1.1. U.S. sees progress in easing climate row with China
30 November 2010, Reuters
Washington claimed progress on Monday in easing rifts with Beijing on ways to fight global warming as U.N. climate talks got under way in Mexico with warnings about the rising costs of inaction.
The United States and China, the world’s largest economies and top greenhouse gas emitters, have accused each other of doing little to combat global warming in 2010, contributing to deadlock in the U.N. talks among almost 200 nations.
"We have spent a lot of energy in the past month working on those issues where we disagree and trying to resolve them," said Jonathan Pershing, heading the U.S. delegation at the talks in Cancun.
"My sense is that we have made progress … It remains to be seen how this meeting comes out," he said.
The talks, in a tightly guarded hotel complex by the Caribbean with warships visible off the coast, are seeking ways to revive negotiations after the U.N. Copenhagen summit failed to agree to a binding treaty in 2009.
The United Nations wants agreement on a new "green fund" to help developing nations as well as ways to preserve rainforests and to help the poor adapt to climbing temperatures. The meeting will also seek to formalize existing targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
China‘s chief delegate, Su Wei, was more guarded about progress.
"We’ve had a very candid, very open dialogue with our U.S. friends and I think both the U.S. and China would very much like to see a good outcome at Cancun," he told Reuters.
Climate is one of several disputes between the two top economies, along with trade and exchange rates. Preparatory U.N. climate talks in China in October were dominated by U.S.-Chinese disputes.
Pershing said President Barack Obama was committed to a goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 despite Republican gains in November elections.
Earlier, the talks opened with calls for action to avoid rising damage from floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels. The talks will draw more than 100 environment ministers next week, and about 25 prime ministers and presidents.
"Our relation with nature is reaching a critical point," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said.
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists, said: "Delays in action would only lead to impacts which would be much larger and in all likelihood more severe than we have had so far."
He said costs of containing global warming, by switching from fossil fuels toward renewable energies such as wind or solar power, would rise the longer the world waited.
The Alliance of Small Island States warned that that some low-lying countries, such as Tuvalu or the Maldives, were facing "the end of history" due to rising sea levels. It urged far tougher targets for limiting climate change.
The talks are seeking to find a successor to the United Nations’ existing Kyoto Protocol, which obliges rich nations except the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.
Kyoto backers say they will only deepen their cuts, shifting from fossil fuels to clean energies like wind and solar power, until 2020 if the United States and big emerging economies led by China and India take on binding curbs.
Developing nations say they need to burn more energy, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, to fight poverty.
Success would help get the talks back on track after the acrimonious Copenhagen summit agreed to a non-binding deal to limit a rise in world temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times.
Failure would raise questions about the future of Kyoto, which underpins prices in carbon markets. Unless a new round is negotiated, Kyoto will end in 2012, leaving a patchwork of national measures to combat climate change.
"The stakes in Cancun are high. In the run-up to Copenhagen there was perhaps too much hype, and expectations were too high. Now we must avoid the opposite, that the bar is lowered too much," Danish Climate Minister Lykke Friis said.
1.2. U.N. climate talks "risk losing relevance" – EU
29 November 2010, Yahoo.news
International climate talks risk "losing momentum and relevance" if they fail to achieve concrete progress in the next two weeks, the Europe Union’s climate chief warned on Monday.
As the two-week talks kicked off in Cancun, Mexico, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard also took a swipe at countries such as the United States that she said had failed to make progress this year in tackling climate change.
"The EU is ready to agree on an ambitious global climate framework in Cancun, but regrettably some other major economies are not," she said. "No new legislation unfortunately came out of the American Senate."
"Cancun can nevertheless take the world a significant step forward by agreeing on a balanced set of decisions covering many key issues," she added. "It is crucial that Cancun delivers this progress, otherwise the U.N. climate change process risks losing momentum and relevance."
Hedegaard stopped short of saying the EU would walk away from the talks in favour of other political forums such as the G20, instead telling reporters that she feared "other parties would start to lose patience".
And she stressed that no other forum appeared more promising than the United Nations meetings of almost 200 nations.
Nevertheless, the EU has scaled down its ambitions for Cancun and is now looking for small, concrete measures to protect rainforests, exchange green technology and monitor financial donations to poor countries in return for emissions cuts.
1.3. Time for compromise, troubled UN climate talks told
29 November 2010, Yahoo News
A new round of UN climate talks got under way on Monday to appeals for action and compromise after the squabbles that drove last year’s global summit in Copenhagen close to disaster.
"A richer tapestry of efforts is needed," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres warned, as she spelt out the tasks facing the 12-day conference in the Mexican resort city of Cancun.
"A tapestry of holes will not work — and the holes can only be filled in through compromise."
President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, whose country is hosting the conference, also appealed for common purpose.
"Climate change is already a reality for us," he told delegates. "During the next two weeks, the whole world will be looking at you. It would be a tragedy not to overcome the hurdle of national interests."
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC), warned of the penalties if the world dragged its feet.
The more man-made carbon gases that enter the atmosphere, the greater the warming of Earth’s atmosphere and the worse the consequences for the planet’s climate system, he said.
"Global emissions should peak no later than in 2015 and decline thereafter," he said, referring to the least costly scenario for averting drought, flood, rising seas and storms.
"Delays in action would only lead to impacts of climate change which would be much larger and in all likelihood more severe than we have experienced so far. These impacts are likely to be most severe for some of the poorest regions and communities in the world."
The talks, held under the 194-party UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), are being attended by around 15,000 delegates, grass-roots campaigners and journalists.
Mexican police and troops, supported by three warships, threw a security cordon around the Moon Palace hotel, a luxury beachfront complex.
The conference is part of an arduous process to craft a post-2012 treaty for curbing carbon emissions and channelling hundreds of billions of dollars in aid for badly-exposed poor countries.
In some quarters, the November 29-December 10 parlays are seen as the last chance to restore faith in a process battered by finger-pointing and nit-picking.
It comes almost a year to the day since a stormy summit in Copenhagen, where a last-minute, face-saving compromise was lacerated by critics as a betrayal.
That trauma, coupled to economic crisis, caused climate change to almost disappear off the political radar screen, with the only prompts for action coming from the record heatwaves in Russia and floods in Pakistan.
In the UNFCCC, meanwhile, negotiations have switched from a big vision to securing visible progress in small, practical steps.
Work in Cancun will focus on securing agreements, at least in principle, for setting up a "Green Fund" to help poor countries, preventing carbon emissions from deforestation and encouraging the transfer of clean technology from advanced economies.
Decisions could be made singly or in a package, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa told a press conference.
"Cancun is the litmus test. We will see if governments are willing to protect their citizens through international cooperation," said Gordon Shepherd of green group WWF.
"This year has seen massive suffering and loss due to extreme weather disasters. This is likely to get worse as climate change tightens its grip," said Tim Gore of the British NGO Oxfam.
In Geneva, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schuetter, urged the Cancun conference to launch a "Green Marshall Plan" to combat the rising threat of hunger from climate change.
The IPCC estimates that yields from rain-fed agriculture could be cut by up to half between 2000 and 2020, while arid and semi-arid areas could grow by 60 million to 90 million hectares.
That could put 600 million more people at risk of hunger, De Schuetter said.
1.4. Kyoto climate fund set to expand after 2012
23 November 2010, EurActiv
The Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund could take on a wider role to manage money destined to help poor countries deal with the consequences of climate change. Farrukh Iqbal Khan, chair of the Adaptation Fund Board, spoke to EurActiv in an interview.
Khan argued that the small UN Adaptation Fund could in future be affiliated to a new green fund, which world leaders are attempting to agree on at the Cancún climate negotiations kicking off next Monday (29 November).
"The Adaptation Fund could be the adaptation window for the larger new climate change fund," he told EurActiv.
Earlier this month, the fund signed a $8.6 million contract to assist Senegal in protecting its coastline from rising sea levels. It has also agreed another deal to improve water management in Honduras.
Developing countries now hope that the majority of the $100 billion climate aid package pledged last year by industrialised countries could be channelled through the Adaptation Fund, Khan said.
The fund currently operates on the basis of donations and UN credits generated by emissions reduction projects in developed countries. But this "does not yield very significant financing," Khan conceded.
He argued that any new mechanisms agreed under a new climate treaty could also be used to replenish adaptation funding. The UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing earlier this month identified carbon taxes, emissions trading, levies on international flights and shipping and redirecting fossil fuel subsidies as potential sources of finance.
"I think that other sources of funding must include whatever market-based sources we will take, for instance any levies. If that levy has to be imposed then it should in some way also contribute to adaptation funding," Khan said.
"Adaptation is a strategy for developing countries and therefore substantial resources are required," Khan said. Most of the project proposals the Adaptation Fund has received have focused on agriculture and livelihood issues in vulnerable communities, he added.
"Putting the system right is very important," he stressed. He pointed out that even the establishment of the new climate fund and its governance are still under discussion, while debate on sources of finance has hardly even begun.
"What has happened during these past six months is that options have become very clear," Khan said, arguing that there is "a level of maturity" in the finance negotiations. Now it’s a question of boiling three proposals from the EU, the US and the G77 into one, he said.
2.1. Commission proposes ban on industrial gas offsets
26 November 2010, EurActiv
The European Commission yesterday (25 November) presented plans to ban the use of controversial international offset credits from certain industrial gas projects in the EU’s cap-and-trade system after 2012.
The proposal would bar HFC-23, a refrigerant gas with a global warming potential 11,700 times that of CO2, from its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) from 1 January 2013.
The ban would also apply to nitrous oxide credits from adipic acid production, used mainly to manufacture nylon.
Projects that destroy the potent greenhouse gas HFC-23, mainly in China and India, have so far produced the majority of international offset credits surrendered to the EU ETS. They have provided European companies with a cheap way to comply with their emissions reduction obligations.
The Commission said the restrictions would provide an incentive to reform the UN’s carbon market mechanisms, which the EU sees as a prerequisite for their continuation. It would also remove obstacles to developing sectoral crediting mechanisms by creating sufficient demand for them, it said.
Eradicating industrial gas credits would also help shift investment under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) from emerging economies to less well-developed countries, the Commission said.
It argued that cheap emission reductions such as those from some industrial gas projects "should not be done through the carbon market, but instead should be the responsibility of developing countries as part of their appropriate own action".
"I am strongly committed to the further development and expansion of this market and precisely therefore it is critical that we can all have full confidence in the emission reductions that are allowed to be counted in the system, whether they take place in Europe or elsewhere," said EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in a statement.
Moreover, the EU executive said it had become necessary to bring to an end the use of HFC-23 credits to ensure that the projects produce emissions cuts that would not have occurred otherwise. It said the projects had in fact given a perverse incentive to produce more of the refrigerant gas HCFC-22, as companies could also cash in on credits by cheaply destroying the by-product HFC-23 gas.
The proposal was welcomed by green NGOs as a step to ensuring that the EU ETS "does not turn into a refuse dump for poor quality offset credits," leading to increased global warming emissions.
"Today’s proposal […] is a milestone in terms of removing fake carbon credits from the system and helping to improve the environmental effectiveness of the EU ETS," said Eva Filzmoser, programme director at CDM Watch.
But carbon-trading companies were more cautious, warning that the measures could have a retrospective element that is of concern to the market.
"The natural test for acceptability is the date the emissions reductions occurred," the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) said in a statement. It added that there is "no justification" for applying restrictions to credits associated with emissions occurring before 2013, even if they are formally issued after 2012.
The proposal will now have to get the endorsement of member-state representatives, after which it will undergo a three-month scrutiny period by the European Parliament before final adoption.
2.2. European Parliament says yes to 30% emission reduction target
The EuropeanParliament voted last Thursday on the resolution on EU strategy for the CancunCOP16 with a narrow vote (292 for/274 against /38 abstentions). According to MEP Karl Heinz Florenz’s website, the conservative European People’s party (EPP) group voted against. For the first time the European Parliament plenary adopted a position in favor of EU move to30% reduction target without external conditions.
The resolution states that setting a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020(based on 1990 levels) would be "in the interest of the future economicgrowth of the European Union" and also highlights forest protection and climateaid commitments to developing countries as critical areas for progress inupcoming international talks in Cancún, Mexico.
The document makes clear the European Parliament’s position ahead of UNclimate talks in Cancún (29 November – 10 December) and will be used by the European Parliamentdelegation in Cancun as guidance for all their communication at COP16.
Delegation chair for climate negotiations Jo Leinen, (S&D, DE), said"deadlock in climate change negotiations would be unacceptable in Cancún. TheEU needs to push for concrete results and play its own part by stepping up itsCO2 emissions reduction target from 20% to 30%. The EU also needs to deliveron fast-start funding promises to gain the trust of developing countries."
.1. Changing Perspectives – How the EU budget can shape a sustainable future
3.2. Has the EU kept its Fast-start Climate Finance promises
November 2010, CAN-E
4.1. Policy Officers, Cars and CO2, Road freight
Transport & Environment, Europe’s principal environmental organisation working on transport issues, is currently seeking two highly motivated team members. The positions require strategic thinking, political-savvy, highly-developed networking, advocacy and communications skills combined with the ability to understand complex economic, technical, scientific and political issues.
We offer the chance to help shape policies with huge implications for people and the environment in Europe and across the globe as well as a competitive salary and package of benefits.
Candidates should be able to show that they have the ability to:
develop and run multi-year campaigns from scratch and with limited supervision
· research complex policy issues and commission studies and reports
· advocate T&E’s position to policy makers, the media, and our international network
· build up a network of NGO, academic, industry and government contacts
· work across two or more policy areas, giving support to colleagues wherever necessary
And should meet the following criteria:
Highly motivated, with a minimum of three years relevant professional experience;
Proven ability and professional experience of working with technical, economic, industrial and political issues;
Confidence to engage and influence policymakers, industry representatives and other stakeholders at the highest level;
Excellent communication and presentation skills;
Fluent written and spoken English; Must speak at least one other EU language fluently;
Excellent interpersonal and team-working skills, flexibility, and reliability;
Willingness to travel;
These are full-time positions based in Brussels, and subject to a six-month trial period.
To apply, please complete the application form and send with a copy of your CV to [email protected].
Closing date for applications: 30 November 2010
Expected start date: as soon as possible
5.1. Cancun – Mexico
29th November to 12th December 2010-11-30
5.2. The Great Parliamentary Debate: ‘OUR LOW-CARBON EUROPE BY 2050′
WWF and EU40 invite you to actively discuss our ideas of how to create a positive and low-carbon reality for us in 2050. WWF and Ecofys will present the newly launched Climate Policy Tracker for the European Union, which will set the scene for the following debates:
1. Ben Combes, UK Climate Change Committee Vs. Julie Girling, MEP.
2. Frank-Detlef Drake, Head of Research and Development, RWE Vs. Regine Guenther, Director of Climate and Energy, WWF Germany.
Thursday 02 December 2010, from 15h00 – 17h00 at the European Parliament.
More at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/wwfeu40_invitation___the_great_parliamentary_debate_2_dec_2010.pdf
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].