Summary of the Current status/situation
We’re half way through these negotiations here in Panama and it might be worth remembering U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s speech made in Copenhagen. She said that the danger of climate change is now “undeniable” and the world must agree a deal in the next 48 hours. Now, almost two years later, we don’t yet have a deal and we need to U.S. to be constructive and allow the discussions on a legally binding deal and on the need for long term finance. Again, back in Copenhagen Secretary Clinton said that “The US is prepared to work with other countries to jointly mobilise $100bn a year by 2020,” to help the most vulnerable countries.
In Cancun the Green Climate Fund was agreed – well the piggy bank was established – but it is currently empty.
The US agreed with both the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements so they should not be blocking the discussion on either the gap that will occur after Fast Start Finance ends in 2012 or on Long Term Finance. It could hardly come as surprise that the alliance of small island states (AOSIS) and other developing countries might actually want to launch a discussion on where all this promised funding will come from. Read AOSIS submission here: http://bit.ly/oq6Bw2
We know that discussions on finance are hard, made more so by the recent economic crisis hitting the US and Europe, but the first step is to talk about it! The U.S. need not be afraid. Firstly, there is the opportunity for innovation and investments in green growth and technologies; secondly, as demonstrated by the UN Advisory Group on Finance report last year, there is a raft of innovative sources of finance which could provide billions of dollars, euros, yen, yuan, etc without having any impact on national economies. Such sources include a levy on bunkers (shipping fuel – this has the added advantage of providing an incentive to reduce emissions), an international financial transaction tax (FTT), the removal/diversion of fossil fuel subsidies. President Obama himself put the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies on the G20 agenda. There really is no excuse for obfuscation and delay.
Meanwhile, in a direct reference to the difficulties caused by the lack of rules in the UNFCCC, in a briefing for stakeholders South African Ambassador Diseko she said “this is the most awkward of UN processes!” As we noted in yesterday’s Daily Tck every other convention has its agreed rules and it is time that the UN look at breaking out of this dysfunctional way of working.
What is happening?
In responding to the press about Japan’s support for nuclear power in the clean development mechanism, they said that they were just repeating their government position. They’re clearly feeling the pressure and this must be maintained to ensure Japan stop their support for nukes in the CDM.
Meanwhile in a report released by Climate Action Tracker, we see that China’s 12th five year plan is on track to meet its Cancun pledges yet its emissions will rise higher than expected by rapidly reducing its energy intensity and introducing renewable energy and other non-fossil energy sources.
Bill Hare of Climate Analytics said, “The overall picture shows us that a higher than expected economic growth rate brings with it higher emissions – and the sooner the switch is made to cleaner energy sources, the better, in order to avoid locking in climate-damaging energy.”
The report also highlights the huge cost of the absence of US action to meet its Copenhagen pledge of a 17% emissions reduction by 2020 (at 2005 levels) This will prove more expensive with every year of delay. If the US doesn’t start acting until 2015, it will need to reduce emissions at a rate of 3% a year. If substantial action had begun in 2010 immediately after Copenhagen, it would only have needed to reduce emissions at a rate of 1.3% a year. The full report is available at http://www.climateactiontracker.org ; webcast here: http://bit.ly/rev6hY.
Message for the day
The US should lead, follow or get out of the way.
Tell Japan to keep nukes out of the CDM. There is a clean energy future for Japan and for all of us by using renewables and energy efficiency.
What you can do today?
Tell Japan that dirty dangerous #nuclear #energy does not belong in the #cdm – it cannot protect the #climate
Spread the word about the clean energy way for Japan in Greenpeace’s energy scenario: http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_report.pdf; the summary is available here: http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_summary_eng.pdf
Sing the WWF Japan 100% renewables petition calling for a shift from nukes to renewables:
Petition asking Australian government to act works towards a global deal on climate change and supporting innovative sources of financing to assist developing countries adapt to climate change. http://www.oxfam.org.au/act/take-action/climate-change/2008-08-petition
About the authorPaul Horsman
Having campaigned for over 26 years on peace and environmental issues in different parts of the world for Greenpeace, Paul now works as the global campaign director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action.