Archive for Cancun
www.bbc.co.uk 11th December 2010
A compromise has been reached at the climate summit in Cancun. A draft paper drawn up by the hosts of the summit, Mexico, found unexpected support among the countries that have caused the biggest problems in finding a successor to the Kyoto treaty, namely China, Japan, and the USA. As the spokespeople of each of these three stood up to endorse the paper, which states that carbon reductions are necessary and also establishes a fund to help poorer countries in their fight against the effects of global warming, other delegates cheered. The Green Climate Fund will spend $100 billion each year on developing low-carbon technologies in poorer nations as well as investing in infrastructure related to tackling the effects of climate change, such as flooding. Also in the paper are parameters to tackle deforestation. However, the deal is a lot less than many hoped for. Although a step up from the disastrous Copenhagen summit last year, it is unsure whether the Cancun deal will be legally binding. Tara Rao, senior policy adviser with WWF, is optimistic however. “There’s enough in it that we can work towards next year’s meeting in South Africa to get a legally binding agreement there,” she said. Bolivia was the most outspoken critic of the deal, with the President reportedly stating the agreement was ‘ecocide and genocide’. The Bolivian delegate has claimed that the deal will still amount to a rise in global temperatures of over 4 degrees C.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th December 2010
The latest round of talks at the UN Climate summit in Cancun has centred around the 1 gigaton of CO2 emitted by the shipping industry. Shipping emissions are currently exempt from national carbon accounts leading to uncertainty about how they can be reduced. The Carbon War Room, which was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, has proposed a solution, which has so far the backing of Papua New Guinea alone. The idea dictates that ships be charged different fees for docking depending on how much greenhouse gas they admit. To help the process along, the Carbon War Room has published an online tool grading 60,000 vessels on their emissions, complied mostly from data of the International Maritime Organisation. The effects of the tool are two fold. Not only will companies be allowed to see the emissions of their carrier ships, thereby being able to choose a less polluting ship, but also governments will be able to use it if they decide to introduce the carbon tariffs at ports. The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation created to encourage business to take a leading role in the fight against climate change, has claimed that the shipping industry could reduce its emissions by 30% by improving efficiency alone.
www.guardian.co.uk 3rd December 2010
Plan: To hold emissions to a maximum temperature rise of 2C.
Progress: Little. But many rich countries only interested in implementing unambitious Copenhagen accord.
Outlook: Bleak. Hard to see how big emitters like the US will compromise to greater cuts.
Plan: Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (Redd). To set up an international forest and land use agreement which will allow countries to offset carbon emissions by protecting forests – and locking away emissions – in developing countries.
Progress: Little. Informal discussions taking place but Saudi Arabia is hostile.
Outlook: Good. No final agreement but all parties determined to deliver one.
Plan: To raise $100bn a year by 2020 for developing countries affected by climate change, and set up a giant carbon fund.
Progress: Good. Financiers confident money can be found. Some of the key elements like governance of the fund and allocation of more money for adapting to the impacts of climate change – such as flooding – are heading in the right direction.
Outlook: Close to agreement. This could be one of the deliverables at Cancún. Developing countries will have to agree to a large tranche of risky market-driven money rather than guaranteed public funds, but look like keeping control over the funds.
Plan: To reach agreement so all countries have access to new low-carbon technologies.
Progress: Talk of regional or international centres to provide advice and information.
Outlook: Good but probably to be concluded in 2011.
Plan: To get rich countries to sign up to extending the Kyoto protocol and state their plans for emissions cuts.
Outlook: Critical. Kyotyo protocol is totemic issue for developing countries who say it is the only legally binding treaty forcing rich countries to cut emissions.
Plan: Close loopholes in negotiating texts that could mean a rise emissions.
Progress: None. EU, Australia, Russia New Zealand and Canda are trying to open more loopholes.
Outlook: No prospects for agreement.
Plan: Commit to an international program by which countries would monitor, report and verify one another’s progress on emission reduction commitments and climate aid pledges.
Progress: China and the US have indicated they are prepared to compromise, and an Indian compromise proposal on self-financed actions at home is shaping up as a deal-maker. Countries are now discussing setting up a new oversight body for long term finance.
Outlook: Significant steps so far suggest there could be a breakthrough.
www.telegraph.co.uk 29th November 2010
A series of papers published by the Royal Society has revealed that scientists believe current plans to tackle climate change are not enough. Organisations such as Oxford University and the Met Office have contributed to the publication which states that unless more drastic measures are taken global temperatures could rise as much as 4 degrees centigrade by the 2060s. This would cause catastrophic floods, drought, and mass migrations across the world. One drastic example of the severity of the situation, according to the contributors, is from Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, who believes that the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while continuing to allow poorer nations to grow, is to stop growth in the developed world for twenty years. This would mean people in countries like the UK and USA would have to live less carbon intensive lifestyles. One way this could be achieved is by adopting a strict rationing system much like that of world war two. Electricity restrictions and less food from abroad are examples of this measure. Other authors wrote that the aim of reducing emissions by 50% relative to 1990 levels by 2050, the target the current climate summit in Cancun hopes to secure, is not enough and will not prevent temperature sensitive ecosystems such as coral reefs from being wiped out.
www.independent.co.uk 27th November 2010
The latest rounds in UN sponsored talks on climate change are set to take start in two days time (29th November) in the holiday resort of Cancun in Mexico. Spectators hope that a viable alternative to the Kyoto Pact will be put into place following last year’s failure at Copenhagen. The summit will be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 194 parties are due to attend. The two main objectives are as follows:
1) ACTION BEYOND 2012
- launching a new financial vehicle, unofficially dubbed the Green Fund, to help poor countries cope with the impact of climate change. It could be the main source for aid, promised in Copenhagen, that could reach 100 billion dollars a year by 2020.
- setting financial encouragement to tropical countries so that they preserve their forests rather than cut them down. Logging and land clearance have accounted for between 12 and 25 percent of global emissions annually over the past 15 years.
- encouraging the transfer of clean technology from rich countries to poor economies.
- agreeing ways to measure and monitor countries’ actions, including emissions curbs.
2) FUTURE OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The renewal of greenhouse gas reduction targets. This is difficult due to the lack of support from the USA and the absence of developing economies like Brazil, China, and India. Even the European Union, which saved Kyoto following the USA’s refusal to ratify the treaty in 2001, is doubtful that such as renewal is possible.
The Independent 31st August 2010
Depressing news from the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Climate Action Tracker website yesterday as they stated that if current promised global carbon-cuts set at the Copenhagen Summit last year do not change until the end on the century then the world would experience a catastrophic 3.5 degree rise in temperature. Such a rise would cause ‘disastrous effects on agricultural production, water availability, natural ecosystems, and sea-level rise across the world, producing tens of millions of refugees’ (P.4). The news came ahead of the COP16 Summit in Cancun this year which will see over 200 nations struggle once again with the politics of global warming. The main debate at Copenhagen was between the amount of responsibility shouldered by Developed and Developing Nations. Under the current Kyoto Treaty (set to expire in 2012) , Developed Nations are forced to do more towards global warming. Understandably, Developing Nations are happy with this arrangement and want to secure a similar one after Kyoto finishes. Also understandably, perhaps, the Developed Nations want Developing Nations such as India, Brazil, and China to take more responsibility.
In order for global warming to be kept within the safe level of below 2 degrees stated by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), CO2 emissions must be reduced by between 25-40%. Currently pledges from around the world add up to 11-19% with China making the boldest promise of a reduction of 40-45% (the UK is currently on 34%, the rest of the EU 20%, and the USA by 17%). As Developed Nations are currently responsible for the greatest amount of CO2 emissions, is it not right they shoulder more responsibility in solving the problem? Shouldn’t the amount of responsibility be proportionate to the amount of CO2 any country emits?