Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
"We are really urging our American friends to raise their bids and make sure that they can commit to more," says
"We welcome that the ambitions have changed dramatically compared to the previous administration, but still we expect more and we need more," Andreas Carlgren, Sweden's Environment Minister, told journalists at a meeting of EU Energy and Environment ministers in Åre, Sweden, who recently took over the revolving presidency of the European Union. Carlgren is encouraged that a
"We see within that bill the possibilities of raising the ambitions, and we are really urging our American friends to raise their bids and make sure that they can commit to more," he said according to Reuters, adding that ”negotiations ahead of Copenhagen are still moving too slow. The EU has so far put 20 percent on the table but we want that to go higher and we want to bring others with us".
Carlgren said global negotiations ahead of
(Adopted from a report by Matthew Goldstein from ARE,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri criticizes rich countries for "ignoring" the findings and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the Group of Eight nations had "clearly ignored" taking any concrete action to accomplish its new goal of limiting climate change.
Rajendra Pachauri, whose scientific panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore in 2007, praised the G8 summit in
He faulted the world's wealthiest countries, however, because he said they "clearly ignored what the IPCC came up with" to reach that goal. "It's interesting that the G8 leaders agreed on this aspirational goal of (limiting) a temperature increase of (no more than) 2 degrees Celsius, which certainly is a big step forward in my view," he told reporters at UN headquarters. "But what I find as a dichotomy in this position is the fact that they clearly ignored what the IPCC came up with."
The question of which nations will agree to limit their heat-trapping gases mainly from fossil fuels is taking on increasing urgency at the United Nations, which is sponsoring the key round of talks in December to achieve a climate deal in
Pachauri said the G8 leaders also should have accepted the panel's conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2015 and then rich countries must reduce emissions from 2005 levels by between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020. Doing that, climate scientists say, may help the world avoid the worst effects of warming, which they say will lead to widespread drought, floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms.
(Report from http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=1741 by AP/Michael von Bülow 21/07/2009)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
"Africa must not remain silent in the face of the realities of climate change and its causes" says Wangari Maathai
(Following is a report by Wangari Maathai to Capital News, June 22, 2009)
Various reports indicate that Africa will be disproportionately affected, with predictions of crisis like sea rise, desertification, floods, droughts and crop failure. One adaptation option for Africa is to keep her forests standing so that they provide essential environmental services such as carbon sinks, reservoirs of biodiversity, water catchments and regulation of climate and rainfall patterns. Africa should also halt unsustainable agricultural practices like-slush-and-burn, shamba system, removal of vegetation from wilderness areas. She should Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). This is because greenhouse gasses emitted from deforestation and forest degradation are about 20 percent more than what is contributed by the world transport sector put together! REDD not only reduces emissions but also fixes atmospheric carbon and addresses other drivers of deforestation and poverty. Many Africans, especially the poor rural and urban populations will be impacted very negatively by climate change. As they feel the negative impact, they will compete for political power to control the diminishing resources, especially agricultural and grazing land, water and food. This will lead to conflicts, violence, displacements, migrations and even death. Therefore, African countries should seriously focus on climate change and embrace mitigation strategies like protecting indigenous forests, halting the shamba system, charcoal burning, grazing and human settlements in forests. While there are no quick fixes, governments must shield citizens from the unavoidable negative impacts. One of the strategies is to protect, conserve and restore forests. Should forests be accepted as part of the solution, there are opportunities for countries that will keep their forests standing because in return for environmental services provided by forests, they will receive financial compensations from the developed countries eager to reduce their emissions. Several financial mechanisms will be developed to create carbon markets that are already being tried. For example, the Green Belt Movement and the Kenya Forestry Service have a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) pilot in partnership with the World Bank and a voluntary pilot with the local government of Basque in Spain. These carbon markets will expand and Governments which benefit from these opportunities, will raise financial resources, support their development agenda and also conserve their valuable forests. The Copenhagen partnership should also negotiate for mechanisms that allow Africans to access and afford low-carbon energy sources such as solar, wind, bio-fuels, biomass, hydro and geothermal. There must also be a carbon justice issue in the debate because Africa accounts for a mere 2.3 percent of fossil fuel consumption, though it has 13.8 percent of the world's population. By contrast, the industrialised countries contribute the largest share of greenhouse gasses per capita. Industrialised countries do recognise their responsibility and will embrace reduced emissions and share a proportional responsibility in the cost of strategies for mitigation and adaptation. While the international community may hopefully cooperate and agree on a fair and just protocol and financing mechanism, it is the individual nations who have the ultimate responsibility to shield their citizens from the negative impact of climate change. The agreements and the financial mechanisms will bear no fruits if not translated into workable projects that deliver results especially for the poor. Copenhagen will be a commitment and a partnership like no other because with respect to forests it is over national resources that are mobilised to provide global environmental services in exchange for financial compensation to nations that own the forests. The local people should be beneficiaries, not just the ruling elite and logging companies. The African Union should ensure that governments work together despite the fact that some, like those in the Central African region have huge forests, others, like Kenya have few while others have virtually no forests. Climate change knows no borders and those without forests will be even greater victims and will find it difficult to adapt or adopt. A poor Africa without the Congo forest will be a continent whose common destiny is in peril. Therefore, African governments should have a common voice and a common stand on the road to Copenhagen. Temptations to have bilateral negotiations should be resisted because that could lead to exploitation of individual states. Financial resources and organisations to manage them will be many in Copenhagen. Much more challenging will be how to control greed, selfishness, mistrust and exploitative tendencies. There will also be great need to build trust, confidence and honour, where promises are kept. This will take time and patience. That is partly why the St James Palace Memorandum calls for an immediate emergency package to provide funding to tropical forest nations to help them urgently halt deforestation and embark on alternative economic development paths. Africa will have friends such as Britain, Norway, France, Germany and others who are in the Congo Basin Forest Fund and those in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, not to mention bilateral and multilateral partners. There will also be friends like the Prince of Wales who is particularly concerned through his own Rainforest Project. Therefore, failure to negotiate a reasonable package for Africa in Copenhagen will not be due to a global desire to damp Africa, but more likely a willingness to take advantage of Africa’s weaknesses. If Africa presents a strong, common position and negotiate as Africa, rather than 53 different weak states, she will avoid the pitfall of being taken advantage of and used. Well managed, Copenhagen could present a great opportunity for Africa.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The UN meeting in Copenhagen in December to try and set new rules of the game on emitting green house gases, namely carbon dioxide, was in or around most conversations in Europe when I was there a few weeks back. Officially it is called the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and now in its 15th iteration. In simple terms, money managers are interested to know how the Kyoto Protocol gets updated, and impacts the price for pollution per country and sector based on government reactions. That is a lot of paper, bums on seats, and carbon-intensive travel, yes? Investors care because any change in regulation, anything that changes the costs structure of valuing a business, will impact the valuation of a firm, and so the investment in that firm. Leading ESG thinkers continue to try and improve the metrics, and why FTfm covers stories most Mondays. Money managers have been pushing companies to understand climate change impacts for years, through initiatives like CERES in the US and IIGCC in Oceana and Europe.
Pretty much any NGO or international organization (IO) in the sustainable finance or green investment space is putting out a position paper or shaping to be near the action, for example WWF Copenhagen Expectations. The UN is giving it a full-court press, see UN Climate Change, and Denmark is using it like
The mechanics of negotiating new climate change rules was rudely made apparent in a simulation exercise we did at the Tallberg Forum, hosted by Drew Jones, Sustainability Institute, USA for a consortium of NGOs, universities and think tanks like MIT, foundations and companies like Nike, Fidelity Investments, Schlumberger and Citi. Check http://climateinteractive.wordpress.com/. The C-ROADS simulation aims to do what the Prius dashboard or prepaid cellphones do: kep score. Keeping score by illustrating where the negotiations get us. Actually, maybe not that different from Greenpeace, just a lot more acceptable to the suits. An XLS-based algorithm drives graphs of the numbers describing the net effect ot the planet of all the positions and commitments. The graph captures the respective negotiating positions of parties to an agreement and in coloured lines describes how those commitments to investment capital in mitigating or adapting to climate change will affect the "score", illustrated by the parts per million (PPM) and average expected temperature. Scientists have us pointed toward 350-450ppm and not more than +2C if we aim to keep enjoying the planet as we have. The designers of the simple software want negotiating parties to use it live in
The simulated negotiation exercise was powerful too for putting the group into three groupings (developed countries, developing countries, and small countries and island states) with the way we played it out with subtle details like having the islands grouping I was in have no chairs, and sitting on the floor [see similar photo, above], while the developed countries had chair, flowers and fruit in their corner. Excellent role-play. Having been the undercover activist from time-to-time, my first offer to our group - basically nations like Maldives and
One of the leading pension fund and money manager groupings active against climate change since 2003 has been the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, IIGCC. The IIGCC published its second annual report yesterday, Second Annual Report - Investor Statment on Climate Change [see publications dating back to 2003] and represents assets of USD 5,575 bn [EU 4,000bn; GBP 3,440]. The report reflects the work by money managers in asking questions covering climate change from their underlying company investments, and fully 90% are engaging the companies to do more. But most interesting finding for me, was that the push to engage, a notoriously vague term with mixed or unmeasurable results, has played out. One of the leading ESG thinkers and head of responsible investment at Insight Investment, Rory Sullivan, was reported in FTfm as saying "We've got to the limit of engagement without stronger incentives". Check II's responsible investment page. Now money managers are feeling that the push to companies on business case or ethical case bases has reached its maximum, this is where regulation will make the next big breakthrough. FTfm's Sophia Grene reported [Call for Government Action on Climate, 13 July 2009] Stephanie Pfeiffer, programme director at IIGCC for the four workstreams as saying "We're going to be trying to influence the policy-making in the run up to Copenhagen". Knowing how adept money managers are with their spreadsheets, and the fountainhead of information that crosses their terminals and screens daily, I think a few money managers and analysts should accompany negotiators to Copenhagen, armed with XLS to immediately [it is 2009, after all] demonstrate what the numbers will mean. The money managers may even improve the simulation graphics. I wonder if they could get the Climate Change Exercise software to simulate a boatload of one million poor climate change refugees floating across the floor halfway through some waffling negotiation impasse…
(find Graham Sinclair @ http://sinclairconsult.com/WhoWeAre/tabid/73/Default.aspx)
USCAP says; "In June 2005, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences joined with the scientific academies of ten other countries in stating that “the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt actions.” Each year we delay action to control emissions increases the risk of unavoidable consequences that could necessitate even steeper reductions in the future, at potentially greater economic cost and social disruption. Action sooner rather than later preserves valuable response options, narrows the uncertainties associated with changes to the climate, and should lower the costs of mitigation and adaptation. The scale of the undertaking to address climate change is enormous, and should not be underestimated. For this issue to be successfully addressed—and failure is not an option—the way we produce and use energy must fundamentally change, both nationally and globally. In our view, the climate change challenge, like other challenges our country has confronted in the past, will create more economic opportunities than risks for the U.S. economy. Indeed, addressing climate change will require innovation and products that drive increased energy efficiency, creating new markets. This innovation will lead directly to increased U.S. competitiveness, as well as reduced reliance on energy from foreign sources. Our country will thus benefit through increased energy security and an improved balance of trade. We believe that a national mandatory policy on climate change will provide the basis for the United States to assert world leadership in environmental and energy technology innovation, a national characteristic for which the United States has no rival. Such leadership will assure U.S. competitiveness in this century and beyond. USCAP commits as; "We, the members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, pledge to work with the President, the Congress, and all other stakeholders to enact an environmentally effective, economically sustainable, and fair climate change program consistent with our principles at the earliest practicable date."
USCAP believes a U.S. policy framework must include the following; • Mandatory approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the major emitting sectors including emissions from large stationary sources, transportation, and energyuse in commercial and residential buildings that could be phased in over time, with attention to near-, mid-and long-term time horizons; • Flexible approaches to establish a price signal for carbon that may vary by economic sector and could include, depending on the sector: market-based incentives; performance standards; cap-and-trade; tax reform; incentives for technology research, development, and deployment; or other appropriate policy tools; and • Approaches that create incentives and encourage actions by other countries, including large emitting economies in the developing world, to implement GHG emission reduction strategies.
(This is an article by George Monbiot to the The Guardian,
British and G8 climate strategy just doesn't add up. As soon as serious curbs are needed it turns into impossible nonsense.
Well, at least that clears up the mystery. Over the past year I've been fretting over an intractable contradiction. The government has promised spectacular cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. It is also pushing through new roads and runways, approving coal-burning power stations, bailing out car manufacturers and ditching regulations for low-carbon homes. How can these policies be reconciled?
We will find out tomorrow, when it publishes a series of papers on carbon reduction. According to one person who has read the drafts, the new policies will include buying up to 50% of the reduction from abroad. If this is true, it means that the
The figure might have changed between the draft and final documents, but let's take it at face value for the moment, to see what happens when rich nations offload their obligations. What I am about to explain is the simple mathematical reason why any large-scale programme of offsets is unjust, contradictory and ultimately impossible.
Last week the G8 summit adopted the UK's two key targets : it proposed that developed countries should reduce their greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 to prevent more than two degrees of global warming. This meant that it also adopted the
Please bear with me on this: the point is an important one. There are some figures involved, but I'll use only the most basic arithmetic, which anyone with a calculator can reproduce.
The G8 didn't explain what it meant by "developed countries", but I'll assume it was referring to the nations listed in Annex 1 of the
But the G8 has also adopted another of the
So here's the outcome. The rich nations, if they follow the
If global justice means anything, the rich countries must make deeper cuts than the poor. We have the most to cut and can best afford to forgo opportunities for development. If nations like the
Befuddled yet? I haven't explained the half of it. As the G8 leaders know, a global cut of 50% offers only a faint to nonexistent chance of meeting their ultimate objective: preventing more than two degrees of warming. In its latest summary of climate science, published in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that a high chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming requires a global cut of 85% by 2050. In drafting the climate change act, the
Global average CO2 emissions are 4.48 tonnes per person per year. Cutting the world total by 85% means reducing this to 0.67 tonnes. Average per capita output in the 38 Annex 1 countries is 10 tonnes; to hit this target they must cut their emissions by 93.3% by 2050. If the rich persist in offsetting 50% of this cut, the poorer countries would have to reduce their emissions by 7bn tonnes to absorb our offsets. To meet a global average of 0.67 tonnes, they would also need to chop their own output by a further 10.8bn tonnes. This means a total cut of 17.8bn tonnes, or 125% of their current emissions. I hope you have spotted the flaw.
In fact, even the IPCC's proposal has been superseded. Two recent papers in Nature show that the measure that counts is not the proportion of current emissions produced on a certain date, but the total amount of greenhouse gases we release. An 85% cut by 2050 could produce completely different outcomes. If most of the cut took place at the beginning of the period, our cumulative emissions would be quite low. If, as the
Carbon offsetting makes sense if you are seeking a global cut of 5% between now and for ever. It is the cheapest and quickest way of achieving an insignificant reduction. But as soon as you seek substantial cuts, it becomes an unfair, impossible nonsense, the equivalent of pulling yourself off the ground by your whiskers. Yes, let us help poorer nations to reduce deforestation and clean up pollution. But let us not pretend that it lets us off the hook.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Berit Asmussen (Chairman of the Board of People's Climate Action) - Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Phone: +45 33 36 40 35 Mobile: +45 28 34 62 99
Lene Vennits, Head of Secretariat of People's Climate Action - Mail: email@example.com Mobile: +45 20 57 89 32
Gitte Werner Nielsen, Secretariat Coordinator of People's Climate Action - Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +45 21 24 42 57
Visit the website of the of People's Climate Action @ http://www.peoplesclimateaction.dk/uk/
Saturday, July 11, 2009
(The following article is reproduced from the a report Jonathan Weisman to the Wall Street Journal on 8th July 2009)
Chinese President Hu Jintao's sudden departure from the meeting early Wednesday further complicates negotiations, dealing a potentially significant blow to the summit's ability to produce concrete results on issues from climate change to economic recovery.
The G-8 nations -- the
On Tuesday night,
Since the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, reluctant Western nations have painted the unwillingness of developing economies such as
Developing countries have responded that they shouldn't have to slow or sacrifice their fossil-fuel-based economic growth to help the West atone for its historical consumption patterns.Wednesday's breakdown here underscored how difficult a breakthrough will be when the world gathers in
"We still have time before
But it was the failure of the developed nations to set short-term goals that gave the developing countries their reason for torpedoing a broader deal that seemed within reach just a week ago. The G-8 nations also couldn't agree on a pledge to help fund poorer countries' moves toward cleaner energy sources and mitigate the effects of climate change they are already feeling.
A draft declaration had provisionally called for $400 million in this aid -- a figure many nations called too small and others called too large. In the end, they got only theoretical commitments to help with finances and technology.
Still, the G-8 declaration did move the developed world toward stricter regulations on the emissions of climate-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The developed nations agreed a year ago to a 50% reduction by 2050, but European negotiators argued a more aggressive target was needed ultimately to convince the developing nations. This year, they got 80%. But that may be less significant than it seems because the G-8 declaration leaves it to individual nations to decide their emissions baselines.
In another breakthrough, the G-8 agreed on Wednesday that global temperatures shouldn't rise more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. The
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- ▼ July (9)