By Tetet Nera-Lauron, 20 November 2013. Source: IBON International
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon urged the ministers gathered at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) to take ‘tougher action’ to reach a global deal to address climate change in 2015. While recognizing that the world’s leaders faced a steep climb ahead to arrive at an arrangement for an international climate deal, he cautioned that ‘people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet’, in obvious reference to super typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines more than a week ago. He challenged governments to ‘set the bar higher’ in committing to climate action.
Ban-Ki Moon also called on governments, especially from the developed countries, to step up aid to help poor nations slow their rising greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of global warming. He alluded to the issue of climate finance, currently the subject of intense debates with disappointing results, and said that ‘I sincerely hope the developed world should keep their promise so all the nations of the planet Earth can move together.’
Negotiators from many developing countries indicated that this year’s summit will be the ‘finance COP’, meaning they expect to resolve long-standing issues and disagreements on the amount of resources that will be actually committed to enable particularly vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. A High Level Ministerial meeting is being convened for that purpose, but this will remain a token gesture of dialogue if no concrete flow of resources (to countries affected by climate change) will materialize. This is the most likely outcome of the meeting, especially in the wake of Australia pulling out of its earlier pledge for climate financing, and with the United States ruling out any new pledges in the light of its own fiscal problems.
Meanwhile, Venezuela convened a meeting for civil society organizations and its head of delegation Mrs. Claudia Salerno gave a briefing on Venezuela’s organization of a Social Pre-COP in Caracas in October 2014. They envision the Social Pre-COP to be a process that will involve diverse actors from civil society and governments from all over the world, and which will result in an outcome that, while carrying the issues, analysis, and aspirations of social movements and grassroots organizations, will also be able to feed into the formal UN climate negotiations. This initiative by Venezuela, i.e. bridging the disconnect between the voices of people from the ground and the language of the negotiations, is a bold move that has never been done before. Mrs. Salerno said that now is the ‘time for craziness, because we have tried so many things in the official process (of climate negotiations) and it didn’t work, so we are going to try to do something else. We don’t have anything to lose, but we need to try everything we can for the world to have ambitious aims.’
By Tetet Nera-Lauron, 19 November, 2013. Source: IBON International
Activists drop a banner off the Polish Economy Ministry in Warsaw on Monday, Nov 18th, the opening day of the World Coal and Climate Summit. Photo: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
‘Coal power can be part of the solution to tackling global warming. If there’s a will, there’s a way.’
This was the message of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres at today’s opening of the 2-day World Coal and Climate Summit. While stating that her presence at the Summit is ‘neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor a call for the immediate disappearance of coal’, Figueres enjoined the coal industry to ‘change rapidly and dramatically for everyone’s sake.’
The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body tasked to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change, stated that the world will overshoot the internationally agreed goal to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius if energy demands are met in the same way as it had been in the past. The UNFCCC Chief outlined the parameters of this ‘paradigm shift’ for the coal industry: (a) close all existing subcritical plants; (b) implement safe carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) on all new plants; and (c) leave most existing reserves in the ground. Continue reading
By Claudia Ciobanu, July 24, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Villagers from Zurawlow protesting in Warsaw. The banner says “Shale gas = the death of farming”. Photo: Claudia Ciobanu/IPS.
Since Jun. 3, inhabitants of the village Zurawlow in Grabowiec district in southeastern Poland have been occupying a field in their locality where the U.S. company Chevron plans to drill for shale gas. The farmers’ resistance is just the latest blow to shale gas proponents in the country.
Chevron, one of the world’s top five publicly owned oil and gas companies (the so-called “Big Oil”), owns four out of the 108 concessions for exploration for unconventional gas currently awarded by Poland (data from Jul. 1, 2013).
Over the past years, Poland has been perceived as one of Europe’s most promising locations for shale exploration. The U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration estimated two years ago that the country holds 187 trillion cubic feet shale gas resources, 44 trillion of which are in the Lubin Basin where Zurawlow lies. This year, the body revised those estimates downwards, to 148 trillion cubic feet for the country and nine trillion for the Lubin region, after applying tighter methodology.
Given Poland’s annual gas consumption (currently over 600 billion cubic feet annually), the original EIA estimate has been translated to mean that shale gas resources would be enough to meet the country’s needs for 300 years, a figure often quoted by media and politicians.
By Sir Julian Rose, January 16 2013. Source: Hartke Online
Farmers Blockade an Agricultural Ministry with Tractors. Photo: Olgierd Rozycki
The Polish farmers protest against a government sell-off of farmland to multinational corporations is now in its 5th week in the Zachodniopomorskie region of Poland and is spreading to other Provinces.
Farmers have blocked the entrance to the Office of an Agricultural Property Agency in the town of Szczecin using tractors to seal off neighboring streets.
The Polish farmers protest is taking place due to government actions to sell the land which is still in their hands but is in use by Polish farmers. The farmers wish to purchase the land for the continuation of their farming enterprises rather than see it sold off to outside interests at highly inflated prices which they are unable to pay. Continue reading
By Fiona Harvey, December 2 2012. Source: The Guardian
Photo: Osama Faisal/AP
Brazil has said a row over carbon credits could derail the United Nations climate change negotiations taking place in Qatar this week.
The row concerns whether countries entering the second round of the Kyoto protocol should be allowed to carry over emissions credits from the first phase. Some countries, including Poland, Ukraine and Russia, have large surpluses of credits, generated because their carbon output collapsed alongside their industrial base after the fall of communism.
These credits are derided as “hot air” by critics because they represent greenhouse gases already reduced many years ago, rather than new efforts. André Corrêa do Lago, head of the Brazilian delegation, told the Guardian: “The second phase has to have environmental integrity, and you will not have that if countries are allowed to carry over [the credits]. The second period will be completely compromised. This is not a way to have effective reductions.” Continue reading