Category: Current Issue

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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The Lofoten Declaration: A call to tackle fossil fuel production

While ‘fossil fuels’ somehow managed to escape mention in the text of the Paris Agreement, there is a growing call in these halls for Parties to confront the primary driver of climate change head-on. The bottom line is that we have more readily and economically available oil, coal, and gas in already operating fields and mines than we can afford in any carbon budget that keeps us below two degrees, let alone 1.5. To start with, about two thirds of all existing fossil fuel reserves — more from coal, less from gas — need to be left in ground. To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to call an end to the fossil fuel era and embrace the 100% renewable energy epoch.

Yesterday, high-level delegates called on wealthy fossil fuel producers to make the first move and quickly put an end to new fossil fuel exploration and expansion. They also called for ‘producing countries’ to begin a managed decline in production, while planning for a just transition for affected workers and communities.

It’s clear that climate leadership is being redefined. Self-proclaimed climate leaders cannot approve the exploration and expansion of fossil fuels, cannot pour billions in public money into dirty energy subsidies, and cannot pretend that the world can continue to produce oil, coal, or gas for decades to come.
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Gender Day – Pacific Women Speak!

Tuesday Nov 14 was Gender Day and ECO attended several events highlighting the work of Pacific Women in climate change. Diverse activists shared voices, views, actions and campaigns. Pacific women have also worked as part of the broader Women and Gender (WGC) constituency group, ensuring all Parties and Observers are heard and are taking into account the WGC’s 19 key demands at COP23.

At a Pacific women-led Gender, Ecological and Climate Justice speak-out session on Monday, November 13, ECO engaged in frontline conversations with Pacific Women. Speakers travelled from Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, Vanuatu, and other Pacific island states and territories to share their urgent climate justice messages with the world. These messages include: the need to do more of this work at every climate change intergovernmental space from national to global; to stop coal production and ensure a safe, just and urgent transition to low-carbon renewable economies; to finance loss and damage and adaptation funds; to ensure a strong and resourced Gender Action Plan to be taken seriously by every Party; to call for ambitious mitigation strategies to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels; and to hear, affirm and resource gender-just climate solutions in every region and across the UNFCCC.
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Fossil of the Day: Brazil Catches a Case of Oil Fever

 

Tuesday Nov 14 was Gender Day and ECO attended several events highlighting the work of Pacific Women in climate change. Diverse activists shared voices, views, actions and campaigns. Pacific women have also worked as part of the broader Women and Gender (WGC) constituency group, ensuring all Parties and Observers are heard and are taking into account the WGC’s 19 key demands at COP23.

At a Pacific women-led Gender, Ecological and Climate Justice speak-out session on Monday, November 13, ECO engaged in frontline conversations with Pacific Women. Speakers travelled from Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, Vanuatu, and other Pacific island states and territories to share their urgent climate justice messages with the world. These messages include: the need to do more of this work at every climate change intergovernmental space from national to global; to stop coal production and ensure a safe, just and urgent transition to low-carbon renewable economies; to finance loss and damage and adaptation funds; to ensure a strong and resourced Gender Action Plan to be taken seriously by every Party; to call for ambitious mitigation strategies to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels; and to hear, affirm and resource gender-just climate solutions in every region and across the UNFCCC.
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Climate Chancellor with empty hands

ECO is looking forward to Angela Merkel’s visit to COP23 today. With negotiations on a new government in Berlin at a decisive point, the German Chancellor cannot stay long in Bonn. What message will the so-called “climate Chancellor” bring to the delegates and the world watching the conference? Reading leaked papers from the current negotiations in Berlin, ECO is worried that Merkel will come to Bonn with empty hands. It´s not about money this time. ECO welcomed Germany’s €100 million pledge to the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund. But this time it’s about something money can’t buy: Germany’s credibility on climate action.

Reading the leaked papers, ECO can tell that Merkel is not willing to start the long overdue, real phase-out of coal. The reduction of only 15 to 30 million tonnes of coal emissions that Conservatives and Liberals are pushing for is ridiculously low compared to the needed 100 million tonnes to close the German emissions gap in order to reach its national climate target for 2020. But on top of that, Merkel does not support measures to significantly reduce emissions from road transport, giving in to pressure from German car makers.

Only yesterday, we learned that Germany’s CO2 emissions are on the rise again, for the second year in a row.
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Do You Stand With Fiji – Or With Trump?

At the first ever COP hosted by a vulnerable island state, in a year that has witnessed record breaking temperatures, extreme weather events, climate skepticism, fake news, and stupidity in the form of incessant tweets, ECO asks: Developed countries, do you stand with Fiji and the vulnerable, or do you stand with Trump?

If you think this question isn’t relevant to you, then you (a) are not a developed country or (b) have a serious identity problem.

If you are neither of the above and your Head of State believes that the Paris Agreement benefits the citizens of your country and the world, then ECO urges you to take a clear stand now. The unwillingness of developed countries to constructively engage in pre-2020 action means that something which could have been resolved last week is now holding back progress across all items.

Developed countries have been unwilling to acknowledge the need for a political space to address the lack of sufficient action and support in the pre-2020 period. That may be because they refuse to recognise their part in it. But the urgent need for world leaders to actually deliver is not just a matter of adding an agenda item, avoiding duplication, or filling in non-headings in non-papers.
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IT’S THE EFFICIENCY, STUPID

ECO has previously highlighted a major opportunity to build on the benefits of a global phase out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by coupling the switch to refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP) with energy efficiency improvements in the appliances that use them. By improving the energy efficiency of cooling appliances, countries can cumulatively avoid another 40-50 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, in addition to the 70 or more billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents avoided thanks to the HFC phase down by 2050.

Parties to the Montreal Protocol are examining possible incentives for such appliance efficiency improvements under that regime. Meanwhile, the UNFCCC, as the regime under which CO2 emissions are regulated, and through which countries are developing their low-carbon development, has much to offer. Wouldn’t it be nice if for the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol we ratified the Kigali amendment?

ECO recommends that, Parties should ensure that improved energy efficiency, is not limited to appliance efficiency, and is recognized as means of significantly increasing ambition during the Talanoa Dialogue next year. The recent UN Environment Emmissions Gap Report showed that energy efficiency in many forms can significantly contribute to a 1.5° C trajectory in a cost-effective way, by reducing more than 10 Gt of CO2 by 2030.
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Coal Retirements Keep US on Track for Paris Pledge, and Trump Can’t Stop It

Donald Trump completely deserves every bit of the international criticism that he has received for his efforts to undermine the Paris Agreement. The White House-sponsored fossil fuel side event on Monday here in Bonn is just the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. You can add to that Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Agreement, his repudiation of the US Nationally Determined Contribution, and his efforts to dismantle US climate policy. All of that risks undermining the integrity of the Agreement and its core principles of progression and highest ambition.
But all of Trump’s misinformed bluster and inane tweeting aside, it is important to keep in mind what is actually happening to US carbon emissions. Despite Trump’s effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan and the absence of any national carbon reduction strategy, the decarbonisation of the electricity sector is proceeding so quickly that the US’ climate targets under the Paris Agreement remain well within reach. And the truth is, there isn’t a darn thing Trump can do about it.
The US is already at least halfway to meeting its 2025 Paris pledge. The majority of these reductions have come from the electric sector, where the country has been retiring coal-fired power plants and replacing them with clean energy.
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