Monday, 11 November 2013

COP-19 in Warsaw: the issues

"The world is on track for warming of 6C by the end of the century – a level that would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration." --
 Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, 25 April 2012
Arctic methane levels going through the roof -- Arctic-news 11 Nov 2013

“In Warsaw, we must agree to prepare strong pledges for the 2015 deal and to step up emission cuts over the rest of this decade” Connie Hedegaard, Danish politician who hosted COP-15, now European Commissioner for Climate Action


“The Kyoto Protocol has made virtually no difference whatsoever to the growth of global emissions. Back in 1990 they were going up at about two parts per million, they’re now going up at about three (parts per million).” — Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University, November 2012


Christiana Figueres broke down in tears at an Oct 2013 Chatham House meeting in London... the international failure to negotiate a global climate treaty was "completely unfair and immoral...we are condemning future generations before they are even born... we have a choice to change the future we are going to give our children."-- BBC news 22 Oct 2013.
“There is no doubt that we have to act and that we have to act now. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak this decade, and get to zero net emissions by the second half of this century” -- Christiana Figueres, head of UNFCCC and founder of Latin America's carbon marketer, the Center for Sustainable Development, Huffington Post, 8 Nov 2013

 [Pushing offsets] “As we approach a new global agreement in 2015, we also are set to cross the 400 ppm threshold of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere… To support COP 19 as a showcase, the UNFCCC… will highlight lighthouse activities in areas related to the Urban Poor, Women for Results, and Financing for Climate-Friendly Investment. These lighthouse activities show how climate action can be accelerated in ways that benefit people and communities on-the-ground, including the world’s most vulnerable and investors.” -- Christiana Figueres interview with World Climate, 6 May 2013

“In Durban at the COP-17 in December 2011, Parties decided that a new international market mechanism (NMM) should be established under the UNFCCC that will complement the CDM and JI. [details to be] developed and negotiated... In addition to an international new market mechanism, new regional compliance schemes are being developed in several countries, including Japan, California and China. These cap-and-trade systems usually include an offsetting component. If such offsets can be used in different systems (if they are ‘fungible’) then it is vital to avoid offsets being double counted.” – Carbon Market Watch 

“I now look forward to a new challenge working to address climate change and sustainability with KPMG and several academic institutions. . . . Having worked on climate change as both a government representative and an international civil servant, I now look forward to engaging on the issue from a business perspective.” — Yvo de Boer, when retiring as head of the UNFCCC, February 2010, quoted by REDD-Monitor; de Boer is now a key adviser of KPMG, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Carbon Markets International Association.

Saving the planet, or the carbon market? 
see this graph from the World Bank

“It's not a fight over principles but how we bind the necessary clarity in climate protection with the required flexibility and competitiveness to protect the car industry in Europe, ... I am convinced we can find such a solution. We can find it in the next weeks.” Peter Altmaier, Germany's Environment Minister, Reuters 14 Oct 2013

[big conservation NGOs seek corporate donors, donors get emissions credits to continue polluting
“I have worked for vastly different organizations throughout my career. The bottom line is it’s all about advocacy, that’s what I’m passionate about. Mobilizing and organizing people to influence the public process and public policy is what I truly love to do. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily believe that the views of TNC [The Nature Conservancy] and API [American Petroleum Institute] are incompatible.” — Deryck Spooner, on his move from TNC to API, NYT 26 February 2010

“I meet a lot of these people on Wall Street on a regular basis right now … I am going to put it very bluntly: I regard the moral environment as pathological. And I am talking about the human interactions … I’ve not seen anything like this, not felt it so palpably.” — Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, UK Independent 29 April 2013 

“I think there is general agreement that in Copenhagen [COP-15, 2009] 
significant reforms of the CDM… have to be implemented” — Al Gore testimony to US Senate, 2009.

 The Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism "needs to move beyond the one-to-one ratio between reducing emissions in one location and increasing emissions in another location. The CDM also needs to address the criticism that a small number of projects have had damaging non-climate impacts, such as dams flooding villages or covered landfill sites putting waste-pickers out of a job….Offsetting bridges the gap between the way things are and the way things should be. It does not "solve" climate change any more than food banks solve hunger or shelters solve homelessness. Efforts to improve it and increase its use should be strengthened, not shunned*, as the world moves toward a global climate agreement by its self-imposed 2015 deadline.” -- Robin Rix, lead officer for carbon markets strategy of the UNFCCC, in UK Guardian 25 Sep 2013.
*see 'Global carbon trading system has essentially collapsed' Guardian 10 Sep 2012 

“REDD... would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.” — Inatoy Sidsagi, of indigenous Kuna Yala Kunarevolución, Panama, rejecting REDD+ project, September 2013 

Inatoy Sidsagi and cousin Esteban Herrera sing 
about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right 
to protect her lands and waters. Photo: Beverly Bell.

“What has happened in the Philippines [deaths in Halyan, the fourth super-typhoon to strike this year] is a huge tragedy and is just the beginning….COP-19 is a farce, a charade, a scandal. In Warsaw there will be no commitments to increase emission cuts, and the gap until 2020 is huge (emissions should be 44 GT of CO2e in 2020 and with the current pledges in the UNFCCC they will be 57 GT of CO2e). The next COP should be in the affected areas of the Philippines so they can stop playing with the lives of people… and pretending they are doing something when they are just losing irrecoverable time and allowing a mass killing to happen” -- Pablo Solon, former Bolivian climate negotiator, now director of Focus on the Global South, email to Climate Justice Now listserv, 8 Nov 2013

40 rich countries, including New Zealand, Poland (whose government backs the coal industry despite opposition by the majority of its public) other EU states, California, China, South Korea, Kazakhstan, and South Africa, want pollution permits to offset their growing emissions. They propose a unified world offset marketplace: the New Market Mechanism. Global carbon market 'toolbox' in sight at U.N. climate talks, Reuters 13 Nov 2013; International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) Greenhouse Gas Market report (Nov 2013)

[Carbon marketers will make the poor countries pay for emissions damage caused by the rich developed countries]
COP-19 Side Event planned for Nov 18  “In the transition from Common But Differentiated Responsibilities toward Common and Less Differentiated Responsibilities”, are LULUCF and REDD+ compatibly integrated into international carbon trading schemes and the Post-Kyoto climate policy framework?” 

Gary Gero (Director, Climate Action Reserve) — California Forest Protocol
Louis Blumberg (The Nature Conservancy, Director, California Climate Change Program) — California Carbon Trading Scheme and the Role of Forests
Adrian Macey (Adjunct Professor, Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington) — New Zealand’s Emission Trading System and the inclusion of Forests
Lars Zetterberg (Swedish Environmental Research Institute, IVL) — Parallels and differences between California and EU approach to Carbon Trading (with particular reference to LULUCF/REDD)
Giacomo Grassi (European Commission, Joint Research Centre) — LULUCF in the EU and Kyoto Protocol climate policy framework
David Ellison, Hans Petersson and Mattias Lundblad (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU) — LULUCF, EU Climate Policy and REDD

COP-19 Side Event planned for Nov 12 by EU Directorate General for Development Cooperation, "The role of ecosystems in the 2015  climate agreement"
[UN agencies such as CBD, UNCCD and UNEP promote PES: Payment for Ecosystems Services. Under current offset rules, indigenous and local people are denied free prior and informed consultation; and are often expelled at the point of a gun.]

Moderator: Simone Schiele, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity: "The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020 and the role of ecosystems in the response to climate change: mitigation, adaptation and reducing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and biodiversity based livelihoods."
Sakhile Koketso, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity – "UNCCD perspective on the role of ecosystems in the post-2015 agreement"
Jasmin Metzler, Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification -- "Ecosystems for adaptation: the role of biodiversity and ecosystems services in assisting people to adapt to climate change, as part of an overall adaptation strategy."
Anna Kontorov, UNEP Climate Change Adaptation Unit – "Ecosystem-based approaches in the EU"
Etienne Coyette, EU Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, EuropeAid – "Restoration of ecosystems...mitigating and adapting to climate change."
Ben Ten Brink, Netherlands Assessment Agency [the Dutch environmental ministry]

Side event Nov 16: The Geneva International Finance Dialogues, a partnership of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, International Institute for Sustainable Development and UNEP FI, in association with Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Nedbank, present South-Originating Green Finance: Exploring the Potential.” discussing the ways that many developing countries are driving finance toward low-emission and climate-resilient development. Domestic innovations, such as feed-in tariffs, are unlocking billions in green finance and supporting large-scale advances like renewable energy systems and markets. The paper works to identify the trends and characteristics of South-originating green finance and to examine the policy measures, risk assessments and other tools used to accelerate its volume and impact.

The US role in climate negotiations
Timelines and key documents 1992-2012, from Oxford Earth Summit.
The US signed the Kyoto protocol but never ratified it. the U.S. Senate unanimously voted against any international agreement that 1) did not require developing countries to make emission reductions and 2) "would seriously harm the economy of the United States". -- Wikipedia on the Kyoto Protocol
The American way of life is not up for negotiation.” George Bush Sr at Rio 1992, rejecting environmentalists' calls for US action as the world's biggest polluter.
A 2001 report to Vice President Cheney by the Baker Institute for Public Policy said the American people continue to demand “plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience”.
Market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading have become widely accepted as a cost-effective method for addressing climate change – US Forest Service report 2006

Obama's negotiator Todd Stern
Obama's climate envoy Todd Stern rejects idea of 40% emissions cut by US. – UK Guardian 24 June 2009
The Office of Environmental Markets (OEM) promotes markets for ecosystem services, as "Climate Smart Agriculture" – US Department of Agriculture announcement 2010
Todd Stern rejects UNFCCC target of keeping global warming below 2C by 2020. It would lead to “deadlock” - RTCC report Aug 2012. 
Stern proposes letting countries “draft their own emissions reduction plans”, rather than working toward a common target. The Kyoto Protocol is now dead. – Bonn climate negotiations, May 2013.
US State Dept Office of Global Climate Change is pushing offsets as part of Obama's Climate Plan, 2013.  Paul Bodnar of the Office of Global Change is "a member of the climate change negotiations team, with responsibility for finance and carbon markets. Paul was previously a Director of Carbon Finance at Climate Change Capital, where he was responsible for structuring and executing over $600 million in Clean Development Mechanism transactions for Climate Change Capital’s carbon funds, principally in China. From 2001 to 2003, Paul was a founding partner at Vertis Environmental Finance, Central and Eastern Europe’s leading carbon market firm. Prior to that, Paul served in the State Department as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Management. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University and holds an MA in Political Science from Harvard University, where he studied international climate politics." -- Bodner's biography from Navigating the American Carbon World
See our previous post on Obama's climate plan.
Emissions trends 1970-2010: World Bank
UNEP report Oct 2013 says national pledges to reduce emissions are far too low, 2C hopes fading.

"In a world 2° degrees Celsius warmer, developing countries will require $75–100 billion per year over the next 40 years to build resilience to these changes, and mitigation costs are expected to be in the range of US$140-175 billion per year by 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, the world needs $1 trillion a year between 2012 and 2050 to finance a low-emissions transition, so current finance flows still fall far short of what is needed." -- World Bank
The International Indigenous Peoples' Forum on Climate Change warns that: "REDD will steal our land… States and carbon traders will take control over our forests." -- International Cry 1 Oct 2008
The carbon trade is about making money, not about cutting emissions. Corruption plagues the trade. A big drive amongst the corporate lobbyists and consultants cloying around delegates at the official talks is to unite the various regional and national carbon markets into one big international carbon market and the further introduction of speculative instruments. -- Maud Barlow, Larry Lohmann and FOE at COP-15 in Copenhagen 2009

America's only nationwide carbon trading market, the Chicago Climate Exchange will shut its door next month, a tacit acknowledgement that Republican gains in Congress spell doom for any sort of federal greenhouse gas regulations. It was always voluntary, but the exchange operated with the expectation that carbon trading would one day be mandatory. "Clean" companies stood to reap major rewards. -- Popular Science Nov 2010

Alternatives to a cap-and-trade program include a carbon tax or direct regulation to cut emissions, but not many businesses like either idea. A carbon market is a compromise. -- NYTimes 14 Nov 2011
Carbon trading is allowing industrialised countries and companies to avoid their emissions reduction targets. Some of the key problems with the cap and trade approach are:
The “trade” component does not reduce any emissions. It simply allows companies to choose between cutting their own emissions or buying cheaper “carbon credits,” which are supposed to represent reductions elsewhere
The “cap” has too many holes and sometimes caps nothing. The aim of trading is to find the cheapest solution for polluting industry, and it is consistently cheaper to buy “hot air” credits than to actually reduce emissions. Cap setting is a political process that is highly susceptible to corporate lobbying which means that there is invariable over-allocation of pollution permits.
Offsets loosen the cap. An offset is essentially a permit to pollute beyond the cap.
Although offsets are often presented as emissions reductions, what these projects do at their hypothetical best is to stabilise emission levels while moving them from one location to another, normally from Northern to Southern countries. In practice, this “best case” scenario is rarely seen, with the result being that offsetting increases emissions whilst also exacerbating social and environmental conflicts. – TransNational Institute (TNI) primer on carbon trading. See also Wikipedia Carbon finance and Carbon emission trading; Carbon Market Watch warning about the combination of "new market mechanisms" with climate inaction, Herding the Global Carbon Market Cats 8 Nov 2013.
See Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute's new COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying. They’ll also be blogging from Warsaw.
The Institute for Policy Studies urges non-market approaches, such as Globally Funded Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariffs.
Live coverage of the UNFCCC COP-19 in Warsaw Nov 2013 – transcripts and videos here
Also Climate Radio quotes delegates from Africa and Asia on the key issues. 
RTCC Nov 11 with full transcript: Philippines negotiator Nasarev (Yeb) Saño declares hunger fast. video.


These last two days, there are moments when I feel that I should rally behind the climate advocates who peacefully confront those historically responsible for the current state of our climate. These selfless people who fight coal, expose themselves to freezing temperatures, or block oil pipelines. In fact, we are seeing increasing frustration and, thus, more increased civil disobedience. The next two weeks, these people, and many around the world who serve as our conscience will again remind us of our enormous responsibility. 

To the youth here who will constantly remind us that their future is in peril, to the climate heroes who risk their lives, reputation, and personal liberties to stop drilling in the polar regions and to those communities standing up to unsustainable and climate-disrupting conventional sources of energy, we stand with them… 
In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for the last three days, in all due respect Mr. President, and I mean no disrespect for your kind hospitality, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight.

AFP Nov 12: In an unprecedented move, 30 Asian and youth delegates from Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Poland, India and the United States, joined the fast. "Some are fasting in solidarity with Mr. Saño with no food whatsoever, just water, to the end of the summit, or until real progress is made," said Anjali Appadurai, of Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka.
"Climate justice now!" protesters at one of the conference venue's many busy cafeterias wore large red dots on their lapels as a symbol of solidarity with the Philippines envoy and touted signs reading: "It's lunch time but we're not eating", "We stand with you, we stand with the Philippines".
Lydinyda Nacpil, of Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), called for "ambitious compensation and finance, reparations, solidarity and ambition and overall equity".
RTCC Nov 12: Saño said he was “deeply touched and profoundly moved” by the decision of many youth delegates to fast for 24 hours or the rest of the summit. 
According to Sönke Kreft of Germanwatch, extreme weather in the past 20 years killed around 30,000 people, causing US$2.5 trillion damage.
RTCC Nov 10:
Saño is under no illusions that one storm will change what has become a set of convoluted, tough and often bitter negotiations.  He urged compensation for loss and damage due to climate change. Despite vague promises of  'fast start' GCF funding, "We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt." Economic costs to the Philippines will exceed typhoon Bopha’s US$ 750 million; Haiyan has killed at least 10,000 (and probably more, as reports come in).

No comments: