News from climate-justice-now.org
Durban, 5 Dec (Payal Parekh) – The Informal group on various approaches, including opportunities for using markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote, mitigation actions, bearing in mind different circumstances of developed and developing countries under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long Term Action (AWG-LCA) met on 5 December to discuss the amalgamation text of 3 December.
There were divergent views between developed and developing countries on whether to support Option 1 or Option 2 of the text. Option 1 is a streamlined text of one page that seeks to establish an enhanced mitigation mechanism, while Option 2 is a compilation of Parties’ text that is 16 pages long.
The Facilitator, Mr. Giza Gaspar Martins of Angola, stated that Option 1 represented the minimum common ground and is streamlined.
Papua New Guinea (PNG), speaking on behalf of G77 and China, said that Option 1 is different than the last text seen by Parties (on 2 December) and that the Option 1 presented in the (amalgamation) text is not well defined with parts missing.
The Facilitator clarified that most Parties prefer portions of Option 2 and invited Parties to comment on what should be included from Option 2 in a decision text in order to improve the minimum common ground.
PNG reiterated that the G77 and China did not want to work with that Option 1 text as it is a transformation of the previous version.
Saudi Arabia said Option 2 should be the basis for negotiation.
Angola, speaking on behalf of the Africa Group, preferred Option 2 as indicated before. It also asked how much time was available for discussion.
The Facilitator stated that 48 hours are available and one more informal is scheduled, but “informal informals” could be organized.
Japan said that a short text is needed. While Option 1 is not the minimum common ground, it has the potential to become so. Option 2 can be discussed, but prefer to have Option 1 sent to ministers.
The European Union (EU) stated that it likes the format of Option 1 because it is short and concise. It expects that the final decision establishes a new market mechanism in the context of a broader Durban package.
Bolivia expressed a number of concerns and disappointment. Bolivia’s contribution was missing from Option 1 and Option 2. It stated that it is necessary to establish a work programme to carry out an evaluation. Consideration of adopting new mechanisms should only occur after having the results of the evaluation. It also stated that the Kyoto Protocol is the only legal framework for market mechanism and believe this is not the forum to speak about markets.
Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group, said that it is convinced that Parties should work on Option 1 to save time.
New Zealand stated that it is very keen on a framework or work programme to allow for the exploration of various approaches. Whether approaches are outside or inside the UNFCCC, it is imperative to establish fungibility between various mechanisms. It said that it is important to consider how to manage emerging mechanisms and define the role of the UNFCCC in a top down and bottom up world. It also said that it has heard from numerous colleagues that they want new scaled up mechanisms.
New Zealand would be pleased to see it established here in Durban with details to follow or a work programme tasked with designing a mechanism that is easily accessible and viable for the future. It also stated that it was necessary for a Durban decision to address approaches designed outside of the UNFCCC process. It preferred Option 1.
St. Lucia, speaking on the behalf of AOSIS, prefers Option 2.
PNG strongly emphasized that the mandate it received from the G77 and China is to work on Option 2, as it reflects the view of the Group. It said that the previous Option 1 did establish more common ground than Option 1 presented in the text now. It said that an incentive-based mechanism is not reflected in the current option.
The Facilitator encouraged Parties to discuss what is necessary to ensure minimum common ground for a decision text.
China said that progress on this issue must be linked to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and any text that is forwarded to ministers must be agreed to by this group. Ecuador supported China on the text being first agreed to by the group.
Brazil stated that it supported G77 and China’s position. It also said that suggestions from the previous text are missing from the amalgamation text.
Colombia stated that it agreed with the EU and supported the establishment of new market based mechanisms to be included.
Ukraine referred to its situation as a developed country that is not developed relative to other countries such as Singapore. It asked that the “developed” and “developing” countries in the text be replaced with “Annex 1” and “non-Annex 1”.
South Africa stated that while Option 2 is long, it express all views, which Option 1 does not. It also said that it found Option 1 confusing as it mentions enhanced mitigation options.
Australia stated that it wants expanded and improved markets with environmental integrity. It said that decarbonisation of economies requires greater action. It prefers Option 1 as it is the most palatable for consensus. It said that it would like to see the decision include a new mechanism framework or work programme that applied to approaches inside and outside of the UNFCCC. It specified that it would like an outcome that balances flexibility and could not accept a limit on access to markets or the imposition of conditionalities.
The United States stated that is interested in advancing market mechanisms. It suggested that the text forwarded to ministers must have clear options as there is a wide diversity of opinions on the table that cannot be reconciled at the negotiator level. It also would like to see a work programme on how to deal with bilateral and multilateral mechanism, elements that would belong to a UNFCCC market mechanism and non-market mechanisms. It said that it sees HFCs included in the outcome of Durban.
Switzerland said that new mechanisms must have environmental integrity, avoid double counting, be MRVable. It also said that a work programme for modalities and procedures should be launched.
EU said that there are two essential things: what was decided in Cancun and the existence of mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol should be acknowledged. It also said that the text can be further streamlined.
India stated that the basic principles and objectives are too lengthy and complex and thus streamlining is necessary.
Grenada stated that there is no reference to shared process, which is a principle that is essential for Grenada.
The Facilitator asked Parties the elaborate on what is missing that needed to be in a decision text.
Japan stressed the need for technology neutrality and flexibility. The US said that all Parties should have access to all mechanisms.
Chile preferred Option 2, as it captures all Parties’ views. It also said that the previous version of Option 1 had elements that were clearer.
India supported the streamlining of all text.
The Facilitator adjourned that meeting. An “informal informal” was held later in the day and the Informal group resumes its work on Tuesday.
Durban, 6 Dec (Meena Raman) – As Ministers from many countries land in Durban, Parties under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA) under the UNFCCC are busy with intense negotiations to arrive at the draft decisions needed.
The AWGLCA met in a plenary session on Monday, 5 December, following the production by the Chair of the working group, Mr. Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States, of an “Amalgamation of draft texts” to provide an opportunity to Parties to give their reactions.
In addition to the amalgamation draft texts which is 73 pages long, a separate document was produced as an ‘addendum’ containing proposals by Parties under the element of ‘economic and social consequences of response measures’, that deals with the issue of ‘unilateral trade measures’.
The G77 and China expressed concerns that this element was deferred to an addendum when there was clear agreement that the facilitator would produce a negotiating text on the basis of Parties submissions contained in conference room papers (CRPs) and that this would be included in the main part of the texts. It stressed that this element needed to be treated in the same manner as other elements of the Bali Action Plan.
Many Parties also expressed views that the texts did not reflect all the discussions and was not balanced, while others said that it provided a good basis for further work.
Among the issues that saw a divergence of views included the “scope of the review” and “legal options”. While developed countries wanted more progress on the transparency of the mitigation actions of developing countries, developing countries were concerned that this aspect was moving too fast at the expense of issues of concern to developing countries such as long-term finance and economic and social consequences of response measures.
According to the Chair, the document intended “to bring together the elements of the draft AWGLCA outcome in the form of amalgamation of the draft texts emerging from the work in the informal groups” and “provides an overview aimed at enabling delegates to see where there are gaps or lack of balance and to find ways to address these accordingly.”
He suggested that the issues in the text could be reflected in three categories: (i) those which can be completed by the informal groups; (ii) those that may be resolved in Durban perhaps through consultations at a higher level and (iii) those that cannot be agreed to in Durban on which Parties could work hereafter.
On the legal options, in relation to the first option to “develop and finalise a protocol relating to the content, time frame and forum under consideration”, Reifsnyder said there was an overlap with the ‘Indaba’ process which is going forward under the COP Presidency and not the AWGLCA.
[The ‘Indaba’ process, (informal dialogue sessions) have been convened by the COP Presidency to deal with the “cross-cutting” issues between the AWGLCA and the working group under the Kyoto Protocol].
China said that the ‘Indaba’ process was not the forum for negotiations.
Reifsnyder said that by Wednesday (7 December), there would be an update of the amalgamation texts emerging from the informal groups.
Argentina, speaking for the G77 and China said that the texts captured the different positions of Parties but expressed great concerns that it did not reflect the discussions and agreements coming out of the informal meetings. It also stressed the need for the texts to reflect the positions of all Parties. It wanted the shortcomings to be fixed in the next iteration of the texts. The Group said that the conference room papers (Parties submissions) are to be the basis of negotiations. It did not consider the amalgamation texts to be the basis of the negotiations but was ready to fix its shortcomings. It also wanted certainty on what texts are going to be given to Ministers.
China said that it did not want an “acclamation document” (in an obvious reference to how the Cancun decision was adopted last year at COP 16) and that the amalgamation document was not a faithful reflection of the discussions in the informal groups. Given the time constraints, China wanted substantive discussions on the issues rather than spend time perfecting the document, stressing that the amalgamation draft texts were not the basis of further discussions. The basis for discussions in the informal groups should the submissions by Parties.
On the ‘Indaba’ (informal dialogue) sessions convened by the COP Presidency, China said that issues could be discussed but that was not a forum for negotiations.
It emphasized that the mandate of the AWGLCA was to present an outcome. Areas of agreement would be contained in a report of the AWGLCA. It wanted clarity on the way ahead in case of disagreements and for a way forward in the process.
Saudi Arabia said that the document had many shortcomings and stressed that for any negotiations, the proposals by Parties was the basis not the amalgamation draft texts. It expressed concerns that the Chair had indicated that some issues could be delayed for consideration in the future and this could not be agreed to, as there was a need for a balanced package.
It also expressed concerns over the direction of the process, saying that Parties were meeting everyday on the issue of mitigation of developed and developing countries but there was only one meeting of the informal group on economic and social consequences of response measures. It called for a balanced treatment of all issues.
India said that on the issue of ‘the scope of the review’, arriving at a convergence was crucial. The Cancun decision had made clear that the scope of the review had to be defined and for the modalities to be developed. It was concerned that some Parties were not prepared to define the scope of the review (as they wanted the scope to be only about a review of the temperature goal). It said that the purpose of the review needed to be defined before engaging on how the review is to be done.
On the legal form, there was need for clarity of the mandate of the working group which was to reflect the outcome of the AWGLCA. The mandate was not to include the evolution of a future regime and there was need for a clear focus on the mandate.
It also stressed the need for a balance in the two-track discussions (the AWGLCA and the AWGKP). It said that the negotiations for the second commitment period under the KP were in a log-jam and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
On the issue of the Green Climate Fund, it was not in favour of reopening the draft instrument for the Fund but there could be clarifications to the report of the Transitional Committee.
On international consultations and analysis (ICA for developing countries) and international assessment and review (IAR for developed countries) there was need for agreement on a brief decision providing guidance on these, with the technical aspects being elaborated by the subsidiary bodies as part of the guidelines for national communications.
India also wanted the mitigation targets (of developed countries) to be reflected in the texts.
Pakistan said that there was undue focus on mitigation and not on the issues of concern to developing countries. On long-term finance, it expressed concern that some Parties did not want a solution and if there was a partial solution, there would be no balance in the text.
Ecuador said that the texts were not balanced and did not reflect all the discussions. On the issue of ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD), it said that the text was not ambitious as there needed to be clear sources of financing to be established. It also stressed that the system of voluntary pledges in mitigation of developed countries was not acceptable and that the rights of nature was important. Colombia also expressed disappointment that the REDD text did not have a decision on financing for activities related to the forest.
Bolivia said that a key issue is the definition of commitments for developed countries that are not Parties to the second commitment period of the KP. There was need for a rigorous system of compliance as in the KP and to ensure comparability of efforts among developed countries. The trend appeared to be towards providing more flexibility and for low ambition. This approach jeopardized the chance for emissions reductions.
In the case of developing country mitigation, the texts were not balanced and violated the principle of common but differentiate responsibilities.
It was also concerned about the lack of sources for long-term finance.
Nigeria said that the Green Climate Fund could not be without a replenishment of resources and legal personality. It was concerned with proposals that see markets as a panacea of all problems, when they caused the financial crisis in the first place.
Bahamas speaking for the AOSIS stressed the importance of the scope of the review being confined to the issue of the long-term global temperature target. This was supported by Grenada, Jamaica, Fiji, Trinidad and Nauru. Grenada also called for a clear mandate for a new protocol as the outcome of the AWGLCA.
Gambia for the LDCs said that texts had shortcomings and supported the Bahamas on the issue of the review. It also wanted a mandate on the legal form.
The European Union said that balance in the document was key and was disappointed that it was not ambitious enough. It wanted more rapid progress on mitigation and the need to address the mitigation gap, accounting rules and clarity of the pledges. It also stressed the importance of transparency in the mitigation actions of developing countries, through the guidelines on ICA and biennial update reports.
It also wanted a decision on market mechanisms.
On the legal form of the outcome, it wanted a roadmap and a timeline for a new treaty which could be adopted by 2015.
Australia, Japan, Russia, New Zealand and Switzerland reflected similar sentiments. Switzerland wanted a decision in Durban on identifying the timeframe for global peaking of emissions.
The US said that in some aspects of the texts was much too long and needed streamlining.
The AWGLCA Chair in response to Parties said that it was important for Parties to negotiate on the real issues in the informal groups and there would be an update of the amalgamation texts on Wednesday morning.
On the process going forward, he said that work could be finalized in the next few days and where issues could not be completed, multiple options and clear political choices had to be made.
Durban, 5 Dec (Chee Yoke Ling and Xu Chengcheng) – At the end of the first week of the Durban climate negotiations, Parties to the Kyoto Protocol were presented with four options by the Chair of the AWG-KP with regard to the second commitment period of greenhouse gas emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period will end in 2012.
The first option is the adoption of a second commitment period (amendment to Annex B) and its provisional application, in the event that a fully ratified second commitment period is not in force by the end of the first commitment period.
The second option is a two-stage process: a decision in Durban ensuring immediate continuity, and a package of amendments that could be ratified as a second stage possibly based on progress under the Convention.
The third option is a decision of the CMP with no amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.
The fourth option is a declaration, e.g. unilateral declarations by Parties.
At the stock taking session on 3 December Adrian Macey, Chair of the AWG-KP, said that Parties have engaged in intensive work and that he had undertaken informal consultations on issues and options on QELROs, on numbers, form and length of the commitment period, and issues and options on mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol. He said it was not a discussion of text but looking at clusters of issues as a whole to crystalise the issues.
Macey said that on LULUCF, the text is close to clean options.
On the second commitment period (CP), that is of high interest he said, and we had conversations between non-Annex 1 Parties and those Annex 1 Parties that are open to second CP. He said there was considerable amount of common ground.
He said that the challenge is ratification and that to do so before 2013 is not feasible. A provisional application does not seem possible either.
[At the contact group meeting before the stock take, Macey said that most Parties seem to agree that Durban may not achieve a fully ratified amendment to the Kyoto Protocol amendment (for the second commitment period) by 2013.]
He then set out the other 3 options: a 2-stage process of a decision with a package of amendments, perhaps ratifiable in the context of progress under Convention; a decision; and a declaration such as a unilateral declaration by Parties.
On the finalisation and ambition of QELROs he said there is divergence. Some Parties consider they will need more time. Some imply that in Durban there may be targets but there are Parties who say that rules have to be determined first.
On ambition, Macey said that the key concern is to avoid locking in low ambitions.
On the big picture of the second CP he said that a deal is achievable but not in isolation. He said that we are exploring options as far as possible. Parties have to consider options outside their comfort zone. Parties have made it clear that they will not decide on the second CP unless there is a package.
At the contact group meeting before the stock take session, Macey reported on the informal consultations, stating that Annex I Parties said the first option is not possible for them because of their constitutions or parliamentary process. Non-Annex 1 Parties questioned this but Annex 1 Parties reiterated that this is not an option.
Macey said that on the 3rd and 4th options that do not involve amendment to the Protocol and ratification, many Parties did not think this is workable and think that full ratification is essential.
Below are some of the statements made at the contact group on this issue.
Brazil on behalf the Group of 77 and China supported a fully ratified amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol, with commitments of Annex 1 Parties under the second CP expressed in QELROs in single numbers.
Cuba associated with Brazil, and stressed the establishment of the second CP to avoid the dangerous gap, and that is necessary for developed countries to raise their ambition.
Saint Lucia, on behalf of AOSIS also supported a fully ratified amendment, QELROs that should be expressed in single numbers and also said that a 5-year second CP is appropriate.
It further said that a number of Annex 1 Parties have to do provisional application and that there is need to clarify the distinction between ‘impossible’ and ‘difficult’, as some Annex 1 Parties said it is difficult for them to do, but not impossible.
It said that a decision as the only outcome or a declaration without a formal amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is not an outcome that AOSIS can support.
EU said it is important to ensure there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods.
The Philippines associated with Brazil and expressed disappointment that after 5 years of negotiations, some Parties are supporting decisions or unilateral declarations as an outcome of Durban, and this is not acceptable to the Philippines. It said that Durban needs a strong political signal for the second commitment period.
New Zealand said the second CP is essential to an outcome in Durban, and supported the area of commonality identified in the Chair’s report, and said it is important to move from idealism to realism.
Ecuador said that the second CP is critical, and the decision needs to be made before the Ministers arrive. It does not endorse the proposal of a declaration which will move us back and it fully supports the ratification of a Kyoto Protocol amendment.
Benin said we need to finalize the issue of QELROs which is important to ensure there is no gap between the first and second CP, and that Parties need to adopt an agreement that can ensure such continuity.
“International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights” Demanded New Legal Institutional Framework at Durban UN Talks
[Durban, 6 December 2011] Speakers in a public dialogue said that climate change catastrophe not only pose a mortal danger but also lead to the destruction of the means of livelihood which threaten millions of people in the global south to become refugees. Recent studies show that around 30 million people from the coastal areas of Bangladesh, 300 thousand from the Maldives, 10 million from Vietnam, 10 million from Mediterranean Egypt, and 600 thousand from Guyana will be displaced due to loss of land as a result of climate change effects.
The public dialogue organized by the International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights (ICCR) was held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal today while the civil society groups urged the global leaders to form legal framework for the displaced victims–climate refugee.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, convenor of the Campaign said “a legal safeguard protocol should be in place to ensure the political, social, cultural and economic rights of the climate refugees by the international community presently meeting under the Conference of Parties (COP-17) here in Durban, South Africa”.
HemanthaWithanage from Friends of the Earth International, Sri Lanka, a member of the network urged that “global civil society groups should come forward to build a wider constituency to claim the justice and rights of the climate induced refugees”.
Dr. AhsanUddin Ahmed, one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from Bangladesh demanded to review the Geneva Convention 1951 and urged the development of a new institutional framework that guarantees rights of climate refugees providing complete respect and dignity.
Tetet Lauren from the IBON Foundation, Philippines said that financing must be allocated for the climate refugee as part of reparations outside regular assistance while the refugees deserve the right to be fully placed to live with a dignified life.
Wahoo Kaara from International Migrants Alliance stressed that the developed countries must consider not to produce any climate refugees. She demanded to ensure climate justice for all and to take immediate steps formulating new human rights protocol to assert and realize the rights of climate victims such as refugees.
Soumya Dutta from Beyond Copenhagen Campaign, India urged to build broader coalition and strengthen the constituency among the various groups to demand for climate justice for all.
The International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights (ICCR) is a global independent association aiming at asserting and realizing the rights and ensuring justice to the climate induced displaced victims—climate refugees. Civil society groups from Asia, Africa and Latin/Central America consisting of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Senegal, Uganda, EL Salvador etc, are the members of this campaign while currently the secretariat is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
For further details, contact:
Ahmed Swapan, Convenor, ICCR
Durban, 5 Dec (Martin Khor) – The two-week UN Climate Conference taking place in Durban is at mid-point and its prospect for success is not looking bright.
The political leaders have started to arrive to confront a range of problematic issues. It is likely that compromises will be worked out and a few successes will be claimed. The reality is that they won’t be enough to tackle the worsening climate situation on the ground.
The hottest topic is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol. In October 2009 news broke on how rich nations were plotting to get rid of this protocol. Since then, Japan, Canada and Russia have announced they do not want to undertake a second period of commitment, when the first period expires in 2012.
The developing countries have been fighting for the protocol’s survival and vowed that Durban shall not be the protocol’s burial ground. All developed countries except the United States commit to reduce their emissions by a certain percentage under this protocol.
In last week’s talks, the European Union came up with some ideas to keep Kyoto just about alive, through a decision or a declaration, rather than what it should be — an amendment of the protocol to reflect emission reduction targets for a new period from 2013.
But even for this, the EU wants to extract a huge concession, that all “major economies” agree to start negotiations for a new legally binding treaty that will take effect in 2020.
The United States is not keen at all on having its emissions targets bound in any treaty. It left the Kyoto Protocol years ago, and its Congress is unlikely to agree to join any new climate treaty.
The US says it can join a new treaty but sets the impossible condition that major developing countries also take on similar emission-reduction commitments as the developed nations.
There is no agreed definition of a “major economy”. Among developing countries, those with a large population are being targeted. But on a per-capita basis, they are still developing countries, some of them low-income.
In 2010, India was ranked a lowly 132 out of 184 countries in per capita GDP. Its level was US$1370 compared to US$46,860 for the US, according to IMF data. India in 2008 was ranked 138 in per capita carbon dioxide emission; its level of 1.5 ton compares with 17.5 tons for the US, according to UN data.
It is “major” as an economy or emitter because of its large population (1.2 billion) for which it can hardly be blamed. To ask India to take on the same obligations as developed countries with more than 30 times higher per capita income and over ten times higher per capita emissions is simply unfair.
Thus, it is unsurprising that developing countries like China, India and Brazil are not interested to bow to pressure to take on rich-country commitments as a condition for the really rich countries to maintain their present commitments.
How this story of Kyoto’s sad fate will end is to be seen. A quick death is now unlikely, given the protests it will generate and the bad name this will give the perpetrators. Putting it on life support is the alternative.
In Durban’s first week, the developed countries continued their attempt to shift the burden of cutting global emissions on to developing countries.
The original agreed idea, that all developed counties would collectively cut their emissions by a target (the numbers being negotiated were 25-40% or over 40% by 2020) and that each would make a comparable effort with the others, is all but gone, not even mentioned in a draft conclusions of the conference released on 3 December. It has been replaced by a voluntary pledge system.
But there are numerous pages on how developing countries will undertake new obligations for reporting on and monitoring their emissions and their actions, and being subject to international review.
The Durban conference is also debating how to operationalise a new Green Climate Fund. Disputes remain on the fund’s governance. If there is agreement, it may be Durban’s visible success. However, many are worried it will be a rather empty structure at first, as funding from developed countries is getting scarcer with the impending economic recession.
Three other key issues – equity in sharing sustainable development space, the intellectual property-technology transfer link, and dangers of unilateral trade measures – also figure in Durban.
They had been central to the discussion before, but last year’s Conference in Cancun marginalized these issues. It is a sign of how badly the talks have gone that many developing countries led by India are now doing major battle just to ensure they are back on the agenda.
The Conference will become more intense and complex as the political leaders arrive early this week. It is scheduled to end on 9 December.
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – Yesterday – Ministers from over 50 African countries met to reinforce their position, demanding an ambitious second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, effective action under the Bali Action Plan and scaled-up finance, ahead of the final week of the UN Climate Conference in Durban.
At a meeting on Sunday 4 December, the Ministers discussed the latest science showing severe threats to African food security; developments in the negotiations; and a strategy to ensure that the outcomes of the Durban climate conference are comprehensive enough to protect Africans from the worst effects of climate change.
The African Common Position on Climate Change, which was agreed 15-16 September 2011, in Bamako, Mali, highlights key positions that African Ministers will be advancing in Durban at the ‘high-level’ international ministerial segment of the conference later this week.
Africa will be hit first and hardest by global climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The continent has contributed the least to climate change, and is among the least equipped to adapt its adverse effects.
More than one billion people in Africa, and millions of others living in small islands, least developed and other vulnerable countries will bear the potentially catastrophic effects of land loss, food and water shortage, crop reduction, and flooding.
In response, African Ministers will be advancing the African common position including the following positions in Durban:
A Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol
“Developed country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must honour their commitments through ambitious mitigation commitments for a second and subsequent commitment periods. They must reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent during the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 and by at least 95 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as an equitable and appropriate contribution.” Seyni Nafo, spokesperson of the African group of negotiators, said.
”We stress the urgency of agreeing a second commitment period in Durban and of elaborating measures to avoid a gap between commitment periods,” he said.
Advancing the Bali Mandate
”We expect that Durban will conclude the operationalization of effective and accountable institutions under the Conference of the Parties in relation to, adaptation, technology and finance in accordance with the relevant principles and provisions of the Convention, the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun decisions,” said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Chair of the African group of climate negotiators.
”We reaffirm that the two tracks of negotiations under the Convention must continue as separate tracks and that a balanced outcome in Durban must include a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and a legally binding outcome on the various pillars of the Bali Action Plan in accordance with the Bali Roadmap,” he said.
Securing necessary climate finance
“African Ministers are concerned about insufficient transparency and slow disbursement of the financial resources pledged by developed countries as “fast start” finance for the period 2010-2012 and indications that a small proportion of these resources are “new and additional”,” said Emily Massawa of the Secretariat of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.
”Ministers have noted the pledge by developed countries to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020, and reiterate Africa’s position that developed countries should by the year 2020 provide scaled up financial support based on an assessed scale of contributions that constitutes at least 1.5 per cent of the gross domestic product of developed countries, in order to curb climate change and meet the needs of developing countries to tackle climate change and its adverse effects,” she said.
A copy of the African Common Position is available: here
The African Group is the group of 53 African countries represented in the UN climate change negotiations. It is chaired by Mr. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
by Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
Women and men, due to their gender roles and existing unequal power relations between them, have different vulnerabilities and responses to the impact of critical and harmful condition of global climate change. They have differentiated capabilities and preferences regarding policies and measures to tackle the problems. The existing policy framework to tackle climate change, however, is ignorant of unequal power relations between men and women.
APWLD stipulates full integration of gender dimension in addressing climate change in accordance with international human rights, including women’s human rights. APWLD supports the most marginalised women in Asia and the Pacific who are among the most vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change, yet who have least contributed to the cause of climate change.
A research was conducted among rural, indigenous and dalit women in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines who engage in small-scale farming, fishery and other subsistence activities. Although the political, social and economic context of each country in the region differs, the research revealed that impacts of climate change have aggravated gender inequities and worsened situation of women. Already saddled with unjust and discriminatory policies and existing gender norms, women face great difficulty coping with climate change impacts. The lack of clear land tenure system, lack of adequate social services on education, health, water, decent jobs and support for small scale agriculture, fishery and forestry are given factors that have only been worsened with the advent of climate change.
The research results also demonstrated that rural, indigenous and dalit women in those countries are gatekeepers of their ecosystem and communities, struggling to conserve diminishing resources for survival and adaptation. The strategies they have undertaken are family or community-based, low-carbon and more in harmony with natural ecological system. Women are ready to take leadership towards more resilient community building using their knowledge and skills.
APWLD therefore calls for climate change policies at global and national levels that will bring about the following:
§ Integrate gender perspective and ensure non-discrimination against and support for the most marginalized populations, rural, indigenous and dalit women;
§ Recognise the role of rural, indigenous and dalit women in small scale farming, fisheries, hunting and other activities;
§ Provide for women’s access to and control of land, water and other natural resources as well as access to adequate social services and technology meaningful to strengthening their resilience;
§ Ensure women and their organizations and communities’ direct access to funds catering to their adaptive needs in every sector with adequate resources;
§ Ensure and promote meaningful participation, representation and leadership of women in decision making at all levels;
§ Provide consistent and timely information in relation to climate change science and policy including early warnings of extreme weather events and possible effects in a way that most vulnerable groups including rural, indigenous and dalit women can access in their own languages and other appropriate communication systems.
The briefs of five research reports are available on line.
Please visit http://bit.ly/uoB0tF FB and Twitter for more updates on APWLD activities at the Durban Climate Change Conference.
Durban, December 5, 2011 – Waste pickers attending COP17 today called for a Green Climate Fund with direct community access and an end to CDM “waste-to-energy” projects. Representatives from three continents highlighted the fact that waste pickers are the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the waste sector.
Millions of people worldwide make a living from waste picking. They collect, sort and process recyclables, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and saving valuable natural resources. Today, an increasing number of waste pickers are processing organic waste, diverting it from landfills and therefore reducing methane gas pollution. Waste pickers could further reduce GHG emissions given proper support.
To secure this support, a waste picker delegation has come to COP17 to raise their concerns surrounding current climate financing mechanisms and to advocate for more just alternatives that are directly accessible by waste pickers. Waste pickers from three different continents spoke against disposal technologies that undermine their livelihoods, such as incinerators and waste-to-energy projects.
Harouna Niass, a waste picker from Dakar, Senegal, spoke about the formation of Book Diomm Waste Pickers Association with 800 members, and the threat they face from CDM-backed landfill gas companies competing to extract methane and force the waste pickers off the landfill.
“Waste pickers should be included and given more respect because we take care of our environment,” Niass said.
Simon Mbata, with the South African Waste Pickers’ Association, discussed the importance of supporting waste pickers.
“We demand a Green Climate Fund that is directly accessible to waste pickers and an end of support for CDM projects which compete directly with us,” Mbata said.
Neil Tangri, with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, provided background on CDM-backed projects and the Green Climate Fund. Suman More, a waste picker with SWaCH cooperative in Pune, India, discussed incinerator alternatives.
About the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers:
The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers brings together waste pickers organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. To learn more about waste pickers’ experiences and to support fair and just solutions to climate change, visit our blog www.globalrec.org
To arrange interviews with waste pickers or for more information, contact Deia de Brito (+027) 072 388 7852/ email@example.com
Read GAIA’s case studies on CDM projects on Municipal Waste Management:
The CDM incinerator in Chengdu Luo Dai, China: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/luodai.pdf
The Bisasar landfill in Durban, South Africa: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/bisasar.pdf
The Usina Incinerator in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/Rio-de-janeiro.pdf
by Payal Parekh
The first week of the negotiations in Durban at the UN Climate talks are over, so it is a good time to take stock of new developments in the negotiations as they relate to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and new market mechanisms. It’s been a busy week, since issues related to the CDM are discussed under the Kyoto Protocol negotiating track, as well as two technical wings, Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). New market mechanisms are discussed under the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) track.
The focus of discussions under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) track are on securing a second commitment period to the Protocol, the only legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that recognizes that developed countries must take the lead in combating climate change and must do their fair share. Here the major discussion has been the fate of the CDM if a second commitment period is not secured. Developing countries have made it clear that if there is not a second commitment period, there is no CDM.
Unfortunately developed countries would like to have a new climate agreement; not because they want to improve some of the shortcomings of the Kyoto Protocol, but because they want to have weaker obligations placed on them in the fight against climate chaos and want to shift the burden to developing countries. Yet, they want to continue to have access to the CDM, which is a part of the Protocol. Considering that developed countries have only pledged to reduce their emissions by 13-18% below 1990 levels by 2020, no where near the science-based demand of 40-50% below 1990 levels that over 130 developing countries have called for, there is no need for offsetting. It is unlikely that developed countries will have to take any action to meet these paltry reductions.
A number of African countries lamented the lack of projects in Africa and welcomed quicker implementation of suppressed demand and standardized baselines. African countries also stressed the importance of capacity building.
Under the LCA track, developed countries are keen to see the expansion of carbon markets. Given weak targets and the poor performance of the CDM, it is not clear why carbon markets are so important to them – perhaps out of ideological pride?
The EU would like to see new mechanisms created under the UN, otherwise they believe that we will be fragmented and inconsistent. The EU has also made it clear that this is a core demand if they are going to commit to a second commitment period under the KP track. On the other hand, New Zealand doesn’t think that that rules and procedures for new market mechanisms need to be established under the UN. Rather they want to see that there is linkage between the number of bilateral and national trading schemes that are being traded. Australia has for example is establishing a carbon trading scheme with the passage of a law to regulate emissions just recently. Other countries such as Japan are developing their own offsets scheme.
The SBI has been tasked with the development of an appeals procedures for decisions made by the CDM Executive Board. Parties have not been able to come to an agreement on whether only rejections can be appealed (clearly to the delight of project developers). The EU would like to task SBSTA with carrying out a study to assess the impact of allowing all decisions to be appealed.
As the name implies, SBSTA deals with a number of technical issues.
With regards to the CDM, SBSTA has been focusing on the inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) into the CDM, implications of including reforestation of lands with forest in exhaustion as an approved project type under the CDM, allowing new HFC-22 facilities to get registered under the CDM, and a materiality standard under the CDM.
A decision draft text has been forwarded on materiality, while crediting of new HFC facilities and forest in exhaustion projects have been punted to future SBSTA sessions.
The big issue though that civil society has been considered about though is the draft decision on modalities and procedures for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) as a clean development mechanism project activity. Last year when CCS sneaked its way into the CDM, many people thought that it would take quite a while for SBSTA to work out the procedures and modalities for its conclusion; unfortunately things have moved quickly and the draft decision doesn’t look good. There is not any agreement on who should take over the long term liability of CO2 waste sites. Nevertheless this draft decision text may be forwarded to ministers for debate and discussion next week. Public participation and transparency requirements are weak and independent entities are not required to carry out assessments.
Finally, the CDM Executive Board had a side event on Saturday launching its public dialogue on the CDM. Inputs on the scope of the dialogue can be submitted until 16. January 2012.
Stay tuned to find out how the talks progress next week on all issues carbon market related.
Memorandum from the Rural Women’s Assembly to the UNFCCC, the government of the Republic of South Africa and the Governments of Africa
We the Rural Women’s Assembly of Southern Africa, meeting in Durban on the event of the 17th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Durban from 30 November to 5 December 2011 demand that governments take the following immediate steps to address the clear and present danger posed to rural communities by the climate crisis.
1. A climate deal that will take meaningful steps to halt the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions. Historical emitters who are responsible for 75% of GHGs must face trade and investment sanctions if they refuse to cut emissions, particularly from African governments, as Africa has contributed least to climate change, but is the worst affected.
2. We demand proper recognition of women’s critical role in fighting climate change and protecting livelihoods and the environment despite widespread violation of their equal right to land. Equal rights to land and natural resources is critical to fight climate change. As the Rural Women’s Assembly we demand that governments implement the principle of 50/50 land to women through a radical programme of land redisribution and agrarian reform.
3. Women produce 80 per cent of the food consumed by households in Africa. Seventy per cent of Africa’s 600 million people are rural. Financial support for women farmers must be commensurate to their numbers and crucial role. We stress that adaptation strategies and building resilience starts at the household level. Governments must address the crisis in the care economy in order to build resilence to climate change. As women we demand that 50 per cent of funding training and other support to agriculture must go to women farmers secured by a special allocation within the Green Climate Fund and public budgets.
4. We demand that climate change solutions put indigenous knowledge systems at the centre of policies to promote biodiversity, rehabilitate our ecosystems and rebuild the livlihoods destroyed by colonialism, apartheid and economic imperialism. Rural women are the holders of indigenous knowledge–our marginalisation from economic production, scientific knowledge generation and social systems has resulted in the steady loss of such knowledge to Africa, thereby making us more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
5. We demand an end to false climate solutions which are resulting in a deterioration of our environments, the destruction of marine life as well as land and resource grabs and the take over of food systems by corporations and speculators. We reject the participation of Africa in carbon markets, GMO projects and biofuels farming. Climate change can only be addressed by a change in our current economic system which encourages unsustainable resource extraction and consumption.
We commit ourselves to continue forward with the struggle against the injustices of climate change and build our movement to end the shameful marginalisation of rural women. We will continue to strive for the recreation of equitable vibrant, prosperous and healthy rural communities.
Signed on this day of 4 November 2011
Rural Womens Assembly
Further contact details available from www.lamosa.org.za
Durban 4 December 2011 – On Saturday 3 December, the mid-point of COP 17, about 12 000 people from across the continent and the world gathered in Durban to demand climate justice and unite against climate change.
The march was largely peaceful, with divergent activist groups uniting to demand action from governments around the world. The march culminated in the handing over of memoranda of understanding to UNFCCC COP17 President Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christian Figueres.
There was, however, disruption during the course of the march in which a group of about 300 protesters, dressed in official COP17 volunteer uniforms tore up placards, physically threatened and attacked activists participating in the march. In spite of heavy police
presence throughout the march, including mounted police, riot police, air-patrol and snipers, and requests to address this disruption,
police did not take any action. This was a major failure of the police to act to prevent this group from destabilising the march and injuring other activists.
The disruptive group persistently attempted to take up positions at the head of the march, but agreed to retreat to the back following
negotiations between march organisers and the professed leader of this group. However they found their way back to the middle of the march where they continued to cause disruption.
The disruptive group wore uniforms distinguishing them as city volunteers for COP 17, in green eThekwini tracksuits with city
branding and emblems, but acknowledged themselves to be ANC Youth League supporters, displaying pro-Zuma and anti-Malema placards.
As volunteers paid daily by the municipality of eThekwini, it is of grave concern that their intimidation of peaceful marchers was left
unchallenged by those in authority. As such, the city manager and mayor, together with the UNFCCC must answer to the involvement of this group and the failure of authorities to address this unnecessary violence.
The need for action on climate change is urgent, and civil society stands united against climate change. But we also stand against
violence and intimidation of any kind, which impacts on our right to assembly. Organisations were invited to attend the march on the
understanding that it would be a peaceful protest. Every individual is welcome to civil society marches, but we are deeply concerned about whether this group will return to other peaceful assemblies, and the city needs to take urgent action to make sure that such
destabilisation does not re-occur.
The threatening behaviour during the march yesterday constitutes an attack on democracy and cannot be tolerated.
Civil society groups are calling a press conference today regarding the infringement of democratic rights of activists to protest.
Venue: UKZN, Howard College Campus, The People’s Space, Memorial Tower
C17 Global Day of Action Enquiries:
GDA subcommittee convenor
031 461 1991
083 982 6939
C17 Media Enquiries:
Media and Communications subcommittee convenor
Coordination subcommittee convenor
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 3 December 2011 – The people demand that governments have to radically change their behavior at the UNFCCC negotiations, if the world is to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
Today is the GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION, thousands of ordinary people from across Africa and the World are coming together to make sure their voices are heard. Some of those most affected by the impacts of changing climate will be taking part in the march including indigenous peoples, peasant farmers from across the continent and hundreds of women from South African rural communities.
C17 Global Day of Action committee convenor Desmond D’sa: “World leaders are discussing the fate of our planet but they are far from reaching a solution to climate change. If they fail to make progress we will see drought and hunger blight our country and continent even further.”
The first period of emission cuts agreed under the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. A new round of emission cuts must be agreed in Durban to avoid gaps between the first and second periods.
But developed nations are trying to shift their responsibilities for drastic emissions cuts onto developing countries that have done the least to cause the problem, while developing countries, joined by the European Union, try to kill the Kyoto Protocol, and call for a “new mandate” for the UN climate negotiation, trying to escape their responsibilities for climate action.It would be disastrous if the internationally binding emission reduction commitments would lapse or end altogether in Durban. The US is leading the rich countries demand for a replacement of the Kyoto Protocol with a totally inadequate voluntary pledge where countries would decide their own emissions cuts on a national basis.
It seems that only the Africa Group of countries are united in their demand to hold industrialised countries accountable to their previous commitments, while rich industrialized countries are busy trying to carve out new business opportunities for multinational corporations and their financial elites.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONRebecca Sommer +27 (0) 799079926 (South African number valid only until Dec.11) e-mail: <Rebecca-Sommer@ecoterra-international.org>
What: A peaceful speakout in front of the U.S. Consulate in Durban, as part of the 1000 Durbans Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. This speakout is the South African counterpart of 20 grassroots actions happening throughout the U.S. — all designed to hold the State Department accountable to reducing U.S. carbon emissions to 50% of current levels by 2017. Organizers have also created a petition to demand that the State department reject and deny, rather than reroute and delay, the permit for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline on the grounds that it would threaten ecological security.
The action will feature speakers who will testify to the impacts of U.S. government and corporate pollution on their communities and land.Speakers will also share recommendations to the U.S. government and speak out against the positions that Jonathan Pershing and the State Department have taken thus far. The action will also feature powerful visuals for photographers and the broadcast media.
Where: Across the street from the U.S. Consulate in downtown Durban, 303 Pixley ka Seme St. on Pixley, 1/2 block west of City Hall
When: Saturday, 3 December 11-11:30AM
Who: Organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) www.ggjalliance.org, a multi-sector alliance of U.S.-based community organizing groups building an international movement for peace, democracy and a sustainable world.Speakers Include:
Ahmina Maxey, Zero Waste and the East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition (Detroit)
Francisca Porchas, Labor Community Strategy Center and the Bus Riders Union (Los Angeles)
Chavanne Jean-Baptiste, Peasant Movement of Papaye and La Via Campesina (Haiti)
Francois Paulette, Smith’s Landing Treaty 8 Dene First Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network (Alberta, Canada)
Why: “We won’t let the U.S. off the hook,” says Ahmina Maxey of the East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition, a lead organization of GGJ. “As members of communities disproportionately affected by U.S. pollution and land grabs, we will be holding dirty U.S. corporations and the State Department accountable for the global mess they have made.”
“U.S. government and corporations are the 1% responsible for the majority of pollution affecting the 99% of the world, including the 99% in Los Angeles,” says Francisca Porchas of the LA-based Labor Community Strategy Center, another lead organization of GGJ. “We will be taking action to demand that the U.S. immediately reduce carbon emissions to 50% of current levels by 2017, and to stop obstructing progress towards paying climate debt and forging an internationally binding deal.”
Contact: Jen Soriano, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance + 0792190670 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Despite the economic, environmental and social signs of the urgent and now unavoidable need to move away from dependence on fossil fuels, corporations, the financial system and the world’s countries continue to become involved in new oil projects, with the expansion of the exploration and exploitation frontiers and towards non conventional type of hydrocarbon with different mechansms for control of reserves, including invasions, occupations and a series of shadowy deals.
2. The current intervention in Libya, the threat looming over Syria, and the refusal to give up military control in Iraq and Afghanistan all reflect a continuation of the strategy of military control: “What the American people learned from the Gulf War is that it’s a helluva lot easier and a helluva lot more fun to kick ass in the Middle East than it is to make any sacrifices to limit America’s dependency on imported crude.”1 “America can do whatever we set our mind to.”2
3. The industrialized countries have adopted strategic positions to maintain the current model and profit from the oil industry, whether through oil companies, some state-owned and other private, or through financial investments or related industries, like the automotive or chemical industries.
4. The hegemonic powers, both the new ones like China – which is now arguably a world power – and the old ones that were built on the oil model, depend on the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels and the occupation and control of territories with known oil reserves.
5. It is not difficult to fully grasp the importance and magnitude of hydrocarbons. Modern urban life is petroleum-based: it depends on it for electrical power and transportation, and releases petroleum in its 300 million tons of waste annually. Modern rural life is petroleum-based: it depends on machinery, agrochemicals such as the 136.44 million tons of fertilizers plus millions of tons of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals used annually,3 as well as the transportation of agricultural products. Healthcare and food systems are becoming ever more petroleum-based as food and health sovereignty are increasingly abandoned. In the United States alone, coal is the source of half of all the electrical power generated.
6. Overall energy consumption grew by 5.6% in 2010, with continued dependence on fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil). This was the highest rate of growth since 1973. Energy consumption is growing in every region of the world, and particularly in China.4
7. Reserves-to-production ratios (R/P)5 indicate that the regions with the world’s biggest reserves are Latin America (93.9) and the Middle East (81.9), followed by Africa (35.8) and Asia-Pacific (14.8). All of these reserves are artificially converted into commercial reserves, on the basis of transferring a large part of the extraction costs to national states and ignoring the ecological limitations. This method of ignoring the inherent value and rights of Mother Earth allows the artificial creation of exchange value for the purpose of trading nature.
8. Petro-dependence is maintained through private sector and state strategies that include both direct violence and the indirect violence of advertising bombardment, greenwashing and political corruption. In spite of local opposition, environmental impacts and economic illegalities, and in spite of the general crisis to which it is linked, this strategy is maintained and even imposed as a priority.
9. The financial system is investing like never before in fossil fuels.
Petro-capitalism is expanding and recycling itself
9. The search for fossil fuels remains a national priority based on last century’s promises of growth and well-being, ignoring the damages caused by these activities on local populations and on national and worldwide natural heritage.
10. Under the pretext of the national interest, states not only permit these operations but also place themselves at their service, whether by granting contractual benefits, taking on the role of community relations promoters, or offering protection guarantees for extractive projects.
11. Campaigns for the exploration and extraction of more fossil fuels create a situation in which the recognition of collective and environmental rights are critically threatened by extractive policies that require accelerated processes of occupation and plunder.
12. Proposals such as “payment for environmental services”, “emissions absorption programmes”, “forest conservation programmes”, “benefit sharing”(1), extractive enterprises with indigenous participation” and a series of other systems of covert debt-creation and co-optation represent new tools for the occupation and control of territories that facilitate new means of clearing the way for extractive industries, like REDD type projects, that in many cases open a path for extractive industries and are strategies to maintain and expand capitalism, with a green image.
13. Petro-capitalism is not only expanding and pushing the final frontiers, but is also penetrating cultures, fostering phenomena like alcoholism, consumerism, violence against local communities and peoples and individualism that lead to the breakdown of individuals, social relations and practices that stand in its way.
14. Communities that oppose or resist these processes of occupation are condemned, repressed or criminalized. Indigenous peoples and defenders of nature are the new criminals, “enemies of development” and terrorists.6
15. In addition, the construction of a new global unit of currency – “carbon” – has created the idea that climate change is the only global problem related to energy consumption, ignoring the destruction of living networks and systems, pollution, accumulation of waste, and diseases that are caused both by extraction and the consumption of derivatives, as well as all of the social and economic impacts that affect if not destroy the ecological stability of societies.
16. Carbon is a new “commodity” that not only contributes to extending the life of petro-capitalism but also to expanding the territories under its control, subjecting the seas, the atmosphere and the forests and even soils to a new form of occupation: conversion into carbon “sinks”.
17. We can add to this the new ecosystems services proposals that will not leave anything out of the market, together with a deep financialization process of all components of nature: water, biodiversity, and cycles and functions of nature.
18. The new technologies: geo-engineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology among others, are presented as tools to confront climate change but present new threats, conflicts and perpetuate over consumption and over production logic of brutal capitalism.
19. There is a deliberate and purposely created ignorance of energy cycles, which downplays natural cycles like solar power and photosynthesis and denigrates those based on human effort, creativity and innovation, and cultures while promoting partial knowledge of artificial cycles based on the burning of fossil fuels.
Oilwatch proposes placing oil, gas and coal at the centre of discussions
20. Countries and peoples who aspire to break free from domination and seek out their own sovereign paths must confront the fact that petroleum dependence entails enslavement to this domination. Subjecting new territories to the expansion of petro-capitalism restricts the spaces and possibilities for emancipation from its control.
21. Countries and peoples who build international relations based on dignity must break into international forums to dismantle the new strategies of control and domination, which use the environment as a pretext to consolidate anti-ecological proposals, maintain imperial ways of life and perfect new forms of colonialism.
22. The current energy agenda continues to hinder the development of clean, decentralized and low-impact energies, sacrifices food to agrofuels, appropriate rivers to benefit power sectors, promotes the triumphant return of controversial nuclear power, and justifies military and political campaigns to occupy territories with hydrocarbon reserves.
23. The sooner we tackle the energy shift, the greater our opportunities will be. Practices, technologies and activities are needed to promote individual and collective energy autonomy, to restore harmonious and interdependent relationships among food, energy and cultural sovereignty, and to enable the necessary leap from a destructive technological model to the development of constructive productive forces that reposition the human species within the physical and ecological limits of planet Earth.
24. Within local communities there is a wealth of knowledge, practices and capacities related to energy cycles, which represent a genuine exercise of resistance in the face of petro-capitalism. The challenge is to revive this ancestral knowledge, foster innovation, reclaim sustainable technologies and develop vital spaces for cultural and human growth.
25. There are many struggles against the petroleum civilization: the struggle against global warming, struggles for national sovereignty, struggles for peace and against war, struggles against agrochemicals, the resistance struggles of indigenous peoples, struggles against the accumulation of waste, struggles that promote the use of bicycles instead of cars, and perhaps many other struggles we do not know about or are not aware of yet.
26. The world cannot continue to pretend not to know that the use of fossil fuels in energy and other production activities is the major cause of global warming. Rather than skirt about the issue in endless negotiations that end up in the enthronement of false solutions, we call for real action by stemming this path of civilisation.
27. Oilwatch, as a network of resistance against oil industry activities, invites organizations, trade unions, indigenous peoples, intellectuals and thinkers to join us all as part of this process of civilization shift and to share practical experiences and resistance struggles of different kinds, and through these, to sew the stitches that will bring us together under the shelter of a single fabric.
Contacts in Durban:
Nnimmo Bassey: email@example.com – 0716392542
by By Thobile Hans. Published in SABC.
South African President Jacob Zuma’s declaration on “climate smart and carbon markets” as a climate change solution for African agriculture has raised suspicions among roughly 100 civil society organisations at the COP17 conference in Durban.
The host nation has been accused of playing against the rest of Africa, “it pretends to be for Africa but it’s not, instead it is toeing the line of worst polluters,” says Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation at Friday’s press conference.
A letter signed by African and international civil societies sent to African negotiators at the conference, called for them to reject efforts to place agricultural soils within carbon markets. The agricultural work programme “would lead to agricultural soils and agro-ecological practices being turned into commodities to be sold on carbon markets, or used as sinks to enable industrialised countries to continue to avoid reducing emissions,” the letter says.
In a joint statement the Gaia Foundation, African Biodiversity Network (ABN), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and EcoNexus, alleges that president Zuma has declared his intention to have a decision on agriculture, while the World Bank is promoting the so called “Climate Smart Agriculture” and carbon offsets as the future of African agriculture and climate solutions.
The civil society groups raised concerns that this vision for African agriculture will lead to land grabs, farmer poverty and food insecurity, and only worsen global climate change. South Africa has not been different from the previous hosts, they have been “secretly engaging with the US. That is appalling.”
It is suspicious that South Africa is talking agriculture because there have been no discussions on agriculture yet at this conference, Anderson asserts. “An agreement on agriculture at COP 17 would supposedly be as consolation prize to Africa for failure on legally binding targets – but the consolation prize is a poisoned chalice. It will lead to land grabs and deliver African farmers into the hands of fickle carbon markets,” she says.
Simon Mwamba of the East African Small Farmer’s Federation says: “Climate smart agriculture is being presented as sustainable agriculture – but the term is so broad that we fear it is a front for promoting industrial, green revolution agriculture too, which traps farmers into cycles of debt and poverty.”
Anne Maina of the ABN says climate smart agriculture comes packaged with carbon offset. “Soil carbon markets could open the door to offset for GM crops and large-scale biochar land grabs, which would be a disaster to Africa. Africa is already suffering from land grab epidemic – the race to control soils for carbon trading could only make this worse”.
Biochar involves the burning of woody biomass, usually from trees, to make charcoal for burial in the soil. It is claimed, by the proponents of biochar, that this permanently removes carbon from the atmosphere and sequesters it in the soil. It is also promoted as a major “geo-engineering” solution to global climate change, as well as a means of improving soils and addressing poverty.
Maina adds that, “The World Bank and SIDA-supported projects in Kenya are being used to convince African governments that this is a workable solution for agriculture investment. Yet even the project proponents admit that farmers will not benefit from carbon payments; they are likely to earn between $5 and $1 per year.”
Civil societies states that not only will African soil carbon credits generate tiny revenues for farmers, but the soil carbon projects will allow the biggest polluters to continue to pollute. Steve Suppan of IAPT asserts, “African communities, among the most vulnerable to climate change, will suffer from the continued failure of rich countries and companies to finance adaptation projects, particularly for agriculture, the main source of African livelihoods.”
He concludes that, “If that isn’t a curse, I don’t know what is it.”
3 December 2011–Thousands of people from around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa to protest the UN Climate Conference of Polluters.
Photo Essay by Orin Langelle/Global Justice Ecology Project and Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project-Global Forest Coalition.
Durban, 2 Dec (Meena Raman) – Parties in the informal group on “legal options” for the form of the agreed outcome under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA) under the UNFCCC were divided over form of the legal outcome.
The informal group met on Thursday, 1 December, which saw a deep divide on the way forward. While some developing and developed countries wanted a new legally binding protocol to reflect the outcome, others wanted the form to be determined following the substance of the outcome of the AWGLCA, which has yet to complete its work.
Several developing countries expressed concern over proposals from developed countries, which were viewed as attempts to re-negotiate or re-write the Convention.
They were also concerned about the fate of the Kyoto Protocol (KP), in the light of new proposals for a mitigation treaty. Some were also concerned about the weakening of the mitigation regime, contrary to the rules systems under the KP.
Developing countries from the Alliance of Small Island States and the LDCs on the other hand wanted a new protocol alongside the KP to strengthen the existing regime.
The facilitator of the group, Ms. Maria del Socorro from Mexico wanted Parties to move towards a text for a decision.
(The Chair of the AWGLCA has said that an amalgamation text on all the elements under the AWGLCA will be produced by Saturday, 3 December).
Socorro provided Parties with a non-paper on a “menu of legal options” which included (i) legally binding instrument(s) (ii) COP decisions with the following sub-bullets – continue discussions to identify the appropriate form of the different elements of the agreed outcome; mandate to conclude a legally binding instrument with a clear roadmap/content; affirm the importance of a legally binding outcome to provide clarity and vision; statement/declaration regarding future instrument(s) leaving open the legal form or continue substantively addressing all pillars of the Bali Action Plan through COP decisions.
Venezuela stressed that the KP was the only legally binding treaty regulating emissions and it has been calling for more an ambitious agreement to reinforce KP and not to destroy it. All the options so far (from developed countries) move towards a lowering of ambition. Those who are calling for a new regime should explain why they want a new regime and if leads to non compliance of the KP. Referring to under the international law and law of treaties, not having the KP could be interpreted as nonperformance of international obligations. It recalled the case of the Arbitral Tribunal on ‘Rainbow Warrior on circumstances precluding wrongfulness that could provide an excuse for non-compliance of a legal treaty. The AWGLCA has become that circumstance. Venezuela therefore proposed a 3rd option to be added to the “legal options” which was “Exception of non- performance”.
(In general terms, this is the principle that performance of an obligation may be withheld if the other party has itself failed to perform the same or a related obligation.)
India referring to proverbs, said that the past is guide to the future and those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat the same, referring to the experience with the KP. It said that it’s faith in legally binding treaties was shaken. On the form and substance issue, India asked if Parties were sure on what the treaty contained. It referred to context, coverage, compliance and consequences. It asked if it only related to mitigation (as this is what developed countries stress). Referring to developed country proposals for a future mitigation regime to reflect “economic realities” of developing countries and the need for symmetry (of same legal character as proposed by the US), it asked what the content of the treaty was going to be. On the legal options, it should be about implementation of the Convention and not about reinterpreting or rewriting it.
Egypt said that the there was a mitigation gap of 12 Gt and developing country pledges amount to 5 Gt, and this leaves developed countries to contribute 7 Gt but the developed countries pledges amount to only 4 Gt and there also had loopholes. Referring to calls by developed countries for a new regime that reflected “current realities”, it asked if this reflected current realities and commitments under the Convention. It asked if this made the world safe and ensured environmental integrity. Calls to move to a new legally binding instrument, which was lop-sided and locks in low ambition and transfers the burden to developing countries was not what it wanted.
Saudi Arabia stressed the need to keep the KP alive and was not for re-negotiating the principles and provisions of the Convention. It saw the intention of some Parties to renegotiate the principles, the Annexes and the commitments of Parties. It could not judge the form without the content and could not accept the various proposals and going into the details of the options was not an option. There was need to see the full package of the content of the discussions under the AWGLCA. The issue was on how to effectively implement the Convention and not to rewrite it.
Bolivia, in considering the legal form options, asked what was going to happen to the KP and if its system of rules, institutions and commitments were going to be complied with. It raised concerns about the notion of “flexibility within the framework of the Convention” and of a “facilitative and non punitive framework” as suggested by some Parties.
China said the mandate of the informal group was to discuss what would be the legal form of the outcome to reflect the AWGLCA process. The options were either a legally binding instrument or through COP decisions. The sub-listing provided by the facilitator did not reflect the mandate and Parties should not be going into the substance of the legal form in this group.
Philippines asked why move from a legally binding instrument as the Convention to one that Parties were not sure of. The mandate under the AWGLCA was to strengthen implementation for strong action on environmental integrity and sustainable development, which was fair and equitable. The content of the form needed to be faithful to the Convention as well as its principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and historical responsibility. The Convention allowed for developing countries to bind themselves if they want in relation to mitigation commitments. Renegotiating the Convention would open a Pandora’s box.
Marshall Islands, in response to the Philippines said that knowing where Parties were in terms of the emissions pathway was important and hence the need for a protocol.
Grenada on behalf of the AOSIS reiterated its position on the need for a new protocol under the AWGLCA that will raise confidence in co-operative action for increased ambition.
Gambia, for the LDCs said that it was for a legally binding instrument, which sits alongside the KP without prejudice to the discussions. The outcome under the AWGLCA encompassed all the elements of the BAP and is not confined to the issue of mitigation alone. If there was no second commitment period under the KP, there would be no mandate under the AWGLCA for a legally binding outcome.
Bangladesh, Trinidad, Tuvalu, Singapore, Palau and Colombia supported a new legally-binding agreement.
The European Union said that it wanted a treaty as it was ambitious and wanted to provide confidence to governments and the market. It wanted to build on the Convention and the KP while reflecting the current and changing realities. More than 60% of the emissions are from developing countries in 2020 who have no commitments under the KP. It was open to a roadmap in the Convention track, which needed to be completed by 2015.
Australia wanted a new legal instrument, which had the broad participation of Parties and agreed with the EU on the need to reflect current realities. Japan echoed similar sentiments.
Switzerland echoed the sentiments of EU for a future regime that responds to evolving reality. Referring to India, it said that those who remain in the past will not lead the future and Parties could not live in the past. The regime cannot be effective otherwise, it said. Environmental integrity was important to avoid carbon leakages. It wanted a process to be launched in Durban for the new regime.
US said it that it was for a legally binding agreement that included commitments from all major economies in an equal way. The future regime needed to reflect current and future realities. The Cancun decision was political and could not be converted to a legal treaty. On the post 2020 regime, there was need for clarity on the content of the future regime in terms of the symmetry and modernization needed and not to freeze the Annex 1 – non-Annex 1 divide. It supported Australia and the EU in this regard.
Socorro, in response to comments by Parties said that the proposals on the table are aimed at strengthening the Convention and not about re-writing it as the Convention was not static and there were different interpretations.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa also continued with open-ended informal consultations on “cross-cutting issues and how to ensure an enhanced multilateral rules-based system that will achieve the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention” following from consultations held on Wednesday. (See TWN Update 8).
Several Parties from both developed and developing countries called for a Durban mandate to launch a process for a new legal regime to tackle climate change, while others were opposed to the idea as the mandate of the AWGLCA had not expired and work still needed to be done.
Diseko at the conclusion of the informal consultations said that she would prepare a broad set of bullet points which had no status and would be on the UNFCCC website under the responsibility of the COP Presidency. She said there was need for a different level of engagement in a different setting.
In the corridors, some observers and delegates expressed concerns about what was happening in what appeared to be “a great push” for a Durban mandate for a new climate treaty that would “kill the Kyoto Protocol” and create a new climate change regime.