CAN News Blog

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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Loss and Damage Mythbusting

ECO has been a fly on the wall at a number of meetings with developed country delegations and has been … disturbed, shall we say, by the utter nonsense and misinformation delivered at such meetings. ECO wishes to address the misconceptions and present nothing but the facts on loss and damage.

 

Myth 1: There is no mandate for finance for loss and damage:

In 2013, the COP gave the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) a clear mandate for loss and damage finance. COP decision 2/CP19 says three times that the WIM will enhance or mobilise finance. The Paris Agreement Article 8 also makes clear that finance for loss and damage will be enhanced, or strengthened, on a “cooperative and facilitative basis”.

 

Myth 2:The WIM has been talking about “finance” by talking about insurance

To be clear: insurance is not finance. Insurance is a measure that you might choose to take with the provided finance; one amongst many activities that a country might decide on as an appropriate strategy in the face of loss and damage. For infrequent and extreme events insurance has a role to play – but overall a limited role. Vulnerable countries should not be paying insurance premiums to insure themselves against impacts from climate change – a problem they had almost no role in creating – it flies against the principles of the Convention, and against that of the Paris Agreement.
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Bula! See you at the Talanoa!

In recognizing the need to urgently enhance the action, we at ECO, along with the Parties, are quite excited for the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue. There is nothing ECO loves more than a good dialogue, especially one that will help identify new opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and action. ECO believes that the Talanoa Dialogue has something for everyone, answering questions about where we are in terms of current action and pledges, where we need to be to reach the global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and a balance between emissions sources and removals by sinks in the second half of the century, and how to get there (solutions!). We believe the Dialogue has the potential to identify meaningful and timely ways for countries to accelerate climate action. There are significant opportunities to strengthen climate action in a way that can provide substantial economic and social benefits, equity, and help attain sustainable development objectives.

 

We need to collectively get on the trajectory for transformation and ECO looks forward to the Talanoa Dialogue delivering real change and action on the ground, both now and into the future. Enhanced action is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and support those most vulnerable., To do this we must aim for 1.5C.
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Patience pays off: Parties finally agree on Agriculture!

ECO’s head is still spinning from all the hugging and selfies in the Agriculture negotiations yesterday. And it’s no wonder. After five years of frustrating negotiations, the Agriculture working group has finally come to an agreement and forwarded a major new decision to the COP. Congratulations, Parties!

The newly agreed joint work between SBSTA and SBI will finally let talk become action. Looking ahead, implementation is the name of the game.

ECO is as stunned and thrilled as you are. After years of procedural and political discussions, we’re looking forward to talking substance and taking action on the real issues facing agriculture in the face of climate change – in particular how agroecology can play a key role in adaptation, and how non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture can be reduced. We wish Parties the best of luck in this exciting new phase of Fiji’s legacy on Agriculture.