At around 5am this morning, the Durban COP approved various agreements to muted applause in a sleep-deprived, numbed plenary room.
These agreements still leave Earth on track for 3-4 degrees of warming or 5-6 degrees for Africa, by 2100, almost certainly disastrous.
Two press releases from civil society organisations below:
COP17 succumbs to Climate Apartheid
Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement
Durban, S. Africa –Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid
“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, Small Island States, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”
According to Pablo Solón, former lead negotiator for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, “It is false to say that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted in Durban. The actual decision has merely been postponed to the next COP, with no commitments for emission reductions from rich countries. This means that the Kyoto Protocol will be on life support until it is replaced by a new agreement that will be even weaker.”
The world’s polluters have blocked real action and have once again chosen to bail out investors and banks by expanding the now-crashing carbon markets – which like all financial market activities these days, appear to mainly enrich a select few.
“What some see as inaction is in fact a demonstration of the palpable failure of our current economic system to address economic, social or environmental crises,” said Janet Redman, of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. “Banks that caused the financial crisis are now making bonanza profits speculating on our planet’s future. The financial sector, driven into a corner, is seeking a way out by developing ever newer commodities to prop up a failing system.”
Despite talk of a “roadmap” offered up by the EU, the failure in Durban shows that this is a cul-de-sac, a road to nowhere. Spokespeople for Climate Justice Now! call on the world community to remember that a real climate program, based on planetary needs identified by scientists as well as by a mandate of popular movements, emerged at the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010. The Cochabamba People’s Agreement, brought before the UN but erased from the negotiating text, offers a just and effective way forward that is desperately needed.
For more information, contact:
Mike Dorsey – firstname.lastname@example.org, or call+27 (0)79 863 8756 or +1-734-945-6424Nick Buxton – email@example.com or call +27(0)81 589 8564 or +1 530 902 3772
“The technology discussions have been hijacked by industrialized countries speaking on behalf of their transnational corporations,” said Silvia Ribeiro from the international organization ETC Group.
Critique of monopoly patents on technologies, and the environmental, social and cultural evaluation of technologies have been taken out of the Durban outcome. Without addressing these fundamental concerns, the new technology mechanism will merely be a global marketing arm to increase the profit of transnational corporations by selling dangerous technologies to countries of the South, such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology or geoengineering technologies.”
“The only way forward for agriculture is to support agro-ecological solutions, and to keep agriculture out of the carbon market,” said Alberto Gomez, North American Coordinator for La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of peasant farmers.
“Corporate Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of production, is one of the principal causes of climate change and increased hunger. We therefore reject Free Trade Agreements, Association Agreements, and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, nanotechnology, and climate smart agriculture) that only exacerbate the current crisis.”
On REDD + and forest carbon projects
“REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities. Mounting evidence shows that Indigenous Peoples are being subjected to violations of their rights as a result of the implementation of REDD+-type programs and policies,” declared The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life.
Their statement, released during the first week of COP17, declares that “REDD+ and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) promote the privatization and commodification of forests, trees and air through carbon markets and offsets from forests, soils, agriculture and could even include the oceans. We denounce carbon markets as a hypocrisy that will not stop global warming.”
On the World Bank and the Global Climate Fund
“The World Bank is a villain of the failed neoliberal economy,” says Teresa Almaguer of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance in the U.S.
“We need a climate fund managed by participatory governance, not by an anti-democratic institution that is responsible for much of the climate disruption and poverty in the world.” “The Green Climate Fund has been turned into the Greedy Corporate Fund,” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund has been hijacked by the rich countries, on their terms, and set up to provide more profits to the private sector”
On the Green Economy
“We need a climate fund that provides finance for peoples of developing countries that is fully independent from undemocratic institutions like the World Bank. The Bank has a long track record of financing projects that exacerbate climate disruption and poverty” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund is being hijacked by the rich countries, setting up the World Bank as interim trustee and providing direct access to money meant for developing countries to the private sector. It should be called the Greedy Corporate Fund!”
Climate policy is making a radical shift towards the so-called “green economy,” dangerously reducing ethical commitments and historical responsibility to an economic calculation on cost-effectiveness, trade and investment opportunities. Mitigation and adaption should not be treated as a business nor have its financing conditioned by private sector and profit-oriented logic. Life is not for sale.
On climate debt
“Industrialized northern countries are morally and legally obligated to repay their climate debt,” said Janet Redman, Co-director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies. “Developed countries grew rich at the expense of the planet and the future all people by exploiting cheap coal and oil. They must pay for the resulting loss and damages, dramatically reduce emissions now, and financially support developing countries to shift to clean energy pathways.”
Developed countries, in assuming their historical responsibility, must honor their climate debt in all its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution. The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings. We call on developed countries to commit themselves to action. Only this could perhaps rebuild the trust that has been broken and enable the process to move forward.
On real solutions
“The only real solution to climate change is to leave the oil in the soil, coal in the hole and tar sands in the land. “ Ivonne Yanez, Acción Ecologica, Ecuador
Climate Analytics Press Release from earlier today
Durban Agreements a step towards a global agreement, but risk of exceeding 3°C-warming remains – scientists.
Durban—11 December 2011– As the climatetalks in Durban concluded tonight with a groundbreaking (?!) establishment of theDurban Platform to negotiate a new global agreement by 2015, scientists stated that the worldcontinues on a pathway of over 3°C warming with likely extremely severe impacts, the Climate ActionTracker said today.
Theagreement in Durban to establish a new body to negotiate a global agreement (AdHoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) by 2015represents a major step forward. The Climate Action Tracker scientists stated,however, that the agreement will not immediately affect the emissions outlookfor 2020 and has postponed decisions on further emission reductions. Theywarned that catching up on this postponed action will be increasingly costly.
TheClimate Action Tracker estimates that global mean warming would reach about3.5°C by 2100 with the current reduction proposals on the table. They are definitelyinsufficient to limit temperature increase to 2°C.
A warming over 3°Ccould bring the world close to several potential global-scale tipping points,such as: o Possible dieback of theAmazon rainforest
o Corals reefs beingirreversibly replaced by algae and sea grass
o Irreversible loss of theGreenland ice sheets of many centuries to thousands of years
o Risk of release ofmethane hydrates in ocean floor sediments further adding to the warming
o Permafrost thawing due tofast rising arctic temperatures
A depiction of the types of impacts likelyfrom 1.5°C of warming, through 2°C and 3-4°C has been posted on the ClimateAction Tracker website today.
The costs for adaptation and the residualdamages from climate change will increase rapidly with warming. Approximateestimates indicate that the most extreme costs will be felt in West Africa andSouth Asia, with residual damage of 3.5% of regional GDP for 2°C warming and5-6% for 3°C warming. With a 2°C warming, adaptation costs would be half thoseassociated with a 3°C temperature rise.
The Climate Action Tracker today released aninfographic to show the range of impacts that the world risks on a pathway towell over 3°C and beyond.
“What is positive in Durban is thatgovernments have reopened the door to a legally binding global agreementinvolving the world’s major emitters, a door which many thought had been shutat the Copenhagen Conference in 2009,” said Bill Hare, Director of ClimateAnalytics.
“What remains to be done is to take moreambitious actions to reduced emissions, and until this is done we are stillheaded to over 3oC warming. There are still no new pledges on the table and theprocess agreed in Durban towards raising the ambition and increasing emissionreductions is uncertain it its outcome.”
“There are still options available to closethe gap between current globally planned mitigation and what is needed to holdwarming below 1.5 or 2°C – if action takes place fast,” said Niklas Höhne,Director Energy and Climate Policy at Ecofys. “Emission reduction options arerapidly diminishing.”
A full briefing paper is available on
CONTACTSIN DURBAN: apologies, but the team are all on planes today, heading to Europe. Please contact: Dr.Niklas Höhne
+49 (0) 162101 3420OrCindy Baxter
+64 21 772 661
TheClimate Action Tracker is an independent science-based assessment, which tracksthe emission commitments and actions of countries. The website provides anup-to-date assessment of individual national pledges to reduce their greenhousegas emissions Climate Analytics
Climate Analytics is a non-profitorganization based in Potsdam, Germany. It has been established to synthesizeclimate science and policy research that is relevant for international climatepolicy negotiations. It aims to provide scientific, policy and analyticalsupport for Small Island States (SIDS) and the least developed country group(LDCs) negotiators, as well as non-governmental organisations and otherstakeholders in the ‘post-2012’ negotiations. Furthermore, it assists inbuilding in-house capacity within SIDS and LDCs.
http://www.climateanalytics.orgAbout Ecofys – Expertsin Energy
Established in 1984 with the vision of achieving“sustainable energy for everyone”, Ecofys has become the leading expert inrenewable energy, energy & carbon efficiency, energy systems & marketsas well as energy & climate policies. The unique synergy between thoseareas of expertise is the key to its success. Ecofys creates smart, effective,practical and sustainable solutions for and with public and corporate clientsall over the world. With offices in the Netherlands, Germany, the UnitedKingdom, China and the US, Ecofys employs over 250 experts dedicated to solvingenergy and climate challenges.
http://www.ecofys.comPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
The PIK conducts research into global climatechange and issues of sustainable development. Set up in 1992, the Institute isregarded as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research and as one of the world’sleading establishments in this field. Scientists, economists and socialscientists work together, investigating how the earth is changing as a system,studying the ecological, economic and social consequences of climate change,and assessing which strategies are appropriate for sustainable development.