Developing countries’ fund key to climate pact

BY ZACK COLMAN | SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 | 5:00 AM

NEW YORK — What once seemed a harmless token of good will from rich countries to poor ones could derail negotiations over a global climate deal next year.

Developing nations want industrial countries to contribute the $100 billion they promised for a Green Climate Fund by 2020 to pay for clean energy and other projects meant to help them adapt to a changing climate.

That $100 billion was never realistic. The fund has $2.3 billion, of which $1.3 billion was raised at the United Nations climate summit last week in New York. Rich nations that were expected to contribute when the U.N. started the fund in 2010 aren’t feeling rich anymore.

Unless developing nations drop their demands, negotiations over a binding climate pact next year in Paris might be over before they really begin.

“The United States and other Western countries and other industrialized countries need to indicate that that amount of money won’t be forthcoming. We can’t allow this funding issue to sabotage an agreement on emissions,” said Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on energy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Inking a deal would be difficult anyway. Theoretically, nations want commitments to cut enough greenhouse gases by 2020 to avoid a 2 degree Celsius global temperature rise by 2100. Most climate scientists say not enough is being done to curb the emissions they blame for stoking climate change. They argue that even some steps that have been considered bold, such as President Obama’s proposed rules on power plant emissions, are too tame.

The existence of yawning gaps between rhetoric and reality is routine at the U.N. And the hot air is no less plentiful on the subject of climate change than it is on other issues.

The Kyoto negotiations in 1997 set the precedent. They failed because China and India, hewing to their plans for economic growth, refused to participate. The United States balked at signing the treaty without them. The same nations also doomed the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen, the last major attempt to secure a climate treaty.

India remains obdurate. New Delhi has candidly expressed skepticism about the concept of climate change. It said bluntly last week that its emissions would continue to rise and it would not offer a plan to reduce them before the Paris negotiations.

Although the Copenhagen talks collapsed, the Green Climate Fund was one of the few tangible results of the negotiations. It is symbolic for developing nations and crucial for keeping them engaged in climate talks.

A key moment will come in November, when nations meet specifically to make pledges to the fund. U.N. officials have reduced their first-round goal to $10 billion from $15 billion.

“A strong fund mobilization in November is critical because it’s seen as part of the original deal,” said Lou Leonard, vice president for climate change with the World Wildlife Fund. “If it is not lived up to, then it will be hard to convince the developing countries to live up to the Paris deal.”

In 2040, developing nations are expected to emit 127 percent more carbon dioxide from energy than the world’s most developed countries, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Even though they’re projected to contribute more emissions in the future, developing nations consider the Green Climate Fund a matter of fairness. They point out that they are expected to deal with the consequences of climate change even though a great proportion of the heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere were emitted by rich countries that developed earlier. Many undeveloped nations are ill-equipped to bear the consequences either financially and functionally.

But many rich nations aren’t feeling so wealthy these days, noted Deborah Gordon, energy and climate director with the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. For all the idealism and global cooperation that those leaders aimed to highlight at the climate summit, economic realities might prevent significant financial pledges.

“Whose responsibility is it to act?” Gordon said. “In a perfect world it would be on the shoulders on the developed world … but these countries are going through their own changes, which are expensive.”

Bledsoe said developing nations shouldn’t overplay their hand or they would risk being left out of negotiations while bigger economies search for solutions.

It will be difficult even for big economies to agree to a deal by themselves. Canada’s economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, for example, and its concerns are therefore radically different from those of Latin America, where deforestation is a much bigger issue.

“It’s a hard one to slice and dice, which is why they probably looked at a global accord,” Gordon said.

Leonard said there is hope of keeping developing nations on board.

While the fund was originally pitched as a rich-to-poor donation, Leonard noted that some developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia said they would contribute. He also noted that the United States, European Union and Japan haven’t put down any money, but probably will.

Leonard thinks the $100 billion is possible, but November’s pledges will give a better indication. If the commitment is weak, he said, it could reduce the chances of inking a legitimate draft accord in Lima, Peru, in December.

Gordon says getting to $100 billion is unlikely.

“The deadlines that were set from Kyoto and the U.N. leading up to now — 2020 seemed like the future. 2020 isn’t the future now,” she said.

Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/developing-countries-fund-key-to-climate-pact/article/2553989IMG_0506.JPG

LAGOS CLIMATE MARCH

People's climate march
Civil society organization’s march for climate Justice

STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS IN NIGERIA ON THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH IN LAGOS

 

 

The civil society march for climate justice in Lagos, Nigeria.
The civil society march for climate justice in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

PREAMBLE

On Sunday 21st September, 2014, we witnessed the swell of global support for climate justice as people from different corners of the globe gathered in New York City to march for climate justice.

Today, Monday 22nd of September, 2014, the good people of Nigeria stand in solidarity with the peoples of the world to demand climate justice from world leaders that will gather at the United Nations climate summit on 23rd September, 2014.

We are concerned that climate related disasters have claimed thousands of lives, wiped out resources and sunk many into deeper poverty. Africa remains on the frontlines of climate change and continues to be vulnerable to its impacts.

We are disturbed that climate challenges are rooted in the global patterns of injustice, discrimination and inequalities which can only be reversed through profound transformative systems change at all levels of governance.

OUR DEMANDS

• We reiterate the calls and demands made by various civil society organizations, women’s groups, indigenous groups and social movements from all over the world by calling on world leaders to take urgent action to secure the lives and livelihoods of the poor, vulnerable and the disadvantaged who are also deprived of the means to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
• We call on world leaders, to make bold commitments to deep emission cuts that are targeted towards limiting temperatures to well below1.5 degrees Celsius at United Nations climate summit on 23rd September 2014. These commitments should not be watered down under the “pledge and review system”- a system which is subject to whims and caprices of developed nations- but should be activated to translate into legally binding commitments under the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) policy space.
• We demand for a climate change deal that is rooted in science, equity, justice and based on historical responsibility.
• We call for legally binding solutions that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with scientific recommendations that prevent the worst impacts of human induced climate change
• We reiterate call on world leaders to mobilize effective political will for a meaningful legally binding agreement in post 2015 development agenda
• We call for an economic system that works for people and the planet; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities
• In the context of Nigeria, we demand an immediate end to gas flaring and call for the implementation of the UNEP Ogoni report.
• We call on federal government and all relevant stakeholders in the power sector to speed up power sector reforms and ensure access to regular and affordable power supply to all Nigerians
• We demand access to affordable, renewable and efficient energy services for all.
• We reiterate the calls for the immediate passage of climate change bill by the National Assembly
• We request that efforts should be intensified in the implementation of the necessary framework for combating climate change in Nigeria
• We demand that states and local government should give adequate attention to the issues of adaptation and mitigation of climate change including tree planting and the creation of green jobs
• We call for the creation of a future with clean air, a healthy environment, good jobs, and resilience in the face of a changing climate for our children and people of Nigeria
• We demand for the promotion intergenerational equity and meaning youth participation in all the design and implementation of climate change adaptation and migration programmes
• Legally binding solutions that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with scientific recommendations that prevent the worst impacts of human induced climate change

To change everything we need everyone.

Signed

• Climate Aid International
• Nigerian Conservation Foundation
• Centre for 21st Century Issues
• Climate Wednesday
• Centre for Grassroots and Environmental Concern
• Foresthwyse
• Enough is Enough
• HEDA Resources
• Climate Change Network
• My Nigeria Online
• Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition
• Earthlight
• Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development
• Initiative for Nature and Human Development
• Centre for Climate Leadership
• Ansar-u-deen Youth Movement
• Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT) Youth
• Young Volunteers for the Environment
• Saving Lives Nigeria
• Nature Cares
• Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Youth Fellowship
• Freedom Network
• National Association of Nigerian Students

“AS WE HIT THE STREETS TODAY” – C21ST SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ON THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH

The momentum to galvanize positive actions to address the menace of the impacts of climate change will get to a crescendo today as peoples from all corners of the globe hit the streets in New York City today. Even the secretary General of the United Nations will not be left out as he marches in solidarity with the people.
We at Centre for 21st Century Issues, (C21st) Nigeria also stand in solidarity with the people to demonstrate that the voice of the majority of the peoples on the street far supersedes the voice of the people in governments and corporations.
The damage done already by the impacts of climate change to the poorest and the most marginalized peoples of the world cannot continue to go unmitigated. World Leaders must stand up to their true calling and stop playing games with the future of the people.
The people have a stake in climate change decision making , after all they are the ones on the frontlines of climate change, bearing the heaviest burdens. There is no more room for empty promises at the United Nations climate summit. We demand deep emissions cuts to limit atmospheric temperature to  1.5 degrees celsius and finance to address loss and damages occasioned by the impacts of climate change at the United Nations Summit come 23rd September 2014. This must translate to binding legal agreements at the United Nations Convention on Climate change policy levels.
We would not fold our arms as science has severally demonstrated that temperatures may well be heading towards 5 degrees Celsius, a condition which will destabilize our world.
We are marching today , to ensure the future and health of our planet, to secure our future and the future of generations yet unborn, to say no to corporate take over of climate policy space.
The interest, concerns and voice of the people must prevail! Arise! March On! Let the collective will of the people rule the day!
In solidarity
Ms Titilope Akosa
Executive Director C21st