An awkward position
Klaus Esterluss and Kerstin Schnatz, Doha
They all had to squeeze through: Shoppers and staff from surrounding restaurants moved past a tree made out of cans and tires at Doha’s traditional market area yesterday. 16 year old Mourad Farahat from Egypt and his friends from the organisation „You Think Green“ tried to raise the awareness of passers by for a greener future. Despite having received a permission for setting up their action at a spacious juncture a few meters further down, security guards told them to move the symbolic tree to a very inconvenient area with hardly any space, between a wall and the outside seating area of a restaurant.
By being in this awkward position of Doha’s „Souq Waqif“, the youths shared a fate with the international climate negotiations taking place in the same city that day. Civil society groups watching the international process carefully, are heavily critizising the Qatari Presidency for not showing enough leadership. „Key elements are stalling“ Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network, said. According to Hmaidan, the talks that are scheduled to end on Friday, December 7th, were at „a critical juncture“. The NGO expert is in line with young Mourad, when asking for a global reduction of carbon emissions and more money to help poorer countries adapting to climate change.
DateDecember 6, 2012
Tagscop18, doha, egypt, environment, garbage, Germany, global ideas, market, nature, qatar, shops, souq waqif, trash, you think green
It’s a rich man’s world
Text and pictures: Kerstin Schnatz
The emirate of Qatar is not just one of the richest countries of the world. It ranks also the list of the world’s worst polluters. The emirate, who is currently hosting the 18th United Nations Climate Conference (COP18), might not like what Samantha Smith from WWF Norway said at an action outside the new convention center, where the climate summit is taking place, today.
Let the polluters pay
As droughts, floodings and other adverse affects of climate change hit the very poor most, the woman from Oslo reckons that rich states who have been causing climate change in the first place, should be paying for the trouble they have caused. “It is not a gift but an ethical responsibility towards those who can not help themselves.” With just three more days until the end of the negotiations in Doha, Smith is “shocked” that delegates and Ministers from from developed countries came to Doha with so little commitment for climate funding.
Only Great Britain is great in climate funding
The WWF and the organization “Tck, Tck, Tck” who held today’s action jointly hope, that by Friday the latest, more countries will have followed suit the example of the United Kingdom and pronounce solid commitments rather than staying hazy with their future climate funding. Yesterday, Britain announced that they will be putting an additional 133 Million Pounds on the table for Africa to tackle climate change, totalling their climate funding of 2,9 billion Pounds. This ambitious step won the UK not just congratulations from environmental groups but also the award of “The Ray of the Day” for now being the world’s largest provider of climate funds.
DateDecember 5, 2012
Bursting Bubbles of Hot Air
Authors: Kerstin Schnatz and Klaus Esterluss
Despite being in the middle of a desert, Doha’s newly built convention center is well chilled. But the uncountable air conditions at this year’s venue of the United Nations climate summit (COP18) did not cool the minds of climate activists this morning.
A coalition of Greenpeace, Carbon Market Watch and the WWF loudly drew the delegates’ attention towards tons of hot air – hot air that literally is hidden in the current Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol puts a price on carbon emissions. It is the only legally binding trading scheme aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. But the first trading period is ending in just a few days from now, at the end of 2012.
Activists handed out symbolic carbon credits to delegates for two reasons:
1. To call for a second period of the Kyoto protocol
2. To pledge for a dumping of surplus carbon credits in this second phase
One carbon credit allows a state to emit the equivalent of one ton of CO2. The flaw is: In the current, first trading period of the Kyoto protocol, has created a bubble: Too many countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Poland or Japan, have collected a surplus of credits – a surplus they want to rescue over to the next, ongoing years. The equivalent of all credit savings in this “hot air bubble” is 13 billion tonns of CO2. That is almost three times of what the 27 EU-member states pump into the air each year. If the states do not drop their surplus credits and thus do not burst the bubble in a second phase of the Kyoto trading scheme, these 13 billion tons of CO2 could be emit for free into the world’s atmosphere.
To remind delegates of reducing their own country’s CO2 emissions, they were invited to dump their symbolic hot air credits in a bin before entering the conference halls.
Call for a second commitment period
According to WWF’s William McGoldrick it’s Europe who has to be a rolemodel in the negotiations at COP18. “At the moment, countries jump out of the protocol, but still hold on their hot air credits,” he frames the problem.
DateDecember 4, 2012
Tags2020, action, agreement, carben market watch, cop18, credits, doha, Greenpeace, Hot air, kyoto protocol, wwf
Polluted policies and Robin Hood taxes
Author: Kerstin Schnatz
At the beginning of the second week of climate negotiations in Doha, activists from around the world showed their state delegates how to make the conference a success. Redirecting the flow of money was at the top of the agenda in two actions.
Take it from the rich
Wind farms, solar panels and biogas plants are a great idea to tackle climate change – but they do not come for free. Especially developing countries struggle to raise the money for green energies. On the other hand, those who live in industrialized countries and are thus most responsible for today’s climate change, have much more money. So why not take it from the rich and give it to the poor? In our short video, Tim “Robin” Gore from Oxfam explains the idea of a Robin Hood tax.
Kick out the fossil fuel lobby
According to a activists from SustainUs and the Young Arab Climate Movement (YACM), the industrialized countries should clean up the mess in their own backyards first. Such as Canada who has been awarded the “Fossil of the Day Award” today – in memory of having been the first country ever to have formally pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol.
The negative award for her own country will not surprise Neelam Khare. The student from Vancouver stresses, that Canada could have long taken the lead in changing its own energy production towards renewables, if the influence of the oil industry wasn’t so big. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on lobbying every day and millions “to fund think tanks that publish denialist junk science” to discredit climate change as a real problem.
DateDecember 3, 2012
Loch Ness meets green power
Author: Kerstin Schnatz
Scotland is one of the few nations in the world to have a Minister of Climate Change. We met Paul Weelhouse today at the World Climate Summit 2012 where he discussed the global energy mix of the future. While Qatar, represented by it’s Minister of Energy and Industry, counts heavily on natural gas, Scotland takes a differnt turn. Even though Scotland still is the biggest producer of oil and gas in the European Union and wants to keep this role, the country aims to run on 100% renewables by 2020. To reach this ambitious goal, lots of money and manpower are invested already. Even the mystic sea-monster Nessie takes part in the Scottish developement – but hear and see for yourself.
DateDecember 3, 2012
Tags2020, ambition, climate, cop18, doha, energy, minister, power, qatar, renewable, Scotland, solar, tidal, water, weelhouse, wind