December 16, 2009

Expressions at COP15







COPENHAGEN HIGHLIGHTS

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, said the presence of so many distinguished guests shows promise for an ambitious, fair and effective climate deal. He noted that “the world is literally holding its breath” and called on world leaders to translate the current political momentum into “a decisive moment of change.” He invited all world leaders to adopt a deal that will affect all aspects of society and includes decisions under both tracks.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted the long road to this “defining moment” and said that “we are here today to write a different future.” He called for a fair, ambitious and comprehensive agreement, specifying that this means: more ambitious mid term mitigation targets from industrialised countries; more action by developing countries to limit emissions growth below “business as usual;” an adaptation framework for all countries; financing and technology support; and transparent and equitable governance. He stressed financing as a key, welcoming the emerging consensus among developed countries to provide approximately US$10 billion annually for the next three years to the Copenhagen Launch Fund. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon underlined that the goal is to lay the foundation for a legally-binding climate treaty as early as possible in 2010, and said that until such an agreement is reached “the Kyoto Protocol remains the only legally-binding instrument that captures reduction commitments” and that “as such it must be maintained.”
Highlighting the potential for failure if parties keep repeating positions and slowing progress with formalities, COP President Hedegaard identified “compromise” as the key word for the coming days. She called on countries to take big steps and commit to delivering a deal, reminding delegates that “we are accountable for what we do, for what we fail to do.”
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer noted that Tuesday was the second anniversary of the adoption of the Bali Roadmap and stressed that “now it is time to deliver.” He said there had been some progress but “not nearly enough to celebrate success.” He noted that groundwork has been laid for prompt implementation of action on mitigation, adaptation, technology cooperation, finance, REDD and capacity building. Highlighting that 115 world leaders are not coming to Copenhagen to leave “empty handed,” he called on parties to resolve outstanding issues.
His Royal Highness Charles, the Prince of Wales, stressed that “a partial solution to climate change is no solution at all.” He underscored the benefit of partnerships between government, business, NGOs and civil society, and said the quickest and most cost-effective way to address climate change is to protect tropical forests.
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace, noted that no conference ends with “a perfect document” and stressed the need to find common ground based on fairness, honesty, transparency and responsibility. She called on delegates to overcome “a legacy of mistrust,” highlighting the need for a Copenhagen agreement to provide a governance structure based on accountability between donors and beneficiaries.
Courtesy: iisd, cop15, #9

AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

A crucial principle embedded in the Convention on Biological Diversity is expressed in article 8(j):
"Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices.”
This makes it clear that indigenous and local communities have knowledge and practices that can make a major contribution to ensuring the resilience of ecosystems and the protection of biodiversity. This includes agricultural biodiversity – the selection, breeding and conservation of biodiversity that underpins human wellbeing. However, the replacement of natural ecosystems with plantations and industrial monocultures has already had very serous impacts on Indigenous People’s and local communities, displacing them, destroying the ecosystems they have often helped to enrich and maintain and above all, undermining their own resilience.

The FUNDAMENTAL ROLE OF AGRICULTURE
A fundamental aspect of the interaction between indigenous peoples, local communities and biodiverse ecosystems is of course agriculture, which at his level consists of many different cultures that in a sense codify the inter-relations between communities and the ecosystems they inhabit and interact with. Agriculture has so far been neglected in the climate discussions. It is now in serous danger of entering them in the wrong spirit, as the basis for trade and offsets, particularly in the case of soils.
This must not be allowed to happen. Instead we need to apply the principles outlined above and ensure that the small farmers of the world are properly respected for their crucial role, not just in feeding many of us, but in maintaining the resilience of the ecosystems on whose integrity we all depend if we are literaly to weather the storms of climate change.
To translate this into negotiation text would mean at minimum:
- keeping agriculture and soils out of market mechanism, and
- adding in compliance with the CBD to the shared vision.

Further Information:
1. Agriculture and climate change: real problems, false solutions. EcoNexus, Biofuelwatch, Grupo de Reflexion Rural, NOAH-Friends of the Earth Denmark, and The Development Fund Norway, Copenhagen, December 2009. www.econexus.info
2. Small Farmers can cool the planet: A way out of the mayhem caused by the industrial food system, November 2009 by GRAIN. www.grain.org/o/?id=93
3. Small Scale Sustainable Farmers are Cooling Down the Earth, December 2009 via Campesina. http://viacampesina.net/downloads/PAPER5/EN/paper5-EN.pdf
4. Earth Matters – Tackling the Climate Crisis from the Ground Up, October 2009 by GRAIN. www.grain.org/seedling/?id=643
5. The International Food System and the Climate Crisis, October 2009 by GRAIN. www.grain.org/seedling/?id=642
Courtesy: Convention on Biological Diversity Alliance (www.cbdalliance.org)

SOME CRUCIAL BIODIVERSITY PRINCIPLES FOR THE CLIMATE DEBATE

If we are to tackle climate change, we urgently need to instil values established in the Convention on Biological Diversity into the climate debate. As well as the fundamental importance of biological diversity, these values include the ecosystem approach and the maintenance of the knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities.

ECOSYSTEM APPROACH
The ecosystem approach is particularly important, yet not always well understood:
“The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Application of the ecosystem approach will help to reach a balance of the three objectives of the Convention. It is based on the application of appropriate scientific methodologies focussed on levels of biological organisation which encompass the essential processes, functions and interactions among organisms and their environment. It recognises that humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of ecosystems.”
The ecosystem approach recognises the fundamental interactivity of all planetary processes and of the many levels of organisation among living creatures. It also reminds us that human beings are an integral component of ecosystems with the ever increasing power to undermine or enrich them.
It is also important to note how the application of science is described here: as appropriate scientific methodologies, with the work appropriate and also the words scientific methodologies rather than leaping straight to the work technologies. The language of any new climate agreement should reflect this, because we are only just beginning to understand how the processes that underpin our lives actually function: how soils are built, who water operates within the planetary ecosystem and the vital importance of primary forests, wetlands, coral reefs and other complex systems threatened by climate change.
Courtesy: Convention on Biological Diversity Alliance (www.cbdalliance.org)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

In its Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated that about 20% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions during the 1990s resulted from land use change, primarily deforestation, although 25% of total emissions are also estimated to have been absorbed by terrestrial ecosystems. Depending on the age of the forest, the management regime, and other biotic and abiotic disturbances (insects, pests, forest fires), forests can act as reservoirs, sinks (removing greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere) or as sources of GHGs. Forests also provide a number of vital services, notably as repositories of biodiversity and regulators of the hydrological cycle. Reducing deforestation and land degradation and improving forest cover are vital for both mitigation and adaptation. However, including emissions reduced from forest-related activities in a carbon accounting system is complex undertaking, given the non-permanent nature of carbon uptake by trees and the potential for “leakage” as deforestation moves elsewhere. There are also critical environmental and social considerations that have to be taken into account.
Forests are addressed under the UNFCCC as both sinks and sources of emissions and all countries are expected to count their emissions and removals from land use change and forestry in their national inventories. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries with emissions reduction commitments (known as Annex 1 countries) may count towards their reduction target the emissions and removals of GHGs deriving from certain direct human-induced land-use change and forestry activities, including removals from afforestation (defined as planting of new forests on lands that have not been forested for a period of at least 50 years); reforestation (limited in the first commitment period to those lands that did not contain forest on 31 December 1989); emissions from deforestation; as well as possible emissions and removals from forest management, cropland management, grazing land management, and re-vegetation.
In addition, project based activities under two flexible mechanisms created by the Kyoto Protocol – Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – may also result in removals by sinks that can count towards an industrialized country’s reduction commitments. Joint Implementation refers to projects undertaken jointly by two Annex 1 countries; all projects undertaken in developing countries fall under the CDM. Afforestation and reforestation projects are allowed in the Protocol’s first commitment period under the CDM, and project activities have to address a number of issues such as non-permanence, uncertainty, the risk of leakage and others. Moreover, there is a ceiling on the maximum number of credits that an Annex 1 party can gain in this way.
At COP11 in Montreal, Canada, in 2005, forests were taken up under the UNFCCC itself under a new agenda item on “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action,” as proposed by Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica and eight other countries. As negotiations have progressed on a financial mechanism to compensate developing countries for recovery and maintenance of forest carbon stocks, three labels have emerged for what such a financing mechanism should cover: reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); conservation, sustainable management of forests and stock enhancement in addition to REDD (REDD+); and all terrestrial carbon in addition to REDD+ (REDD++).
Courtesy: IISD Reporting Services

FOREST DAY 3 AT CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS

The third Forest Day event convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 13th December 2009, in parallel with the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, which convened from 7-18 December 2009. The event was co-hosted by the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), the Government of Denmark and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a partnership of 14 forests-related international organisations formed in 2000 to enhance cooperation on forest issues.
The first Forest Day was convened on 8 December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, during UNFCCC COP13, to reinforce the momentum and inform the discussions related to forests under negotiation at COP13. It brought together over 800 participants and considered crosscutting in estimating forest carbon; markets and governance; equity versus efficiency; and adaptation.
The Forest Day 2 brought together nearly 900 participants in Poznan, Poland, on 6 December 2008, during COP14, to discuss: adaptation of forests to climate change; addressing forest degradatio through sustainable forest management (SFM); capacity building for REDD; and options for integrating REDD into the global climate regime.
On Forest Day 3, R K Pachauri, IPCC Chair, said REDD is the most cost effective mitigation method; highlighted the disruptions that could occur if the goods and services that forests provide were to be lost; challenged the forestry profession to reclaim the space that it has yielded to other disciplines over the years; and noted that carbon dioxide emissions would need to be removed from the atmosphere to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celcius, with forests being the most viable option for achieving this.
Courtesy: IISD Reporting Services

CLIMATE CHANGE AND BUSINESS ISSUES

The Copenhagen Business Day event convened at the headquarters of the Confederation of Danish Industry, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 11 December 2009. Organised by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), together with the Confederation of Danish Industry, Copenhagen Business Day met in parallel to the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. This even was the third Business Day, and featured more than 40 speakers and panellists.
Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources and physical infrastructure. While the global climate varies naturally, scientists agree that rising concentrations of anthropogenically-produced greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere are leading to further changes in the climate. These increasing GHG emissions are caused or influenced by factors such as economic growth, technology, population and governance. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the effects of climate change are already being observed, and scientific findings indicate that prompt action is necessary.
Certain sectors of the business community have long been recognised as significant producers of GHG emissions. Increasingly, the business community is also being recognised as important for identifying business-led solutions to climate change challenges. A growing number of corporations acknowledge the importance of corporate social responsibility, risk mitigation and performance dimensions associated with the sustainable production and use of energy. As a result, issues relating to clean technology, carbon markets, energy efficiency and demand-side management, sectoral approaches, voluntary emission reduction commitments, adaptation and forestry are of increasing interest to the business community.
The first Business Day, called the Bali Global Business Day, was organised in parallel with COP13 of the UNFCCC in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on 10 December 2007. The Bali Global Business Day included panels on energy efficiency, zero-carbon technologies, large scale carbon control, and clarity in climate policy. Business participants at that event made clear that they favoured the successful completion of a new global climate change policy framework, valid beyond 2012, which promotes urgent and sustained mitigation and adaptation plans.
The second such event, “Business Day at COP14,” convened in Poznan, Poland, on 9 December 2008. This event featured panel sessions on: a shared long-term vision; mitigation; adaptation; technology; and financing and investing. Participants sought to contribute to the UNFCCC negotiation process by interrelating the themes of the Bali Action Plan, which charted the course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change, with business capability and initiative: energy efficiency and demand side management; technology development and deployment; carbon markets and financing; and sectoral approaches.
Courtesy: IISD Reporting Services

BRINGING AGRICULTURE IN CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS


By Claudia, Beyond Copenhagen Volunteer at COP15
11th December 2009, ‘Bringing Agriculture in Climate Change Negotiations’

During the meeting, it has been highlighted the relevance of agriculture in Copenhagen negotiations. In the agreements, agriculture is usually considered as an industrial agriculture, while the role of traditional agriculture is not taken into account. Only in Klima Forum agriculture has a main role, but in COP15 it is considered just from trade and commodities point of view. COP15 considers only industrial agriculture characterized by high costs and high tech and all the negotiations concern market and profitability. The role of technology in COP15 is only for certain countries and only agriculture related to genetical engineering and mechanization is considered. The only solution is listening to the farmers.
During the last years, the agriculture industry has been changed in order to be more productive and to satisfy market needs: farmers have been pushed to produce in a more intensive way, through bioagriculture. Thus, agriculture has been mechanized and the consequences are negative both for the soils and for the global warming.
Regarding agriculture in developing countries, it is hard finding data, especially at the local level: the only information available is based on anecdotal evidences and testimonies. Since agriculture is based on tradition from generation to generation, it is becoming more and more difficult to predict the environment conditions (e.g. monsoons).
A further point that has been discussed regards connections between North and South of the world. Through monoculture, North is affecting South: forests are converted into agricultural lands, the product system is changed, the transport cost and related emissions are growing. According to data from Netherlands, the national agriculture system of such a small country is contributing for pollution for a level of 11%. Thus, the consequences of this system are affecting the environment and the socioecological situation: agriculture should be sustainable.
Emissions from 1999 are 17% more, especially in developing countries. This is due to increased population, non appropriate agricultural technologies, non appropriate trade policies. A sustainable agriculture should be based on biodiversity and soil feed. In order to achieve this objective, it is important how adaptation funds are used: they do not have only to promote sustainable agriculture, but also to sustain it. It is important what is decided and how it is applied, whether it respects or not the land. For instance, in some African lands nitrogen fertilize has been used: even though it was promoted by the EU, it poisoned the lands and soils changed and got addicted to it.
A panel in Philippines shows that biofuel can be considered as a solution to climate change, and they are also important for the biofuel business. However, foreign corporations interested in biofuel production took the land from the population and now there are two main consequences: people are landless and they perceive less safety, and lands are used for monoculture.
Finally, it has been discussed how adaptation and agriculture are related. In order to let population adapt to climate change, it is important to consider farmers knowledge and to involve farmers in the decision process. Each land has its own tradition and knowledge, thus there will be different strategies for different lands. Moreover, farmers should be aware of what is happening and because their traditional knowledge cannot be used anymore due to climate change.




RENEWAL ENERGY

By Stefania, Beyond Copenhagen Volunteer at COP15
12th of December, Niels Bohr: Renewable energy – the key solution to mitigate climate change
Participants: EREC, European Renewable Energy Council, Greenpeace
How can we establish a sustainable energy policy to fight climate change?
It is fundamental to go from principles to practice, focusing on energy efficiency, structural change, and energy efficient transportation, by investing in electric vehicles.
The 20-20-20 EU policy by 2020 forecasts to reduce energy demand and consumption together with greenhouse gas by 20%, and to increase, by the same percentage, the use of renewable energy.
To this regard, EREC has shown some positive data. In 2008 the first energetic source to be installed in Europe was the wind; moreover in the same yeas 57% of the all energy generated was renewable. However, there are still things to be done: the electricity market needs to be reformed and it’s important to invest more in the research and development of renewable energy, instead of fossil and nuclear.
At the beginning the set up costs will be high, but they will drastically diminish during the years. Furthermore, renewable energy will not only benefit the environment, but also the population, since it has been forecasted that it will generate about 2 millions jobs by 2020.

False Premise of Nuclear Energy

by Ambra, Beyond Copenhagen Volunteer at COP15
Today the 12th of December 2009, a presentation was held by witnesses and experts from Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan and US on the topic of: FALSE PREMISE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY.

The Australian biologist started the panel discussing about the issues that nuclear stations bear, she said that nuclear energy is the most dangerous and unhealthy form of energy; radiations are cumulative and they constantly cause cancer. Moreover she pointed out that the people who are living in the surrounding stations areas are more at hazard, especially children.
The other witness was from Russia, she described all the same problems defined by the Australian Lady, adding the fact that the Russian government is giving 2$ to the families who are living in the nuclear sites if they remain staying in the same place.
The Kazakhstan lady declared how useless energy power is in dealing with global warming and GHG emissions; there are other healthier technologies and renewable resources that are more effective and less costly. The last speaker was from US, she said that US is committed to reduce the radioactive “mess” they have produced over time and that they are looking for alternative energy resources. At the end, she focused on the fact that there’s no need for nuclear resources, describing it as expensive, dangerous and unhealthy.

Negotiations Undate

The African Group has blocked the negotiations in the morning, protesting against attempts of the developed country to "kill" the Kyoto Protocol. They ended the temporary boycott only after assurances that rich nations were not conspiring to reduce their commitments to cutting greenhouse gases. Informal talks resolved the impasse. "The vast majority [of countries] want to see a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol," Yvo de Boer said. Norway and Mexico join forces and propose a model for climate funding at the negotiations in Copenhagen. The model establishes a Green Fund for financing of climate actions in developing countries.Contributions to the Green Fund should come both from public budgets and from auctioning of emission allowances. According to the proposal, the scale of the Green Fund could start around 10 billion dollars per year by 2013 and increase to 30-40 billion dollars by 2020.Norway's proposal is a model where a certain percentage of the total UN-allowances should be set aside for international auctioning to finance climate actions in developing countries. Mexico has proposed to establish a Green Fund that draws funding based on each country's emissions, GDP and population. The joint model uses both sources of income. Environment Minister of India Jairam Ramesh has declared that an agreed text on a global deal reaching beyond the Kyoto protocol has to be worked out in the night of Tuesday, in order to ease the following negotiations between the world leaders. On his side, India has offered to adopt the international guidelines under the UNFCCC, meaning that India will allow verification of the results of internationally funded projects, while insisting on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. The White House on Monday announced a new program drawing funds from international partners to spend 350 million US dollars over five years to supply developing nations with clean energy technology. The program will contribute to distribution of solar power alternatives for homes, including sun-powered lanterns, supply of cleaner equipment and appliances and a push to fund and put in place renewable energy systems in the world's poorer nations.

China's Position on Negotiations

China has accused developed countries of backsliding on what is said are their obligations to fight climate change and has warned that the UN climate talks in Copenhagen have entered a critical stage. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday there had been "some regression" on the part of developed countries, who had "put forward a plethora" of demands on developing countries. Beijing's view is that the US and other rich nations have a heavy historical responsibility to cut emissions, and any climate deal should take into account a country's development level. There have been rumors that the EU and Japan are not going to sign an agreement on climate aid funding that combines short-term and long-term aid numbers if the US are not going to be clear on their contribution. The problem is the long-term funding: if a total amount of transfers is decided, but without assigning the relative shares between the developed countries, an agreement may fail.

PEOPLES CLIMATE ASEMBLY - RECLAIM POWER ACTION ON 16TH DEC

by Soumya Dutta, 15th December 2009
The Official climate negotiations are becoming more and more exclusive, with thousands of people from the civil society being progressively barred from even entering the official negotiation venue - the Bella Centre in Copenhagen. The people's climate convention - the KLIMAFORUM 09, on the other hand, is getting more active, with clear calls to the governments of the world to respond to people’s voices and demands.On the 16th of Dec., a large number of environmental activists will peacefully march to the Bella Centre, and try to force their way in - in a "Reclaim Power Action", where a large number of those inside the Bella centre - including possibly some small LDC government representatives, will walk out in a coordinated "Inside - Outside Reclaim Power action". Thousands of activists will try to take over the official venue - Bella Centre, and turn it into a people’s climate summit, on the 16th of Dec., to mount pressure on the world’s governments.
The plan of the climate justice activists is as follows:
- RECLAIM POWER - Pushing for Climate Justice! 10:00am - Get to the Fence
- Disruptions begin on the inside12:00pm
- People's assembly startsBlue block
The Blue block will carry the people's assembly, it will make it's way tothe Bella Centre along the police approved route, it will then push intothe UN Area to hold the assembly.
- Start Point: Tarnby station, 8am (get to the area as early as possible)
- Green Block:The Green Block will be fast and mobile. It will make it's way to anotherpoint on the fence, near the South West, and try to break through.
- Start point:Orrestad station, 9am
For more information on the Bike Block, actions inside the Bella Center, and autonomous groups actions come to the final action council, tonight 7pm, Ragnhildgade.
Tomorrow we, the movements for global justice, will take over theconference for one day and transform it into a Peoples Assembly. Our goal is to disrupt the sessions and open a space inside the UN area tohold the Assembly. The assembly will give a voice to those who are notbeing heard, it will be an opportunity to change the agenda, to discussthe real solutions, to send a clear message to the world calling forclimate justice.
Reclaim Power! is a confrontational mass action of non-violent civildisobedience. We will overcome any physical barriers that stand in ourway, including police lines and fences, but we will not respond withviolence if the police try to escalate the situation, nor create unsafesituations; we will be there to make our voices heard!

Climate Change Negotiations and proposals

On Friday a draft proposal was sent to 192 nation conference, although it set no concrete goals on cutting the emission rate or the funding of finances. The document forced countries to hold on long-held posturing and focus on primary issues of global importance. Many countries voiced reservations about the structure of the document or some of its clauses. The United States and China — the worlds top two carbon polluters — even got into a battle of words. The former said the draft as "constructive" but singled out the section on helping poor countries lower their growth of carbon emissions as "unbalanced." It called the wealthier countries to help poor nations to adapt to changing climate, but mentioned no figures. The EU announced in Brussels 3.6 billion US $, but are still awaiting answers from wealthier nations, such as the US and Japan. Nevertheless the COP 15 summit awaits the arrival of the world's leaders.

Changes in Climate change negotiations

The approaching D-Day in the climate change negotiations has created giant strides. Thousands of people joined in a peace rally for two days to demonstrate for action on climate change. The main demonstration was led by dancers, drummers and banners proclaiming: "There is no planet B" and "Change the politics, not the climate." Some activists were dressed as penguins with signs reading: "Save the Humans!" The rally took a violent turn when demonstrators smashed windows and set fire to cars. The police detained more than 900 people around the Danish capital. Connie Hedegaard, the President of the UN climate conference said "You don't have to use that kind of violence to be heard". This incident called a day off in COP15.

OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE - ACT NOW FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE

Soumya Dutta, Dec 14, 2009

Sunday 13th December, the official centre of the COP15, the Bella Centyre was closed for most business, BUT the peoples climate summit venue - the KLIMAFORUM, was a bee-hive of activities. Long and serious sessions on Debt, Trade, Financing etc, on the Cubak energy revolution, on rights to seeds & other BD for farmers, - many such lively programmes kept the huge but disorganized crowd of climate activists, farmers groups, indigenous peoples groups etc busy throughout the day. From around 3:30 pm, the People’s Assembly of Climate Justice Now - started with around 600+ participants and via Campesina presented a wonderful touching inaugural piece. Everyone in the assembly responded spontaneously to the 5 min film on the struggles of the Indian tribal people - K P Sashi's "gaon chhorob nahi, jangal chhorob nahi, maa maati chhorob nahi, larhai chhorob nahi".But undoubtedly, the highlight of the peoples assembly was the Nigerian poet Nnimmo Bassey, leading the indigenous peoples struggle against the Oil Multi national, whose foot-stomping song "WE THOUGHT IT IS OIL, BUT IT WAS BLOOD" put the whole assembly on fire.Movement after movement asserted their right to determine their own future, free of market control, and free of capitalistic controls and manipulations and exploitations.

Copenhagen police accused of violating human rights at UN climate summit

Danish police have indiscriminately arrested hundreds of climate justice activists during a climate change protest made up of 100,000 people that took place today in Copenhagen. Questions have been raised about the fact that the arrests occurred in a different time and place to where some trouble had momentarily flared earlier in the day. Journalists have been restricted from reporting at the site of the arrests since 1800hrs.
It’s estimated that 100 people are still being held on the road in extremely cold weather, cuffed and forced into seated positions in lines. They have expressed severe physical discomfort and have no access to water, medical attention or toilet facilities since 1530hrs. Many activists are reported to have urinated themselves while detained on the ground.
An estimated 200 have been removed from the site and taken away in coaches. Several people are reported to have fainted around 1945hrs.
Helga Matthiassen, who was detained for an hour before being released due to an injury she had recently sustained, said, “Of course we’re angry – people all over the world are angry about being lied to by governments who are making a corporate deal at the climate talks, and now when we try to protest against this on the streets we are randomly held by police.“Not only have we been denied the right to protest, but our basic human rights have also been ignored in this ludicrous, staged police exercise. It seems Danish Police have a new motto: why just criminalise protesters, when you can dehumanise them too?”

Copenhagen police accused of violating human rights at UN climate summit

WATCH OUT SOME OF THE VIDEOS FOR YOURSELF
Click on the following links or type it on address bar of your internet explorer

1. Courtesy: Climate Justice Action
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivh5whWtAOo

2. Unprovoked police charges and mass arrests of activists during dec 12 demo COP15, Copenhagen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIjRHCy3FN8
http://indymedia.dk/videos

Some Photographs of the Protest on 12 December 2009 at COP15, Copenhagen

















Courtesy: Indymedia.dk

December 12, 2009

MARCH ON TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM NOT THE CLIMATE

Click the picture to view the slide show of the photographs of the protest march at Copenhagen on 12th December 2009 (Pictures taken by Soumya Dutta)
For high resolution pictures contact soumyadutta.delhi@gmail.com

THOUSAND RALLIED IN COPENHAGEN DEMANDING SYSTEM CHANGE NOT CLIMATE CHANGE

First Week of Climate Talks: A Predictable Failure
At the end of the first week of the climate talks at Copenhagen, thousands of activists from the Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now! Networks are joining the climate march under the banner of System Change Not Climate Change to denounce the climate negotiations as a predictable failure. The protesters are demanding radical changes in economic and political systems in order to address the climate crisis. The coming together of the Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now! is an unprecedented coalition of social movements, NGOs and grassroots climate activists from around the world to demand alternatives to the failed market solutions being pushed by governments and big business.The System Change contingent has been tipped as the largest and loudest section in the march and includes people from 50 different countries. It will include a flat bed truck broadcasting music and speeches from prominent activists from the global south.Josie Riffaud from La Via Campesina a global coalition of peasant movements, said – “We have seen this week in Copenhagen that governments are turning the climate chaos into commodities. Farmer’s men and women – are taking to the streets today because we are so outraged by the ineffective targets and false solutions such as agro fuels being peddled by business lobbyists and governments that listen to them.”Lidy Nacpil from the Jubilee South Coalition said – “All week we have heard a string of excuses from northern countries to make adequate reparations for the ecological crisis that they have caused. We are taking to the streets to demand that the ecological debt is repaid to the people of the South.” Lars Fredikssen, an activist from Climate Justice Action said – “At the root of the climate crisis is an economic and political system that puts profit above people and the long term sustainability of this planet. Unless we address these root causes, climate change will devastate people around the world. These talks are a predictable failure and that is why we will be taking action next week to create a Peoples Assembly. We want the voices of ordinary people who are already being affected by climate change to be heard and listened to.”Both networks will continue to work together on 16 December, where they are planning to bring the energy from the streets into the Centre where the talks are being held. A massive Peoples Assembly will take place when thousands are expected to march to the Bella Centre to expose the false solutions and to propose positive alternatives and at the same time, hundreds of people inside the talks are expected to walk-out and join. (ENDSs activists from the Climate Justice Action & climate Justice Now networks, indigenous peoples networks etc.There is an unprecedented police presence today morning all over Copenhagen, at all main bus and metro stations. We had to face repeated checks of our 'credentials'. Police are revealing the contours of Unitarian state systems. The atmosphere is charged.

RESISTANCE getting STRENGHTHEN


By Soumya Dutta
As the Copenhagen conference is expecting the arrival of the Big players – the heads of states and their high power ministers - in the next few days, pressures from various quarters are also building up. As the various business lobbies are pushing for more and more "incentives" (like the controversial and as yet untested CCS - Carbon Capture and Storage commercial interests lobbying hard for its inclusion as a CDM entry), various peoples groups, resistance struggles, indigenous people etc. are also strengthening their voices of protest. Many forest peoples alliances have made their opposition to REDD, REDD+ etc very clear, and there were very lively demonstrations . Today's most intense, heart-rending, protest and appeal to the international community was by the indigenous people from Canada, who clearly brought out the devastation of their communities health and forcible occupation of their reserves - by the Tar sand oil industry. "WE DONT WANT YOUR DIRTY OIL" ,'I HAVE SURVIVED, BUT MANY OF MY RELATIVES ARE LYING BURIED UNDERGROUND - DYING OF INCRAESED CANCER AND OTHER DISEASES', many such real stories came from the Indigenous peoples reserves - which also houses some of the largest reserves of dirty tar sand oil. The story of victimization of the already marginalized, by the insatiable greed of the rich and over consumers continues, BUT ARE BEING CHALLENGED WITH INCRAESING STRENGTH at Copenhagen and BEYOND.

Jairam Naresh addressing Indian Media and CSOs


By Soumya Dutta
India’s official delegation finally addressed the mounting concern and criticism from the poorer developing nations, the Small Island States and the African States, and in his first address to the Indian media and Indian civil society, Minister of Environment & Forests Mr. Jairam Ramesh told that – 1) We are with G77, and no question of breaking away, 2) We are talking with the African countries, and that the 'BASIC' draft jointly circulated by the large developing countries matches very closely with the African draft, and India will make all efforts to closely coordinate its negotiating stand with the African countries, 3) that India is closely coordinating with China on its negotiating position, though he was clear that by total emissions, by per capita emissions, and by financial strength - China is a league ahead of India.On the question of why India had to endorse the G8 position of limiting global temp rise to 2 deg Centigrade, and not support the Small Island States and African position of limiting to 1.5 Deg C, Jairam was evasive and took shelter behind the excuse that science is evolving and targets changing.The arrogance with which the minister brushed aside the extreme concern of the threatened-with-submergence Small Island States - by stating brashly "the Maldives President is repeatedly phoning me, but I am not picking up the phone" - shocked many of us present at the briefing at Asger Jorn Room at the Bella Center, from 7 to 8 PM on Dec 11.The youth climate activists from India heckled Jairam Ramesh for his fuzzing statements about uncertainty of Himalayan Glaciers melting and their "apparent lack of connection with global warming". He was again evasive, not giving any concrete answer, but loudly claimed that there is no "Conclusive proof'.Ramesh also asserted that there is no question of India accepting absolute and internationally binding emission cuts, but our voluntary action will be to reduce emission intensity by 20-25% by 2020, and that we will be accountable to our own parliament. He also strongly reiterated Indian Government position of not accepting Monitoring, Reporting, Verification of national mitigation efforts where no outside funding is received.Overall, there was hardly any positive change from the somewhat regressive stand that India and large developing economies have come to be identified with, except his assertions that India will stand together with poorer countries in G77+China.

December 11, 2009

Politics at Play - III


A view of dias during COP-MOP Plenary
By Bhaskar Goswami
One cannot help but feel a sense of pity for Yvo de Boer, the UN Climate Chief whose cup of woes seems to be overflowing. First came “Climategate” which was followed by the leaked “Danish Text”, though it is debatable whether de Boer personally had much to do with drafting the text since it aims to strip his organization from most of the functions it has historically performed at the COP negotiations. Instead, the Danish proposal intends to rest it with the OECD countries.

With Denmark refusing ownership (or authorship!) of the text, de Boer has been left alone facing the ire of developing countries and civil society organization; the latter’s numbers as well as vociferous demonstrations at the Bella Center swelled manifold today.

No wonder de Boer looks gloomier than the overcast city.

Adding to his woes is a development that has brought negotiations to a grinding halt. A small island nation in the Pacific has stood up to the might of the world. Tuvalu earned the world’s respect by demanding binding and immediately actionable emission cuts yesterday and the Chair had no choice but to put it on record that the negotiations are “suspended”. However, the negotiations resumed soon after and everyone presumed that it is business as usual.

Tuvalu achieved the impossible by causing a suspension of COP negotiations yet again today. And this time round it is a suspension for real. Further, the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) group has claimed that it has the support of 100 member countries that are against the provisions of the Danish text. In this melee, one country that has lost credibility and trust is India.

A small island nation of around 12,000 inhabitants achieved where negotiators and leaders of an emerging power - India - failed miserably. Yet again India broke bread with the sole super power of the world and sacrificed the interest of developing countries to secure a seat at the high table. It however remains to be seen whether that seat (on the UN Security Council as per Jairam Ramesh’s leaked letter a month back) actually materializes. What does matter is that India today stands isolated at Copenhagen. No wonder India’s Chief Negotiator, Shyam Saran, had to rush back to New Delhi to seek counsel and fresh instruction on how to get out of this mess.

There is however another viewpoint that is holding fort: the Tuvalu proposal is a fallback option of developed countries after the failure of the Danish Text. The next few days would possibly clear the fog on this issue.

Multilateral negotiations are always an opportunity for sharing “authentic and exclusive news”. One such news doing the rounds today is that the Danish Text was drafted with full knowledge of and consultation with India. This is quite possible given that Jairam Ramesh had proposed something similar a month back. What is puzzling is the list of other countries that are now emerging as co-authors – Brazil, China, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Algeria. The tentacles of climate betrayal seem to have spread across continents that have virulently opposed any concessions for developed countries.

Meanwhile, newspapers today reported that the police confiscated paint bombs, shields and other gear from an empty property in the city next to which hundreds of activists are staying. While it is not clear whether any arrests have been made, Bella Centre and COP participants may not get to watch multicolored walls… or blackened faces of negotiators who seem to have betrayed the cause for preventing further global warming. The big day however is Saturday when 60,000 demonstrators are expected to take to the streets marching from the Parliament to Bella Centre to demand a fair climate deal.

Proceedings at COP15

Tuvalu intervenes in the COP/MOP plenary and calls for establishing a contact group to discuss proposed amendments to the Protocol

TUVALU, supported by Grenada, for AOSIS, stressed the Protocol’s importance now and in the future and elaborated on its two proposals to amend the Protocol. He highlighted, inter alia, proposals on: the second commitment period and new commitments in Annex B; extending the share of proceeds; giving legal authority to the Compliance Committee; and including new greenhouse gases, as well as international aviation and maritime emissions.

AUSTRALIA emphasized that her country needs more than a Protocol amendment from Copenhagen. She said a unified protocol would have certain advantages but that an outcome with two protocols is possible if they are linked as a package. The EU stressed its commitment to safeguarding the Kyoto Protocol’s key elements. He said the AWG-KP process allows for comprehensive consideration of issues raised by the amendment proposals and underlined that a decision on Protocol amendments must be taken in the context of an overall agreement.

JAPAN outlined its proposed draft protocol, saying it relates to the Protocol’s deficiencies, including that the Kyoto Protocol only covers 30% of global emissions. He stressed that a “simple” Protocol amendment would not be an effective post-2012 legal framework, expressing preference for a single new Protocol.
JAPAN emphasized that the intention is not to ignore and bury the Kyoto Protocol, but “expand the scope of responsibility and construct on the Kyoto foundation an expanded and more durable vehicle.”

ETHIOPIA, for LDCs, said the issue is a controversial one as it is being discussed under both the AWG-KP and the COP/MOP. He expressed willingness to consider the issue in a contact group to see if the proposals contain ambitious targets and promote LDCs’ interests.

BRAZIL, supported by many developing countries, noted a proposal by 35 countries to amend Protocol Annex B based on the mandate in Protocol Article 3.9 (Annex I parties’ further commitments). He said the proposal reflects the high end of the 25-40% range in the IPCC AR4 as well as Annex I countries’ historical responsibility. Many developing countries stressed that the most important task of COP/MOP 5 is to adopt a Protocol amendment to inscribe new commitments for developed countries in Annex B based on the mandate in Protocol Article 3.9. Many developing countries also highlighted the Kyoto Protocol as the only legally-binding instrument to mitigate climate change, urged continuing it in the second commitment period and opposed attempts to “kill” or supersede it, or make it redundant. Many also underscored continuation of the Protocol as a condition for an outcome in Copenhagen.

EGYPT, supported by several developing countries, said elements of the proposed Protocol amendments have also been submitted under the Convention and the AWG-LCA, lamenting this “triplication” of efforts and urging focusing on “the real thing.”

NEW ZEALAND said her country’s preference would be a single and unified post-2012 legal outcome avoiding duplication of efforts and institutions. Without prejudice to this, she said her country has proposed Protocol amendments, envisaging the Kyoto Protocol as part of a fully integrated package with a legally-binding outcome under the Convention.

BOLIVIA outlined a proposed Protocol amendment, emphasizing that developed countries have “expropriated more than their fair share of the earth’s environmental space.” She said repayment of this “climate debt” is simple: those who became wealthy while causing climate change are responsible for compensating those who are poor. She called for strong efforts by developed countries to reduce their over-pollution and over-consumption.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA agreed with the focus on Protocol Article 3.9 but, supported by others, called for also considering forest issues and REDD. COLOMBIA also noted her country’s proposals to amend other aspects of the Protocol and expressed interest in discussing other countries’ proposals.

TUVALU emphasized that unlike the AWG-KP’s mandate, this agenda item relates to Protocol Article 20 under which any party may propose amendments. He stressed that if unable to reach consensus, the COP/MOP may take a decision by a three quarters majority of parties present and voting.

PALESTINE highlighted their unique situation and said he is looking forward to becoming an official Protocol party.

PAN-AFRICAN CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE stated that warming of 2°C is a “death sentence” for Africa. She accused rich countries of stealing the shared atmospheric space, which amounts to “climate colonialism” and said the proposed adaptation funding would not be sufficient even for “buying their coffins."

TUVALU, supported by GRENADA, KIRIBATI, EL SALVADOR, COSTA RICA, the COOK ISLANDS, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, PALAU and BELIZE, stressed the importance of the issue, urged its proper substantive consideration through a contact group and said delaying the issue until Saturday will not allow this.

CHINA, supported by VENEZUELA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, BRAZIL, NIGERIA and BAHRAIN, expressed sympathy for Tuvalu’s proposal, but opposed discussing such proposed Protocol amendments that “do not enhance the Protocol.” He said issues such as share of proceeds and compliance could be discussed further, and suggested that: proposals related to Protocol Article 3.9 be referred to the AWG-KP; and a “limited number” of other proposals be selected for discussion under this agenda item. The EU opposed limiting issues for further consideration, identifying the need to reflect all proposals.
(Courtesy ENB, #5)

From the Corridors

Much of the talk in the corridors on Thursday afternoon and evening was focused on the suspension of both the COP and COP/MOP, pending consultations on whether to establish contact groups to consider proposed new protocols under the Convention and proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. As on Wednesday when the COP was suspended, Tuvalu led a group of African, Latin American and AOSIS parties in urging a formal contact group to consider the proposed Protocol amendments, and resisted proposals to move the procedural question to an informal setting with a review of progress in plenary on Saturday.
Many noted that these disputes were closely related to the question concerning the legal form of the outcome: “We have still not resolved the critical question of the legal outcome of these negotiations,” noted one old hand in the process. “Developing countries want to preserve and strengthen Kyoto, while most Annex I countries are seeking a comprehensive legal framework that also engages the US and developing countries in mitigation efforts.” Differences were also detected among developing countries as to whether the outcome from the AWG-LCA should be legally-binding.
The wisdom of suspending work under COP and COP/MOP and its implications were also being discussed around the Bella Center. Some viewed the request to also suspend the COP/MOP as a good strategic move, while others feared it could delay work on other issues. “It hasn’t slowed the informals under the AWG-LCA,” said one NGO who was supportive of AOSIS’ stand. “I’m just not sure how they’ll break the deadlock,” she added.
(Courtesy ENB, #5)

Protests at COP15











Agriculture and Rural Development Day at COP15


With the theme The road after Copenhagen: priority strategies and actions for ensuring food security and rural development in the face of climate change, the Agriculture and Rural Development Day will bring together policy makers and negotiators, rural development practitioners, producers, civil society and the agricultural and climate change scientific community to highlight the importance of agriculture in climate change and to identify the ‘no-regret’ priorities for agriculture and food security where the world needs to take action. The overall goal of the event is to develop a work plan with strategies and actions to fully incorporate agriculture into the post-Copenhagen agenda. The event will consider, among others, areas such as:
1. the role of agriculture and farmers, both women and men, in adaptation and mitigation strategies;
2. future scenarios for agriculture, rural development and food security; 3. climate change as a development issue; and
4. innovations in the agricultural sector of relevance to the climate change agenda.

Climate Change: A Human Rights Issue

By Justice Pana Chand Jain, India
The Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter state that “poverty any where is a threat to prosperity everywhere”. Almost all the developed and developing countries in their constitution have provided for fundamental rights. These rights are divided in two categories – political and social and economic rights. Human Rights Council has recognized climate change as a Human Right issue. In fact all fundamental rights are part of Human Rights.
It is India’s views that the planetary atmospheric spaces are a common resource of humanity and each citizen of the globe has an equal entitlement to that space. We are all equal partners in the benefits given by the mother earth.
The industrialized countries are responsible for the bulk of the green house gases in the atmosphere. They are, therefore, under an obligation to compensate to the other countries who are sufferers for their hazardous acts. It is thus, a case of environmental economic justice.
Right to life is the fundamental right of every human being including indigenous persons. Right to life means meaningful and dignified life. Right to equality is another right and every person has a right to be treated fairly and without any discrimination. These rights are fundamental basic human rights. They are recognized by way of United Nation’s Commitment to the work of UN development agencies, the entire UN has strengthened its institutional commitments to promote human rights. Its recognition finds place especially in the International Covenant on Civil, Political, Social, Cultural and Economic Rights, 1966.
It cannot be disputed that the global warming has affected the humanity adversely. It is responsible in depriving various persons from the livelihood. It has the direct bearing on the right to safe drinking water and food sovereignty or shelter and protection. It has affected women adversely. It is responsible for 100 million people sleeping hungry every night. Agriculture has been affected badly. It has also challenged our culture. Thus, the issue of global warming is the issue of violation of human rights.
It is a settled law that when an enterprise which is engaged in a hazardous or inherently dangerous activity which causes a potential threat to the health and safety of a person; it owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community that no harm results to any one on account of hazardous or inherently dangerous nature of activity which it has undertaken. The enterprise is absolutely liable to compensate for such harm. The rule of strict liability is attracted. Such hazardous or inherently dangerous activity can be tolerable only on the condition that the enterprise indemnifies for the loss to the sufferers.
Human Rights Council has recognized climate change. The Human Rights and climate change working group in the meeting held on 10th December 2009 on Human Rights Day at Copenhagen has passed a resolution to take steps towards the action on climate change at the international level.
In the totality of circumstances every person is concerned with the decision making process. In the Adaptation Action this right should be recognized, mechanism may be developed for financing the sufferers on account of the ill effects of global warming. Human Rights as discussed above should be made enforceable by an international Covenant or an Environment International Tribunal may be constituted for resolving the disputes.

Recognising and Protecting Human Rights within the Copenhagen Agreement

Speakers representing small island nations pointed out that the lower the emission reduction targets are, the more protection we are going to need for human rights. The 10 billion USD pledged as assistance is woefully inadequate for the 134 developing countries. The demands made were: 1. higher emission targets; 2. support for adaptation; and 3. rights of people who are going to be displaced by climate change impacts.

It was stated that even in current texts we are not mentioning human rights; we are only pressing for emission targets. It was also pointed out that all island nations are not going to lose all their land due to rising sea levels. In some countries people will lose their coastal lands, their fisheries and inhabitable land, and all the people may migrate to other nations. But some land may still escape submergence. What will be the sovereign rights over their original land for people who have migrated?

The representative from the High Commission of Human Rights said that the Commission is very clear that all decisions taken here should be informed by human right norms and standards. He mentioned that the Commission has also adopted a resolution on human rights implications of climate change. He said that disasters make it difficult for people to enjoy a range of human rights. He felt that the current debate is centered on science of Climate change and less on human well being. He also said that climate change implies obligations not only between nations but also towards individuals.

Ms. Sheela representing the Inuit people said that both climate change and persistent organic pollutants (POPS) threaten food security and cultural survival in the arctic. Speaking about the rate of climate change she said that in the arctic people have to adapt within a single generation. She said that there is need for them to be able to practice an ancient culture that is respectful of the environment. If we focus only on western science, the climate train is going to be derailed. Whatever science predicts, the indigenous people are ground truthers as they are the best source of information for what is happening on the ground. Policy makers should hear their voices about what impacts are seen over the last several years.

We should demand ethical and moral responsibility from our leasers. Negotiating states must recognize human rights. They have obligation to protect human rights violation of affected people. Lastly she demanded inclusion of all people in the decisions.

Mr. Joseph Simel said that indigenous people are excluded from governance and policy making. He further added that mitigation actions may bring more problems for the indigenous people. E.g., growing plantations for credits may undermine human rights of indigenous peoples.
Mr. Martin Wagner said that climate change is definitely a human rights issue. The face of climate change is not only the graphs and tables that indicate GHG increase; it is about the people and ecosystems that are affected. He enumerated the human rights in the context of climate change:
1. Right to Means of Subsistence
Considering the effects of climate change such as droughts, salinisation of water due to rising sea levels, and melting of ice interfering with travel of Inuit sot their hunting grounds – it means that the right to life, physical integrity and security is being undermined by climate change.

2. Right to Water
This is a fundamental right. It is indispensable for life with dignity. It is a prerequisite for realization of other rights. E.g., melting of glaciers is undermining the right to water for the mountain communities.

3. Right to Property and to Use of Traditional Lands
Melting of ice and erosion of land, destruction of houses due to permafrost melting are undermining the right to property.

4. Right to Preservation of Health
This right is violated due to climate change as less food is available or food is less nutritious in nature.

5. Right to be Free from Discrimination
Giving the example of heat waves in Los Angeles it was explained how highest mortality was seen among minority populations. Therefore, in environmental disasters the minorities, the poor or marginalized may be more vulnerable to climate change impacts.

6. Rights of Women
As women depend more on environmental resources their rights are increasingly violated with the climate change.

7. Right to Culture
Particularly for indigenous people who depend on environmental resources for traditional practices. It is hard for them to maintain their culture.

8. The Right to Participate
It was mentioned that even now people do not have access to government decision making. They do not have access to information and remedies when their rights are violated.

What are the implications of the human rights approach for the climate change negotiations?
The approach takes moral elements and makes them legal obligations. It increases the emphasis on mitigation to achieve 1.5 degree temperature increase and 350 ppm of CO2. It reinforces the principle of equity and differential responsibility.

FAO session on IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON FOOD SECURITY

FAO organized a session on the Impact of Climate Change on Food security on 10th December 2009. It was heartening to see that the chairwoman of FAO considers poor farmers as part of the solution and that subsistence farming is a saving grace. She also emphasized on the urgency of the need of technology transfer for sustainable agriculture. FAO’s lack of position on GM food was disappointing and scary; on the one hand they promote organic agriculture and on the other GM foods.
Brazil came across as better prepared strategy to deal with impact on climate change; the strategy is more focused yet comprehensive; supported with research; they have fourfold strategy – reduce deforestation, expand technology transfer, increased use of bio-fuels and global land information systems.
The IFAD presentation came across as expected as it was farmer-oriented. IFAD raised the issues like – threat to bio diversity, requiring larger resources for pest management, not just physical but socio economic impacts of climate change to be taken into consideration, need of incentives for sustainable agriculture, arrangements to enable small producers, avail carbon credits, involving industry, government and farmers in risk management and not acting in crisis management mode etc. He also raised issues of IPR that developing countries need flexibility in adopting indigenous species;
The US presentation was not very convincing as it accounts for world wide food insecurity. The US agriculture ministry representative said that US is food surplus but how and whether they care to fill the food gap for 1 billion hungry was left ambiguous. Their programme titled “Know your Food” explains the consumers as to where their food is coming from. Hence it seemed more centered towards the consumers rather than the farmers.
(By Seemantanee Khot)

Impressions of the day:

By Seemantanee Khot
  1. Indian delegations are dispersed, as NGO sector. There is a need to bring them together at a common platform in the cop15 meeting.
  2. Indian Youth are absent, how can we have them in bigger numbers for such sessions? Children of Indian origins are there, but they are representing other nations.
  3. Cultural expressions are powerful, we could have staged a powerful display of how issues of developed and developing countries are different and how India and China and Brazil etc. need to come together to take pro-poor stand.

New Proposals received from Five Countries

COP15 President Hadegaard indicated that proposals relating to adoption of new protocols under the Convention had been received from five countries: (i) Australia (ii) Costa Rica (iii) Japan (iv) Tuvalu and (v) the US.
TUVALU outlined its proposed protocol, which he said would complement but not replace the Kyoto Protocol. He indicated that his draft protocol follows the elements of the BAP closely, sets out a shared vision and the goals of limiting temperature increase to well below 1.5ยบ C and stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at 350 ppm at the most. He said parties in Copenhagen should adopt two legally-binding agreements: a Protocol amendment and a new “Copenhagen Protocol.” He proposed a contact group to work on this agenda item.
COSTA RICA described its proposal for a Copenhagen Protocol and supported a legally-binding agreement.
JAPAN outlined its proposal, which includes reducing global emissions by at least 50% from current levels by 2050, provisions for developed country commitments, developing country action and financial and technological cooperation. He said it requires all major economies to participate in a single new legally-binding protocol.
AUSTRALIA said a new treaty is the best way to achieve a collective outcome and the US outlined its proposal for a legally-binding agreement under the Convention.
INDIA, CHINA, SAUDI ARABIA, SOUTH AFRICA and others opposed a new protocol. CHINA urged a focus on implementing the existing commitments under the Convention and Protocol and adopting an ambitions outcome under the Bali Roadmap and BAP.
Climate Action Network (CAN), for ENGOs, urged a fair, ambitious and legally-binding deal in Copenhagen. She called for agreement on Annex 1 targets for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and said the US should commit to similar targets as other Annex 1 parties in a legally-binding form. YOUTH expressed concerns that some of the new proposals being tabled would be “tantamount to carbon colonialism.” She urged respect for the UN process, recognition of historical responsibility, and upholding and enhancing the Kyoto Protocol.
INDIA underscored that the CDM market depends on deep emission reduction by Annex-1 countries in the post-2012 period. Supported by BRAZIL, INDIA opposed sectoral approaches, saying they could lead to benchmarking and adversely affect developing countries’ economic growth.
INDUSTRIAL FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS stressed that farmers should have direct access to the Adaptation Fund.
INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE urged respect for indigenous peoples’ rights at all stages of activities related to the Fund.
GENDER CC-WOMEN FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE said adaptation requires hundreds of billion of dollars per year and called for earmarking a “significant proportion” of funding for gender sensitive spending.
YOUTH NGOs stressed that 25 cents a day per Annex 1 country citizen would be sufficient and urged wealthy governments to give at least US$ 100 billion dollars per year to an accessible, democratically-run adaptation fund that is accountable to the UNFCCC.

December 10, 2009

SMALL Island Nation – Stalls BIG Negotiations


Small Island nation Tuvalu, in imminent danger of getting obliterated from the map by the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean – comes out with strong demands and proposals for binding emission cuts by ALL Large emitter nations, and succeeds in stalling the climate negotiations.
On the end of the 3rd day of the international climate negotiations – COP15, at Copenhagen, a bold and ‘controversial’ proposal by the very small island nation of Tuvalu located in the Pacific Ocean, managed to create a huge flutter, increased the rift between developing countries, and finally brought the negotiations to a halt.
What Tuvalu is basically asking is for internationally (legally) binding emissions reduction targets by ALL BIG Emitting Countries, including those in the developing country block. And this created a lot of unrest amongst the big-developing polluters, including China, India, Brazil, South Africa, etc. None of these “emerging economies” are willing to accept legally binding emission reduction targets – rather preferring only Energy Intensity targets determined by national goals. But many small & poor developing countries, the LDCs (Least Developed Countries), and particularly the Island nations (AOSIS – Association of Small Island States) along with Bangladesh have supported the Tuvaluan proposal.
Tuvalu’s proposals got tremendous support from a large number of Climate Justice Movements from all over the world (the India-climate-justice forum holds somewhat similar view), the very active and vocal youth climate groups etc. Tuvalu demanded that the negotiations be halted till they get clear answers about their (and other island nations) right to exist. The negotiations had to be brought to a halt.
As the rich nations and along with them, the corporate lobbies and the big developing countries are slowly moving away from a justice & equity focused climate deal, the small island states, African nations etc – are taking the leadership of pushing for a just agreement on climate. India, China etc. are being seen to slowly move away from any frontline leadership position in this, and increasingly – the poorer developing countries are questioning their (govt.) positions.
(by Soumya Dutta)

Copenhagen Negotiations in One Illustration

Politics at Play-II: Update on COP15 developments for 09 Dec 2009

There was a buzz of something impending in the air at the Bella Centre as Todd Stern, the US Chief Negotiator arrived. Not much to mince words, he fired a broadside at China, “We expect China to make considerable cuts in its carbon emissions despite being a developing country”. Taking a swipe at developing countries, he made a pointed reference that the current climate negotiation is not about morality; it’s about mathematics! Further, China will also not be eligible for any assistance from the US on climate mitigation and adaptation. Stern feels that a country sitting on trillions of dollars ought to fend for itself. How fundamental can things get, one wonders.

The forceful insistence on China to make emission cuts did not come as much of a surprise to most since India seems to have already played into the US’ hands by floating a timid version of an agreement at the G77+China meeting. One might recall the leaked letter of Jairam Ramesh a month back where he had made a similar proposition. The proverbial dots are thus now being joined at Copenhagen.

One would recall a similar power play during the WTO mini-ministerial at Geneva in 2008. The negotiations supposedly collapsed on the issue of Special Safeguard Measures and India was singled out as the deal-breaker. This was despite the fact that India had already conceded to the US’s demands on SSM. The talks collapsed because the US did not want to face the next issue (its cotton subsidies) which would have anyways brought down the talks.

This is exactly what seems like being re-enacted at Copenhagen on the Climate negotiations. The US is unwilling to bring down its emissions despite using the right vocabulary by President Obama. This time round, it seems China’s turn to be painted the deal breaker. As of now, Xie Zienhua, China's chief negotiator, has seemingly ignored Stern’s outburst and has indicated that he will wait for President Obama to take a final call on the issue when he gets to Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, the leaked Danish text is causing considerable embarrassment to the UN what with the Climate Chief Yvo de Boer issuing a weak defense: “it is an informal paper ahead of the conference given to a number of people for the purposes of consultations”. The G77 sure is not buying any of this and the slam game is on!

Meanwhile, a summit of EU leaders will be held on 10-11 December at Brussels. Informal talks with a delegate indicate that the EU will remain steadfast on immediate action on the climate front by 2010 although its commitments will be conditional on what others place on the table. It is also likely that the EU will seek a six month roadmap after COP 15 is over before a final deal is agreed upon - this is a fresh development.

Amidst all this, there has been not a word coming from the Indian team. Indian delegates, including the Chief Negotiator Shyam Saran, have not held a single Press Conference till date. There are speculations rife about Saran's abrupt trip back to New Delhi. One hopes that the Delegation speaks to the Press and Indian CSO representatives once Saran rejoins the negotiations the day after tomorrow, ostensibly with a fresh brief in light of the complete goof up on the G77+China coalition.
(By Bhaskar Goswami)

Proceedings at the Plenary

According to Su Wei, China’s lead negotiator, "the main task of this (conference) is to adapt an agreed outcome from the Bali Action Plan [agreed in 2007] and we should very much focus on that. We have a very valid system to combat climate change. But the existing agreement is not tough enough for the smaller, more vulnerable members with more to lose from rising sea levels and less to lose in terms of the economic constraints of a tough treaty.”
"This is the first time we've seen the island nations make such a splash," said Malini Mehra of the India-based Centre for Social Markets.
"The AOSIS call for a new protocol and the way it was denounced by Saudi Arabia, China, and India show that the G77 has now come asunder and the island nations are leading," she told BBC News
"As they must - they have seized the high moral ground."

Mr. Fry called for the Conference of the Parties - the official name for the full gatherings here of all countries - to be suspended if its proposal for full-scale discussions on the issue of a tough new protocol was not accepted.
Chairwoman Connie Hedegaard had to agree, moving on to other items to allow time for discussions behind the scenes. During the same session, China - and other countries - re-iterated calls for industrialized nations to pledge bigger cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. But that has been a familiar call here; the rift between members of the formerly solid developing country bloc is a much less common happening, and may indicate that hopes held out by some countries of signing only a political commitment here may not be enough to placate the poorest and most vulnerable nations.
(Courtesy BBC News Website)

Developing Countries split is widening


In today’s plenary session on CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), many small developing countries criticized India and China. Thus, the developing country split is widening, and the chance for pressurizing the developed country blocks for a legally binding reduction is also receding. Small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol. This was opposed by richer developing states such as China, which fear tougher action would curb their growth.
Tuvalu demanded - and got - a suspension of negotiations until the issue could be resolved. Tuvalu's negotiator Ian Fry made clear that his country could accept nothing less than full discussion of its proposal for a new legal protocol, which was submitted to the UN climate convention six months ago.
"Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, and our future rests on the outcome of this meeting."
The call was backed by other members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), including the Cook Islands, Barbados and Fiji, and by some poor African countries including Sierra Leone, Senegal and Cape Verde.
Several re-iterated the demand of small island developing states that the rise in the global average temperature be limited to 1.5C, and greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized at 350 parts per million (ppm) rather than the 450ppm favored by developed countries and some major developing nations.
Fast-growing economies such as China, India and South Africa oppose the lower target of 350ppm because they feel that meeting it would retard economic development.
Here, they also opposed Tuvalu's call for a new legally-binding protocol to run alongside the existing Kyoto Protocol, arguing that the existing convention and Kyoto agreement are tough enough.
The split within the developing country bloc is highly unusual, as it tends to speak with a united voice.
(By Mr Soumya Dutta)

SAVE CLIMATE USE BICYCLE SUPPORT BRT


Parallel to the UNFCCC COP15 Meeting at Denmark, in New Delhi (India)a bicycle week is being organised from 7th-13th December 2009 to raise collective voices to save the world's ecology. On the last day of the Bicycle week, a BICYCLE RALLY and PUBLIC MEETING will be organised i.e. on 13th December 2009 at South of Moolchand Flyover. Ms Medha Patkar, Com Abani Roy, K B Saxena and Ms Geetam Tiwari will address the meeting.

Side Event: Indigenous Peoples Assessment of the Current Negotiation: Issues and Ways Forward

The subject was introduced by short story and film which voiced in many different ways that in whole development issue voice of local people is unheard. The case study from Philippines demonstrated how degradation of forests associated with many other industrial activities and other larger human interventions are sole cause of cyclone, typhoons, drought and other natural causes. All the speakers voiced in more or less same tone putting greater emphasis on human rights.
One speaker from Norway who was also the chair of a sub-committee indicated that concerns of indigenous people and references to human right are not likely to find a place in the negotiations.

Model for reducing Carbon Footprint

City of Heisenberg in Sweden was awarded the best Municipalities for its operating in solid waste disposal and productive use of urban solid and liquid waste. The Chairman of Heisenberg and company which is looking after the environmental issues presented the case study on the productive use of waste to energy. Following points explain the model:
1. Recovery of methane for landfills
2. Biogas is upgraded and can be used to drive buses. At present 40% of public transport is dependent on this fuel.
3. Biogas is liquefied and can be transported to any desired locations
4. With combination and multiple uses, the city of approx. 127,000 residents has reduced carbon footprint to great number.
(by Mr Prakash Chhangani)

Why Danish Political Agreement Must be Rejected

Proposed Political Agreement by Denmark belies the intention of Annex-1 countries and Europe in particular on COP15. It is clear that Europe has failed in its climate change leadership. The document proposes a long term emission reduction target by 50% of 1990 levels by Annex 1 Parties by 2050. However, IPCC and Africa have been calling for emissions reduction target of at least 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Four Reasons why the Danish Political Agreement must be rejected
1. It proposes emission cuts and targets for developing countries
2. It proposes to divide developing countries into new categories, e.g. “the most vulnerable”;
3. It proposes to weaken the financial role of the UN in climate change and proposes traditional ‘beggar my neighbour approach’;
4. It suggests to cap emissions from developing countries to not more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
Philippines