CAN News Blog

The Year Of Talanoa

2018 will be the year of the Talanoa dialogue. ECO is encouraged to see the design of the dialogue take shape and thinks the presidencies’ design is fit for purpose. But ECO also wants to emphasize a few important points.

 

Parties made good progress in finding a solution to the question of how to deal with pre-2020 by adding a pre-2020 stocktake to COP24 and COP25. However, they must be mindful of achieving appropriate balance between this proposed new pre-2020 stocktake and the political phase of the Talanoa dialogue process at COP24.

 

Increased NDC ambition and stronger pre-2020 action and support are needed to fulfill the Paris promise. Pre-2020 is important, especially in the context of “Where are we?” and to make the best of the short time available. But we also need the Talanoa Dialogue to provide relevant forward-looking information and political momentum towards preparing the NDCs that Parties will communicate by 2020 (per paragraphs 23 and 24 of 1/CP.21), in other words those for the 2026 to 2030 period. Those NDCs must be more ambitious/bold than what’s currently on the table, lest 1.5°C slips out of our hands.

 

ECO likes the idea to have both Fijian and Polish presidencies preside over the Talanoa process from start to finish – this is a great way of ensuring consistency and to allow the process to start early.
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Where Are We? Where Do We Want To Go? How Do We Get There?

You probably recognise questions from the Fijian COP Presidency’s note on the Talanoa Dialogue. But when plotting the world’s long-term pathway to 1.5°C, these questions also become particularly relevant for the discussions.

 

“Where do we want to go?” and, “how do we get there?”, are especially key when thinking about long-term strategies. Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement tells us that we need to achieve a balance of sources and sinks by the second half of the century. So by working backwards from this 2050 horizon, countries can design a sustainable pathway for national development.

 

ECO has been encouraged to hear countries talking about long-term strategies in the negotiations these past two weeks.  They were mentioned within both the common timeframes and the APA global stocktake agenda. The latter of which’s outcomes also reflect the three above questions and lists long-term strategies as an ‘other source’ of input. But it’s not enough that parties are making positive statements on long-term strategies. The worth of such strategies depends on their ability to answer the three questions in the title in detail. These strategies need to be more than just ‘visions’ for the future. They must be meaningful, transparent and developed inclusively.
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International Expectations For Polish Presidency And COP24

Next year will be the third time COP takes place in Poland — this time in the city of Katowice. Remember the business-driven “Coal Summit” that coincided with COP19 and made international news from Beijing to Paris? It undermined Poland’s presidency and lead to Poland being labeled “Coaland.”

But the forthcoming Polish presidency is also a chance for the government to finally step up and help lead the transition and strengthen global climate action.

First, let’s make a few things clear for “Coaland”. COP is no space for coal organizations and coal lobbyists, as demonstrated by the backlash against the US’s pro-coal side event this week. Events promoting coal around paradoxical concepts such as “clean coal” or “zero waste coal” are, simply put, offensive and their aim is to distract attention from what’s most urgently needed across the globe, including in Poland: phase-out of fossil fuels. In Poland, more than 5800 people die prematurely every year due to air pollution from the country’s coal power plants, and the Polish government continues to play into the pocket of the coal sector. These facts are certainly known outside of just the COP bubble.

Moreover, the label “Coaland” represents only one face of Poland.
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Amazon Hydroelectric Dams, Brazil and the Clean Development Mechanism

Why are Brazilian negotiators fighting to resuscitate the CDM that already has one foot in the grave? With aim of plopping it into Article 6 and ICAO’s carbon offsetting scheme?

 

ECO has been informed that a new report (http://www.idesam.org.br/mdl/#.WgwEgYfrvDc) by six Brazilian and international NGOs finds that Brazil’s scandal-plagued national power company, Eletrobrás, and its affiliates could make hundreds of millions of dollars on currently worthless CDM projects for Amazon dams if the Paris Agreement and ICAO incorporate the CDM.

Eletrobrás told the CDM Executive Board that financing from carbon credits was necessary to build the dams. Markets have collapsed and there isn’t any finance, yet the company has built and is operating the dams anyway; it is clear that a CDM revenue stream wasn’t necessary to build the dams and that they would have been built regardless. Selling these fake emissions reductions as offsets will make things even worse, to say nothing of the methane emissions generated and the many other environmental and social impacts caused by the dams, which are subject to much criticism by civil society.

Furthermore, ECO heard that Eletrobrás and the dams are under investigation in the “Operation Car Wash” corruption investigation that has already imprisoned dozens of politicians and top executives of state oil company Petrobrás and other major companies for bid rigging and kickbacks.
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Japan: No More Coal!

ECO is totally shocked! Despite the strong criticisms over Japan’s tremendous overseas coal investments, it seems Japan still cannot hear the chorus of voices. Or maybe it is just ignoring them since we continue to hear very discouraging news that more new coal investments are under development.

Just before this COP, Japanese trading company Marubeni and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) signed a concession contract with the Vietnamese government to build the Nghi Son 2, a 1200MW supercritical coal-fired power plant. This is a 25-year power purchase agreement with Vietnam’s state-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN). The financial agreement to fund this power plant has not yet been finalized, but it is highly concerning that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) as well as other Japanese commercial banks have agreed to provide the loan to finance this.

On Tuesday, JBIC announced it had disbursed the first loan for the controversial Cirebon 2 coal project, which Marubeni and JERA have invested in. This happened even though the validity of the new environment permit was still in question. JBIC ignored local residents’ strong plea not to provide a loan for Cirebon 2, thereby preventing further damage to their livelihoods. This situation put local residents in a very difficult situation.
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GRULAC And the COP25 Candidate: Step Up And Keep 1.5C Alive!

ECO always gets excited about a tropical COP! Having missed out on a trip to Fiji and with the prospect of being in a wintery Poland in 2018, ECO is itching to pack sun-cream and insect repellent for the next Latin American-hosted COP in 2019.

Brazil made its generous offer to host COP25 on the same day as it won the Fossil of the Day Award for a bill sent to Congress by President Temer that would subsidize new oil development in Brazil by roughly US$300 billion.

This juxtaposition raises pertinent questions for any country harboring ambitions for a COP Presidency. So far COPs are given to just about any country that volunteers, often regardless of their climate track record.

ECO would like to set a challenge: from now on any country wishing to host COP, must have an NDC compatible with the 1.5 goal. On the road to 2020, each COP presidency must lead by example and encourage all countries to bring their NDCs into line with the 1.5C goal and increase levels of support to developing countries to help get them there.

Most countries are currently found wanting. South America is set to host COP25, but Climate Action Tracker says that the NDCs of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru, among others, are currently incompatible with 1.5C.
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No gap, No break, No pause – It is your job

ECO is somewhat tired of repeatedly reminding ministers and negotiators of the work ahead before next year`s COP. But ECO warns governments that there is no excuse for laziness. You signed and ratified Paris. Well done. But history walks on. ECO is convinced it is high time to put the money where your mouth was two years ago.

ECO recently learned that renewable energy investments have stagnated worldwide with some countries continuing to decrease their investments, notably in Europe and Japan. Although energy efficiency investments in all sectors grew slightly. Both renewables and energy efficiency combined received less than half of all financing that went for fossil fuels mining and infrastructure in 2016 and most likely in 2017, too. What is wrong with the governments? Can`t they deal with the fossil fuel industry? Aren’t they capable of implementing effective regulations and providing more incentives for the truly clean solutions which by the way, become more cost-effective by the day? These trends need to reverse drastically in next years to maintain a chance to stay on a Paris-compliant pathway. And that is the responsibility of your governments.

 

ECO thinks the recent UN Environment gap report provides an excellent monument of cost-effective options including renewables, energy efficiency standards (note that about 70% of all energy use globally is not covered by any regulation according to the IEA), halting deforestation and restoring degraded lands.
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Fossil of the Day: Colossal Fossil

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It’s Money, Money, Money For Arab Group And India

Cabbage, clam, milk, dosh, dough, shillings, frogskins, notes, duckets, loot, bones, bar, coin, folding stuff, honk, lolly, moola. Any way you say it, it is always about the money!

This is also true for the Paris Agreement. It clearly states that all funds should be spent and invested in the right technologies, projects, and places that will both solve climate change and foster sustainable development. Aligning all financial flows with the Paris goals is absolutely essential to address climate change.

Island nations have proposed that the GEF and the GCF ask their trustee, the World Bank, to report what it is doing to ensure that their money is being invested in good, rather than harmful projects. Public money. Our taxes.
Unfortunately, the Arab Group and India are not fans. Surprisingly, they seem to prefer that the World Bank continues funding fossil fuels, fueling destruction of the same people the climate funds are supposed to help.

The Island States in the Caribbean were devastated when two category 5++ hurricanes – Irma and Maria – struck. In Dominica, the damages in economic terms are upwards of 100% of GDP.

Today AOSIS lost this battle.
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Climate change education and participation: from mainstreaming to negotiating the matter!

Education Day is a great opportunity for all actors to exchange information on best practices and to define the next steps to enhance partnerships for climate education.
Climate education is not just a Bonn Zone topic. It is also something to be found in the Bula zone. As education is highlighted in the Paris Agreement under Article 12, along with training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation. To discuss these elements, the Action for Climate Empowerment group (ACE) was created in 2015, and meets every year during COPs and SBs and works to enhance education on climate change and on the five other elements.
This year, the informal consultation group on ACE, focal points, and observers met several times to develop conclusions, which were presented in front of parties during the SBI’s closing plenary.
ACE has now been officially recognised as part of the UNFCCC negotiations due to the 6 elements of ACE being formally recognised as fundamental to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. ECO is pleased that both parties and observers can provide submissions.
ECO is already brainstorming. These submissions should include topics that will feed the next workshop at the SB meeting in April/May 2018.
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“It’s not that we don’t trust you… but”

ECO senses that Parties got stuck in the narrative: “it’s not that we don’t trust you… but” and haven’t been able to get past the “but.”
How can we can move towards more ambition if there is no trust among parties?
ECO believes that a common sense of trust is the only way that parties will be able to move forward, toward a successful COP23.

At COP18, developed countries were asked to submit information, alongside their strategies and approaches, on how they intended to respect their commitment of scaling up finance to reach the US$100 billion per year goal by 2020. The following year, they agreed to communicate bi-annual ex-ante qualitative and quantitative information on how they would provide funds from 2014 to 2020, further confirmed in 2015 via Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement.

In Marrakech, Parties were asked to identify as many possible matters related to the implementation of the work programme of the Paris Agreement they thought were not properly addressed — one of which was Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement.
In Paris, under COP, all countries agreed “to initiate, at its twenty-second session, a process to identify the information in accordance with Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement’’.
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