Tag Archive | "COP 17"

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High stakes, low chance of success for vulnerable states

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

By Joshua Kyalimpa

Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Entire societies will be lost forever if we delay reaching a climate change agreement in Durban, warns Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of the Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST).

“Let us not be witness to that unfortunate happening. Extreme events beyond everybody’s expectation are now observed more and more frequently and we know the consequence of that,” Chowdhury said.

Governments of low-lying island states such as the Maldives, the Bahamas, or the Pacific nation of Kiribati say their very physical existence is threatened by sea level rise of one metre – anticipated to take place by 2100.

Chowdhury’s home country, Bangladesh, is also caught in the crosshairs of global warming – rising temperatures and sea levels, changing weather patterns increasing catastrophic flooding from both swollen rivers and storm surges from intensifying monsoons will hit this low-lying, agriculture-dependent country full in the face.

A map produced by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that an area of this South Asian state that is home to 15 million people will be entirely submerged by a one-metre rise in sea levels. Long before then, increasing numbers of floods will erode riverbanks, and destroy homes, farms, roads and other infrastructure while taking longer to recede, hampering agriculture. Lingering floodwater will test public health systems wrestling with waterborne diseases.

The fears of Bangladesh and other low-lying states are an urgent reminder as the 17th Conference of Parties remains unlikely to agree on even a minimal programme of emissions reductions by developed countries – historically the worst polluters – or financial assistance for vulnerable developing nations.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon poured cold water on the talks Tuesday Dec. 6 when he told delegates that a global, legally-binding deal on climate change could well be off the agenda for now. He blamed grave economic troubles in many countries for overshadowing the talks, which are now in their second week but little tangible progress before they conclude on Dec. 10.

South African Bishop Geoff Davies head of the Anglican Church compared rich countries’ behaviour in Durban to apartheid, saying wealthy nations were trying to keep power and wealth for themselves. “Decision makers need to put the needs of people and the planet before profits.”

The parties remain sharply divided. Coastal states, small island nations and the Africa group are pushing for a second commitment by developed countries to reduce emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The U.S. and Canada say any new commitment should be delayed until after 2020. These two governments are also rejecting a legally-binding global agreement. Japan at one point threatened to pull out altogether.

The European Union has taken up a position somewhere in the middle, proposing a second commitment period to start somewhere around 2015. The EU also says this is on condition that other polluters – such as fast-growing China – are brought on board.

“We have committed under Kyoto and we have actually over achieved in the first commitment period,” said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action. “But Europe only accounts for 11 percent of global emissions and that is why we are saying two things. We are ready to agree a second commitment period even though the family of countries who are ready to do so is shrinking; however we need reassurance that if we lay down a bridge to the future, then others will follow.”

The Congolese chair of the Africa Group, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, says it’s hard to understand why the developed countries are behaving as they are.

“They says they want rules on climate change, but they don’t like the Kyoto Protocol. It’s hard to comprehend. If you want the mango, then you have to like the mango tree also,” he said. “If you want the carbon markets to continue, you must have robust transparent rules to continue – you have to keep the mango tree (binding emissions reduction agreements).”

He said the Africa Group is looking to the rich countries which have enjoyed a certain level of development at the cost of everyone’s atmosphere to now show leadership on climate change.

“They have shown us economic leadership, they have shown us political leadership and sometimes even military leadership, so let’s see them show us climate leadership.”

The pessimsism expressed by Secretary General Ban and COAST’s Chowdhury hangs over the conference venue, but some – like Paul Mafabi, a negotiator from Uganda – say it was already foregone conclusion that a deal would not be struck because of the economic crisis gripping the biggest offenders.

It’s perhaps worth remembering that small island and developing states are threatened not just by economic crisis, but by devastating and permanent disaster. And the real baseline demand of small island and developing states – measures to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and avoid devastating changes in these vulnerable states – is not even on the table.

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Disculpe, ¿a cuánto tiene el CO2?

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

Para Ban, se necesita una combinación de recursos públicos y privados para combatir el cambio climático. Kristin Palitza/IPS

Por Kristin Palitza

DURBAN, Sudáfrica, 7 dic (IPS) – Fijar un precio a las emisiones de dióxido de carbono (CO2) en todo el mundo es la clave para nutrir el Fondo Verde para el Clima (FVC), que financiará proyectos de adaptación al recalentamiento planetario en los países del Sur. Continue Reading

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“Looking for a Climate Champion”

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

Credit: Tinus de Jager/IPS

By Stephen Leahy

Civil society said negotiations are going backwards with no nation willing to step up and lead the way forward here at the United Nations climate change conference Wednesday.

“No-one is a champion here. Who will step forward and call the other countries’ bluffs?” asked Tove Ryding of Greenpeace International.

Without that champion stepping forward in the next two and half days, “the world is heading to four degrees Celsius of warming while countries are playing a game of poker,” said Ryding.

“We are going backwards here. The EU put out a new mandate today that suggest a 10 year delay for increasing emissions reductions,” said Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa.

“Corporate power is in charge here. Governments must act for the benefit of their people,” said Peek.

“There is still time to break the deadlock but need clear commitments from the members,” said Srinivas Krishnaswamy of the Climate Action Network – South Asia.

Big decisions at previous meetings were often made in the final hours, he noted.

China has made an “unprecedented” proposal to agree to binding commitments but the US and European Union are pretending this is nothing new, said Samantha Smith of WWF International.

China, as well other large developing nations, are waiting for the US and other developed countries to fulfill their promises made in the Bali (2008) and Copenhagen (2009) climate talks, Smith said.

But even those aren’t good enough to ensure less than two degrees of warming. Greater emissions cuts are needed from the developed that current pledges. “The climate can’t wait for that in 2020 as the US suggests.”

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Zukiswa Zimela interviews DORAH MAREMA, coordinator of Gender and Climate Change in Southern Africa

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 7 (IPS) Civil Society organisations are adamant that women are the ones who will be hardest hit by climate change because of the role they play in society as providers for their families. 

 

Dorah Marema, coordinator of Gender and Climate Change in Southern Africa. Credit: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

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UGANDA: Deforestation Robbing Communities of their Income

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

By Andrew Green

SSESE ISLANDS, Uganda, Dec 7 (IPS) – From a distance, Bugala Island in Lake Victoria is a patchwork of green and brown. The pattern is a result of dense forest retreating in the wake of recently planted palm tree plantations.

Workers on Bugala Island work to clear the rainforest to make way for an expanding palm tree plantation. Palm oil production is one of Uganda's rising industries. Credit: Will Boase/IPS

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COP 17 diary: Ban says don’t expect too much

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

 

 

Tinus de Jager reports from COP 17 in Durban that the United Nations says binding agreements may not be reached at COP 17.

 

 

 

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Mudança climática mata sustento de mulheres

Posted on 06 December 2011 by admin

Nalifu Yussif segura cestas bolga na COP 17, que acontece em Durban, África do Sul, de 29 de novembro a 9 de dezembro. Crédito: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Isaiah Esipisu

Durban, África do Sul, 6/12/2011, (IPS) – Talata Nsor, originária da comunidade de Bolgatanga, norte de Gana, passou boa parte de seus 54 anos tecendo cestas típicas da região. Contudo, ultimamente está muito difícil conseguir matéria-prima.  Continue Reading

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COP 17 diary: High-level talks start

Posted on 06 December 2011 by admin

 

 

Tinus de Jager reports from COP 17 in Durban at the start of the high-level meetings on combatting climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kyoto Protocol on Life Support

Posted on 06 December 2011 by admin

By Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec6 – The United States has become the major stumbling block to progress at the mid point of negotiations over a new international climate regime say civil society and many of the 193 nations attending the United Nations climate change conference here in Durban.

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El calor viene de Washington

Posted on 05 December 2011 by admin

La secretaria ejecutiva de la CMNUCC, Christiana Figueres, en la conferencia de Durban. Crédito: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

Por Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, Sudáfrica, 5 dic (IPS) Cuando la cumbre de las Naciones Unidas sobre el clima entra en su recta final en la ciudad sudafricana de Durban, Estados Unidos se yergue como el mayor obstáculo para lograr un nuevo régimen climático internacional.

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