Friday 18 December 2009

Desperate negotiations to cut a climate deal before world leaders leave Copenhagen

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika


Copenhagen, 18 December - With no imminent agreement in place as planned for Friday evening, meetings continued late into the night as negotiators desperately work to cut a deal to be signed by their leaders before they leave Copenhagen.  And the United Nations is reported to have asked world leaders to stay overnight, in anticipation of a likely agreement to be finalised Friday night.

“The secretary-general of the UN has asked people not to leave tonight,” European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dima told Reuters.  He said he was confident that leaders would eventually reach a deal.

“I cannot imagine 120 leaders going back to their countries with empty hands. Everyone expressed commitment to fight climate change. OK, do it,” he said.

A number of Pacific Island leaders have remained in the Danish city in the hope that they will leave Copenhagen with a deal in their favour.  A leading Pacific climate change negotiator, Ambassador Colin Beck of Solomon Islands said the Pacific, including the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) will not accept anything less than their ‘minimum’ position.

“As you know, our minimum position is to limit global temperature to well below 1.5 degrees and stabilise greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere to well below 350 part per million of carbon dioxide.  Global emissions should peak by no later than 2015 and to be reduced by 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  Any outcome document or agreement that does not reflect that is an imposition of a death sentence on my people", said Ambassador Beck.
We will not accept anything less, and our leaders will not be party to an agreement that does not accept our position, he added.

As he prepared to sit it out with other Pacific negotiators for another night of marathon negotiations, he said, “We will fight until the end. This is not a question of how much money will be given by the developed and rich countries for adaptation and mitigation, but a matter of survival for our people.’
“There are certain elements in an agreement that can be negotiated. In our case, our 1.5 degrees to stay alive position is non-negotiable.  If not, then the world is signing the death certificate of vulnerable island states.”

Since no concrete climate deal was negotiated in time for the world leaders, negotiators have now being pressured to deliver something before they leave Copenhagen.”

Ambassador Beck said AOSIS countries were also disappointed with the approach taken by the Maldives, which is a member of the 43 member grouping.
“They seem to be taking an approach that runs counter to the AOSIS position.  They are part of the group of 24 countries that the President of the COP, the Danish Prime Minister conducted pre-COP consultations with."

Meanwhile, the so-called Copenhagen Accord that has emerged as the most likely text for the final outcome document has been rejected by a number of countries.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez criticised the UN climate conference for “a real lack of transparency”, speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.  When he took the floor at the plenary, Friday afternoon, he accused US President Barack Obama of behaving like an emperor.

“He comes in the middle of the night … and cooks up a document, which we will not accept.” 

President Chávez said “all countries are equal”. 

He said the Bolivian Alliance group of nations will not accept a prepared text that is “slipped under the door” to be signed by others. 

“We can’t wait any longer, we are leaving … we are leaving, knowing that it wasn’t possible getting a deal,” he said. 

Ambassador Beck said there’s a real possibility that many countries will not sign on to the final document, if it doesn’t meet their expectations.

Leaders of India, China, Brazil and South Africa met this morning to discuss their positions as emerging economies.

“We all agreed that whatever document that comes out of Copenhagen must be transparent and inclusive, said Shyam Saran, India’s special climate change envoy.  He said, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Premier Wen Jiabao expressed their disappointment that they were not consulted by the President of COP for a political decision to move the negotiations forward.

“The Chinese leader told us that he was not invited to the political consultations held by the Danish PM Friday. My Prime Minister was equally disappointed by the process, said Ambassador Saran.
“What we are now told is that a 3-4 page declaration reflecting what we have agreed from the two documents (AWG-LCA and AWG-KP) will form the basis of the outcome document.

He said the four emerging economies are united in their view that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is not diluted, any post Copenhagen negotiations must be within the mandate of the Bali Plan  of Action and the Kyoto Protocol must be preserved

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: SPREP's climate change adviser Espen Ronneberg on the eve of the final negotiations

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Espen Ronneberg, SPREP's Climate Change Adviser

Well, I have been, as I mentioned in earlier days I have been working with the adaptation group. We just completed a reading of the adaptation text that we have been working on since we came here, we managed to sort out a lot of issues that the other partners raised, we've managed to get a lot of agreement in the text but we have still got to resolve a bunch of really important issues like the financing, the support that should be provided to developing countries, how it should be provided and what sort of functions we should assign to an international committee at the level of the COP to look into adaptation into the future so the paper that we've been working on, thats now going to be forwarded to the ministerial level.

We dont quite know what the process will be for handling what weve been able to achieve, we dont know how they are going to resolve the outstanding issues where we couldnt agree so I'm really as much in the dark as everybody else as to how this will all end, but I have to say the pacific worked really hard in the adaptation working group and I think we managed to get a lot of good things in the final paper, the problem is that we now have just so many brackets remaining especially those relating to finance.

Well, the paper will be presented to the ministers and they will have to make some sort of decision on it whether they have a decision to continue work, that could be one option or perhaps they could resolve at the political level some of these issues that we at a technical level couldnt resolve.

So it remains to be seen how the evening progresses, we are not even sure if we at the techincal level will be allowed into the room, this process has been really difficult in the last few days trying to understand how the work that we have been doing will fit in the final product, its been really difficult.

We stayed up all night, some of our colleagues had to sleep on the floor last night, its been really hard with the small team that we have to be able to cover the whole range of negotiations, its been really frustrating but we tried our best and I think we achieved some success but its the final product that will be the proof of our success.

Palau@COP 15: Protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am truly thankful for this opportunity to address the leaders of the Planet Earth.  I stand here by virtue of my status as a Head of State, but I address you as a Son of the Pacific Islands.

Mr. President,
Palau’s legend teaches us that we spring from Mother Nature. And historically, we have shared a symbiotic relationship. But, as a result of abuse which mankind has committed against her, the capacity of Mother Nature for tolerance has been pushed to the breaking point. We now feel her wrath as she is rising to devour us.  She has gone from being our benefactor to our adversary in the form of climate change.  Now, we are engaged in an epic battle against climate change to save our planet and humanity.  Defeat is not an option.

Mr. President,
We are the ones who started this conflict with Nature, and we must bring an end to this conflict. To end this conflict, we need to work together to harness all our resources, creativity, and determination.  We need to move beyond distinctions of class, race, creed, ethnicity, national boundaries, and color – and together we must relearn to live in harmony with Nature.  The existential nature of our work requires that all inhabitants of our planet must work together, and in this context, we advocate on the inclusion of Taiwan in these discussions.

Mr. President,
Climate change is evidence of Mother Nature’s desperation to be heard. I believe, if we listen carefully, we can hear in her voice the call for reconciliation; for, like a loving mother, she wants to bring us back to the right path. I’m afraid that if we don’t heed her call, we may be doomed to eternal condemnation.

Mr. President,
Let us respond to Mother Nature’s call by taking drastic action to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.  This includes moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  In this conflict, green energy is the antidote to the toxic effects of climate change.  I believe that Mother Nature is urging us to go green to save our planet and ourselves.

Mr. President,
We know the challenges facing mankind.  We need and must have a positive outcome from this historic meeting. I endorse the AOSIS position on climate change. It is a position that deserves to be adopted by this Conference. It will guarantee victory in this epic battle against climate change.  It will prove cost effective in the long run. To delay drastic action today will result in an exponentially greater cost, a cost which may prove prohibitively high.  The AOSIS position is the clear path to victory.

Mr. President,
Our first priority must be to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us. And they include the low lying islands of Oceania, who are on the front line in the onslaught of climate change. The protection of the weakest and most vulnerable is a test of our humanity, courage and commitment to win our battle against climate change. To do this, we must all work together. To successfully protect the weakest and the most vulnerable necessarily assures us of the security of all. And, here I would like to ask our partners and our friends, and especially the industrialized nations, to come on board and to lead the battle against climate change. Fairness requires that more should be demanded from those nations which historically have contributed the most to climate change.

Mr. President,
I am an optimist and I believe that the human creativity and ingenuity which led to the industrial revolution should be refocused on the process to contain, and reverse the adverse effects of climate change. I believe that what men can do, men can undo.

Let us take prompt and remedial action by adopting a binding agreement here which will specify a strategy to effectively and immediately combat the adverse effects of climate change.  The future of mankind is in the balance. Time is of the essence and sometimes, defeat is just another word for too late.

This historic conference in Copenhagen should not be and must not be an exercise in futility.  Let us leave behind from this meeting a legacy of hope for the survival of our planet earth and the future generations of mankind.

Thank you.

Pacific Voices @ COP15: Waiting on an outcome, the evening of the last day of COP 15 negotiations

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika - Copenhagen, 18 December


Ambassador Colin Beck, Solomon Islands
For the rest of the membership we are merely waiting.  Waiting in terms of discussing whatever the outcome within the context of our negotiating groups so definitely representatives of AOSIS within the group of 24 that is currently working on the text to report back to the group.  But I think interesting developments have occurred at the plenary this morning.  Two presidents more or less have rejected whatever the outcome of the 24 groups, what the friends of the chair are doing.  They were speaking on behalf of a number of countries as well. So it's giving a new dynamics, and I think we've always asked for a party driven process.  And for us its really unfortunate that we've been left out of the whole process.

Georgina Makaa, Solomon Islands youth delegate
Its most likely that we wont achieve that we want, like from AOSIS we wanted a legally binding commitment.  I think the leaders should look down to us and see how we the AOSIS countries are suffering because our survival really depends on whatever the outcome from this meeting.

Christina Ora, Solomon Islands youth delegate

We the youths of the Pacific Islands, we all look up to them and definitely I must say a hundred percent, they have all let us down  I'm not only sad but pissed and angry, we need this deal - we don't want it, we need it.  It's our survival we are talking about here.  Please listen to us.  Even though we don't have a deal here this month or this year then there is a need for a deal in the future.

Dr. Al Binger - AOSIS

We wont take it. Personally my advice to the leaders would be - you're signing a suicide pact you're gonna kill your people.  It may be fast in some places and it may slow in others. You know, we did a study in the Caribbean .. two degrees will guarantee us at least two degrees of seal level rise.  We did one study in the Caribbean, just the English speaking Caribbean and one meter of seal level rise, just infrastructure, 100 billion dollars.  No airports or ports, let alone if we start talking about settlements, agriculture and fresh water. So its not a matter of whether we have room to maneuver. The room we had to maneuver was ten, twelve years ago.  We've wasted all of this time and now the clock is running out. We will be the last to walk.  Our point is, if we walk away, we live business as usual and business as usual is killing us. So nothing we will do is going to jeopardize our future by our own actions.

Leaked document alludes to no concrete financial commitments

Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 18 December - A leaked document outlining the proposed decision by the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen makes no mention of any numbers in regards to finance of climate change adaptation and mitigation.  The document which is a draft version to be signed by those representing parties to the Kyoto Protocol specifies a limit to global emissions at 1.5 degrees proposes a Copenhagen Climate Fund to be established as a result of the meeting.

Titled the 'Copenhagen Accord' it states: "We decide that the Copenhagen Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity building, technology development and transfer."

This was the only mention of finance in the whole document.

But money matters have long been a point of argument at COP15, as developing countries, facing the  imminent threat of sea level rise, droughts and extreme weather events, demand high compensation and assistance from developed nations at the conference.

The financing is intended to help poorer nations to build coastal protection, modify or shift crops threatened by drought, build water supplies and irrigation systems, preserve forests, improve health care to deal with diseases spread by warming, and move from fossil fuel to low-carbon energy systems, such as solar and wind power.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) last week announced that the proposed US$10 billion dollar a year discussed amount falls short of a responsible number.

Dessima Williams, the Chair of the group said: "AOSIS outlines specific financing mechanisms in it's proposal to the Conference of the Parties. The document demands developed country Parties to provide new, additional and predictable financial resources to support enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation in all developing countries.  The provision of financial resources shall be guided by the principles of the Convention and the priorities of developing countries that are Party to this Protocol, especially particularly vulnerable developing countries."

On Thursday the US pledged $100 billion dollars to a fund to assist developing countries, but it came with heavy conditions, which include but not limited to certain commitments by China.

EU leaders ended a Brussels summit last week with a three-year deal to pay 7.2bn euros to help poorer nations cope with climate change.  But some say the sum offered by the EU is inadequate.  The 7.2bn euros is Europe's contribution to a proposed package of $10bn a year designed to help Africa, island nations and other vulnerable states cope with climate change from next January until 2012.

This however is not enough according to Williams who says an adequate amount should be at least $86 billion or as high as $250 billion dollars in three years.

"When we talk about adequate levels of financing think about the Philipines, think about the water loss in Kiribati, what will it cost to give people a guarantee of clean water in every country in the 21st century. Is it $1 billion dollars? No.

"So we are clear that the figures have to be raised and we welcome all the negotiators including EU for putting more ambitious figures on the table."

Other leaders have pledged numbers, but no deal has been made to make them obligated.  Britain has said it will contribute $1.3 billion over three years, and Sweden will give $1.2 billion.  The Dutch say they will contribute $442 million dollars over three years, and the Belgians $221 million.  But Europe, along with other rich countries, have a poor track record on meeting its commitments to climate finance.

With a few hours to go in negotiations, only time will tell if the developed countries will maintain their bad track record or not, because for now, the numbers are but empty promises until they sign a deal.

Night in the Bella Center

Rachna Lal, USP Journalism, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen 18 December -  With negotiations reaching the final 24 hours, hundreds of delegates have had to spend nights here at the Bella Center due to meetings ending in the early hours of the next morning.  

Several nights before that, negotiaters had been up in meetings the whole night and were rushing back to refresh then return, while others were entering the building to start meetings at 5am.

Diane McFadzien, the Policy Coordinator of WWF, slept at the conference venue after the negotiations ended at 4.30 am on Friday morning.  She said all the couches at the venue were filled with people sleeping on them and had to sleep on the floor.   

“There must have been like more than 100 people who stayed back and many were here because they would have had to come back early before 8 a.m. the next morning anyway.”

She indicated that the last metro train leaves at 4.30 a.m. and when they missed it, she and her colleague came back into the center and spent the night in one of the negotiations room.

“We slept hidden behind tables so that no one would see us but in the morning we woke up with the sounds of a technician checking the microphones and when we were trying to quickly get up, he said it is all right and we could go back to sleep,”  McFadzien said.

After spending two full days in the conference venue, McFadzien is definitely looking forward to going back to her comfy bed.

“I feel so tired and I cannot wait to get out of this place,” she added.

And who said those who get to travel across the world on meetings have all the fun!

Obama media feeding frenzy gets ridiculous at COP15

Friday 18 December 2009, COPENHAGEN --Media and press unable to get into the tightly restricted High Level Plenary session had to make do with jostling for space to film, of all things, a household-size HD TV screen (above). Those with wi-fi enabled laptops watched the US President present on their screens then rapidly dispersed after his closing remarks. Media and press still got a better deal than NGO's, who were barely visible inside the Bella Centre today but braved the chill and snow blasting through Copenhagen to make their anger known.--ENDS 

World leaders force a political outcome, breaks deadlock

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 18 December - World leaders present in Copenhagen Friday, with the hope of signing a legally binding climate change deal, will have to settle for a political accord.  This was hinted by most of the leaders that took the podium at the High Level Segment today, including United States President, Barack Obama.

“After months of talk and two weeks of negotiations, I believe the pieces of that accord are now clear."

President Obama said, “This is not a perfect agreement and no country will get everything it wants.
The bottom line is – we can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward and continue to refine and build on its foundation.

“We can do that and everyone who is in this room will be part of an historic endeavour – one that makes life better for our children and grandchildren", said Obama.

He refused to budge from his position saying the United States will continue to invest in renewable energy and pursue a clean energy economy.

“America is going to continue on this course of action no matter what happens here in Copenhagen.
For the United States there will be no change in position until all major economies put forward decisive national actions on emissions reductions and ‘begin to turn the corner on climate change.’

“We have charted our course, we have made our commitments and we will do what we say", said Obama.

Three positions pushed by the Obama administration in the climate change talks are – major economies must put forward decisive national actions on emissions targets, a mechanism to review commitments and exchange of information in a transparent manner and a financing package for mitigation and adaptation.

US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton Thursday announced a fast start funding of $10 billion for 2012 and the U.S will mobilise $100 billion in financing by 2020.

European Union President, Jose Manuel Barroso was less optimistic but hopes that COP16 in Mexico will ‘progress discussions on transparency and internationalisation of actions’ as provided for in the Bali Plan of Action.

“What remains in our sight is a critical milestone. It’s now obvious that we cannot get everything that we hoped for."

Prime Minister Tilman Thomas of Grenada speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) expressed the disappointment of the 43 member group saying whatever political outcome that will come out of Copenhagen is ‘not under the mandate of the Bali Plan of Action.’

“It is not a legally binding outcome.

The response, so far for small island states is – the outcome document is ‘inadequate.’  However, ‘We hope the post Copenhagen period will be characterised by the full implementation of the political will shown here to save the planet.”

“More efforts should be on getting the job done and not only get the talks done", said PM Thomas.

Appealing for conscience, common sense and compromise, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon urged world leaders to ‘seize the opportunity and prove their legacy to the world.’

“We are united in purpose. Now is the time for us to be united in action."

India, one of the more vocal major developing economies within the G77 group said while the accord ‘falls short of expectations, it can be regarded as a significant milestone.’

“India supports calls for subsequent negotiations towards building a truly global and genuinely collaborative response to climate change being concluded in 2010."

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh said all effort should now be diverted to continue post Copenhagen negotiations on the basis of the Bali mandate

COP15 confusion a COP-out, says activist

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pacific media
Friday 18 December 2009,COPENHAGEN--When one delegate laughed to another "let  us pray" when sitting to lunch on day 12 of COP15,  it was not the food they were referring to. Process and rules of procedure for COP meetings have borne the brunt of frustrated groupings, particularly from developing country and small islands nations who are feeling marginalised and disowned by what they call a lack of transparency. Even the much awaited whistle stop visit by US President Obama, despite stopping traffic and stirring media and delegates into a frenzy, roused other world leaders wanting to vent as the reality of a political agreement rather than a legally binding outcome set in. We caught up with COP veteran, Cook Islander Diane McFadzien, who had spent her one hour of sleep in the last 30 hours or so, at the Bella Centre:
TRANSCRIPT: DMcF: I think there's a lot that can still be done but also at this stage of the process, we don't even know what we're really going to get at the end of today. We still have a lot of text that's still in draft form, or absolutely full of brackets. Theres almost every option on the table. The good the bad, it's just sad. I don't even know what we will end up with.

LWL: Is this the scenario you expected, even at its worst, before you came to COP15?
DMcF: No.
LWL: What did you expect?
DMcF: I think I expected things to be run a little bit more transparently. I think a lot of the problem why so many of us don't know really know what we're getting is at the moment there's a lot of rumours going around...LWL: In all the years you've been at COP and you've been at many, how does this one compare?
DMcF: It's the most confusing COP I've ever been to. It's a COP where nobody knows what is going on. It's my least enjoyable COP.
(on the question of whether the leaders should take a 2deg. or more deal or walk)
DmcF: I don't know what our leaders will do but personally I wouldn't sign a deal that was a suicide pact. I don't think that I would come here and represent my country and sign the dotted line on something that I knew woudl put my countrys' existence under threat. If I was a leader, l wouldn't do it.
LWL: As an NGO activist then, any last words, in the last hours?
I have to keep thinking optimisticaly. People keep telling me deals can be made at the last minute behind closed doors. So I kind of hope that some of our leaders will hold on strong and push their way through. I don't know if it's possible but I just hope they will do something that will just make us proud.

SPREP Director on SIDS Dock

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, December 18 - SIDS Dock is an innovative project jointly implemented in the AOSIS regions, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean in relation to encouraging renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.

Its called SIDS Dock because its acting as a docking station for funding which comes in association with the carbon markets and can be docked in this and distributed to Pacific countries.

Today we had a ceremony attended by the prime minister of St Lucia, ministers of many other Caribbean and Pacific countries signing this agreement so its the launch of the project. It will address the needs of island countries in our region and the Pacific to move and shift away from the very expensive diesel petrol to shift to other forms of energy as quickly as possible.

Partly as a result of COP15 its likely that there will be increased finance for mitigation efforts in particular to funding thats associated with carbon markets and this will provide a  the SIDS Dock for money to be docked and then allocated.

Today we looked at the memorandum of understanding involving SPREP the Caribbean Climate Change Centre and member countries.

This is an initiative launched today and will have major implications in terms of encouraging renewable energy in the island countries      and shift away from petroleum and diesel fuel as a key source of energy so it is quite an important and exciting initiative.

well I think there are some tangible benefits, clearly an initiative like the SIDS Dock, clearly there's also increased financing that will flow.

The mechanics of that are still to be worked out. But there are many significant commitments on the table.

Many commitments which are targeted to the most vulnerable countries which obviously include the island countries and many other partnerships which have been developed at COP15 so there are some positive elements coming out of this COP and the final outcome we still waiting to see.

So we hope we will still have a positive outcome there.

Leaked UN report shows cuts offered at Copenhagen would lead to 3 degrees rise

A leaked United Nations report says emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen climate change summit would still lead to global temperatures rising by an average of three degrees celsius.  The confidential analysis was obtained by the British newspaper, The Guardian.  With the talks entering the final 12 hours, the emergence of the document seriously undermines the statements by governments that they are aiming to limit emissions to a level ensuring no more than a 2 degrees celsius temperature rise over the next century, and indicates that the last day of negotiations will be extremely challenging.

A rise of 3degrees celsius would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the Stern economic review of climate change for the UK government – as well as leaving up to 50 percent of species facing extinction. Even a rise of 2 degrees would lead to a sharp decline in tropical crop yields, more flooding and droughts.

Another key obstacle – the fate of the Kyoto treaty – was solved, with China and the developing world seeing off attempts to kill the protocol. But the UN analysis suggests much deeper cuts will have to be agreed today to achieve the stated objective of limiting temperature rises to 2 degrees.

The document was drafted by the UN secretariat running the Copenhagen summit and is dated 11pm on Tuesday night. It is marked ‘do not distribute’ and ‘initial draft.’

It shows a gap of up to 4.2 gigatonnes of carbon emissions between the present pledges and the required 2020 level of 44Gt, which is required to stay below a 2 degrees rise. No higher offers have since been made.

“Unless the remaining gap of around 1.9-4.2Gt is closed and Annex 1 parties [rich countries] commit themselves to strong action before and after 2020, global emissions will remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal or above 550 parts per million, with the related temperature rise around 3 degrees,” it says. It does not specify a time when 3C would be reached but it is likely to be 2050.
Greenpeace campaigner Joss Garman said: “This is an explosive document that shows the numbers on the table at the moment would lead to nothing less than climate breakdown and an extraordinarily dangerous situation for humanity.

The UN is admitting in private that the pledges made by world leaders would lead to a 3 degrees rise in temperatures. The science shows that could lead to the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, crippling water shortages across South America and Australia and the near-extinction of tropical coral reefs, and that's just the start of it."

Bill McKibben, founder of the campaign, said: “In one sense this is no secret – we've been saying it for months. But it is powerful to have the UN confirming its own insincerity.”

The goal of keeping the increase in global average temperatures below 2C, relative to pre-industrial levels, has become the figure that all rich countries have committed to try to achieve in Copenhagen. However, 102 of the world's poorest countries are holding out for emission cuts resulting in a temperature increase of no more than 15 degrees celsius.

Failing to do that, they say, would leave billions of people in the world homeless, facing famine and open to catastrophic weather-related disasters. But such an ambitious target would mean carbon would have to be removed from the atmosphere.

The internal paper says: “Further steps are possible and necessary to fill the gap. This could be done by increasing the aggregated emission reductions [in rich countries] to at least 30% below the baseline levels, further stronger voluntary actions by developing countries [such as China and India] to reduce their emissions by at least 20% below business as usual, and reducing further emissions from deforestation and international aviation and marine shipping."

Oxfam International's climate adviser, Hugh Cole, said: “At this stage, a deal that fails to keep temperature rises below two degrees is simply not good enough.”

Earlier this week, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who heads the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that even with 1.5 degrees rises, many communities would suffer.

“Some of the most vulnerable region in the world will be worst affected. These will be the largest countries in the developing world. They have little infrastructure that might protect them from climate change. The tragedy of the situation is that those countries that have not at all contributed to the problem of climate change will be the ones most affected,” he said.

As reported from The Guardian

Solomon Islands signs up to SPREP clean energy deal

Solomon Islands has put its name down to be part of a Pacific Caribbean arrangement on clean energy.  The deal will set up a mechanism to assist countries in the Pacific and Caribbean to access cleaner and more efficient energy sources.

With the ongoing climate change talks at the UN meeting still in free fall, the Friday morning signing was the week’s first good news for Pacific and the small island development developing states – in a long week dominated by snow and even frostier like negotiations.

The leader of the Solomon Islands delegation says the initiative would not only go towards reducing greenhouse gases, but it would also result in energy efficiency for its members, as well as being more cost effective for the economies of small island countries.

“We spend something like 70 percent of our foreign reserves on purchasing fuel,” this arrangement will take pressure off our finances,” says Environment Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

Millions of dollars are spent on importing diesel to run generators that provide the main source of electricity to Solomon Islanders.

Solomon Islands deputy director of energy Nixon Kua says the arrangement will allow his country to gain access to new developments in the energy sector.

“There are some technology projects that we,  for us in the Solomon Islands can take on to mitigate climate change - hydro, geothermal….we have potential in geothermal and we need to further investigate this,” says Kua.

The ultimate aim of SIDS Dock, as the initiative is called, is to increase energy efficiency by 25 percent and to generate a minimum of 50 per cent of electric power from renewable sources, as well as a 20-30 percent reduction in the transportation of fuel.  All this is to be achieved by 2033.  SIDS Dock will be jointly managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center.  Kua says an important feature of SIDS Dock is provides a platform for the trade in carbon as well as access to other renewable energy sources.

“It will be a docking station for overseas countries and companies to deal with us on energy and this will benefit us.”

SIDS Dock Launch

Rachna Lal, USP Journalism, Climate Pasifika

The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) launched their Sustainable Energy Initiative called SIDS Dock today at the COP15.

SIDS annually spends in excess of 25 percent of their foreign exchange earnings on fossil fuels, on which they are highly dependent.  

The Director of Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), David Sheppard said SIDS Dock is an institutional mechanism that will facilitate the development of a clean energy economy within the SIDS.

The Work of SIDS doc will be in assisting SIDS with developing a sustainable energy sector, increasing energy efficiency and development of renewable energy resources together with other important key functions.

The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Stevenson King in giving his full support to the Dock said, “The SIDS Dock provides one new window of opportunity to reduce our emissions.”

By providing SIDS with a mechanism to pursue sustainable energy, SIDS Dock will make it easier for multilateral organization, private sector and donor countries to invest across multiple island states.

Small Islands Launch Energy Initiative to Reduce Emissions and Pursue Low Carbon Development


In spite of concerns that current climate talks may not reach an agreement that guarantees survival of small, vulnerable island nations, several small islands today have taken matters into their own hands to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

They have signed a historic agreement to combine resources and work together to pilot a unique sustainable energy initiative which will improve their energy efficiency, reduce their reliance on fossil fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions against targets they have established or will establish for themselves in the near future. The initiative, known as SIDS-Dock, is essentially an institutional mechanism which will combine creative financing tools, capacity building and logistical resources that aim to radically transform the collective energy sectors of island nations. 

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing SIDS-Dock, during a side event at the UNFCCC COP 15, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Stephenson King, stated that for small island developing nations, making the transition to a clean energy economy is highly dependent on the availability of cost-effective solutions and secure financing. However, he stressed that a clean energy economy is absolutely essential for meeting the challenges posed by climate change in pursuing sustainable development. 

The Honourable Lormus Bundhoo, Minister of Environment and NDU for Mauritius, another of the signing countries, added that the SIDS are uniquely vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change in terms of ecosystem sensitivity, economic structure, small geographic size and adaptation capacity.

“SIDS-Dock has the potential to help us address these vulnerabilities by strengthening our ability to secure from bilateral sources, markets and philanthropy, a pool of capital to invest in low carbon energy projects and in so doing help advance sustainable development of small islands nations,” he said.

The Environment Minister highlighted that Mauritius has established a 40 million dollar sustainable energy fund which will help his country reduce its reliance on petroleum and reduce emissions.

The key elements of SIDS-Dock revolve around the cooperative nature of the initiative and its structure that will allow it to access the global carbon capital markets and other green and socially responsible investment funds, but also to access technology and effect transfer as needed. 

“SIDS-Dock is so named because it is intended to be a “docking station” for the European and US carbon markets,” explained Science Advisor to AOSIS Al Binger. “The potential value of trading avoided GHG emissions is estimated to be between USD $100-400 billion annually. It will thus be a mechanism that facilitates technological transfer and flow of financial capital we intend to for small islands to derive significant benefits through SIDS-Dock”.

“When operational, SIDS-Dock will assist Island nations in assessing the potential options for attracting investments for the development of a particular renewable energy or for energy efficiency improvements or conservation, which is very important,” he said.

“We will then work on setting emission reduction targets and begin implementing the energy strategy required to achieve these standards.”

Twelve Small Island member states of AOSIS (the Alliance of Small Island States) signed the agreement establishing SIDS-Dock today. They are The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mauritius, Palau, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Seychelles and Solomon Islands.

They will work in cooperation across the three SIDS regions towards their goal of increasing energy efficiency by 25% (2005 baseline) at a minimum and to generate a minimum of 50% of electric power from renewable sources, and a 20-30% decrease in liquid petroleum transportation fuel use by 2033.

CONTACT:   Seema Deo  +45 5275 8247 (   
                   Al Binger      +45 5395 3164 (

Fiji@COP15: Act now to save our countries, mankind and our planet

Mr. President
Heads of State and Governments
Ladies and Gentlemen

The Prime Minister of the Republic of The Fiji Islands, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, was all prepared to leave Fiji and join us here when, a Cyclone struck Fiji two day ago, ravaging and devastating parts of Fiji. The timing of the Cyclone sent a strong, loud and clear message to this momentous Conference on Climate Change. That message is: ACT NOW TO SAVE OUR COUNTRIES, MANKIND and OUR PLANET. The Prime Minister remained in Fiji to oversee the "picking up of the pieces".

Mr. President
If there ever was an event in the history of mankind requiring unity and a commitment to a common, universal cause, this is it. If there was a moment on our planet requiring concerted action, it is now. If there was a place where we could collectively and unanimously demonstrate to future generations that we sincerely care for the world in which we live, it is here in Copenhagen.

All credible indicators are confirming that our survival as humans is under serious threat. Our way of life, customs, homes, markets, land, our corals, reefs, ocean, our very future, are all at stake. We are challenged by a phenomenon so massively destructive that if we fail to act now, we shall individually and collectively suffer the consequences and will have only ourselves to blame.

Sir, Fiji is a Small Island State. The adverse effects of climate change on our islands are visible and real. Our coastlines are eroding; cyclones are becoming frequent, more intense and destructive.

They bring death and injury to our people, destruction to farms and businesses, devastation to our economy and impose enormous demands on our social services. Our country and our people are under siege from the effects of global warming.

Mr. President
Fiji is privileged to be a member of SIDS, AOSIS and of the Group of 77 and China. It has given strength to our representations. Throughout the process leading to Copenhagen, the needs and interests of Small Island Developing States have come to be recognized and appreciated in their peculiarity. For too long, we have been uncomfortably associated in a development grouping with diverse interests that threatened to drown the realization of our own.

Mr. President
Our interests are not sophisticated. They are not insurmountable either. In terms of financing, all we ask for is a transparent, practical mechanism that ensures ready access to funding. We are not experts at mountain climbing. We will find it frustrating to conquer the steep slopes of application procedures with a thick canopy of financial institutions and implementing agencies which frustrate the delivery of funds to the ground while consuming inordinate portions of the said funds in administrative costs.

Mr. President
As Government, it is our duty, obligation and responsibility to facilitate and promote national development and a better life for our people. Our coffers to address the deleterious effects of climate change on our nation are not bottomless or inexhaustible. Storm surges, flooding, cyclones, saltwater intrusion and rise in sea levels, are phenomenon which have been exacerbated by human activities. Sadly, most of these activities are perpetrated somewhere far away from our shores. I urge all to let us respond now, at this moment, together, to address global warming. If we act now and together, victory over global warming shall be ours - yours and mine.

Mr. President
Fiji, like most others in AOSIS, have been consistent and clarion in our call for deep cuts and reduction in carbon emission by developed countries. This is because we have no other options open to us as small island nations. To request that we give up our call for 350ppm and the 1.5 degree Celsius would be akin to asking SIDS to commit suicide. We do not have the leeway or option to make that decision.

Fiji now calls on the bigger developing countries also to reduce their emission. It is indefensible to hide in the cloak of under-development so as not committing to a universal responsibility to reducing carbon emissions. Together we aspire, together we shall achieve. We all, industrialized countries, major developing countries and others, must prevent the profligate carbon emission bird of sorrow from nesting in our hair.

Mr. President
In the global scheme of things, Fiji's emission is very insignificant, some 0.001%. We see Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), and enhancing forest carbon stock in developing countries (REDD+) as a small but meaningful way in which our country can contribute to mitigating climate change...Fiji is well ahead in the formulation of REDD policies. We believe that a robust, equitable and transparent Agreement for REDD is a must.

Finally Mr. President,
I express my Delegation’s gratitude to you and the peoples of Demark for the warmth of the welcome and reception during our stay in this great and historic city of Copenhagen. We pay tribute to the Danish Government for leading the way in the development of green technology. The greatest tribute we can pay to Copenhagen and to humanity is to agree, sign and fully implement; either now or soon, a legally binding instrument that addresses challenges imposed by climate change.


Papua New Guinea@COP15: Environmental Revolution

Prime Ministerial Statement

Obviously, this is not an audience that needs to be convinced that climate Change is real.

For Pacific Island states, however, some of our habitats and islands face total obliteration.  Without question, climate change is the greatest challenge of our time.

Therefore, my objective in coming to Copenhagen is to identify what needs to be done by our countries together - rich and poor!  Papua New Guinea seeks to contribute to a legally-binding, robust and effective outcome as soon as possible.
Today, humanity stands at a cross-road.  Old energy technologies are bringing about untold damage due to global warming. 
At the same time, we have the knowledge and technology necessary to totally power our economies from renewable energy while halting forest loss and improving food security.
Leaders, such as myself, must seize this challenge and fundamentally restructure our developmental pathways.  Economic growth must be forever disconnected from carbon emissions. 
With thoughtful support, maybe developing countries, like mine, can frame the next ‘revolution’ – the ‘Environmental Revolution.’ 
Do we stand a chance? As we are seeing in Papua New Guinea, we must understand that climate change is occurring faster than the experts predicted.  Indeed, it is likely that we need to stabilize at 350 parts per million, not 450 parts per million!
To return to 350 parts per million, however, we must protect and increase our forests and broadly apply new technologies including carbon capture and storage and negative carbon.

Therefore, rather than blaming our problems on others, Papua New Guinea is focused on becoming part of the solution. Last Wednesday, my Government adopted a Draft ‘Climate Compatible Development Plan.’ 
In summary, my Government has accepted the challenge to become effectively carbon neutral by 2030, meaning a 100% reduction against Business As Usual, while at the same time tripling our GDP-per-capita.   
Obviously, this objective is highly dependent on adequate, predictable, and sustainable financial support.
In order to do this, we must focus on three key mitigation areas:
1.      Land Use ;
2.      Power Generation; and
3.      Transportation.

At the same time, we must simultaneously adapt to these five challenges:
1.      Coastal Flooding;
2.      Malaria;
3.      Inland Flooding;
4.      Agricultural yield change; and
5.      Damage to coral reefs.

While it may appear to some that our goals are overly ambitious for a Small Island Developing State, we believe otherwise.  In fact, we believe it would be NEGLIGENT to pursue any other course.
For most developing countries, our forests and rivers have sustained us for thousands of years. But, in some ways, we now feel trapped!  The old ways allowed us to survive, but cannot prepare our children for the future. 
With the ecosystem services of our land valued at zero, our rural communities that depend on and care for forests must make a living in other ways.   
The result is around 20% of global carbon emissions. 

Clearly, we cannot defeat the ravages of climate change without also defeating deforestation!

The challenge of REDD+, therefore, is to value forests more alive than dead.

But, how much is enough?  The recent international effort which focused on the interim financial needs for REDD+, has determined that between 15 to 25 billion Euros may underwrite a 25% reduction in global rates of deforestation by 2015.  

At first, that sounds like a lot.  Put another way, we are talking only 1.5 cents-per-day for the citizens of the United States and Europe - OR - about equal to the Goldman Sachs bonus pool for the year of 2009.

If we can make REDD+ work, our communities can continue to live sustainably, something most of the world has forgotten---in the rush to get ahead!

To conclude, if we are to slow, stop and reverse the effects of global warming, we must thoughtfully redesign our value frameworks.  

For example, Exxon, the remaining king of the ‘Age of Oil,’ is valued at over $325 billion; while Google, the champion of the ‘Information Age’, is valued around $190 billion.  At the same time, left standing, the world’s last great tropical forests are valued at ZERO!

If Exxon and Google together disappear tomorrow, the vast majority of humanity will not even notice. 

While if the world’s tropical forests disappear into smoke by morning, every human on earth will wake up to a world forever changed! 

This is not rational!  Therefore, we must act now!

To succeed in Copenhagen by Friday, clearly, bold leadership will be required on both sides of the economic divide to forge this change!

Leadership is also essential for effective implementation.

Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the former Minister for Energy of Saudi Arabia, famously opined: “The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”

The Copenhagen Climate Change process must result in a legally binding agreement.  Such an agreement can catalyse the necessary ‘Environmental Age’, lest we suffocate life on earth beneath our greed!

Thank you!