Friday, December 14, 2007

Higlights from Bali

Bali Overview:
  1. Its complex! (and thats becoming problematic)
  2. Linking national cap and trade with international climate funds.
  3. Deforestation progress on funding and structure (with unwelcome guest).
  4. Australia ratifies but fails to take the lead.
  5. Two degree consensus approaching: just adopt c&c you fools!
  6. CDM Review.
  7. Adaptation Fund.
  8. Technology Transfer.

1. The process at Bali has been complex
, in fact notably more complex than usual, and that is starting to become problematic. I'm not therefore intending to describe how i think it went. It didn't achieve a global climate treaty with legally binding caps for all so in that sense it was a failure; but this was never expected. There where however, many interesting developments that could show the way to a global agreement if it is destined to develop through the UNFCCC.

2.One interesting idea is that of national cap and trade schemes being used as a source for the international climate negotiations. Adaptation, technology transfer and forest protection; all require funding. Germany has just announced that it will auction permits to industry for its share of the EU ETS. Some of the revenue raised will then be used internationally. The Warner-Lieberman bill from the US has a similar provision, although the remit of funding is more limted, in this case it is designated to deforestation reduction.

3.On the issue of deforestation some progress has been made. An annual funding commitment from Norway of $500M annually is surely welcome; decisions are half the battle implementing them is the real test. An outline deal on REDD has been created; the key area of tension now is weather or not rainforest degredation is included or only the more easily qauntified process of deforestation. There is also some pressure for sub-national programes which have been resisted by NGOs due to the issue of leakage--the process wherby one area protected from ranchers or farmers causes another area to be targeted--this issue is far less problematic if total forest areas within national boundries are considered. There has also been a great deal of wrangling on who manages the fund currently I believe the world bank run Global Environment Fund (GEF) has been given responsibility, albeit with oversight from a cross section of effected countries and a 3 yearly review period. The EU was in large part responsibile for this worrying role creation--the World Bank a Neo-liberal western power broker-- and now a developing world forest protection agency!

4.Australia Ratified and then failed to capitalise. The start of the conference was an exciting time and Kevin Rudd was welcomed warmly to Bali. The isolation of the US looked starker than ever. However, Australia went on to win the Climate Action Network's "Fossil of the Day" for most contradictory statement within 24 Hrs! The tension here was on the guideline emissions reductions targets of 25-40% on 1990 levels by 2020. Such a commitment from the developed world is badly needed and is in accordance with 'common but differentiated responsibilities' a fearcely guarded clause in the Kyoto Protocol that rightly highlights the historical responsibility that the developed world has due to the predominance of atmospheric GHG's having origins in the engines of the global North; these nations have both damaged the south and proffited in the process. Many see this commitment by the developed world as a nesicary prelude to a global climate deal and talks may collapse due to US , Japanese and Australian resistance to such a deal. As i write this talks are ongoing and Australia may yet shift its stance to that of a climate leader but so far it is continuing to look like more like a reluctant participant than a leader.

5. If there where a Satan worshiping club attending the climate talks it would have a devilish titles such as 'The Four Degree Club'. Such a club exists although generally it is refered to as the Umbrella Group (US, Auz, et al.); now however it seems to be falling apart. Canada, Iceland and Switzerland all seem to have suggested that 2 degrees should be the target. To my knoledge only the US amongst developed countries has a position other than this. If we have agreement on that then why can we just agree to contraction and convergence? Please...it's a lot simpler!

6. Switzerland has inititated a twelve month review of the Clean Development Mechanism. CAN have supported this "given the wide range and seriousness of the criticisms the CDM has attracted".

7. Progress has been made on Adaptation; a fund has been established to pay for "concrete adaptation projects and programmes based on the needs, voesa and priorities of eligble parties". Again the GEF has made a most unwelcome appearence. This is a presence that we need to purge; it would be a worthy target of campaigns, simply getting the world bank out of the UNFCCC process would be a positive step. There are alternatives, and better alternatives.

8. Technology transfer is gaining a great deal of attention in Bali and is now only a few steps behind the process on adaptation. Movement from rhetorical to real significance is underway. A body to oversee and fight for the issue is almost up and running there are three issues to resolve: funding, institutional arrangements and some way of measuring effectiveness.

I review these developments in two videos here and here.

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