Incremental progress

The Cancún Agreements did not resolve the big questions of climate change. The future of the Kyoto Protocol was left uncertain. With a second commitment period ruled out “under any conditions” by Japan (and supported by Russia), the next option would have been a mandate – to launch negotiations for a new treaty.  The small islanders proposed exactly that, with support from the EU and several others (including SA) – but none of the US, India and China were ready… Read moreIncremental progress

GREEN light for REDD+!

A global deal to protect forests and mitigate climate change was agreed on Saturday 11 December in Cancun. However, certain important issues such as threats to indigenous peoples and natural forests, funding mechanisms and MRV of “safeguards” and deforestation, remain unresolved.  This agreement on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) is part of the enhanced action on… Read moreGREEN light for REDD+!

The Cancun Agreements

An initial assessment by Lavanya Rajamani, Professor – International Law, Centre for Policy Research The Cancun climate negotiations stretched, as now customary, into the early hours of the day after its scheduled end. The events of the final day were far less acrimonious than one would expect after Copenhagen. Indeed, had it not been for the pesky Bolivian delegation repeatedly drawing attention to the lack of ambition in the “Cancun Agreements,” it would have been a virtual love fest. The… Read moreThe Cancun Agreements

Focus on essentials

With the Cancún negotations in their last day, despite all depression and regression and post-Copenhagen stress disorder, the focus has to be on the essential outcomes. For developing countries, including South Africa, the challenge of making poverty history is the central policy concern. But we understand that climate action is urgent, and that every year of further delay makes the task more difficult – and the likely impacts greater. Cancún must answer a simple question: Is there a future for… Read moreFocus on essentials

How low can you go?

NGOs went into Cancún outlining four scenarios. Rather than contemplating “Breakthrough” or at least “Foundation”, the risk is that we end up in “Regression” or “Zombie” modes of work.  The best scenario would have been that Cancún gives “Momentum”, or the UNFCCC may be thrown a “Lifeline”. Well, the first week felt pretty much like “Zombie”.  Negotiators were going through the motions, not really understanding how things fit together but quasi-robotically fighting over commas and brackets when given sight of… Read moreHow low can you go?

Are you a NAMA?

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA’s) orginiated during the Bali Acion Plan 2007. As the name suggests, the aim is to identify mitigation actions in line with national priorities of developing countries with support from developed countries on finance, technology and capacity building. However as an ECOFYS Policy Briefy (Issue 11, 2010) points out, after 3 years there is still no clear indication of the format of NAMA’s, what is eligible to be a NAMA and how  these NAMA’s could be… Read moreAre you a NAMA?

A few words on coping at COPs

After 2.5 COP’s (the 0.5 comprising of hours and days of queuing to get into COP 15 in Copenhagen but alas not getting in) I am by no means a COP-veteran. Hats off to those that are now seasoned COP-pers. It is easy to identify those that have been at it for years – mainly as they have a photo on their UNFCCC ID badge which is definetly more than 10 years old… However as a 2.5-seasoned Observer at this… Read moreA few words on coping at COPs

The Gigaton Gap

While negotiators in Cancún fight about commas, brackets and even about which text should be worked on, the gap between the politics and the science is widening.  It is the gap between scientific reality and the current level of ambition of nations. Let’s be optimistic about the politics (quite hard to do, but let’s try) – still, with the high end of all Copenhagen pledges actually implemented, the gap is 7 gigatons of CO2 .  That’s seven BILLION tons of… Read moreThe Gigaton Gap

Scramble for vulnerability

Undoubtely everyone is vulnerable to climate change impacts, and so are developed countries. However, least developed and small island states, etc are more vulnerable than everyone else. Some G77 member countries and China have contested the Bali Action Plan (BAP) specifying they are equally vulnerable. It is however, not helpful under the UNFCCC to contest for who is more vulnerable than the other, but focus on reasonable allocation of the limited resources for adaptation.

Japan no love Kyoto

This mornings delegates in the Cancun Messe were welcomed by Kimono-clad ladies framed by a 2m tall cardboard heart saying ‘Love Kyoto’. This was accompanied by a choir singing ‘All you (Kyoto) need is love’. The purpose was to take polaroids of as many delegates ‘loving Kyoto’. This comes on  the back of Japan’s statement in yesterdays KP (Kyoto Protocol) plenary. In reference to the second committment period of the KP Japan stated ‘Japan will not inscribe its target under… Read moreJapan no love Kyoto