Friday 25 June 2010

Call for Proposals for the IPCC Scholarship Programme

As taken from a letter to designated Intergovernmental panel on climate change focal points from the Secretary of the IPCC.

The Call for Proposals for the IPCC Scholarship Programme was announced yesterday on the website (  This Programme has been established with the funds received from the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC in 2007. Its purpose is twofold: to develop the knowledge, skills and capacity of young scholars from some of the regions most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and to strengthen the ability of developing countries to contribute to climate science and research.

The Programme will start with a Pilot Phase, managed by the Programme’s Board of Trustees and Science Board, and facilitated by the IPCC Secretariat, with a limited number of scholarship awards for the initial round.

Graduate or doctoral students from developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, wishing to pursue academic education and training, undertake advanced research or upgrade skills are welcome to apply for a scholarship before 31 July 2010.

It is expected that the selection process will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2010 and that the selected applicants will commence their studies as soon as possible thereafter.

Please circulate this call for proposals as widely as possible to help it reach prospective students who would most benefit from it, in the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The IPCC has set up the Scholarship Programme in view of its long experience in assessing risks of human-induced climate change, its broad global network of scientists and research institutions, its experience with producing policy-relevant information and identifying knowledge gaps and research needs, the IPCC is uniquely positioned to govern this Scholarship Programme and I sincerely hope that it will contribute to enhancing the knowledge base in developing countries.

The above is taken from a letter to designated Intergovernmental panel on climate change focal points from the Secretary of the IPCC, please visit ( for more details.

SIDS climate change dilemma: keeping average temperature increase below 1.5°C to stay alive

A feature from the Alliance of Small Islands States, for more details please visit 

As changing climate and rising sea levels negatively affect Small Island Developing States (SIDS), an uncertain future lies ahead for the millions of people who inhabit these island nations. What is certain is the destruction and disappearance of lives, livelihoods, countries,
and the likelihood of large displaced populations if average global temperatures increase by more than 1.5°C. What would industrialized economies do if faced with such a high probability of destruction?

Because SIDS are small countries, we are seldom heard, but we must urgently point out that the global population, primarily the industrialized economies, has already increased the average temperature by 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels. Current atmospheric concentrations of GHG are in excess of 387 parts per million, which scientists believe would raise average global temperature above 1.5°C over time. This current level of GHG is the highest concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in millions of years. The global economy is producing more than twice the GHG that is being sequestered; excess GHG is increasing the acidity of the oceans and increasing average temperatures.

We call upon the industrialized economies and, in particular, the historic polluters to act speedily, appropriately and morally by: 

1. Agreeing to limit average global temperature to less than 1.5°C and send a signal to the global marketplace that the world is serious about clean energy.
2. Signing a legally binding agreement where all countries commit to greening their economy to achieve emission reduction to get to the temperature target.
3. Providing funding and technology to support adaptation to climate change through a dedicated mechanism so we can pursue sustainable development.
4. Supporting establishment of a comprehensive insurance and risk management facility to make sure that socioeconomic gains attained through sacrifice is not destroyed by climate change. 

As emissions increase, changing the global climate, triggering rises in sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns, bleaching of corals, eroding shorelines, and reducing our fisheries, we, the SIDS, would like to know what would you in the industrialized economies do if the situations were reversed? 

Would you want us to be concerned about your future survival and that of your children, or merely consider you as collateral damage in order to maintain a comfortable and fulfilling
lifestyle? Sustainable technological systems that can provide the global population with the same level and significantly more energy services, than what is now provided by high GHG
emitting sources, have been developed but not deployed due to perceived higher costs. For example, the oceans have many times the energy needed by the global population, and it  can be harvested with limited emissions of GHG. How you would feel if you were a citizen of  SIDS, and knew there were low carbon energy alternatives available that can provide the global population with productive and enjoyable lifestyles many times over, without our destruction, but it was considered too much of an economic sacrifice?

For thousands of years, the millions of people living on small island states have generally  been responsible stewards of their environment, due to high dependency on environmental
services for survival and economic development. SIDS have acted as custodians of almost  25 percent of the world’s oceans, a responsibility that is taken very seriously. We have also  played major roles in the evolution of the global maritime and tourism industries, with the  tourism sector accounting for between 45 and 80 percent of gross domestic product in most  SIDS today.

We wish to continue welcoming you to our environment, and we also want to enjoy some of your luxurious lifestyle, a lifestyle that you can still enjoy by pursuing alternative, sustainable energy sources; a lifestyle that can help reduce the unprecedented rate of GHG emissions.

This is a feature from the Alliance of Small Islands States - please visit for more information.

Saturday 12 June 2010

No consensus towards Cancun, revised text not balanced, says negotiators

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Bonn, Germany

11 June 2010 Bonn, Germany --- After two weeks of climate change talks in the German city of Bonn, there are more questions than answers to what was expected to be a consensus text to usher in a possible legally binding deal in Cancun, Mexico at the end of the year.

A non paper introduced Thursday by the chair of the long term co-operative action, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe was re-submitted as the revised text Friday in the hope that it becomes the conclusions of the negotiations here in Bonn.

Much to the dismay of many Parties, including the Alliance of Small Island States and the influential Group of  77 and China described the revised text as “unbalanced and not reflective of the views expressed in the informal contact groups.”

A delegation from Egypt told the plenary that his delegation does not want to see the revised text again in August and urged the chair that the text remains a non-paper and not be used as a basis for negotiations.

India joined in the chorus of opposition, saying new un-bracketed paragraphs have appeared in the text which is inconsistent with the Convention.

It called for line by line negotiations in the August negotiating session.

Brazil was equally furious. “We are dismayed because the revised text did not bring the Parties to any consensus. Many of our views are deleted in this revision making this text less balance and therefore less acceptable for negotiations.”

Another delegate said, “The chair presented us with a recipe at the start of the talks two weeks ago and when it came to meal time today, we were presented with a very strange meal that we cannot eat. Since this is a Party driven process, the chair needs to take our ingredients.”

Surprisingly, the United States was not happy with the revised text. “We are studying the draft text and as it stands, it contains language that is unacceptable to us. It has parts that incorporate the Kyoto Protocol that we will not accept.

This is in complete opposite to the position of the Umbrella Group of countries of which the U.S is a member.

Speaking on behalf of the Umbrella Group, Australia said they are pleased that the text contains fast start financing that was committed in Copenhagen.

In his last appearance before the international media, the executive secretary of the UN climate body, Yvo de Boer agreed that there are differences but the document can be used as a starting point for negotiations.

“Yes it has shortcomings but we can use it as a basis to continue talking to each other. Some feel that it is not balanced but it’s not being totally rejected.

“The process here has resulted in many Parties talking to each other rather than at each other.

De Boer said more work needs to be done and urged negotiators to up the tempo in the last two rounds of negotiations – Bonn in August and Beijing in October.

“The work here opens the way for Cancun to deliver a full package of operational measures that will allow developing countries to take part in stronger action across all areas of climate change but governments must make full use of the next two formal sessions.

“There is a real need for intense work at all levels including the highest level to provide guidance, said de Boer.

The Dutch national, who leaves the UNFCCC Secretariat this month after almost four years at the helm urged negotiators to begin an in-depth consideration of the legal nature of any new agreement or set of agreements. 

It’s essential to take a "cold look" at the 76 emission reduction and emission limitation pledges that have been made by developed and developing countries since the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, he said.

All industrialised countries have pledged emission reduction targets, and 39 developing countries have pledged voluntary actions to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

“The fact remains industrial country pledges fall well short of the -25-40 percent range the IPCC has said gives a 50 percent chance to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees,” he said. “Take all current pledges and plans from all countries and we won’t stop emissions growing in the next 10 years,” he added.

The pledges made by rich countries so far add up to about 12-19percent of emissions over 1990 levels by 2020. Industrialized countries as a group have indicated their willingness to take on a -80 percent goal for 2050.

The European Union acknowledged that some progress had been achieved during the two weeks where Parties were beginning to talk to each other and understand each other’s negotiating positions.

But, ‘the rejection of the revised text by many Parties showed how fragile the process was and that there was still mistrust amongst Parties.’

Cook Islands lead negotiator, Pasha Carruthers was frustrated with the dilly dallying attitude towards adaptation. This, she said, was a delaying tactic from developing countries to meet their obligations.

“It was frustrating at this session because it seemed like developing countries were trying to put things on hold or outside the UNFCCC process rather than engaging on climate change in the central forum that involves all parties.

“There is still mistrust amongst Parties and no willingness to accept some of the responsibilities they are obligated to and that is why they want to push it out of the process. Article 4.4 of the Convention obligates developed countries to assist vulnerable countries in meeting the costs of the impacts of climate change, said Carruthers.

Responding to the ‘adaptation’ clause in the revised text, Carruthers said some of the concerns are reflected in the language of the text especially the establishment of an international mechanism for loss and damage.

“For now, I can safely say that we are still a long way from an agreement. There have been some reaching out amongst Parties behind closed doors, which have proved fruitful. It was through these bilateral meetings that we realised that some of our positions weren’t as far apart as we thought, said Carruthers.

Carruthers, who has been part of the climate change negotiations for almost ten years, remains optimistic and urged Pacific and AOSIS negotiators not to give up too soon.

“People have suggested to me that some things will not get through because they are red light for many parties but we have to believe in the integrity of the process and ensure that we have an outcome that does guarantee our survival”.

International civil societies also jumped on the opposition bandwagon calling for more transparency from the chair of the LCA.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said climate change negotiators have missed some important goals, while showing a much stronger performance than in previous rounds.

“Bonn made good progress on some crucial building blocks that will be essential parts of a future regime to tackle climate change, and there is really no reason for negotiators to go into extra-time instead of concluding them at the Climate Summit in Mexico this December.”

In WWF’s view, progress in Bonn was mainly a result of improved team spirit among negotiators, with countries from North and South teaming up in unusual coalitions, creating fresh dynamics and space for solutions and compromise.

However, Bonn did not see any major victories on challenging issues like funding and policies to wean economies off fossil fuels and make them fit for the low carbon future, mainly due to a lack of progressive champions and blocking tactics by oil-exporting countries like Saudi Arabia.

The new negotiating text emerging from the Bonn talks could put delegates attending the next two rounds of negotiations before Mexico – one in August and one in October – in a good position to turn trust into traction in Mexico.

“Bonn reminded parties that negotiating in good faith is the best choice, and on this basis Mexico can be the moment where they agree on a significant package of actions and solutions, so that striking a new climate deal in South Africa the following year becomes a realistic goal”, said Gutmann.

“While the football teams of Mexico and South Africa are playing today’s opening match of the football world cup 2010, their governments are key players for success in the low carbon world cup 2011, where it’s not about the victory of one nation, but about a safe future for the entire planet.”

The results of a WWF poll among delegates, observers and journalists at the Bonn talks revealed that a majority of people following the negotiations shares this view. As part of the WWF Climate Deal Oracle, they were asked when we should and when we will get a global climate deal.

54.7 percent of the 265 participants thought we should get a deal by Mexico this December. However, 53.6 percent acknowledged that – realistically – we’d get this deal only in South Africa a year later.

The Bonn gathering was attended by more than 5,500 participants, including government delegates from 185 governments, along with representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions.

 Ms. Makereta Komai at work interviewing Pasha Carruthers

This is the final posting on the Climate Change negotiations from Ms Makereta Komai who provided media coverage on the Bonn Climate Change talks from 31 May – 11 June 2010, thanks to support from Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

We would like to commend her for her hard work during the Climate Change negotiations in Bonn, which has helped raise the profile amongst Pacific communities of international climate change negotiations and their impact upon the Pacific islands region.

Fa'afetai lava.

Soccer unites South Africa and Mexico at climate change talks

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Bonn, Germany

11 June 2010 Bonn, Germany --- World Cup fever infected climate change talks in the city of Bonn, where some negotiators attended the last day of negotiations in their national colours.

South Africa’s lead negotiator, Alf Wills addressed the United Nations plenary session in full Bafana regalia.

Wills had lobbied Parties to end the proceedings by 3pm in time for the opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico. 

But much to his disappointment, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Co-operative Action (AWG-LCA) could not close early because of the differing views expressed in the revised negotiating text proposed as a concluding document.

Outside the Maritim Hotel, civil society protestors organised a football match between G8 leaders to remind them of their emissions reduction targets and their commitments to fast track financing.

“Only with national progress in the U.S, European Union and big emerging economies can Cancun deliver important decisions to get deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, prevent the many loopholes and make progress in providing investment needed for shifting to low carbon economy, said Paul Horsman on behalf of Tcktcktck campaign.

Within two weeks, some most powerful leaders will meet at the G8 and G20 summits – a clear message needs to be heard by these leaders how they want to move forward on the crucial investment packages Cancun can deliver to tackle climate change.”

Ms Makereta Komai will be covering the Bonn Climate Change negotiations from 31 May – 11 June 2010, thanks to support from Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). She will provide daily coverage of the negotiations via PACNEWS and the SPREP website, the climate pasifika blogspot, and the PINA Green page