to offset them with other projects.
Protesters are also calling for a recognition of historic climate debt: that developed and Northern countries have predominantly been the cause of man-made green house gas emissions, and that they have the responsibility to take a frontline position in cleaning up the problem. This historic reality was included in Kyoto Protocol, but Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent recently called such demands “guilt money”

VIDEO: PABLO SOLON warning about what happened at COP17 (September 10th, 2011)

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Pablo Solon, former Ambassador and Bolivia’s lead negotiator at the UN Climate Change negotiations explains why the negotiated text of the UN Climate Change negotiations are a “Bad Deal”.
To watch VIDEO: PABLO SOLON explains the “Bad Deal” UNFCCC COP17 (September 10th, 2011)(filmed by Rebecca Sommer)
 PABLO SOLON explains in Rebecca Sommer's video the "Bad Deal" UNFCCC COP17

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 2nd May REVOLT at the UN PFII (CDM/REDD)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Click here to watch the VIDEO

© SommerFilms, by Rebecca Sommer for EARTH PEOPLES


Indigenous Peoples representatives and organizations held a protest at the May 2 2008 conclusion of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York.

They were angered by the final report of the Permanent Forum, paragraph 5 and 37, that endorsed in their view CDM and REDD. (After release of this video, the UNPFII Report, even so it was adopted, was later during the year – months after the PFII session- changed. The paragraphs that indigenous peoples had protested against were moved in the Report that was made public.)