1.1. UNEP Chief: Environment Ministers Find Collective Voice Again
26 February 2010, Bernama
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner is optimistic about the results of the just concluded Bali environment ministers’ meeting here as the conference had enabled them to find a collective voice again after the "great frustrations" in Copenhagen, Antara news agency reported.
"Without that there would never be any progress," Steiner told the press after the closing of the three-day 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum here Friday.
He described the meeting organised by UNEP and attended by around 1,000 participants including 40 ministers from 135 countries, as the first test whether a multilateral system is capable of convincing member states to make joint decisions, after the Copenhagen climate change conference was considered to have shown a ‘trust deficit’ by some parties.
"The ministers responsible for the environment, meeting just over a month after the climate change conference in Copenhagen, have spoken with a clear, united and unequivocal voice," Steiner said.
The world environmental affairs minister meeting, the biggest gathering after Copenhagen Conference last year, issued a wide-ranging Nusa Dua Declaration.
The Declaration underlines the vital importance of biodiversity, the urgent need to combat climate change and they key opportunities from accelerating a transition to a low carbon resource efficient Green Economy.
Ministers also recognised that action towards a Green Economy was taking route in economies across the globe.
"Accelerating this is a key element of the Nusa Dua Declaration and one that can direct future action towards realising the kinds of transitions needed on a planet of six billion people, rising to nine billion by 2050," he said.
The Declaration, the first by world environment ministers since they met in Malmo, Sweden in 2000, will be transmitted to the UN General Assembly later this year.
Delegates attending the Nusa Dua meeting backed UNEP’s support to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake of January 2010 and called on the organisation to assist the UN country team to incorporate environmental issues in the rehabilitation and reconstruction as well as restoration phases.
On the environmental destruction in Gaza after the Israeli attacks in December 2998 through January 2009, delegates asked UNEP to assist in implementing recommendations from its environmental assessment of Gaza Strip compiled following the Israeli aggression.
The assessment covers issues such as solid waste management, pollution and the acute decline of Gaza’s underground water supplies.
"We don’t want the recommendations remain on paper. We need implementation, concrete actions to repair the environmental damages in Gaza," Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi told Antara after close of the meeting.
1.2. New deal unlikely this year: De Boer
27 February 2010, The Jakarta Post
A new climate treaty is unlikely to be inked this year, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer says, citing that there is no time for both rich and poor countries to recover from last December’s failed Copenhagen summit.
De Boer said more time was needed to set up framework for mitigation steps as well as financial and climate change aid that can persuade developing countries to support a new deal. The main priority is, he added, to rebuild confidence and trust in the process.
Developing countries need to be convinced that "there are incentives that will allow them to act on climate change but also meet national economic development goals", he said.
"Only after that, countries can be expected to sign up," he told AP.
De Boer said the focus should be shifted toward reaching an agreement at the 2011 summit in South Africa, a year before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
Bickering between industrialized and developing countries over emissions cuts and financial assistance were blamed for the failure of the December talks. They ended up agreeing to settle only on a voluntary plan.
De Boer said 100 countries have expressed their willingness to associate with the non binding Copenhagen accord and their names are listed in the document. However, China and India have not yet said if they would sign although both have expressed commitment.
He said the two countries’ refusal to associate with the accord should not be exaggerated.
China and India are respectively the world’s top and fourth largest emitters but they are not required by the Kyoto Protocol to cut emissions.
De Boer said the two countries are among 60 others that had submitted targets on climate action plans.
"I think, in that sense, there is both political and substantive commitment within the context of the Copenhagen Accord," he said prior to the closing of the UN environment conference in Nusa Dua, Bali.
Climate change science has suffered serious blows lately, starting with the failure of Copenhagen. The latest blow was de Boer’s resignation from his post, effective July 1.
Responding to the issue, de Boer said he personally thought it would be good to have someone from a developing country to take over his job.
Indonesia , he said, certainly has some eligible candidates, who have been dealing with the issues for years, fit for the job.
The biggest challenge faced by his successor is to push for a new treaty and find a way forward to address all countries’ interests and mobilize financial assistance.
Indonesia is preparing a candidate to run for the UN climate top post and is currently screening candidates.
"We are still looking for the right person. We don’t want our candidate to fail during the first phase of the selection process," said Tri Tharyat, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director for economic development and environment.
1.3. Green economy, climate change get support
27 February 2010, The Jakarta Post
Countries agreed to step up the global response to major environmental and sustainability challenges at the closing session the UN environment conference here on Friday.
The Nusa Dua Declaration underlines the vital important of biodiversity, the urgent need to combat climate change and work toward a good outcome in Mexico at the end of this year, as well as recognizing key opportunities from the accelerated transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient, green economy.
The declaration also highlights the need to streamline international environmental governance architecture as it has been too complex and fragmented.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner said that at the conference, the ministers responsible for the environment, meeting just over two months after the climate change conference in Copenhagen, have spoken unequivocally.
"Faced with the continued erosion of the natural environment, the persistent and emerging challenges of chemical pollution and waste, and the overarching challenge of issues such as climate change, the status quo is not an option and change is urgently needed," he said in his closing statement.
"Ministers also recognize that action toward a green economy is taking root in economies across the globe. Accelerating this is a key element of the Nusa Dua Declaration."
Another important step forward was made earlier in the week in the areas of chemicals, hazardous waste and human health. Governments agreed at an Extraordinary Meeting to have more cooperative action by the three relevant treaties – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions – as a first step to boosting their delivery within countries.
The three-day Governing Council meetings, attended by some 1,200 delegates from 130 countries, also agreed on decisions on oceans put forward by the Indonesian government, which is included in the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The decisions on ocean recognized that oceans and coasts provide valuable resources and services to support human populations, and that the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources will enhance global food security and contribute to poverty reduction.
"Since the successful outcome of the Manado World Ocean Conference, we are making use of this ministerial meeting to collaborate global attention to strengthen actions on conserving ocean, as many of the blue carbon assets are being degraded" said UNEP deputy executive director Angela Cropper.
Indonesia ‘s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa chaired an informal meeting in which ministers expressed willingness to continue to actively engage in the process of moving forward.
"While the final outcome of Copenhagen was deemed unsatisfactory to all parties, the Mexico summit will be an important milestone in which all parties are expected to conclude an agreed outcome on the two-track negotiating process," Marty said after the meeting.
"The greatest challenge… is to rebuild confidence. Therefore, negotiations toward Mexico must be open, transparent, inclusive and equal."
1.4. World warming unhindered by cold spells: scientists
25 February 2010, Reuters
The pace of global warming continues unabated, scientists said on Thursday, despite images of Europe crippled by a deep freeze and parts of the United States blasted by blizzards.
The bitter cold, with more intense winter weather forecast for March in parts of the United States, have led some to question if global warming has stalled.
Understanding the overall trend is crucial for estimating consumption of energy supplies, such as demand for winter heating oil in the U.S. northeast, and impacts on agricultural production.
"It’s not warming the same everywhere but it is really quite challenging to find places that haven’t warmed in the past 50 years," veteran Australian climate scientist Neville Nicholls told an online climate science media briefing.
"January, according to satellite (data), was the hottest January we’ve ever seen," said Nicholls of Monash University’s School of Geography and Environmental Science in Melbourne.
"Last November was the hottest November we’ve ever seen, November-January as a whole is the hottest November-January the world has seen," he said of the satellite data record since 1979.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in December that 2000-2009 was the hottest decade since records began in 1850, and that 2009 would likely be the fifth warmest year on record. WMO data show that eight out of the 10 hottest years on record have all been since 2000.
Britain ‘s official forecaster, the UK Met Office, said severe winter freezes like the one this year, one of the coldest winters in the country for nearly 30 years, could become increasingly rare because of the overall warming trend.
Scientists say global warming is not uniform in all areas and that climate models predict there will likely be greater extremes of cold and heat, floods and droughts.
"Global warming is a trend superimposed upon natural variability, variability that still exists despite global warming," said Kevin Walsh, associate professor of meteorology at the University of Melbourne.
"It would be much more surprising if the global average temperature just kept on going up, year after year, without some years of slightly cooler temperatures," he said in a written reply to questions for the briefing.
The scientists also defended the U.N. climate panel after it came under attack for including an error about the estimated thaw of Himalayan glaciers in a major 2007 report.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces reports based on the work of thousands of scientists that are the main guides for policymakers on tackling global warming. The discovery of the error has been seized upon by climate skeptics.
The 2007 report wrongly said Himalayan glaciers could all melt by 2035, an apparent typographical error that stemmed from using "grey literature" outside peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Nicholls said grey literature could play a key role in the climate debate and that not all valuable data or reports were published formally in journals. Such examples included reports on extreme weather events by government meteorological agencies.
"The IPCC does not exclude the use of that sort of grey literature because it would be stupid to talk about extremes, for instance, and not include that sort of grey literature," he said.
The scientists said more stringent checks were needed for the next IPCC reports but that the inclusion of one or two wrong predictions didn’t undermine the whole peer-reviewed IPCC process because scientific study was always evolving.
1.5. EU official warns climate aid ‘will not come for free’
25 February 2010, EurActiv
China and India’s hesitation to formally back a Copenhagen climate agreement could jeopardise $30 billion of climate aid to the developing world, a senior European Union official said on Wednesday.
Some 100 countries have signed up for the Copenhagen Accord for fighting climate change, two months after it was agreed at a summit in December, documents showed on Tuesday.
China , India and Russia are the largest greenhouse gas emitters yet to make clear if they fully endorse the deal, which sets a goal of limiting a rise in world temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius.
Under the non-binding pact, rich nations also plan to give $30 billion in climate aid from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020, largely channelled through a ‘Copenhagen Green Climate Fund’.
Karl Falkenberg, director-general for environment at the European Commission, said on Wednesday that the fund would be only available "in the context of an international framework that leads to the reduction of CO2 emissions".
"It is not money for free, it is money that comes with an outcome where everyone is making an effort, then we are helping developing countries to make more of an effort than they could do on their own," he told reporters on the sidelines of a UN environment conference in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Falkenberg suggested that, in particular, countries which did not fully support the Accord may not qualify for the funds. China has already said it did not expect to be a big recipient.
"If countries hesitate to commit to the Copenhagen Accord which has created this green fund then it’s difficult to talk about the green fund with countries that are not clear whether they are in or out or whether they want it," said Falkenberg.
"We need to see a preparedness to work with the Accord."
China said in Copenhagen last year it did not want any of the green funds. A spokesman for British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said earlier this month that the aid would not be contingent on cooperation from big polluters.
China and India have submitted emissions goals under the Accord, but have stopped short of saying they want to be listed as "associates", using the formal language of the agreement.
1.6. First round of formal UN climate change negotiations to take place in April in Bonn, Germany
UNFCCC, Press Release
The next round of formal UN climate change negotiations under the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place in April in Bonn, Germany. The meeting will be held from Friday, 9 April through Sunday, 11 April 2010 at the Hotel Maritim in Bonn, Germany.
The decision was taken 22 February by the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC at its first meeting of the year at the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn. The 11-member Bureau, which represents the five regional UN groups, is responsible for advising the President of the Conference of the Parties and for taking decisions with regard to the overall management of the intergovernmental process.
In addition to the gathering in April, two major negotiating sessions are currently scheduled for 2010: the 32nd session of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies from 31 May to 11 June 2010 and the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16)/6th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 6) in Mexico from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
“Following the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, this constitutes a quick return to the negotiations,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer. “The decision to intensify the negotiating schedule underlines the commitment by governments to move the negotiations forward towards success in Cancun,” the UN’s top climate change official said. “This is further strengthened by the number of countries that have written to the secretariat with their country communications since Copenhagen.” [please note corrected quote due to a miscount by the secretariat. The number of individual countries that have sent in communications with targets and actions has not yet exceeded 100. The number of individual communications now stands at 109]. Forty developed country Parties have so far submitted to the secretariat information on their 2020 emission cut targets, with various base years. These Parties represent around 90% of emissions from this group of Parties.
Thirty developing country Parties have also communicated information on their mitigation plans. Thirty-nine Parties have provided additional information regarding the Accord. Together, all these countries represent well over 80% of global energy emissions. More at: http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/press_releases_and_advisories/application/pdf/pr_20100222_april_mtg.pdf
2.1. European Funding Coordinator, Brussels, Belgium
WWF, the global conservation organisation, is looking to fill a full-time position in its European Policy Office in Brussels to work on EU financial instruments for the environment in developing countries.
The European Funding Coordinator will promote funding interactions between the EU as a donor and the WWF Global programme.
The postholder will establish links with European institutions, other NGO communities and WWF staff worldwide to co-ordinate WWF interactions with EU funding instruments. Success will be measured by the strength of support the European Union gives to WWF priorities and programmes.
Application letter and CV should reach WWF-EPO by no later than 15 March 2010 and be sent to [email protected]
More at: http://www.panda.org/who_we_are/jobs/?189021/European-Funding-Coordinator-Brussels-Belgium
3.1. Position paper on Benchmarking and allocation rules in phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System
More at: http://www.climnet.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=1534&Itemid=2
4.1. 18/03/2010 – Conference: Start-Stop or Full Throttle – Europe’s transport decarbonisation strategy
For further information, and to register, click here: http://transportenvironment.org/News/2010/2/Start-Stop-or-Full-Throttle-Time-to-shift-Europes-transport-decarbonisation-strategy-up-a-gear/
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