Wednesday 5 October 2011

Sea level to rise by a metre or more if wealthy nations do not meet emissions pledges, Climate Action Tracker

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

04 October 2011 Panama --- Three non-profit climate research institutions in Europe say aggregated emission reduction pledges of wealthy nations fall far short of what is needed to get the world on track to limiting global warming to 2 and 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Both of these warming limits are mentioned in the Cancun Agreements.

Findings of the Climate Action Tracker, comprised of Ecofys, Climate Analytics and Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research were revealed in Panama Tuesday, at the margins of the climate change negotiations underway in Panama City.

The group analysed the pledges made under the Cancun Agreement and found a gap of 10-14 billion tonnes is needed to reach the reduction level required.

“If countries implemented the most stringent reductions they have proposed, with the most stringent accounting, Climate Action Tracker has calculated the remaining gap would shrink to 8-12 billion tonnes, said Dr Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.

Dr. Bill Hare
If this situation remains, we are headed towards 3 degrees, which is dangerous for the planet, adds Dr Hare.

This will easily result in damage to vulnerable ecosystems, including sea level rise. 

“Seal level rise is likely to be a metre or more, he told Climate Pasifika.

“Countries that are vulnerable have been calling for 2 degrees or lower because of the substantial risks in these nations.

Dr Hare said scientific researches and literatures are warning of the danger uncontrolled global emissions will have on the planet.

“These are the kind of risks that politicians need to think very seriously about when they are looking at their levels of ambition.

“Many parties have put forward a submission that we establish a process in Durban to continually review and upgrade the level of ambition.  

“The EU, small islands and many African countries are pushing to have a concrete and substantative process of both a technical and political character moving forward after Durban. These are being resited by major emitters who are saying we made our pledges for 2020 and we don’t want to touch them until much later, Dr Hare told Climate Pasifika.

 According to Climate Action Tracker’s analysis of the pledges of five developed and developing nations, China appears to be on track to meet or even surpass its Cancun pledges but its emissions will rise higher than expected.

The five countries are China, United States of America, Brazil, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

“The higher overall picture shows that a higher than expected economic growth rate brings with it higher emissions, and the sooner the switch is made to cleaner energy sources, the better it is to avoid locking in climate-damaging energy.

“It also illustrates the risks and uncertainties of using business as usual scenarios as the basis for emission reduction pledges, said Dr Hare.

China, according to the findings is set to surpass its Cancun Agreement pledge of 40-45 percent reduction in emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product by 2020 from 2005 levels through its renewable energy and other non-fossil fuel energy sources.

“Yet faster than expected economic growth means that emissions in 2020 are likely to be higher than previous estimates – by about 1 Gigatonne of carbon dioxide, said Dr Hare.

The group also observed that the absence of substantial action from the United States to meet its Copenhagen pledge of a 17 percent reduction by 2020 (at 2005 levels) will prove more expensive with every year of delay.

“If the US doesn’t start acting until 2015, it will need to reduce emissions at a rate of 3 percent a year," said Climate Action Tracker.

Brazil’s emissions will grow more rapidly than previously expected, according to new data obtained in the study.

South Korea, Japan and Australia have introduced policies to implement their pledges.

Multilateralism is at stake – G77 & China

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

04 October 2011 --- The Group of 77 and China says political will is a must if Durban is to produce a legally binding climate change deal.

“We are ready to negotiate and to produce actual texts in both tracks, but only on such a basis that respects our position as well as others. The elements are in place, we now have to translate this into an express political commitment from the developed countries, said Argentina’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and chair of the Group of 77 and China, Ambassador Jorge Arguello.

Chair of Group 77 and China, Ambassador Jorge Arguello
The Group of 77 and China, comprising 131 and one of the powerful negotiating blocs in climate change negotiations says the basis for any fruitful negotiations must include: the preservation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, in keeping with the Bali road map and the two tracks of negotiation agreed.

And key to the negotiations is the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, said Ambassador Argüello.

It urges all parties to respect their obligations and agreements under this multilateral framework.

“The defense of multilateralism must go beyond words, this is a tool that has proved beneficial to all humanity and, definitively, to developing countries.

“Much as some rich countries like to repeat that discussing scenarios that they oppose is not "realistic" or "practical", they must recognize that there is no point in insisting on a solution outside of the Kyoto Protocol when 132 parties have strongly declared they can only accept a second commitment period as a meaningful outcome.

“I think most parties understand by now that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is key for any positive outcome we can expect in Durban. I had the chance to update the incoming President of COP17 on the thinking of our Group and our firm commitment to that end, said the group chair.

On Monday, Ambassador Arguello met with the Foreign Minister of South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is in Panama to participate in the meeting in her capacity as incoming president of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) which would take place in Durban later this year.

South African delegation
“We have had a very productive and positive meeting,” said Ambassador Argüello.

“I am very encouraged by the determination of the Minister to help all parties work towards a meaningful outcome in Durban, even in the short time we have, said Ambassador Arguello.