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Search Results for Tag: Copenhagen

Pre-Cancun ice blog from the banks of the Rhine

This is the icy view from my office at Deutsche Welle on the banks of the Rhine this afternoon. It’s the ice blogger’s favourite weather, although most people around me are complaining it’s too early for snow and asking if it’s got anything to do with climate change.
Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that so many of us have been saying there will be less hype surrounding and attention paid to the Cancun climate talks starting in Mexico on Monday, I’m pleased to say there is still a fair bit of reporting going on. What we saw ahead of Copenhagen was really hype, verging on a kind of Copenhagen-mania at times, and it clearly didn’t help the cause of getting a new global climate agreement at all. But it would be worrying if the media and the public in general just ignored the talks.
Mind you, most people seem to be saying more or less the same thing: Forget the idea of a big breakthrough and just go for a step-by-step pragmatic approach. As one commentator on German radio put it this morning, people (especially those who will be negotiating) seem to be talking Cancun down. That doesn’t mean they don’t think it’s important, but it’s a clear warning that this time, we shouldn’t expect too much. We can still set our sights high, though, can’t we?
As EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard puts it (and she should know, since as Danish climate and energy minister she was a key figure in the Copenhagen conference) “the sense of urgency should not be any less than prior to Copenhagen.”. After all, she told me, given that we’ve seen the hottest 12 months in a row on record, “the chance remains with us. We have to address it. And for each year we postpone action, the more expensive and the more difficult its going to be in the end”. I couldn’t agree with you more, Commissioner. Let\’s hope you and the others round the negotiating table(s) in Cancun will turn that into money on the table for adaptation and forest protection, and ambitious emissions reductions targets.
More on the EU’s stance to let you decide whether it’s good enough on this week’s Living Planet programme. You might also like to read this Interview with EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, in which she outlines her expectations for the climate conference in Mexico.

Date

November 26, 2010 | 2:47 pm

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Science of Climate Change under-reported?

Within the framework of an online discussion forum, Diana Lungu from the European Journalism Centre has drawn my attention to a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism looking at media coverage of last year’s Copenhagen climate summit. It makes for interesting reading. The author James Painter comes to the conclusion that the actual science was under-reported, with more attention being directed at the hacked a-mail debate.
There’s  a useful summary of some of the main results of the study in the Washington Post. The study includes calls for more discussion between scientists, journos and policy makers “on how to keep highly significant, slow-burn issues like climate change interesting and engaging to different audiences around the world”, more media staff to help scientists and more frontline reporting on the effects of climate change. I’m with you on all of those James.

Date

November 18, 2010 | 1:14 pm

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Compromising on climate: How far do you go?

I’ve just come back from a short media briefing by the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres. The climate secretariat’s headquarters is just next to our building, so it was not a problem for me to walk over and be back in half an hour. I’d love to be able to say the room was full. There were a handful of us, although no doubt there will have been some others following online.(But I didn’t hear questions from the big players I’ve heard in previous briefings either).
Two weeks ahead of the Cancun negotiations, there is a distinct lack of hype and a very low-key feeling about the whole business. After the big Copenhagen fiasco, it’s hardly surprising.
“Cancun will be a success if parties compromise”, says the Exec Sec. Well, we will certainly need a lot of compromising.
Mrs Figueres mentioned adaptation, technology transfer, forests and the funding of long-term financing as areas where she expects progress. More or less the same as what EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard told me. What struck me, though, was a similarity in the two ladies’ rhetoric. BOth talk of the need for a “balanced set of decisions” and use similar cautious formulations which could fit a wide range of possible outcomes. My feeling is politicians and neotiators are taking no chances of getting it wrong this time.
Somebody asked a question about the organisation. You may remember there was chaos last time with too many people to fit into the conference centre and hour-long queues. This time, earlier advance registration and better planning are supposed to improve that. Given the overall feeling of disappointment and resignation hanging in the air, I don’t think the organisers will have to worry too much about a huge surge of participants this time.
Never mind, think of the emissions we’ll save on all those flights to Cancun.

Date

November 15, 2010 | 2:58 pm

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No job for an optimist? Yvo de Boer throws in the towel

Somehow I wasn’t really surprised to hear yesterday that Yvo de Boer, who has headed the UNFCCC, the climate secretariat, since 2006, was resigning as of July 1st.
I can remember interviewing him when he first came to Bonn and having the feeling this man was a professional eternal optimist and, of course, a born diplomat. The diplomacy stayed – most of the time – but the optimism couldn’t last. Although he’s too loyal to say it – I’m sure the collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference must have been the last straw after years (he worked on climate for the Dutch government and the EU beforehand) of struggling to bring about climate agreements in the face of all the international wrangling and power games.
You really can’t blame him for giving up and switching to private industry, although it will be hard to find a suitable successor at this critical time in the negotiations, with the next big conference in Mexico at the end of the year, the Kyoto Protocol running out in 2012 and the world wondering whether the UN is the right forum for the negotiations after the Copenhagen flop.
Yvo de Boer and his team were sidelined in the final phase of Copenhagen, while the USA and China fought out their battle for influence. The “Copenhagen Accord” is a toothless document that wasn’t accepted by everybody and binds nobody.
Of course the UN climate chief has to take some share of the blame for the Copenhagen fiasco. Preparing that conference was his job as well as the Danish government’s.
Nevertheless, it’s a shame to see him leave like this.
Remember the Bali conference 2 years ago, when de Boer left the room in tears at a point where it appeared the conference might fail? A lot of people thought that would be the end. But the conference achieved results after all and he carried on and was widely regarded as the “human face” of climate politics.
Now he’s finally had enough, and is leaving the UN climate ship in very troubled waters, with the economic crisis, Obama crippled by domestic problems and the Chinese determined to develop at all costs and reject any international control.
The chances of a binding post-Kyoto agreement being achieved or even set on the right track at the Mexico conference at the end of this year are slim. And time, the scientists tell us – and Yvo de Boer was convinced of it – is running out.

Date

February 19, 2010 | 9:15 am

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Copenhagen, Bonn, Mexico

Well, they didn’t do it. The EU is sticking to its 20% by 2020 figure. They could do 30%, but only will if others take more action. So much for being a leader.
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer held his first press conference since Copenhagen this week. It can’t be easy to keep going in the face of the Copenhagen fiasco. Of course he has to try to stay optimistic about the process continuing in Bonn this summer and Mexico towards the end of the year. But bearing in mind the US administration is in a even more difficult position after losing the Senate majority it will need to pass a climate bill, it’s hard to see where the impetus is going to come from.

Date

January 22, 2010 | 3:46 pm

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