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22/10/15

US Opposition To Climate Finance Stalls UN Climate Talks

 Africa Cries Foul Over $100 Billion P.A. Climate Finance Promise

 

 

Negotiations on the Paris climate change agreement’s second draft slipped behind closed doors on Wednesday in Bonn, Germany. The US reiterated their long-standing position that public funds were expected to be a small portion of the $100 billion that the developed world is required to provide annually starting 2020. The US also asked all countries to contribute to the climate funds. This implied that emerging economies should also contribute to the climate funds, which under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) only developed countries are obliged to provide so far. This was opposed by negotiators from developing countries. --Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 22 October 2015
 
 
 
Developing countries, led by Africa and China, nearly walked out of the UN’s climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Monday, as the rift widened between the rich and poor nations over who should bear the larger financial responsibility to implement measures to curb climate change. A key concern was the wording on US$100 billion in finance that the developed world had promised to mobilise by 2020 to help poorer nations make the shift to less-polluting energy industries and adapt to the unavoidable effects of global warming, such as a rise in the sea level. --New Era News, 22 October 2015
 
 

1) US Opposition To Climate Finance Stalls UN Climate Talks - Business Standard, 22 October 2015
 
2) Africa Cries Foul Over $100 Billion P.A. Climate Finance Promise - New Era News, 22 October 2015
 
3) Frustration Mounts As Time Runs Out At UN Climate Talks - AFP, 21 October 2015
 
4) Reality Check: 2,384 Coal Power Plants Planned Or Under Construction Worldwide - US Chamber of Commerce, 16 October 2015
 
5) GWPF Welcomes Grantham Institute Acknowledgement That “CO2 Benefits Are Indeed Good News” - Global Warming Policy Foundation, 21 October 2015
 

 
Frustration ran high Wednesday at the snail’s pace of talks for a climate rescue pact, with three days left for diplomats to craft a blueprint for a year-end UN summit. With an eye firmly on the clock, diplomats in Bonn despaired at the mountain of work they face after an acrimonious start on Monday cost them more than a day of negotiating time. “I am, to be honest, very concerned,” said climate envoy Laurence Tubiana of France, which will host a November 30-December 11 UN summit tasked with inking a 195-nation pact to rein in global warming. “I don’t think this way of working is going to bring us where we need to be by the end of the week and to stand a chance of success in Paris.” --Mariette Le Roux, AFP, 21 October 2015
 
 
 
Joby Warrick of The Washington Post asks a strange question: If it’s President Obama’s mission to reduce carbon emissions, why is the federal government allowing coal to be mined on federal land and exported? The answer is obvious and hidden in plain sight in the graphics package that accompanies Warrick’s story: Increasing world demand for electricity. According to the World Coal Association, there are more than 2,300 coal fired power plants planned or under construction worldwide. They will provide electricity access to millions of people, greatly improving their lives. These plants will be built and burn coal no matter what coal opponents do. --Sean Hackbarth, US Chamber of Commerce, 16 October 2015
 
 
 
The Global Warming Policy Foundation welcomes the acknowledgement by Professor Colin Prentice, a leading UK climate scientist at the Grantham Institute, that the thrust of the GWPF’s latest report on CO2 is correct and a well-established scientific fact. Last week, the GWPF published a report by Dr Indur Goklany which highlights the many benefits of carbon dioxide for the environment and human health. Professor Prentice, AXA Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts at the Grantham Institute, also confirms that the many benefits of CO2 documented in the GWPF report “are indeed ‘good news’.” --Global Warming Policy Foundation, 21 October 2015
 
 


 

1) US Opposition To Climate Finance Stalls UN Climate Talks
Business Standard, 22 October 2015
 
Nitin Sethi
 
Discussions on road map for climate finance stalled by developed countries
 
Negotiations on the Paris climate change agreement’s second draft slipped behind closed doors on Wednesday in Bonn, Germany. News filtered out from the parallel meetings that the text of the agreement had begun to balloon again, with all the countries inserting more text in the ‘spin-off’ meetings.
 
In the discussions on finance that were held in one spin-off meeting, the key issue of a roadmap for ratcheting up delivery of funds by developed countries remained stuck, as the European Union suggested the matter should be taken up by the ministers and was too difficult to be dealt with at the level of negotiators. It suggested that the negotiators should deal only with lesser substantial questions, such as institutional mechanisms for climate finance. Before that, the US reiterated their long-standing position that public funds were expected to be a small portion of the $100 billion that the developed world is required to provide annually starting 2020.
 
The US also asked that the economic reality at present should be taken into consideration, while asking countries to contribute to the climate funds. This implied that emerging economies should also contribute to the climate funds, which under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) only developed countries are obliged to provide so far.
 
This was opposed by negotiators from developing countries who pointed out that the new reality was that Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries continued to hold most of the wealth, and that developing countries were having to deal with adverse effects of climate change.
 
Several negotiators Business Standard spoke to in the developing world teams confirmed that the spin-off groups were not being productive with all sides bringing back proposals, ideas and insertions that had been crunched down when the co-chairs presented the first draft of the Paris agreement before this round of meeting in Bonn. “At the moment, the text is expanding in all spin-off groups.
 
Developed countries are bringing back ideas that they know are absolutely unacceptable. It’s almost as if they are reacting to the fact that G77+China was able to put back on table their agenda which the co-chairs had wiped clean in the first draft (of the Paris agreement),” said a head of delegation from the G77+China group not willing to be named.
 
Outside the spin-off groups, India criticised a report from the OECD, which claimed that more than $60 billion funds had been committed well ahead of the 2020 deadline for the $100 billion. Indian negotiators questioned how loans and existing overseas development assistance could be defined as “new and additional funds”.
 
Earlier decisions of the UNFCCC have required that the developed countries provide new and additional funds and not green-wash existing donations or loans and market investments as part of the climate funds.
 
The US and many developed countries see the deepening low-carbon technology markets due to the new pledges by developing countries as a market opportunity and have pushed that the southern world create a better investment climate to receive these private investments as part of its commitments under the Paris agreement. The US special envoy, Todd Stern, on Tuesday, had told the US senate: “No one is in a better position than the US to win big in the multi trillion dollar 21st century market for low carbon energy innovation.”
 
An Indian negotiator said as part of this push the US has also asked for long-term low-carbon plans from all countries to provide certainty and signal to their industry. Stern had spoken of this in his testimony before the senate as advocating a white paper from all countries on deeper cuts by 2050 and long-term decarbonisation plans by the end of the century. At the same time, he had said the US would not agree to binding emission reduction targets under the Paris agreement.
 
Full story
 
 
 
2) Africa Cries Foul Over $100 Billion P.A. Climate Finance Promise
New Era News, 22 October 2015
 
Developing countries, led by Africa and China, nearly walked out of the UN’s climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Monday, as the rift widened between the rich and poor nations over who should bear the larger financial responsibility to implement measures to curb climate change. A key concern was the wording on US$100 billion in climate finance developed nations have promised.
 
The developing countries were not pleased with the draft agreement text, which they said lacked firm commitments by the developed nations. The developing nations do not just want commitments to the total amount to be spent on combating climate change, but want clarity on where it will come from and what it would be used for.
 
However, yesterday the negotiators were back at the negotiation table, with renewed attempts to find common ground amid high tension. Meanwhile UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon is complaining of the “frustrating” and “slow” progress in talks on the final draft, because of “narrow national perspectives”.
 
Most infuriated are the developing countries grouped under the G77+China, a 130-strong grouping that includes Namibia, other African nations, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC).
 
The G77 say the new draft leaves out key mechanisms agreed to previously, such as financing for poorer nations, and fails to hold richer developed nations to account. “When you take out the issues of others, you disenfranchise them, and disempower those who suffer the most,” said South Africa’s climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, who chairs the G77 group of 130 developing nations, including China and India.
 
The new draft “completely ignored the submissions of G77 on finance,” said Gurdial Singh Nijar, a spokesman for the LMDC. “We demand that the text be balanced for negotiations to commence,” said Nijar.
 
“The current text neither satisfies the concerns of all parties, nor would it lead to the actions required to avert a global calamity,” said AOSIS chairman Thoriq Ibrahim of the Maldives.
 
Developing nations objected to the latest, shortened blueprint for the agreement, saying some of their key demands have been dropped. They insist that deleted passages be restored before the job of line-by-line text bartering can begin.
 
Ban implored the nations to continue with talks and find common ground in time for the Paris conference, as there is no other alternative. “We don’t have any ‘plan B’ because we don’t have any ‘planet B’,” said Ban.
 
Nations have met in Germany under the auspices of the UN to hammer out the final wording for the universal climate rescue pact that is supposed to be signed at the November 30 to December 11 UN climate conference in Paris.
 
A key pillar of the Paris pact will be binding (sic) pledges by national governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
 
The five-day UN session in Bonn is the last official meeting of rank-and-file negotiators to lay the groundwork for heads of state and ministers to seal a deal meant to curb global warming.
 
A key concern was the wording on US$100 billion in finance that the developed world had promised to mobilise by 2020 to help poorer nations make the shift to less-polluting energy industries and adapt to the unavoidable effects of global warming, such as a rise in the sea level.
 
Full story
 
 
 
3) Frustration Mounts As Time Runs Out At UN Climate Talks
AFP, 21 October 2015
 
Mariette Le Roux
 
Frustration ran high Wednesday at the snail’s pace of talks for a climate rescue pact, with three days left for diplomats to craft a blueprint for a year-end UN summit.

 

With an eye firmly on the clock, diplomats in Bonn despaired at the mountain of work they face after an acrimonious start on Monday cost them more than a day of negotiating time.
 
“I am, to be honest, very concerned,” said climate envoy Laurence Tubiana of France, which will host a November 30-December 11 UN summit tasked with inking a 195-nation pact to rein in global warming.
 
“I don’t think this way of working is going to bring us where we need to be by the end of the week and to stand a chance of success in Paris.”
 
The Bonn meeting is tasked with forging a workable blueprint for ministers and heads of state to grind down into a global agreement meant to crown years of climate negotiations.
 
It would be the first accord committing all the world’s nations, rich and poor, in the same arena for climate action.
 
The talks got off to a false start Monday when developing countries accused rich ones of “apartheid” tactics, and claimed their core demands had been excised from the blueprint.
 
An overnight sprint to reintroduce omitted passages saw the text swell from 20 pages to 34.
 
‘There is no miracle’
 
The huddle then broke up into smaller text-crafting groups, which reported back on Wednesday.
 
If ministers were to see the product, “probably many delegates would lose half their salaries immediately,” European Union delegate Artur Runge-Metzger told a stocktaking session.
 
Switzerland’s Franz Perrez said time pressure was taking its toll.
 
“Either parties are disappointed because we are not moving fast enough, or they are disappointed because they do not have the time to look in depth at all the proposals.”
 
Several delegates said parties must keep talking after hours, outside the meeting rooms, if progress is to be made.
 
“We need to agree on compromise,” said Perrez.
 
Algeria’s Ahmed Djoghlaf, who co-chairs the forum with Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States, urged diplomats to pull up their sleaves and “engage with your partner”.
 
And the G77 bloc of developing nations, representing the vast majority of the world population, cautioned against further padding of the document.
 
“We need a text by the end of the week that we can take to Paris as the basis of negotiations, in which many issues are agreed,” said climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa, which chairs the G77.
 
“We cannot leave it up to our ministers to do the work of negotiators. It is negotiators that need to reach consensus on most issues, leaving only the highly-sensitive political issues for ministers to resolve.”
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
4) Reality Check: 2,384 Coal Power Plants Planned Or Under Construction Worldwide
US Chamber of Commerce, 16 October 2015
 
Sean Hackbarth
 
Globally there are 510 coal fired power plant under construction with a further 1874 planned, 2,384 in total.
 
Joby Warrick of The Washington Post asks a strange question: If it’s President Obama’s mission to reduce carbon emissions, why is the federal government allowing coal to be mined on federal land and exported?
 
The answer is obvious and hidden in plain sight in the graphics package that accompanies Warrick’s story: Increasing world demand for electricity.

This chart shows from 1980 to 2012, world electricity production from coal increased by 192%. Forty percent of electricity is generated from coal.

 
Washington Post chart on world electricity generation.
Source: The Washington Post.
 
World demand for electricity will increase for decades to come. “In sub-Saharan Africa, where just 24 percent of the population has access to electric power, demand is likely to grow exponentially in the years ahead,” notes the Post. In India, with its middle class expected to grow to 200 million by 2020,Robert Bryce at the Manhattan Institute points out, “India’s coal use is expected to more than double by 2035.”
 
Being a cheap, abundant source of energy, coal can fuel countries that strive to live lifestyles as comfortable as ours in the United States. Can’t say I blame them.
Stephen Eule at the Institute for 21st Century Energy quotes Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister for State for Power, Coal, and New & Renewable Energy:
 
Just as in all other countries, including the developed world, coal will continue to remain the mainstay of our energy related needs for the foreseeable future. In all fairness, it would not be correct to say or to expect India to move away from coal when we are at the cusp of our developmental journey.
 
According to the World Coal Association, there are more than 2,300 coal fired power plants planned or under construction worldwide. They will provide electricity access to millions of people, greatly improving their lives. These plants will be built and burn coal no matter what coal opponents do.


World Coal Association chart on coal power plants planned and/or under construction.
Source: World Coal Association.
 
Good question. Even though the administration is very wrong on its carbon emissions regulations, it at least acknowledges coal’s important role. Warrick quotes Interior Secretary Sally Jewell: “Coal is, and will continue to be, an important part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future.” In the U.S., coal still generates nearly 35% of all electricity.
 
Given this, “What taxpayers are being helped by denying the United States — with the biggest coal reserves in the world — the fastest-growing markets for coal in the world?” Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association, asked in the Post story.
 
Full story
 
 
 
5) GWPF Welcomes Grantham Institute Acknowledgement That “CO2 Benefits Are Indeed Good News”
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 21 October 2015
 
The Global Warming Policy Foundation welcomes the acknowledgement by Professor Colin Prentice, a leading UK climate scientist at the Grantham Institute, that the thrust of the GWPF’s latest report on CO2 is correct and a well-established scientific fact.
 
Last week, the GWPF published a report by Dr Indur Goklany (Carbon Dioxide: The Good News) which highlights the many benefits of carbon dioxide for the environment and human health.
 
Professor Prentice, AXA Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts at the Grantham Institute, also confirms that the many benefits of CO2 documented in the GWPF report “are indeed ‘good news’.” (Carbon dioxide: the good and the bad, the right and the wrong).
 
At the same time, Prof Prentice denies that there is any demonization of CO2 as “evil and dangerous.” But the entire case for urgent measures to reduce CO2 is derived from the notion that CO2 is dangerous. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s case for CO2 regulation is based on its so-called  “Endangerment Finding” which declared “CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”
 
The demonisation is further promoted when the USEPA refers to carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution.”
 
 


 
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