Inter-Govt. Climate Action Overview

Durban - Direct Reporting from the Climate Conference 2011

 

Reports from the Durban Climate Conference 2011 

  • Background information for Durban is HERE.
  • Scroll all the way down the screen to see the posts.

 

1. Dr. Ann Braudis, Co-Chair of the UN Committee for Sustainable Development (CoNGO, NY), report received Dec 1

 

2. iisd Durban reports (daily)

 

3. Proposals by the EU and China

 

4. Global Climate Deal "Beyond Our Reach": UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

 

5. Video summarizing Durban negotiations to Dec 7

 

6. U.S. Delay on Climate Pact Spurs Backlash

 

7. Ban Urges Launch of Green Climate Fund

 

8. Summary of Negotiations as of Saturday morning Dec 10

 

9. Video "Ode to Kyoto" from Youth Supporting the Kyoto Protocol

 

10. Preliminary Durban Outcome and Psychology of the Negotiations

 

11. "Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" Announced

 

12. Durban Platform / Extended Kyoto Protocol Not Enough to Limit Temperature Rise to 2 Degrees C

 

13. Reaction of some NGOs to the Durban Platform Agreement

 

14. Reaction of Ban Ki-moon to the Durban Platform

 

15. Danger of Temperature Rise over 3 Degrees C by 2100 with Severe Consequences

 

16. Population and Family Planning at the UN Climate Negotiations, by Kimberly Lovell (Sierra Club, Global Population and Environment Program, UU-UNO Climate Advisory Group)

 

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Citation

Dash, J. (2012). Durban - Direct Reporting from the Climate Conference 2011. Retrieved from http://climate.uu-uno.org/view/blog/51cbf25f7896bb431f6a9033

16 Comments

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Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 02-12-2012 04:46:04

Population and Family Planning at the UN Climate Negotiations Kim Lovell, Sierra Club, Global Population & Environment Program "Population, development, and climate should be a single discussion," explained Jacques van Zuydam of South Africa's National Population Unit. Van Zuydam, speaking to a sparsely filled room at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa, centers his work around the concept that climate matters because people matter. Given the focus on the Green Climate Fund, climate change adaptation, and the effects of sea level rise and changing weather patterns on some of the world's most vulnerable populations, it would have made sense for discussions about population to play a central role at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) in December. Yet despite these obvious links - and lead negotiator Jonathan Pershing's admission to the US youth delegation that population plays a central role when discussing climate impacts - the issue gained little traction in the formal negotiations. Pershing considers population "too controversial" to play a role in the international climate talks, and recommended raising the issue elsewhere. But where better to talk about the need for increased access to voluntary family planning services than among a group of world leaders considering solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change? As Brian O’Neill and his colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research explain in a 2010 paper, meeting the unmet need for contraceptive services could reduce emissions in 2050 by 1.4–2.5 billion tons of carbon (GtC) per year, or 16-29 percent of the emissions reductions necessary to avoid dangerous changes to our climate. And beyond the potential effects on carbon, increasing access to education and family planning resources will have a huge impact on the ability of women and families to adapt to the effects of climate change that are already altering weather patterns, water availability, and agricultural production around the globe. Perhaps if negotiators took a cue from young people at the conference - who reminded the world of climate change's impact by asking "How old will YOU be in 2050?" - the attention to reproductive health access and population would garner more attention. At the 7th annual Conference of Youth leading up to COP 17, young men and women from around the world gathered at a plenary session entitled "Sex and Sustainability" to discuss the importance of these intersecting issues for climate and the environment. The workshop was led by the Sierra Club, Population Action International, and Advocates for Youth, and featured young activists from around the world sharing their stories of reproductive health access and environmental pressures on the ground. Side events at the conference also highlighted these important links, demonstrating commitment from civil society and the international NGO community, even if the negotiations themselves failed to bring attention to population. At the "Healthy Women, Healthy Planet" panel, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson - who now chairs the Global Leader's Council for Reproductive Health - spoke to the need for family planning to play a bigger role in the climate negotiations. "More and more we find that climate change activists and specialists are appreciating that climate change is important to women and their well-being," explained Roger-Mark De Souza of Population Action International. But, we need to do more to turn appreciation into action. It was fitting that the best solutions came from South Africa. Van Zuydam spoke at length with Mark Schreiner of UNFPA South Africa about the training program they had rolled out to promote regional capacity building around population, environment, and development in the country. The 'PED Nexus Program," described by Schreiner as "portable, replicable, and successful in addressing local challenges," has had 716 participants from 12 different countries since 2005. "We can't respond to climate change without taking into account population dynamics," Van Zuydam insists. Given that meeting the unmet need for voluntary family planning services would aid in slowing growth, in addition to improving the lives of women and families around the world while simultaneously protecting our planet, it's a wonder we're talking about anything else.

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 21:51:13

Durban Agreements a step towards a global agreement, but risk of exceeding 3°C-warming remains As the climate talks in Durban concluded tonight with a groundbreaking establishment of the Durban Platform to negotiate a new global agreement by 2015, scientists stated that the world continues on a pathway of over 3°C warming with likely extremely severe impacts, the Climate Action Tracker said today. The agreement in Durban to establish a new body to negotiate a global agreement by 2015 represents a major step forward. The Climate Action Tracker scientists stated, however, that the agreement will not immediately affect the emissions outlook for 2020 and has postponed decisions on further emission reductions. They warned that catching up on this postponed action will be increasingly costly. http://climateactiontracker.org/publications/pressreleases/117/Durban-Agreements-a-step-towards-a-global-agreement-but-risk-of-exceeding-3C-warming-remains.html

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 14:01:59

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the deal represents “an important advance in our work on climate change.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/climate-conference-president-says-agreement-reached-on-course-for-future-global-warming-talks/2011/12/10/gIQAvO7ulO_story.html

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 07:56:44

Some NGOs were critical of the Durban Platform. "Negotiators have sent a clear message to the world's hungry: let them eat carbon," said Celine Charveriat, director of campaigns and advocacy for Oxfam. Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo said: "The chance of averting catastrophic climate change is slipping through our hands with every passing year that nations fail to agree on a rescue plan for the planet." "This will force governments to admit their current pledges to cut emissions are not enough to achieve 2C rise and will have to be strengthened," said Michael Jacobs, of the Grantham climate research institute of climate change [http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/climatechange] Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: "Delaying real action till 2020 is a crime of global proportions. This means the world is on track to a 4C temperature rise, a death sentence for Africa, small island states and the poor and vulnerable worldwide." http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/11/durban-climate-deal-struck?intcmp=239

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 02:30:20

From Scientific American: It is clear—even to the negotiators who also agreed to be "informed" by the science expected from the International Government Panel on Climate Change's next assessment report in 2013—that neither the "Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" nor the extended Kyoto Protocol are equal to the task of restraining ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the mitigation pledges collected under the ongoing Cancun Agreements, conceived during the 2010 climate talks, would lead to global average temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to multiple analyses—and may not lead to a peaking of greenhouse gas emissions this decade required to meet that goal. The Durban package will not change that. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-talks-consensus-a

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 02:18:56

Climate conference approves landmark deal DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement Sunday on a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades. The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest. The deal also set up the bodies that will collect, govern and distribute tens of billions of dollars a year for poor countries. Other documents in the package lay out rules for monitoring and verifying emissions reductions, protecting forests, transferring clean technologies to developing countries and scores of technical issues. Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for another five years under the accord adopted Sunday — a key demand by developing countries seeking to preserve the only existing treaty regulating carbon emissions. The proposed Durban Platform offered answers to problems that have bedeviled global warming negotiations for years about sharing the responsibility for controlling carbon emissions and helping the world's poorest and most climate-vulnerable nations cope with changing forces of nature. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iJqoXEe6pnFE0rqNqFQCTFxjLodw

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-11-2011 00:25:16

Stephan Lewandowsky, Professor of Psychology at U. West Australia, has provided a preliminary report of the outcome at Durban, along with a psychological analysis of the negotiating process. OUTCOME: "Based on preliminary reports, my understanding is that the Kyoto agreement will continue in place, though minus Japan, Russia, New Zealand, and Canada, and that the parties are committed negotiating a new treaty by 2015. This new treaty is to be put in place by 2020 and it will, for the first time, also include developing countries in legally binding commitments." PSYCHOLOGY: CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere in the same way as the water level in a bathtub rises while the tap is on. Absent any leakage, the only way to stabilize the water level is to shut off the tap completely. Because Western countries have been filling the bathtub for far longer than developing countries, more of the water in the tub is "ours," rather than China’s or India’s. Not surprisingly, therefore, those countries expect us to start closing the tap before they shut theirs. The cognitive challenges of climate change present a bleak picture. People do not readily understand the nature of accumulation, and that means they do not understand the relationship between emissions and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. It also means they do not understand the distinction between present emissions and historical responsibilities. http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskyPostDurban.html

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-10-2011 01:25:45

Here is a great music video by youth at Durban called "Ode to Kyoto - Save the Protocol at COP17". Watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nVPpptOTAmk

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-10-2011 00:52:52

From the Guardian Environment Blog Saturday Dec 10 at 9:36am: Here's a quick catch up on where the negotiations stand. 120 countries, including Brazil, Japan, Canada and many African nations, have lined up behind the EU's proposal for a roadmap towards a new global agreement. The plan would involve the major emitters from both the developing and developed world to sign a deal in 2015 which would come into effect in 2020. There was some confusion on Thursday when the US lead negotiator Todd Stern appeared to endorse the EU's position (he used the term "roadmap" approvingly twice in a press conference). He later rowed back from that though and seems to favour a more flexible time-table. Meanwhile, India has been strongly opposed to any plan that would mean it and other large developing economies should take on legally-binding cuts to carbon emissions. China's position is ambiguous. It has made some warm noises about the EU plan but appears also to be some way from accepting legally binding cuts. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/09/durban-climate-change-talks-cop17-live?newsfeed=true

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-08-2011 22:09:27

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on heads of state to show leadership and resolve any differences they may have on the Green Climate Fund in Durban, so the fund can be launched. On Wednesday, he implored developed countries to contribute to the Green Climate Fund and fulfill their obligations to the developing world. Countries agreed to set up the Green Climate Fund last year in Cancun. The fund will raise and disburse $100-billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with the effects of climate change. Because of the amount of money involved, negotiations concerning the fund have been hotly contested. By comparison, the World Bank disburses about $40-billion a year. Ban said on Wednesday: "The new fund must not be an empty shell," adding that although industrialized countries would have to inject sufficient capital, "The scale of resources and the kind of investment requires governments to work together with private sector". Mail & Guardian article http://mg.co.za/article/2011-12-08-un-chief-upbraids-dithering-nations-over-climate-fund

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-08-2011 14:15:15

From Bloomberg News Dec 7: President Barack Obama’s position that dangerous global warming can be averted without deeper cuts in fossil fuel emissions before 2020 is stirring backlash in nations from Norway to Barbados. “Multiple pathways” exist to prevent temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) without countries strengthening pledges to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020, U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said at United Nations climate talks last week. “It’s a very risky assumption, too risky,” Norway’s top climate change envoy, Henrik Harboe, said in an interview. “We know we are far below the recommendations of science.” U.S. envoy Todd Stern says it sees the [2 degree] goal as an “important and serious goal” that should guide efforts to control climate change. “That is different from looking at it as an operational cap that you must meet,” Stern said at a briefing today. “I think you have as you look at science and you see the trajectory it ought to inform our sense of what needs to be done. We don’t see it as akin to a national target.” Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists say the U.S.’s position in effect means the world is “taking a pass for the next decade.” “If we do that we’ve blown any chance of staying below 2 degrees, maybe 3 degrees,” he said.

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-07-2011 22:14:20

An excellent video summarizing the Durban Climate Conference negotiations up to this point is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/un-says-climate-pact-beyond-reach-as-india-rejects-cuts/2011/12/07/gIQAOAoqbO_video.html#

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-07-2011 22:12:33

From the UN Wire on Dec 7: Global climate deal is now "beyond our reach," Ban says The glimmer of hope for a binding global climate agreement at UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, was extinguished Tuesday after India and China indicated they would not accept international limits on their carbon emissions. "The ultimate goal for a comprehensive and binding climate change agreement may be beyond our reach for now," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-06-2011 00:16:17

Proposals have been made by the European Union (see http://www.europa-eu-un.org/articles/fr/article_11621_fr.htm) and by China (see http://english.cntv.cn/20111205/107115.shtml). The EU proposal is entitled: "Durban must deliver a roadmap for climate action by all major economies". In summary, "The United Nations climate change conference starting on 28 November in Durban, South Africa, must agree on a roadmap and deadline for finalising an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding global framework for climate action by all major economies. Agreement on this roadmap is one of the reassurances the European Union requires for entering into a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Durban also needs to make operational the decisions taken last year in Cancún, Mexico, and tackle major issues not resolved there. It should result in a balanced package of decisions acceptable to all Parties." The Chinese proposal headline is "China open to talks on binding emission cut after 2020". The summary of their position is: "Before the formal negotiation of China's obligation after 2020, we hope there should be a comprehensive and scientific appraisal of the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol... Developed countries should bear for the historical responsibilities of climate change and lead the emission cut while providing fund and technology to developing countries for better responding the climate change. On the other hand, developing countries should take action in the framework of sustainable development". ---------------

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-03-2011 01:19:29

The IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) is producing daily web coverage, daily reports, and will be producing a summary and analysis of the meeting. You can download their reports as pdf files.

Jan Dash (Author) wrote: 12-02-2011 14:06:01

By Ann Braudis From Durban I am writing briefly from Durban, South Africa, where I am attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference. First I’ll make a few observations about Durban and my impressions of the people. Then I’ll give an account of my perspective regarding the Conference. Simply said, Durban is beautiful! Since it is located along the shore of the Indian Ocean, I had not expected to find hilly terrain but hilly it is, with a magnificent range of vegetation including abundant flowers. The people, however, are the real source of charm. They are friendly and well organized contributing greatly to the Conference atmosphere. We have been provided with very efficient free transportation to and from our lodgings and many other services like free computer, internet and phone service for calls any place in the world. Even free bicycle use! All the Conference events are located in the same area; a big improvement over Cancun. This also facilitates easy communication among those of us who are connected through the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development at the UN. Regarding the Conference, we continue to hold our collective breath regarding a favorable outcome. It would be difficult to name any country more responsible for slowing down the process than the United States. I notice that the Natural Resources Defense Council (of which our November Sustainable Development Committee meeting speaker, Jacob Scherr, is a member) joined many other prominent organizations in sending an urgent letter of complaint to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Regarding the Kyoto Protocol, some are advocating continuing with a second commitment period ending in 2017 (not 2020) and working toward establishing a third Commitment period that would hopefully include the United States. The targets for reducing carbon emissions would have to be reexamined and it is possible that some currently developing nations, not now included in obligatory emissions reduction, would either be included or would project a date for inclusion. This may provide a face saving alternative for the United States, although it seems that the US clearly favors developing an altogether new climate change treaty. This would take years to do and would delay facing responsibly the crisis that is upon us today. The agenda of working together as one body of Earth citizens is enormously challenging: We need to forge ahead and build on what has been achieved with so much work over the past 20 years. There have been many excellent Side Events. I attended a four hour seminar on Climate Change and Ethics at the University, featuring the work of Dr. Donald Brown who will be our Committee speaker for the December meeting. The seminar was excellent. The necessity of working hard to understand the UNFCCC process, with its multiple components was pointed out at the outset. I have renewed my ambitions in this regard. The most compelling component of the program was a diagnosis of the climate change disinformation campaign in the US, including a clear citing of its financial backers and the private benefiters. The grave crime against humanity represented by allowing the Earth to suffer the catastrophic changes of which we have been warned by a consensus of global scientists, including the US Academy of Scientists, was addressed in terms of raising the necessary outrage and courage to publically blame those responsible. On the same subject, another speaker addressed the betrayal of public trust on the part of elected officials in presenting as public good that which is clearly for private benefit. Listening to the buzz about the corridors here, one could easily conclude that the US is mainly an advocate for private enterprise and profit. Tomorrow there will be a briefing by the US government for Americans affiliated with environmental groups. I hope I’ll be admitted, I remain hopeful that there may be a breakthrough!