Posts tagged ‘COP18/CMP8’

December 9, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Doha Climate Change Talks Leave Many Disappointed

Fredrick Mugira
Doha. Dec, 2012

The UN climate talks failed to deliver increased cuts to carbon pollution, nor did they provide any credible pathway to $100 billion per year in finance by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change, according to the 700 NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network-International (CAN-I).

Official opening function for the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8). By Fredrick Mugira

Official opening function for the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8). By Fredrick Mugira

Two weeks ago, just prior to the start of these negotiations, numerous credible reports were published by an array of well-respected scientists, economists and climate change experts, all with essentially the same conclusion – we are currently on an unsustainable path which virtually guarantees the world will be faced with catastrophic effects from climate change, according to Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo.

“Two weeks of negotiations have not altered that path and that politicians need to reflect the consensus around climate change through funds, targets and effective action.”

WWF head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, said Doha was supposed to be an important element in setting up for a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015 and therefore needed to rebuild trust and instill equity.

“These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations,” Essop said. “The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity.”

Doha City which hosted the 2012 COP1/CMP8. By Fredrick Mugira

Doha City which hosted the 2012 COP18/CMP8. By Fredrick Mugira

Governments have delivered a very vague outcome that might lead to increased ambition but only if the politics shift to working for the people, our future, and not the polluters.

In particular, countries including the US, who have continually blocked progress in the talks, need to fundamentally change their positions in line with their obligation to lead on the solution to this crisis that they created.

Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said Doha had done nothing to guarantee that public climate finance would go up next year, not down.

“Developing countries have come here in good faith and have been forced to accept vague words and no numbers,” Gore said. “It’s a betrayal.”

UNFCCC boss Christiana Figueres speaks during the function for awarding awards to winners of the UNFCCC/CDM African Radio Contest 2012 at Qatar Convention Center. By Fredrick Mugira

UNFCCC boss Christiana Figueres speaks during the function for awarding awards to winners of the UNFCCC/CDM African Radio Contest 2012 at Qatar Convention Center. By Fredrick Mugira

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-I, said ministers needed to go back to their capitals and work hard to put concrete proposals on the table for the next talks so that progress could be made towards to secure a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in 2015.

“The path forward is actually quite clear: we have the technology and know-how to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, protect vulnerable communities, and grow sustainable, resilient, economies.”

“But we also need people in all regions of the world to demand leadership from their governments on climate change – just like the new youth movement in the Arab region has done.”

The venue of Qatar Sustainability Expo, held at the Doha Exhibition Center, parallel to the United Nations 2012 Climate Change Conference. By Fredrick Mugira

The venue of Qatar Sustainability Expo, held at the Doha Exhibition Center, parallel to the United Nations 2012 Climate Change Conference. By Fredrick Mugira

The Doha Decision:
• An extraordinarily weak outcome on climate finance which fails to put any money on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. The decision asks for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, calls for public funds for adaptation but does not mention a figure, and encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels dependent on their economies.
• An eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with loopholes that allow carry over, use and trading of hot air
• A call – though not an official ambition ratchet mechanism – for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction target in line with the 25-40% range by 2014 at the latest. While it could have been stronger, the decision reinforces clear moral obligation for countries to increase their emission reduction targets prior to 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so
• An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately and a decision “to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19”
• Developed countries failed to agree a way to account for their carbon in a comparable way

December 4, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Africa Urged To Gear up Role In Climate Change Negotiations

Emmanuel Okella
Doha Dec, 2012

Observers say Africa risks losing its essential bargains at the ongoing United National Climate Change negotiations in Qatar, if African delegates at the conference don’t play an enhanced role on a number of issues that are still hanging and need to be resolved at least by the end of the two week gathering.

“We know there are a million demands we are making, but we need to quickly reach consensus on the continent’s key ones and start collectively pushing for those right way” said Jacqueline Amongin, an observer for the Pan African Parliament at the talks.

Of immediate concern to Africa is securing a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and ensuring that amendments to the protocol are adopted before the end of 2012.
“There seems agreement on the extension but we need it signed will out interests there in” she added.

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

The Durban Conference last year reached resolution that a second commitment period to the Protocol, which could be for a period of either five or seven years, runs from January 1, 2013.

The aim of the second commitment period is to ensure that collective emissions of greenhouse gases by developed countries are reduced by at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The second commitment period is critical to Africa’s interests because it commits the world’s biggest polluters to long-term temperature goals, thereby ensuring that the global temperature rise does not further expose Africa to undesirable threats.

Any gap between the first and second commitment periods would clearly signal danger for the continent in terms of mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

“Africa has many projects hinging on this protocol and not fully committing developed countries on it would mean danger for African mitigation measures such as on agriculture and energy” Amongin told a meeting of African negotiation group here in Doha.

The observers say, another outstanding issue is the Green Climate Fund which Africa wants to see sufficiently funded. The fund was decided in Cancun in 2010 and got established at last year’s Conference of Parties in Durban-South Africa.

“We need to see this money coming. Clinton made a promise of 100 billion dollars a year in 2009, but are we witnessing it. These are key areas that we need to bench on” commented Dr. Boniface Watara from Benin.

It aims to provide support to developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The developed countries have agreed to mobilize $100 billion per annum to the fund by 2020.

The fund still remains largely empty and is yet to begin meeting either mitigation or adaptation requirements. Representatives of Africa and LDCs at Doha are pushing for common position to see that financial sack swelling.

Chair of the African negotiation team Emmanuel Dlamini says he is hopeful that something tangible will come out of Doha. “It’s important that we stay focused, united and positive, even in tough situations such as at these tedious negotiations. It’s a tough terrain but am confident we shall pull off something” he said.

November 30, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Africa’s Gain Or Loss From COP18 Will Be Squarely On You- Africa’s Chief Negotiator Tells Peers

Emmanuel Okella
November 30, 2012

The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators has told delegates from the continent that whatever Africa will take out from the ongoing UN climate negotiations will depend on both their grasp of the issues as well as effective presence at working sessions.

Mr. Dlamini Emmanuel, who has expressed cautious optimism at the outcome of the ongoing UN climate conference in Qatar, says previous instances when some delegates treated trips for these talks as holiday breaks, have cost the continent its own fair share of the bargain.

An African youth holds a placard at the COP 18 in Doha

An African youth holds a placard at the COP18 in Doha

In a meeting with Dr. Fatima Denton, the Coordinator the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and other officials from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the chief negotiator said what Africa brings home from Doha would depend on a clear mastery of the issues by the negotiators.

“As we move towards the Ministerial level, it is clear that our delegates need a better grasp of the issues, and not just the position that other partners hold on those issues, but why they hold them”, he said.

His comments follow concerns by many African activists that the continent is lagging behind in the negotiations with some of its key demands to be delivered in Doha, laying in doubt.

This is not the first time delegates are facing accusations of this kind. Even at previous COP meetings delegates have repeatedly been accused of not participating enough, instead spending much of their time shopping and touring host cities.

“You see, if we are not present during the discussions; or, if we do not show a clear understanding of the issues, we would neither be able to lead them nor infuse our position into the final documents of the Conference”, he said.

He admitted the existence of some capacity gaps among new delegates but said the lead negotiators could ably represent the continent, despite the ever-changing rough world of climate negotiations.

Earlier, Emmanuel warned that any future agreement coming out from Doha should be more than just a “mitigation deal”.

African agencies like the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) are concerned that failure by Africa to cut a meaningful share in the outcome of the talks, directly increases the continent’s vulnerability to the harsh impacts climate change.

Key on the agenda of the African group is the green climate fund to help countries implement adaptation and mitigation measures but also extension of the commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol that mainly conditions wealthy nations to emission reduction targets.

Chebet Maikut who is coordinating Uganda’s negotiation team admits existing knowledge gaps among delegates mainly as a result of frequent changes of the teams by governments.

“Like for the case of Uganda we keep having new people on board and sometimes this slows the process because they spend some time trying to understand not only the different positions but also the processes of the negotiations” he observed.

“The good thing is that the team always has experienced people who help guide the process but as you may see, this affects their overall input in the talks because they have to balance between participation and guiding the relatively new colleagues” he added.

Dr. Fatima Denton, who has managed several climate change programs across Africa and a veteran of COP negotiations, said that she understands the nature of challenges that negotiators often face and assured the African Group of ACPC’s willingness to continue providing technical assistance.

November 26, 2012

A Global Catastrophe Looms

Fredrick Mugira in Doha Qatar,
November 26, 2012

A global catastrophe looms and something must be done now to avert it. This catastrophe will be caused by climate change.

This is according to Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, outgoing president of the UN Climate Change Conference.

“Urgent action is needed if we are to avoid a global catastrophe in the next generation,” she stresses.

Official opening function for the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8)

Nkoana-Mashabane, who is the South African Foreign Minister was on Monday 26th, 2012 officially opening the United Nation’s two-week conference on Climate Change (COP18/CMP8) that has attracted over 1700 participants from up to 194 nations cross the world.

She called for dedication and warned against indecisiveness in the struggle against climate change.

“We cannot waver in our resolve to rise to this challenge,” said Nkoana-Mashabane vehemently as the participants listened attentively.

Later after her address, COP 17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane handed over the conference presidency to Abdullah bin Hamad Al- Attiyah, chairman of Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority. Attiyah is now the COP 18 President.

In his speech, Attiyah described climate change as, “ a challenge for humanity.”

He told the participants to take advantage of the conference to find solutions for coping with this challenge.

Speaking during the same occasion, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the participants to pay attention to the developing nations’ urgent need for financial and technical support in the struggle against global warming.

Clad in Islamic attire, Figueres noted that the conference in Doha will endeavor to conclude some of the plans that were initiated in past United Nations Climate Change Conferences, citing the plans instituted in Bali.

COP18/CMP8, Doha Qatar

She noted that the discussion will work out a legal binding agreement obliging developed countries to cut their carbon emissions.

Signed in 1997, the Kyoto protocol mandates reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. Such gases trap heat leading to an increase in temperatures on the earth or what is termed as global warming.

However, some industrialized nations including USA have never ratified this agreement while countries such as Russia and China have expressed their intention not to participate in the second commitment period.

Many developing countries now want developed countries to show more practical commitment to the emission reduction.

%d bloggers like this: