The thousands of delegates preparing to descend on Durban for COP17 should read Robert F. Kennedy’s famous “Day of Affirmation” speech en route. They will discover a call to action as powerful today as it was almost half a century ago. They will also find sensible guidance on how to overcome the sense of drift that has gripped the climate negotiations for much of this past year. If they heed his call they may discover that African soils are not for burying the climate regime as some pessimists suggest, but rather for growing the seeds of its future success.
On Tuesday, the Australian senate passed legislation that will set a price on carbon and help meet its emissions targets.
East Coast snowstorms in October. The suburbs of Bangkok under water. Extreme droughts in the Horn of Africa.
Such "freak" weather events have dominated headlines for over a year, and with good reason.
Now, a new report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is making the connections between these extreme weather events and climate change.
Survey and Analysis of Approaches
This working paper seeks to identify concrete pathways for building an international "climate change regime." It surveys and
analyzes the academic literature as well as proposals by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and
Update, 10/21/11: Talks to design the Green Climate Fund (GCF) ended in tense negotiations at Cape Town, South Africa earlier this week. The completion of the GCF design is an integral part of the larger package of issues to be resolved in Durban, and so country negotiators were highly motivated to make progress.
If one thinks of the ongoing climate negotiations as a paint-by-numbers picture, the Cancun Agreements outlined what to paint and the basic colors to use. In last week’s Panama talks, Parties continued painting with various hues that, once complete, will hopefully create a detailed and beautiful picture. The painting does not yet have a frame, however, as the Parties still have to decide on what kind of “agreed outcome” the negotiations are leading to – i.e., a legally binding agreement or a non-binding one. At the same time the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012, which adds complexity but also opportunity to the picture.
The American author Tom Peters once wrote “if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade”. Next week’s UNFCCC session in Panama is the penultimate stop in what has been a long and at times difficult year in the climate negotiations. The road to COP 17 in Durban has featured contentious agenda items, complex issue areas, and moments to test the resolve of the most patient negotiator. Yet despite these trying times glimmers of progress are evident, and as the year draws to a close we are beginning to see outlines of a deal that is both ambitious and imaginable.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that the United Nations is “a bridge upon which we can meet and talk”. The bridge builders were sorely missing during the first week of the latest round of climate negotiations in Bonn. Instead of moving forward on substance and laying the foundations for progress in Durban, negotiators became embroiled in a series of agenda fights. This resulted in days of paralysis in the formal process.
What can we learn from the first week’s events, are there any positives to take going into week two, and what should negotiators do to turn this session around?
As the reporting deadline for 2010 looms, developed countries will need to prove that they are honestly meeting their modest $30 billion commitment.
Today, WRI releases an updated summary of developed countries’ “fast start” climate finance pledges. These funds are intended to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt to climate change from 2010-2012.
To date, 21 developed countries and the European Commission have publically announced individual fast-start finance pledges totaling nearly USD 28 billion to meet the USD 30 billion commitment in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.