The Daily TCK is an insiders brief from the TckTckTck campaign. It’s published daily.
Summary of the Current status/situation
Developed countries presented their emissions pledges yesterday, as well as how they plan to reach their targets. Today developing countries presented, outlining the mitigation actions they pledged to take and the support they need to deliver those actions. In parallel, negotiators also spoke about how to design the technology mechanism that was agreed in Cancun, and what its governance structure could look like. Developed countries did not come up with new or more ambitious pledges – pledges that would be more consistent with their fair share of the emissions reduction effort the world needs. Countries reiterated the need to increase the level of ambition, and acknowledged that there is a gap between what they are currently pledging and the cuts that are necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. However, they kept referring to ‘conditions’ that must be met before they increase their targets.
The workshop also created space for discussion, questions to presenters and scrutiny about the targets and approaches that were presented. Almost all countries agreed that their emission reduction plans should be comparable under common accounting standards to ensure environmental integrity – except the US, for which they were criticized. The US criticized other developed countries for not being ready to properly account for their forest and land-use loopholes. It got juicy when the Philippines asked the EU why their 20% by 2020 target should be considered a sign of leadership when implementing their domestic policies alone will result in domestic cuts of 25% by 2020. How can you say you are leading and ambitious when you aim at something that’s weaker rather than stronger than what you will achieve anyway?
Presentations by a few developed countries indicated that they seem to be moving in the right direction, showing a clear intent to race ahead towards a zero or low carbon economy. The best was Norway with its 40% by 2020 target, the UK with an 80% by 2050 target in their national law, and Germany with its decadal targets that would also add up to an 80% cut by 2050. So we saw only a few leaders from whom the many laggards will have to learn a lot. However, let’s not despair! Even if these workshops will not produce stronger targets or increased support for developing country actions, they can definitely be an important and useful milestone towards a solution, as long as negotiators in Bangkok agree on how they will follow up with concrete steps, a plan and a timetable to close the massive gap they all had to acknowledge yesterday.
What is happening?
What’s happening? According to our South East Asian colleagues, climate change is happening. Of course weather is different from climate, but still they feel that the amount of unusual weather phenomena and weather extremes amount to a worrying experience of climate change. Apart from the current floods in South Thailand, people here also report more frequent and more intense heatwaves, and right before UNFCCC delegates arrived in Bangkok the city saw temperatures drop below 20 degrees C – a highly unusual low for this time of year. So the choice for a theme for this morning’s action was easy: as the climate had gone crazy, they called for a fab deal, because getting one now feels more important than ever.
Local A-FAB (Coalition on ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal) activists wore winter jackets, rain gear and beach wear to portray the on-going climate chaos. Above their heads they held signs symbolizing climate extremes from “record heat” to “extreme rain”, swopping these quickly to show how the climate is changing rapidly and makes it hard to adapt. A young man in beach wear suddenly found himself facing “extreme cold”, while a woman with a coat and gloves was sweating due to a sudden “record heat”. The activists were met by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres, who received A-FAB’s demands for an ambitious global climate deal from world governments on behalf of the region’s most vulnerable and least prepared populations. Around 25 journalists covered the event, and you can help A-FAB spread the word by covering the action on your online channels. Photos and video are here http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/multimedia/photo/ASEAN-must-demonstrate-leadership-in-UN-climate-negotiations/ and more here http://188.8.131.52/newmedia_green/unfccc-afab/pic.zip
The bicycle protest unfolding outside the UNESCAP building yesterday as the Daily Tck went out was actually not just one but a series of bicycle events that helped set the first day of the talks in motion. In the morning, the Thai Cycling Club rallied around a hundred cyclists of all ages in front of the negotiating venue. In the afternoon, the Thai Cycling for Health Association kept the show moving with a bicycle ride across the city, complete with rickshaws and cycles from Bangkok’s new bike share program. The ride culminated in another rally at the UN building to help kick off a new 350.org initiative called “Moving Planet” (official launch later this week). Complete set of photos is now at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/
Message for the day
As they start to better understand the economic and social benefits of climate action, more and more progressive EU countries are calling for higher ambition levels and want to increase the bloc’s 2020 target for emission reductions from 20% to 30% compared to 1990 levels. A small group of EU member states is holding back progress, fighting the inevitable increase in ambition levels that is currently gaining popular and political support across the region.
As a result of negotiations in Bangkok, the rest of the world is now also starting to wake up to the EU’s confusing target debate. Developing countries like the Philippines are wondering why the EU is still talking about its allegedly ambitious 20% target in the international negotiations, when it’s already clear that the bloc will easily reach 25% cuts only by implementing existing domestic policies. Europe is simply selling a walk-over as an uphill battle, so if they really want to be leaders they should adopt a much stronger target.
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About the authorAAN Editors
The Adopt a Negotiator Editorial team is made up of Global Call for Climate Action staff and lovely volunteers.