- the historic Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change and its implications for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year
- the Arctic’s central position in the climate tipping point story and
- the rush to exploit the fossil fuel resources in the Arctic opened up by the sea ice melt
We also hear from Vietnam vet and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge campaigner, Robert Thompson, about the potential impacts of an oil spill and about the oil company tactic of bribery that has attempted to split and buy-out local opposition to oil drilling.
We get a majority world perspective on the climate emergency from Goldman Prize winner Ricardo Navarro. Navarro won the Goldman prize for sustainable development back in 1995 for his work as founder and director of the El Salvador Centre for Appropriate Technology and he is a former director of Friends of the Earth International.
Here he talks about how a new regional Movement of Climate Change Affected Peoples is responding to the pressures of climate change with awareness raising, permaculture techniques and low-level technologies as well as putting up resistance to inappropriate development. He also gives us his wider perspective on the United Nations climate talks which he has been attending since 1992.
The global deal on climate change has two main requirements. That it is guided by the latest science and that it is fair. Without fairness there will be no deal, as 192 countries need to agree and most of these countries are poor. We take a look at Oxfam International’s proposal for a fair deal that could break current deadlock in the talks, in an interview with Oxfam researcher Richard King . Like the proponents of Climate Debt and Greenhouse Development Rights, Oxfam says the rich world has a “double duty” to both make radical cuts at home and to pay for the poor world to adapt to climate change and develop in a low carbon way. Oxfam’s key recommendations are:
- Copenhagen must deliver a fair and adequate climate deal: one that keeps global warming as far below 2°C as possible, and that reflects the historical responsibility for emissions and the economic capability of developed countries
- Rich countries must agree binding individual country targets that cut greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
- A UN Fund should be established by raising $150bn per year as an absolute minimum from the sale, auction or levy of rich country emissions allowances (AAUs). $100bn of this would fund low-carbon development in poor countries and $50 would fund adaptation measures in poor countries
- Additional funds would be raised from fines if rich countries fail to meet their targets; and from the purchase of “premium reductions” which would replace the Clean Development Mechanism and ensure that poor countries rather than rich countries take advantage of the cheapest low-carbon options first
Is Oxfam’s idea of “premium reductions” a possible solution to the problems with the Clean Development Mechanism? We aksed Richard King to expand on this idea and how it relates to the CDM in the explanatory note which follows…
At the end of the UN Climate Talks in Bonn we get a close reading of the state of play from Third World Network’s Meena Raman. While the elements of a possible successful Copenhagen global climate deal are on the table and mainly come from developing countries, rich countries continue to ignore their responsibilities and offer weak cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists have concluded are virtually certain to guarantee dangerous climate change.
Any just approach to climate change must ensure that those who have benefited in the course of causing climate change compensate the victims of climate change – Third World Network, 2009
What do we need to do to escape the current deadlock at the UN climate talks? Rich countries need to start acknowledging their historical responsibility for climate change and their capacity to pay for adaptation and mitigation measures in poor countries. They need to start bringing targets to the table that are adequate from the point of view of both science and fairness. As the call for rich countries to repay their climate debt grows louder, we speak to Matthew Stilwell, author of Climate Debt: A Primer, for a sharp analysis of what’s needed to seal a fair climate deal.
We start our coverage of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn with a look at some of the targets that rich nations are bringing to the table. We also flag up the dangers of the scientifically unfounded rush to include Biochar and large-scale no-till agriculture in the draft negotiating texts in an interview with Almuth Ernsting from Biofuel Watch.
The bad news is that we have fewer actual answers than we need to make a watertight case for biochar, especially in a climate context … we need to advocate for policies that allow for the emergence of a biochar industry … before we have answers to the many research questions. – Steve Brick – Executive Director, International Biochar Intiative.
There are still fundamental uncertainties associated with biochar as a mitigation option … Our mitigation scenarios are strictly illustrative in nature … [and] assume waste-derived biochar provides only a very small fraction of the land-use related CO2 drawdown, with reforestation and curtailed deforestation providing a magnitude more. – Pushker Kharecha & James Hansen.
With a new President in the White House there’s a fresh approach to climate change and energy policy in the US. But the Energy bill currently going through Congress is based on the widely-criticised “Cap & Trade” system and has been weakened further by a massive corporate lobbying campaign. How does this feed into the UN talks in Bonn in June which prepare the way for the critical meeting in Copenhagen in December? We get an informed critique of the Bill from Oscar Reyes of Carbon Trade Watch and ask him what to look out for in Bonn.
One of the UK’s leading climate policy researchers has concluded we need a planned economic contraction if we are to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. We take a look at some of the links between the credit crunch and the climate crunch with Tim Helweg-Larsen, director of the Public Interest Research Centre and co-author of the “Zero Carbon Britain” & “Climate Safety” reports. There’s also an appearance by Kevin Anderson (Research Director at the Tyndall Centre) and a live performance of the “Global Meltdown Derby” by Irish poet Grassy Noel.
- Might a planned or unplanned economic contraction be our best hope of achieving climate safety?
- What does the UK need to do right now to start leading from the front and change the game at the UN talks in Copenhagen later this year?
- Should we be focusing on demand management policies and move to a steady-state economy as soon as possible?
- If so, is carbon rationing our best tool for swift action on climate change?
- When will the UK realize that we have an offshore renewable energy goldmine just waiting for us to tap?
In a recent Guardian newspaper poll, nine out of ten climate scientists said they did not believe political efforts to restrict average global warming to 2C would succeed. However, two new papers in the 30th April issue of Nature magazine show that it is still technically possible to conceive of an emissions trajectory that would make it likely (ie give us a 75% chance) that we would keep within 2C of global warming compared to pre-industrial times (the threshold defined by the EU between acceptable and dangerous climate change). However it is a tiny budget – less than a quarter of the remaining proven fossil fuel reserves. We speak to one of the lead authors of the studies – Myles Allen of the Climate Dynamics team, University of Oxford – to draw out some of the implications for national and international policymakers.
- We can release 1,000 GtCO2 between 2000-2050 if we want to have a 75% chance of staying below 2C
- We have already used up a third of this budget (2000-2008)
- Our remaining budget (700 GtC02) is equivalent to less than a quarter of the remaining proven fossil fuel reserves
- James Hansen’s 350 ppmC02 scenario will give us a higher chance of staying below 2C since it is based on a lower emissions budget
- An emissions budget should be the focus of the UN talks rather than a stabilization target (such as 350ppmCO2) or a long-term target (such as 50-85% global cut in CO2 by 2050)
- The Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Country blocs (together representing 100 countries and around 1 billion people) are calling for temperature rise to be limited to 1.5C rather than 2C
Special 45-minute programme celebrating the launch of a major new independently produced climate change documentary-drama, The Age of Stupid. Made by the producer of McLibel and financed by “crowd-funding”, the film stars Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite living alone in 2055 in a world devastated by climate change. He looks back at archive footage and asks “why didn’t we act when we had the chance?”
The programme takes a look behind the scences and features exclusive interviews with producer Franny Armstrong and head of animation Leo Murray, various audio clips, plus appearances from Postlethwaite and Caroline Lucas MEP. This is an edit of a 60-minute live Clear Spot programme on ResonanceFM.