Tag Archives: Climate Change

Reclaim Power! Part 2

17 Dec

As predicted, the planned mass action of non-violent civil disobedience was violent. See the Guardians live blog on the happenings of yesterdays climate change protest.


Cop15 Updates from the Outside

15 Dec

COP15 has brought over 60 000 people to Copenhagen. Due to the lack of space from such an influx of people, the conference centre has shut it`s doors to 70% of NGO attendees. Tomorrow and each day following, fewer and fewer NGOs will be allowed in. By Friday, rumour has it that only 90 NGO attendees will be in the conference centre. Despite being on the outside, we have compiled a number of updates from today`s negotations:

As some countries have reservations on carbon capture and storage (CCS) the emerging technology will not be added to the UN-backed carbon reducing mechanisms here in Copenhagen. http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=3011   

As time runs out, the big issues still being discussed by delegates are emission reduction targets of developed countries, developing country actions and long term financing.

Leaked draft documents from Canada, found by CBC, included statements such as:

projected growth in greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands in northern Alberta will be 165 per cent by 2020 and proposes to cut that growth — not emissions — by 10 per cent. http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2009/12/15/prentice-oil-sands.html

Minister Jim Prentice, second in rank after Stephen Harper in these negotiations, is making himself as scarce as possible in the conference center. Despite efforts, communication by an NGO has not been made.

Canada Breaks its Silence

12 Dec

For the first time in the major COP and CMP plenary sessions of the conference, Canada spoke up. It happened in this morning’s COP plenary regarding the progress of the AWG-LCA draft text available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php. Michael Martin, chief negotiator for Canada, complimented the text on the following components:

  • progress on technology and forests
  • recognition of the importance of fast start financing (jump start as Martin likes to say)
  • scaled up mitigation efforts

Ambassador Martin mainly criticized the mitigation component of the draft text as being deficient. After the COP plenary, Sylvie and Sarah approached the Canadian representatives to question them on this speech. We asked about the deficient mitigation efforts and if that meant Canada had plans to step up their pitiful target. The answer was that Kyoto only represents 1/3 of global emitters so the deffiency was referring to those other 2/3 of emitters. We then asked if this comment was directed at the United States no response was given but the facial reactions implied “YES”. Secondly we asked about the importance of fast start financing and if Canada was therefore ready to commit money to combat climate change. The answer was not direct but basically implied that it is a known fact that commitments of funding will have to be made. Again, body reactions implied that a commitment may be made in the next few days. It should be noted that throughout Canada’s speech, there was heavy emphasis on Developed and Developping Countries both have to do their share.

The second time Canada spoke today was at the CMP plenary session. The agenda item at hand was  regarding amendments for further commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php. Canada essentially dismissed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol and instead requested a new agreement that would include all parties who are not currently included in the Kyoto Protocol. Speculation indicates that Canada is pushing for a new agreement (and to kill the Kyoto Protocol) in order to avoid penalties of not meeting their Kyoto target.

Orange in a Sea of Black

11 Dec

Today in the Bella Center youth are unmistakable. YuFuGe Day, or rather Young and Future Generations Day, has been marked in the Bella Centre by a sea of extremely bright orange shirts worn by youth. The shirts, which read “How old will you be in 2050?” on the front and “[Don’t bracket our future]” on the back are strengthening the point that climate change is not just an issue for adults in spiffy suits.  Youth are taking a stand and being a voice to show their concern for what is going on and to put pressure on decision makers at this conference. Today several activities were set up by youth and for youth on many topics, one being intergenerational equity (http://unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/the-youth-generation-yufuge-day/, this is a copy of what I read today here at the Bella Center). Yet youth are not only being active on YuFuGe Day, but protests involving both youth and adults are seen inside and outside the Bella Center daily. If you have been keeping up with our Facebook page you may have noticed some of our own UWSP delegation members participating in protests as well (nonviolent, of course).

I can’t say I wear the colour orange well, but I  have to admit that the shirts have been very effective. In 2050, I will be 59  years old, and many of the decision makers here at COP15 will no longer be around. The youth of today are as concerned as adults about climate change, and these vibrant orange shirts we are all decked out in only prove the point that these decisions will be affecting our generation.

Tyler and Sylvie with the orange YuFuGe Day shirts.

Tar Sands Debrief

11 Dec

Hi Everyone: Today UWSP’s Tyler, Sylvie, Julia, Emily and Elaine attended the Canadian Youth Delegation meeting. Sylvie and Tyler have taken on a new task for spreading the word about Tar Sands in Canada. We will be printing questions such as “Why isn’t Canada pushing for an ambitious agreement at Copenhagen?” and “Why is Steven Harper opposed to Canadian action on climate change?” All of these questions that will be printed with a black tar stained maple leaf will (hopefully) be placed on every party seat in the Plenary and also on media seats – and actually everywhere possible! We want the global community to know Canada is embarrassing the people and not properly representing us on the international stage.

Here is a debrief to help you all better understand what the tar sands are and how they are TARNISHING our image. [This is taken from an email sent to me in order to have the proper knowledge when doing this project]

“Although only currently accounting for 5% of Canada’s emissions, the tar sands are the single largest contributor to growth in emissions and single largest source of projected new emissions. Tar sands emissions have increased more than 200% since 1990 and — if not regulated properly — will account for 12% of Canada’s emissions in2020, an increase of over 44% from 2006. Environment Canada has estimated that, per unit of output, GHG emissions from oil sands mining and upgrading are about five times greater than those from conventional light/medium crude oil production. They are the number one reason Alberta and Canada’s emissions are rising instead of falling….. with South Africa’s new emissions-intensity target that they announced last week, they have a more ambitious plan for reducing emissions than Alberta.

Carbon-capture and storage (CCS) is problematic for three reasons… (1) It is an expensive technology, both because it is new, and because it carries major energy and infrastructure costs. Not all areas have the suitable geology and sound regulation needed to minimize environmental risk. (2) CCS should only be considered as part of a portfolio of solutions,and adequate attention also must be paid to more sustainable, low-impact energy solutions, especially renewable energy and energy efficiency. Public investment in CCS must not come at the expense of the public investment needed to ensure a massive scale-up of energy efficiency and low-impact renewable energy production. For example, the federal government is not renewing the Eco-energy program for renewable energy and are spending 14 times less per capita on renewable energy than President Obama. While at the same time, the Alberta and Canadian governments have given over $2billion in CCS research, development, and deployment… this is “corporate welfare” for tar sands companies who are comfortably profiting… these corporations will then likely get the Intellectual Property Rights to this technology and then make even more while selling the technology to developing countries. (3) It will not significantly reduce emissions from Alberta’s tarsands. While it can reduce emissions from coal-fired power generation by90%, it will only reduce emissions from tar sands processing by 10% to30%. Alongside its contribution to climate change, the tar sands have significant negative ecological (particularly on water resources and boreal forests) and human/social effects (particularly on local indigenous communities). Industry does not currently have a way to deal effectively with tailings, the lakes of toxic waste produced from oil sands development. Tar sands production also requires substantial consumption of water and natural gas, consuming relatively clean resources to produce dirty, bottom of the barrel synthetic oil. Many indigenous communities downstream from the tar sands are being impacted adversely by tar sands development and have experienced adverse health impacts and disruption to their traditional ways of life. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-emissions-polluting-waterways-study-finds/article1392239/) The CYD supports an immediate moratorium on further Tar Sands development (with support for affected workers) until its emissions profile, ecological consequences, and human/social effects are resolved.”

Tension, Frustrations and Anxiety in the Plenary

10 Dec

Frustrations filled this morning’s CMP plenary as parties could not reach a consensus. The agenda item of discussion was amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. Numerous amendments were proposed by the following countries: Tuvalu, Australia, Columbia, Papa New Guinea, Japan, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Belize, New Zealand, Philippines, and Non-Annex Countries. The tabled amendments included extending the commitment period beyond 2012, requiring developed countries to commit to 40% emission reduction targets of 1990 levels by 2020, giving legal authority to the compliance board, and setting up funding for adaptation and mitigation. With these amendments on the table, Tuvalu proposed the setting up of a contact group to discuss issues regarding these amendments. Much support was voiced for this option. However, much support was also voiced for the option presented by China to allow the  ad hoc working group of the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) to work on developing amendments agreed on by all parties. Without consensus the President made the decision to suspend this agenda item until Saturday. Tuvalu immediately rejected this decision indicating that consensus must be reached sooner than Saturday if COP15 is to be successful, therefore the meeting should continue until a decision regarding the proposed amendments has been made. Again many countries supported Tuvalu. China yet again proposed another option: to scope down issues in the CMP and therefore moving amendment related discussions to be dealt with by the AWG-KP. After a ten minute break in which the President talked with party members, a final decision was to suspend the agenda item until Saturday.

Our feelings were that we cannot wait on this until Saturday. Nothing has been done to date and nothing will be done until next week if a decision on amendments cannot be made soon. Unless a miracle happens next week, the outlook of this conference is grim.

Following the CMP meeting, Tyler and Sylvie spoke with representatives from Tuvalu who supported our feelings. They felt that the President was intentionally stalling to make a decision. Speculation indicates that since the President is Danish, she may be influenced by the release of the “Danish Text” indicating that Denmark is only interested signing their agreement.

In the CMP and COP meetings, Canada and the US have yet to turn on their microphones. If you want to know Canada’s opinion on these matters, as we do, contact Jim Prentice at Minister@ec.gc.ca and urge him to give Canada a voice. We’ll do what we can here in Copenhagen.

Emission Reduction Targets put forward by Annex 1 Countries

8 Dec

Based on updates from today’s Adhoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) meeting, Annex 1 countries have put forward the following emission reduction objectives:

Party % Reduction by 2020 Baseline Year
Australia 5-15 2000
Belarus 5-10 1990
Canada 20 2006
Croatia 6% INCREASE! 1990
European Community 20-30 1990
Iceland 15 1990
Japan 25 1900
Kazakhstan 15 1992
Lietchtenstein 20-30 1990
Monaco 20 1990
New Zealand 10-20 1990
Norway 30-40 1990
Russian Federation 20-25 1990
Switzerland 20-30 1990
Ukraine 20 1990

Note: Croatia’s target is not a reduction!

Also note: Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan are the only countries that do not use 1990 as a baseline. One of the outcomes of COP15 is to determine is a baseline of 1990 should be legally mandatory.