Talk transparently, countries and NGOs demand

June 18, 2011

Climate negotiations come under scanner yet again for being unfair to smaller nations, civil society 

Aditya Ghosh

Bonn, June 13: The UNFCCC climate talks were once again accused of being unfair and not inclusive, this time by Venezuela and a host of NGO observers, in Bonn. Too much fragmentation was not fulfilling the cause of a transparent negotiation, these groups claimed. 

Speaking at the contact group session of AWG-LCA, the South American nation alleged that formation of too many expert, technical and spin-off groups, spread across workshops, contact, informal meetings made it impossible for smaller nations to take meaningful part in the negotiation process. 

The climate talks in Bonn, after starting last week, have limped all the way through and been mired in procedural matters than achieving any progress. Though procedural clarity and technicalities form a vital basis of negotiations to move forward, the biggest stumbling block remains in the form of political commitments.

Venezuela received support from Nicaragua and Ecuador who also felt that too many meetings of different kinds were going on simultaneously making it impossible for smaller countries with fewer negotiators to participate in all of them. 

“In the process smaller nations like us are getting excluded from many of the debates because of absence of sheer numbers in our camp,” said the Venezuelan negotiator. “We are moving away from the good work done at Cancun on inclusion and getting back to separatism here in Bonn,” said the Nicaraguan delegate.

The Venezuelan delegate also said that her country was disappointed the way these numerous meetings and workshops were organized. “We, like many other smaller countries, never get to know what is going on and which session would be up next. Many of these sessions are also organized simultaneously that hardly offers any possibility to us to attend them,” she said.

With most of the meetings closed to NGO observers and limited access for them to interact with the process, the civil society has been a disgruntled lot. Alyssa Johl, of the Washington-based Centre for International Environmental Law, complained that there were far too many “closed door” negotiating sessions, and that civil society observers had been “shut out of several meetings” at the talks.

Following protests, UNFCCC Secretariat eventually granted NGOs to participate in a follow-up session to this consultation but allocated only nine minutes in total for observer constituencies which gives environment NGOs just one minute to speak. 

The USA has also been consistent in its efforts to have as many informal sessions, workshops, parallel technical meetings that many developing countries felt undermined the process of UNFCCC. “It is any day better to have it under the aegis of UNFCCC than informally, the sessions must be formal in nature,” said the Bolivian negotiator.

 

Hard evidence
 
World Banks’ double-handedness
imageA report released by Friends of the Earth shows how the World Bank hit a new record in 2010 for annual fossil fuel lending at $4.7 billion, increasing its coal-related spending alone by 256 percent. The World Bank has now been made a trustee of the Green Climate Fund which will administer the flow of funds from developed to developing countries to cope with climate change, which includes deploying 'clean energy' solutions.

See full report »

 


Highest ever recorded GHG emissions were reached in 2010
imageThe world CO2 emissions have hit a record high in 2010 at 30.6 gigatonnes, according to a recent study by the IEA. This is a 5% increase from previous record of 29.3 Gt in 2008. An IEA scenario sets the emissions limit at 32 Gigatonnes for 2020 in order to stay within the “safe” 2 degrees Celsius rise. This means that the rise in emissions for the next 10 years needs to be lesser than that between 2009 and 2010.

See full report >>

 


A Financial Transaction Tax could effectively address climate finance woes
imageA new report from CIDSE throws light on how the climate financing challenge can be met by taxing global financial transactions. A financial transaction tax, such as this, introduced at a mere .05% could raise up to US$ 6661.1 billion.

See full report »

 


Climate change will mean lesser water availability for food production new FAO report warns
imageA comprehensive survey of existing literature points to the impacts that climate change will have on water used in agriculture. Those dependent on glacial melt water for irrigation will be heavily impacted; this covers 40% of the world’s population. The report, although issues a risk warning for both rural livelihoods and food security of city populations, states the rural poor will be the most vulnerable.

See full report »

 


South Asia and parts of Africa are amongst climate hotspots where food supplies will be worst hit
imageThe study which maps out regions based on sensitivity to and capacity to adapt to the impacts of shifts in temperature and precipitation highlights the South Asian region where millions of already-impoverished people will be further impacted due to loss in agricultural productivity.

See full report »