Bonn talks on climate change: We must limit raises to 1.5C to save lives and livelihoods, sas LDC group

18 May 2017:  At the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said “The LDC emphasise that the global response to climate change must be consistent with the best available science. We must limit warming to 1.5˚C to protect lives and livelihoods, and this means peaking global emissions in 2020. Less than three years remain to bend the emissions curve down.”

“Climate change impacts are already striking all corners of the world, and are anticipated to grow substantially over the next few decades. The longer we wait, the more costly adaptation, loss and damage, and mitigation will become. We risk undermining our efforts to eradicate poverty and keep in line with our sustainable development goals.”

“The LDCs are concerned that we are still far from addressing actual finance needs of developing countries, whose Nationally Determined Contributions tell us that we need to find trillions not billions. Mobilising climate finance is crucial for LDCs and other developing countries to implement the Paris Agreement.”

“The LDCs are pleased that some valuable progress was made during this conference but we are not moving fast enough. This November at COP23 we must make considerable progress towards finalising the ‘rulebook’ that will implement the Paris Agreement without a last minute rush. The LDCs look forward to continuing our work to produce concrete outcomes.”

“The LDCs call on all Parties to redouble their efforts to tackle climate change with the urgency the climate crisis demands. The livelihoods of present and future generations hang in the balance and depend on all countries taking fair and ambitious action.”

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Bonn talks on Climate change: Old habits die hard as US delays progress

18 May 2017: As the United Nations climate change talks inched slightly closer to finalising a rule book on implementing the Paris Agreement, despite continued U.S. intransigence across a host of technical and political issues. With only a few years before the window of opportunity to meet the 1.5 temperature target closes, civil society groups are urging for progress on a number of vital issues but have been disappointed by apparent US’ bad faith in negotiations.

“The Trump administration has made it perfectly clear that it will be a climate laggard by moving to lower their already abysmally unambitious pledge to the Paris Agreement,” said Meena Raman of Third World Network. “But the U.S. negotiators in Bonn are going a step further by undermining the ability of developing countries to play their part in implementing the Agreement.”

“Developing countries are broadly willing to contribute their fair share of the climate action needed to stay below 1.5,” she added, “but they need the financial and technological support to do so. The U.S. has refused to deliver its $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund, and in Bonn almost point blank refused to engage on finance discussions, especially on any discussions that involved a review of the financial support so far provided – effectively pushing the world to the edge of the climate change cliff.”

A major issue in the talks, which are the first since Trump took office and appointed former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, was the role of non-governmental observers. A previous negotiation session in Bonn had mandated a special workshop, which saw fiery exchanged around the problem of conflicts of interest. Here, too, the U.S. led other developed countries in blocking progress to develop rules that would inhibit polluting industries from weakening climate policy.

“If this round of negotiations has proved one thing, it’s that governments and civil society organizations are determined to create policy to address the corrosive influence of Big Polluters,” said Tamar Lawrence-Samuel of Corporate Accountability International.

“Try as they might, the industry and the Global North governments in their pockets will not be successful in suppressing our voices or undermining this movement. Around the globe, people have already made it clear: those driving this crisis have no role in making the rules designed to constrain the source of their profits. Simply put, despite bullying from corporate trade groups and the governments representing the industry’s interests, the progress made at this session ensures that a process is underway to advance a conflict of interest policy in the years to come.”

With the U.S. reneging on its obligations, civil society groups urged other developed countries to follow through with the spirit of the Marrakech proclamation, which renewed their commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the goal to avert warming above 1.5 degrees.

“It’s time for the EU to live up to its professed green ideals, and go above and beyond its current low-end pledges,” said Rachel Kennerley of Friends of the Earth England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. “The world can’t wait for a change of U.S. administration to get serious about climate change – so European countries must take more action at home to end their own fossil fuel addictions as well as step up their game by supporting developing countries to do the necessary leapfrog to renewables.”

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Global Civil Society defends African Renewable Energy

18 May, Bonn: Over 100 international CSOs issued a solidarity statement with their African counterparts who are concerned that France and the European Commission might undermine the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. The statement says that France and the European Commission abused their position as donors to endorse 19 projects which were not subject to the initiative’s own evaluation criteria or social, environmental, and gender safeguards – against the wishes of several Africans on the AREI Board. Neither France nor the European Commission is formally a Board Member. Continue reading

Climate justice group demands action at Bonn meeting on climate change starting this week

2017 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, resulting in record low sea-ice levels in the Arctic, unprecedented flooding displacing 100,000 and affecting  over a million people in Peru, and the threat of  mass deaths in parts of Africa as the worst drought in memory deepens famine conditions.  While this is the world at 1°C of warming, much further warming is inevitable: the window to avoid warming above 1.5°C is rapidly closing, and carbon dioxide levels are already at the record-breaking level of 410ppm. Continue reading

Climate Change: substantive progress must be made on Paris Agreement rules at Bonn, says LDC group

BONN, 8 MAY – From 8-18 May 2017, the United Nations climate change negotiations will be held in Bonn, Germany. It is important that substantive progress is made on the rules and processes that will fully operationalise the Paris Agreement. This session marks the half-way point to the finalisation of this process by 2018.

Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said “climate change is costing lives and livelihoods, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries so there is a need for urgent action by all countries. The LDC Group will continue to push for fair and ambitious action by all.”

“For many of our countries, keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. Therefore, we all have to work towards a cleaner, greener, low-carbon global society as soon as possible.”

“Protecting people, livelihoods and economies also requires adapting to the impacts of climate change that are already devastating communities, erasing hard-won development gains and forcing mass migration. In this regard, I am deeply concerned about the lack of available support for adaptation, leaving the poorest and most vulnerable in society to weather the worst impacts of climate change with the least means to cope. Meanwhile the Least Developed Countries Fund, a key source of support for adaptation planning and implementation, sits empty.”

Many LDCs have made ambitious commitments under the Paris Agreement. However, these commitments cannot be implemented without substantial support, including technological and financial support. Many estimates suggest that more than $100 trillion is needed to transition to a global low-carbon society. The financial support committed by developing countries to date falls far short of this figure and is therefore woefully inadequate. The little that has nominally been made available through various funds and institutions continues to be inaccessible for our countries that the lack individual and institutional capacity to readily access those funds. In short, climate finance must begin to actually flow to the countries that need it and be scaled up drastically if we are to limit global warming to safe levels and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change across the globe.”

Despite the challenges LDCs face, we are leading through action, for example by building on the successful launch of the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative at COP22. Through this initiative, LDCs are taking charge of their energy future and security and empowering our poorest communities to pursue sustainable development through equitable access to clean, sustainable and low-carbon energy.”

The LDC Group has already convened in Bonn for preparatory meetings from 1-2 May, to consolidate our positions and strategies ahead of the upcoming negotiations.Significant pollution cuts and the transfer of finance and technology are needed in order to limit global warming to well below 1.5C, the limit identified by many scientists and social movements across the world

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Women Clearing Bombs in Cambodia

Apr 24 2017 Erik Larson (IPS): Mao Neav takes a few quick steps out into the field, followed by her faithful dog Onada, tail wagging, tongue out and panting, ready for what is out there. The field is peppered with cluster bombs. Mao Neav is the leader of a small group of bomb and mine clearers working in the Ratanakiri province of north-east Cambodia. Continue reading

Bangladesh – Rights groups demand reformation of Water Board

Rights groups have demanded reforming the Bangladesh Water Development Board to save the nation’s coastal lands and its people as the board is failing to carry out its duties.They have also demanded ending the illicit ties and business between WDB and its contractors at a human chain on Saturday in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka. Continue reading

Give targetted assistance to LDCs to develop renewable energy urges head of ‘southern’ NGO

17 April 2017: The LDC initiated Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI) for Sustainable Development should be put into action. This new initiative, let us hope, will help improve livelihoods across the LDCs, bringing modern, clean, resilient energy systems to millions of energy-starved people, says Gauri Pradham, international coordinator of LDC Watch.  Continue reading

African Peoples to Europe: Don’t Hijack Our Renewable Energy

5 April 2017: Today almost 200 African civil society organisations issued a strong condemnation of European manipulation and compromising of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). Tensions have erupted over the actions of France and the European Commission, who are accused of risking the initiative’s African sovereignty, and of bypassing processes including social and environmental criteria to push approval of projects, to the cost of African citizens Continue reading

How successful were the millennium development goals?

John McArthur and Krista Rasmussen,  Brookings Institute, 30 March 2017: Did the United Nation’s millennium development goals (MDGs) make any difference? Perhaps no question is more important for assessing the results of global policy cooperation between 2000 and 2015. We highlight three key findings: At least 21 million extra lives were saved due to accelerated progress; some successes were more important than others; low income countries accelerated more than middle-income countries.

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