Search Results for Tag: UN talks
Shifting the Goalposts for Copenhagen?
Apologies for “blog-silence”, I’ve been on an autumn break, enjoying the “golden October” weather we’ve been having here in Germany. Not that you ever really have a break from the climate change issue these days. For one reason and another, it seems to have become an everyday issue, from people wondering whether the thick frost we’ve been having in our area is “normal” to the nature documentaries on tv and the media in general either stressing the importance of a climate deal or telling us Copenhagen won’t work anyway, given governments’s preoccupation with the financial situation.
Some of the conservation groups are suggesting the world’s politicians and influential lobby groups are actively preparing us for a failure in Copenhagen to soften the blow if no legally binding agreement is achieved.
The latest EU discussions on Copenhagen don’t exactly make me optimistic.Ultimately, it comes down to the political will to cut emissions drastically and fund adaptation programmes in the developing world. The lack of a firm commitment to figures bodes ill.
In my efforts to balance my natural optimism with observations of political reality, I find myself struggling to believe we can reduce emissions to the necessary extent. I wish somebody could give me reason to be more positive?
The UN climate secretariat has just published the official emissions figures for 2007. (There’s that frustrating time lag when it comes to publishing data). “The continuing growth of emissions from industrialised countries remains worrying, despite the expectation of a momentary dip brought about by the global recession”, says climate chief Yvo de Boer. He says (he has to, really) this underscores the need for a “comprehensive, fair and effective climate change deal in Copenhagen in December”. Too true. I wish our decision-makers would come up with the decisive action (and funding) to make it happen.
DateOctober 22, 2009 | 7:29 am
Bangkok – “Bricks and Mortar”for Copenhagen?
According to the official source, the UNFCCC, the latest round of climate talks in Bangkok have led to more clarity on the “bricks and mortar” of a Copenhagen agreement. But when it comes to actually reducing emissions from industrialised countries in the mid-term and finance to help developing countries limit their emissions growth and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change, even Climate Chief Yvo de Boer – an optimist by nature and profession – has to admit little progress was made. And we all know these are key issues.
WWF said the text for the Copenhagen climate agreement was “shorter but not much sweeter”. Kim Carstensen, the organisation’s climate intiative leader, like de Boer sees some technical progress, but still huge political hurdles when it comes to governments committing to emissions cuts and providing funding for the developing world.
The WWF is calling for another meeting of heads of state before the Copenhagen talks. Yvo de Boer is calling for “bold leadership” to “open the roadblocks around the essentials of targets and finance so that the negotiators can complete their journey”.
There are still the grand total of five official negotiating days ahead of Copenhagen , at a meeting in Barcelona, Spain. The “meetings to prepare the meetings” are clearly anything but mere “talk-shops”, plenty of hard work on the nitty-gritty. I don’t envy the people who have to argue over every word, figure or comma.
The lack of a bill from the United States Senate is one major hurdle to progress towards a new agreement. Good will alone will not make for an agreement without the necessary political backing from home. WWF is also calling for a clearer stance from the EU.
It looks to me like the overall message at the end of the Bangkok talks is that things are moving forward – but not nearly fast enough to guarantee the breakthrough in Copenhagen that would bring about the cuts in emissions the IPCC says we need – and there is no shortage of experts who say those targets themselves are no longer tough enough.
DateOctober 9, 2009 | 8:32 am
Climate Cup half-full or half-empty?
Following the comments on the New York climate summit in the media is like surfing. Up you go on a wave of optimism, then down into the depths of almost-despair. “Barack Obama warns world of climate catastrophe”, “Obama disappoints environmentalists”, “China’s carbon pledge boosts hope of global climate deal”. My colleague Christina Bergmann, one of our US correspondents, opts for “The Chances for Copenhagen have risen again”. Her optimistic headline reflects Ban Ki Moon’s satisfaction about climate change being right up at the top of the agenda of the world’s leaders. Japan and China also give grounds for optimism, Japan with a clear pledge to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2020, China with a message of strong intent, but no firm targets.
President Obama is clearly in a difficult position, trying to get backing at home for what would represent a dramatic change in policy. Still, given signs by the top emitters China and the USA, Japan and key emerging nation India that the importance of an effective Copenhagen deal is paramount, we have to be optimistic. As one of the Green candidates in Germany’s election (coming up this Sunday) said to me at an event last week, “we have no option”. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.
DateSeptember 23, 2009 | 8:24 am
Climate Pep-Talk for world’s leaders in New York
You can’t get much higher a level than this one, with UN Secretary-General holding his own climate summit. I was at a UNFCCC briefing ahead of this, and they see it as Ban Ki Moon trying to get the urgency of an ambitious Copenhagen deal across to the world’s leaders. There are high hopes the Chinese will push the US to action by announcing some far-reaching plans.
There’s some background here:“Skeptical Environmentalist” Björn Lomborg not keen on climate conferences
Why maybe we do need all these climate talks
A tough task for Ban Ki Moon
DateSeptember 22, 2009 | 1:59 pm
Greenland in the Headlines
Well, your ice-blogger is back from Greenland and trying to get back to business as usual, if there is such a thing.
(Meltpond on the Greenland ice sheet from the air)
I’m still working on stories for radio and online and will put some links to shorter pieces below.I’m making some longer features as part of our international “Pole to Pole” project, which will only be ready later. Meanwhile there’s no shortage of climate developments to keep a journalist out of mischief in the run-up to Copenhagen.
Other media reports have been confirming my own experiences on climate change in Greenland.
The Guardian had a huge spread, including front-page coverage, on the rapid loss of mass from the ice sheet.
Guardian Correspondent on Greenland
The Guardian is actively running a campaign it calls 10:10, reduce your own emissions by 10% in 2010. Does that sound like a lot to you or far too little?
The background on 10:10
A large-scale campaign like this has surely got to be a good idea?
More alarming ice-breaking (-melting?) news came out in the form of a WWF report launched at World Climate Conference 3 in Geneva.
(Why do we need yet another climate conference?)
The report sums up the latest scientific evidence on the changes taking place in the Arctic and warns that feedback effects from the warming will speed up and increase climate change all over the planet. A quarter of the world’s population could be affected by flooding as a result of melting ice.
WWF’s Arctic Climate Expert Martin Sommerkorn on Arctic and World Climate
WWF’s Arctic site
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon picked up on that same theme addressing the conference after a trip up to the Arctic the same week. You’d think that meant top priority for the climate change issue. But is it resulting in any action?
A couple of Greenland article links:
Climate Change already visible in Greenland
Young Volunteers help protect World Heritage Ice Fjord
DateSeptember 9, 2009 | 8:32 am