“All countries need to do their fair share to tackle climate change. Yet rich industrialized countries which are most responsible for the climate crisis are not pulling their weight.
“It’s time for governments from Europe to the US to stand up to the fossil fuel lobbyists. Their competitors in developing countries – from China to India and Brazil – have pledged to do more to rein in emissions and start building prosperous low carbon economies. Europe and the US risk being left behind.
“In the end, cutting emissions isn’t about who does the most, but whether the total efforts are enough to avoid devastating levels of global warming – we will either sink or swim together. The pledges currently on the table mean we are sinking." Tim Gore, Oxfam’s climate change policy advisor.
Environment and youth NGO’s present the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) with The Ray of the Day award following the second day of climate talks in Bonn on Tuesday. According to CAN: "They provided a concrete proposal to move the KP negotiations forward particularly in light of the decidedly uninspiring progress elsewhere. We would like to encourage other parties or groups to follow the example AOSIS has set in being solutions oriented. As AOSIS reminded us today, we cannot afford to talk in circles when there is so much to lose."
Let's Move On
The UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn commenced yesterday -- the second meeting this year to set the stage for November 28's COP17 in Durban, South Africa -- and NGO's began turning up the heat on the official negotiators, many of whom seem lulled to complacency in what resembles a quasi-real life reenactment of Waiting for Godot.
Their message to the UN diplomats who have gathered from 183 countries? Godot is NOT coming. It is up to YOU!
According to the UNFCCC, the Bonn talks aim "to provide clarity on the architecture of the future international climate regime to reduce global emissions fast enough to avoid the worst climate change."
Delegates are working on two tracks: Annex I (industrialized) Parties, still legally bound to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol - and those countries composing the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action(AWG-LCA) under the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012, and as of last December Canada, Russia and Japan decided to opt out of Phase 2.
As the first day of the talks concluded yesterday, negotiations remained stalemated in excrutiatingly detailed and contentious disagreements about the agenda.
Along with urgent problems on Kyoto and the Green Climate Fund, details from three recent official reports stress the urgent need to propel the UNFCCC process forward:
• The IEA special report issued last month, noting that as CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2010, limiting global temperature increases to 2ºC is unachieable, particularly given the fact that 80% of projected 2020 emissions from the power sector are already locked in;
• The Greenpeace GLOW report, which noted that industrialized nations are NOT carrying their weight in cutting GHGs and that over 60 per cent of emissions cuts by 2020 are likely to be made by developing countries;
• the emerging scientific consensus that global food security is threatened by crop failures and raising food prices, all by products of climate change.
UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres yesterday stressed the urgency for negotiations to agree on drastic cuts in GHGs.
"Governments lit a beacon in Cancun towards a low-emission world which is resilient to climate change," she said. "They committed themselves to a maximum global average temperature rise of two degrees Celsius, with further consideration of a 1.5-degree maximum. Now, more than ever, it is critical that all efforts are mobilized towards living up to this commitment."
Global leaders agreed a target of limiting temperature increase to 2°C at the UN climate change talks in Cancun in 2010. For this goal to be achieved, the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must be limited to around 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent, only a 5% increase compared to an estimated 430 parts per million in 2000.
The IEA’s 2010 World Energy Outlook set out the 450 Scenario, an energy pathway consistent with achieving this goal, based on the emissions targets countries have agreed to reach by 2020. For this pathway to be achieved, global energy-related emissions in 2020 must not be greater than 32 Gt.This means that over the next ten years, emissions must rise less in total than they did between 2009 and 2010.
“Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” said Dr Birol. “The world has edged incredibly close to the level of emissions that should not be reached until 2020 if the 2ºC target is to be attained. Given the shrinking room for manœuvre in 2020, unless bold and decisive decisions are made very soon, it will be extremely challenging to succeed in achieving this global goal agreed in Cancun.”
Hope in a stalk of grain: food security
NY Times: A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself
For nearly two decades, scientists had predicted that climate change would be relatively manageable for agriculture, suggesting that even under worst-case assumptions, it would probably take until 2080 for food prices to double.Scientists who long held the theory that rising CO2 levels could double as powerful plant fertizers, thus offsetting the damages resultining from increased emissions has been debunked by the massive destabilization of the food system and the soaring prices have rattled many leading scientists. Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost.
Hope in a stalk of grain: It is a hope the world needs these days, for the great agricultural system that feeds the human race is in trouble.
The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries.
Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change.
Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming.
Temperatures are rising rapidly during the growing season in some of the most important agricultural countries, and a paper published several weeks ago found that this had shaved several percentage points off potential yields, adding to the price gyrations.
The Greenpeace/Stockholm Environment Institute report (GLOW)
New figures from the forthcoming SEI overview of the pledges show that:
* China’s total emissions reductions could be nearly double those of the US by 2020
* The emissions reductions of developing countries could be three times greater than those of the EU by 2020.
* The emission reductions of China, India, South Africa and Brazil – the BASIC countries – could be slightly greater than the combined efforts of the 7 biggest developed countries – the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia by 2020.
Oxfam’s analysis determines that temperature increases of more than 1.5 degrees will have catastrophic consequences for societies across the globe.
* Climate change is already estimated to have increased the amount we spend on food worldwide by $50bn a year
* Oxfam projects world prices of staple food crops will double by 2030, with around 50 per cent of the increase driven by climate change.
* Up to 20 per cent more people will be at risk of hunger by 2050 because of climate change. Almost all will be in developing countries, with 65 percent expected to be in Africa.
* Countries in sub-Saharan Africa could experience catastrophic declines in yield of 20–30 per cent by 2080, rising as high as 50 per cent in Sudan and Senegal.
Read Anna Collins An African Dream post submitted early on June 8 from the UN Climate Talks @ Bonn for AAN
The first step in creating the future you want to see is to imagine it, to dream it, to see it in your mind’s eye, so beautiful, so real, that you want to reach out and grab it.
Only then when you have taken the realm of the impossible and planted the seeds there that will one day lead to shoots of the possible breaking through the weary dry ground and growing, connecting and flowering. Only then will you be able to grasp what you are working towards and pull it towards you, taking it out of the realm of the impossible and create something real, something beautiful, something amazing. (continue reading)
• Germany, Denmark, China, Brazil - who have made massive commitments to renewables - are models of tomorrow's thriving, vibrant economies
• Goverments leading in clean energy and climate appropriate solutions are being supported with injections of capital
• Renewable Energy Success Stories: Germany vows to double the share of renewable energy to 35% of consumption in 2020, 50% in 2030, 65% in 2040, and more than 80% in 2050; Britiish government committed to cut half their carbon emissions by 2025 compared to 1990 levels.
• Stand up, EU! Secure a 2nd commitment period for Kyoto. Reach out to major developing countries to encourage other countries -- Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand -- to take on constructive roles!
• Seize the Opportunity! Show solidarity with Japan, as she commits to cut emissions by 25% by 2020, despite the enormous setback by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami!
The Guardian's interactive chart highlights data on on global food prices from the UN's monthly food price reports. Roll over and zoom in on the chart to see how prices for prices for meat, dairy, cereals, oils and sugar have increased over the past decade.
Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 8:22 PM PT: progress on the 3rd day of Bonn talks http://adoptanegotiator.org/...
Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 8:23 PM PT: Nigeria's role as advocate for Climate Justice action @Cop17 plummets w/news that only 1 delegate from country will represent continent of Africa