In the wake of International 350 Day and direct actions in the US & Europe we ask, isn’t it time that we stopped business putting the brakes on climate action? In a break from our usual format we weave recent highlights from the independent media landscape into a corporate-critical narrative. With thanks to The Big Blow, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Fisk Umbra of Grist, Climate Alarm, The Yes Men, Amy Goodman & Democracy Now!, Daphne Wysham & Earthbeat Radio and Age of Stupid‘s Copenhagen Kids.
As Europe stands accused of blocking the protection of intact natural forests and introducing logging-friendly language into the UN draft climate deal, we take a look at some of the key components that need to be in an effective deal for saving the world’s forests.
As Nathaniel Dyer of the Rainforest Foundation UK explains, saving forests is about a lot more than simply throwing money at the problem. To get the UN forestry talks back on track we need to recognise that land rights, good governance and managing demand are also critical. And payment for forest protection should come from public funds rather than carbon markets.
An analysis of the UN climate talks in Bangkok with Saleemul Huq – a veteran who has been to “practically all of them”. While Norway has announced a 40% cut in their emissions by 2020, the other rich countries seem to want to run as fast as possible from their legal and moral obligations. But their premature call to kill the Kyoto Protocol has been fiercely resisted by poor countries. Can rich countries put deep cuts and adequate financing and technology on the table in time to save the deal and prevent globally catastrophic climate change? Includes an assessment of rich country targets by the Association of Small Island States and a damning speech by the Youth Delegation.
Saleemul Huq is Senior Fellow in Climate Change at the International Institute for Environment & Development – who has also been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last two assessment reports.
Yesterday Europe blocked the protection of natural forests at the Bangkok Climate Talks. Is the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project (PRP) Emergency Package an appropriate alternative solution for forests? We speak to Tony Juniper, special advisor to PRP and former director of Friends of the Earth. We’ll continue to dig into the forestry story next week. UPDATE: British delegate’s pro-logging stance prompts EU apology.
A pre-requisite for making the transition to a clean energy future is to switch subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy projects. If that’s the case, why are we still bank-rolling dirty energy projects in developing countries?
World Bank lending for fossil fuels rose by 94% between 2007 & 2008 to over $3 billion which far outweighs the $476 million they gave to “new renewables” energy projects. World Bank lending for coal in particular rose 256% from 2007 to 2008. This contradicts the Bank’s own rhetoric in their “World Development Report” published in September that advises against “locking the world into high-carbon infrastructure”.
Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International has been campaigning for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies for many years. He says that if the G20 leaders were serious about their Pittsburgh commitment to phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels, they could end World Bank and Export Credit Agency support at the stroke of a pen. However, rather than putting their own house in order first, there is a danger that the G20 could choose to focus on the the subsidies that developing countries use to make energy services affordable for the poor. If that’s the case, we still have a job to do in holding the G20 to account.
If the Waxman-Markey climate bill goes unchanged through the Senate, it could make an adequate and fair global deal on climate change impossible. The bill would allow new coal-fired power plants to be built up until 2020. It would also strip the Environmental Protection Agency of their existing authority to regulate coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. It would replace this direct regulation with the widely-discredited Cap & Trade system. It has a very low level of ambition.
As 125 civil society groups from around the globe write to President Obama asking for US leadership on climate change, we chew over options for enhanced US action with our guest Daphne Wysham, presenter of Earthbeat Radio and founder and director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network.
UPDATE: Since this show has been broadcast, the Senate’s version of the Waxman-Markey bill has been released (30 Sept) and Friends of the Earth US have done a good potted analysis of why they can’t support it. On the plus side, it does reintroduce EPA’s authority to regulate coal plants.
With just three negotiating weeks left before Copenhagen, we ask “what do the developing countries think a fair deal would look like?”
At the latest round of UN Climate Talks in Bonn, G77+China bloc (representing 132 developing countries) said that historical responsibility should be part of the global deal’s shared vision and should be used as a guide for future action on climate change.
At the previous set of talks in June in Bonn, developing world countries shared their perspectives on what “historical responsibility” might mean in practice. An increasingly popular view is that countries should get equal access to the total safe emissions budget across time. This would mean that the rich world is already in debt. Rich countries must therefore rapidly decarbonise their societies and fund low carbon development in poor countries.
This idea goes beyond Contraction & Convergence which divides up only the remaining emissions budget on a fair basis. A version of this idea has recently been formulated by the German Advisory Council on Global Change and endorsed by the German government’s chief advisor on climate change, John Schellnhuber who says: “Our basic principle is that all humans have equal rights to the to the atmosphere. This is a basic right.”
This is a permanent plug for Climate Camp Radio, TV and Indymedia coverage. Much respect! The audio for this post is Dissident Island Radio’s 60 minute compilation of their Climate Camp Radio coverage for ResonanceFM’s Clear Spot broadcast on 11 September 2009. Here’s what they have to say about it:
The Scottish camp supported a local campaign against the expansion of open-cast coal mining in an Area of Great Landscape Value. This landscape-destroying form of mining also seems to be linked high rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer amongst local residents. The Scottish government’s enthusiasm for expanding open-cast coal mining is incompatible with its ostensibly world-leading Climate Change Act which commits the country to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% and producing 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
The Irish camp focussed on the issue of peat-burning in three power stations. Peat is more carbon-intensive than even coal and the strip-mining of peat bogs is destroying a natural carbon sink as well as impacting on biodiversity. A nine-day Camp ended in actions which shut down two of the power stations and helped to restore the peat bogs.
A list of Climate Camps around the world follows…
Another negotiating week on the road to Copenhagen has come and gone. We try and tell you as much as we can in plain English about where the talks currently stand, now that there are just 100 days left to go to Copenhagen. Our focus here, is on the overall “shared vision” element of the agreement.
- The Association of Small Island States and Least Developed Countries (together representing over 80 countries) now support both the 1.5°C maximum temperature target and reducing greenhouse gases to a concentration level of 350ppm CO2e in the atmosphere
- More countries now support the 1.5°C target than the 2°C target that Europe and the Obama-convened Major Economies Forum (representing only 39 nations) support
- European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas agrees that 2°C is no longer safe and that the upper threshold should be 1.5°C maximum temperature rise
- The Africa group of around 50 countries won’t support even a 2°C target until they see stronger commitments from rich nations on domestic action and finance
- UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair, Rajendra Pachauri, has come out in support of the 350ppm target