Another Europe is possible

UN climate conference – European Parliament delegation on ground in Doha

04/12/2012

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UN climate conference – European Parliament delegation on ground in Doha

 

09/12 End of summit press release:

 

Profit overrides climate as UN summit fails in Doha

 

Sabine Wils on the outcome of the UN climate change summit in Doha:

 

“This summit has delivered a miserable outcome. The EU has discredited itself, but not only because of Poland. The EU was quite blatant in its efforts to spare European industry ambitious climate protection targets. Despite the urgency, the EU did not raise its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to 30% or 40% by 2020. The current goal of 20% by 2020 has almost been already reached.”


“The message Doha sends out to world is: continue with business as usual! The extension of the Kyoto Protocol, the minimum goal for Doha, doesn’t change anything. The Kyoto Protocol addresses only 15% of global greenhouse gas emission and is riddled with loopholes.”


“The EU more or less ignored the demands from developing countries to push for a detailed roadmap for a much-needed global climate treaty by 2015 and for the middle and long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation. Instead, some countries pledged to provide about € 7 billion over the next two years. Given the pace of ice cap melting, this is just a drop in the ocean. Millions of people are threatened by the loss of drinking water, flooding, or even the demise of their countries.”
“What was obvious in the run-up to the climate summit in Doha is now official: global warming will certainly exceed 2°C, most likely rising to 4°C or more.”

 

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Final output of different tracks on the ongoing negotiations – Friday 7.12.2012

 

They are not yet of course the real final output: it is only one of the last but not least “stop & go” that put in serious danger the conclusion in time by this evening of the COP 18. While UN parties are still looking for agreements on texts in restricted workgroups on the single open tracks a new plenary will be held this evening at 23.00 at a ministerial level, where Ministers are expected to disclose their final opinion about the binding papers and engagements to be issued in the forthcoming hours.

This midday plenary session represented the state of play referred by the facilitators of the “ad-hoc Working Groups” and the critical approach expressed by historical and valuable groups of parties: i.e. Group of 77, LDC, or AOSIS, the Umbrella Group, China.

On the Kyoto Protocol (KP) the Minister of Norway as facilitator and spokesman of the concerned WG referred that they were on the good track on important issues regarding the 2nd commitment of KP and were working on a new text that “must be” a good text reflecting the parties’ wishes to be merged with the other issues in a unique package.

Cross cutting finance issues was reported by the Russian Federation as spokesman: here difficulty was clear and a new round of consultation text is expected at 21.00 therefore no real progress has not been yet achieved.

Concerning the outcome from the ADP ad hoc WG it was more optimistic: all ministers should engage in giving their appreciation by the next hours, the proposal will then go directly to the plenary where a draft decision could be adopted.
At a Ministerial level to reach a final out put on “the loss and damages pledges” further consultations from LDC and from all the other groups are needed and the eventual compromise text has to be revised.

The reactions to these very deceiving and still very provisional information were very hard mainly from the AOSIS group and LDC who took the floor: Nauru, Gambia, the Philippines. They all called desperately for immediate ambition and underlined the urgency of reliable financial commitments by industrialized countries. The Philippines doubled it speaking time claiming for immediate solidarity in front of the deadly disaster provoked from the devastating typhoon, whose effects have been amplified by climate change worsening conditions.

This critical approach was then widely developed by very clear interventions of Bolivia and Venezuela on behalf of the ALBA group but also representing the rights of indigenous people. They accused the developed countries to drive the COP 18 into a polluter market conference instead of dealing with climate change where pollutant credits (AAUs) are used to follow on business as usual disregarding the urgency of needed help.

 

Roberto Lopriore - ENVI staff


 

 

 

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Briefing on the third day of the COP 18 High level segment Doha conference and on meeting with the Council and the European Commission and the EP delegation

 

Positions and plans for further negotiations change very quickly here in Doha. First there are several tracks on going and negotiations should go on with the same acquiring similar speed in order to grant to each country a balanced sustainable approach. To understand the interlinked dossiers, here in Doha from one side parties have to comply with the previous commitments such the Bali Action Plans, responding to the financial pledges undertaken in Copenhagen or to implement the ADP (Agreed Durban Platform) and to conclude negotiations under the AWG-LCA (Long Term Cooperative Actions).

In this complicated framework achieving a second commitment period for the KP is the most challenging issue with the obligation in ensuring an adequate financial support.
On financing issue, a key factor to close the LCA supporting adaptation and mitigation measures the EU presented itself naked without any mandate to be spent as the adoption of MFF is still failed. Therefore there is no common money to be put on the table of negotiations to have a remarkable weight in them and try to play a leading role in fighting climate change. As the EU failed in adopting a both multi-annual budget and a valuable decision on the 2013 budget too is having heavy consequences in climate change as well. As GUE NGL we are not mourning for the absence of leading role of the EU but for the missed momentum to provide urgent reliable and additional aid to developing countries that need it.

Till now there are only single commitments by EU countries such as UK (2.2 billion euro – Germany 1.8 billion euro – France 2 bn euro – Sweden and Denmark, then Finland, Norway and the Netherlands as well; however it is clear that the EU as a whole could not stand in a strong position on this issue thus its position on other items is seriously weakened. LDC (Less Developed Countries) and AOSIS are claiming urgently to fill this financial gap as formally the 1st commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires on 31.12.2012 and after this deadline no pledges are undertaken or granted. The only engagement spent by the European Commissioner Hedeegaard is the amount secured in EU projects for developing countries of 520 million euro, 180 among them are addressed to African countries, but this is old money of course to be spent in the incoming years, but in a deal you have to be ready to put more. Till now at this stage of COP 18 the total available amount is 6 billion euro due to the single MS pledges.

On the ADP (Agreed Durban Platform) there is a continuous stop & go. The last one occurred after the suspension of the ad hoc working group and the report from the facilitators in the Parties dialogue to the plenary. A draft paper mainly supported by LDC and AOSIS is on the track but everything as explained before is interlinked with the other fronts of negotiations. The EU is ready to support such a draft even if more ambition and clear review steps are asked by all Developing countries. The lack of ambition of Developed Countries is really deceiving and potential good expectations on the acquired “Durban alliance” among EU, LDC and large part of Developing Countries risk to be vanished.

 

Roberto Lopriore - ENVI staff

 

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07/12 Press release:

 

EU loses credibility in faltering Doha climate talks

 

Speaking from the UN climate change summit in Doha GUE/NGL MEP Sabine Wils said the EU had lost its credibility in the halting negotiations and that the talks revealed the complete failure of capitalist approaches to the climate problem.

"Financial pledges by developed countries for adaptation to climate change are too slow to arrive and are insufficient. Some EU countries are bargaining with unused emissions certificates in order to sell them after 2020 - this is unacceptable. The planned extension of the emission trading scheme beyond Europe is no solution. We will not be protected from 4°C global warming this way."

"The EU has already achieved a 20% emissions reduction as Commissioner Hedegaard announced in Doha. It must now commit itself to an emissions reduction of at least 30% by 2020 with a binding EU-wide energy transformation from fossil fuels to renewables required."

"The little insular states that are facing demise - and countries like Bangladesh which are severely threatened by flooding - are being cast aside in these talks" Wils concluded.

 

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06/12

 

Briefing on the meeting with the Chinese and the EP delegation – Doha

 

Meeting began in a very friendly way: the Chinese negotiator being happy to meet the MEPs and ready to reply to all our questions at least related to climate change of course!

Several MEPs asked detailed information on the Chinese effort to reduce GHG emissions. The Chief negotiator pinpointed the main guidelines followed by the Chinese government: first, energy conservation and efficiency improvement, second optimization of energy consumption.

This concerns consumption in transport, industry and public administration. China made a considerable effort in economic restructuring reducing their industrial capacity and over the past 6 years the old electric plants of 80 giga watts were eliminated shifting to more efficient productions. They tried to accommodate the power gap optimization by enhancing efficiency in the energy sector as well as in other industrial sectors.

Efforts have to be completed in transport and public administration where they asked the local authorities to phase out the old coal energy plants moving to nuclear energy power plants in which the Chinese Government has invested a lot. Nevertheless, the consequences and lessons from the accident of Fukushima pushed them to a temporary halt in their nuclear programme.

Since there are difficulties in starting the renewable sector the nuclear one continues with the aim of reaching 46 Gigawatts. The renewables sector is growing very fast: biomass, solar power is now 8.6% of the total primary energy mix, 11% in 2015 and 15% in 2020.

The major effort is to provide a global cut of the total energy consumption. The government set a clear limitation on total consuming to local authorities mainly on their coal consumption.

The main challenge is the way they need restructuring for the existing economy. The main obstacle is the operating technology in the existing power units: they are not suitable for new technologies thus they need to be upgraded. China wants to work to fill this gap.

Concerning the more important gap, the Chinese delegation underlined the historic responsibilities of developed countries both in CO2 emissions reductions and in achieving the pledge to reach the 2 degrees C objective. Between the average amount of GHG emissions due from developed countries and emissions caused by developing countries the gap represented by the disproportionate and insufficient financial pledge undertaken by developed countries is not understandable. According to China, the EU has a constructive attitude up to now, even having a leadership role but there are within the EU some blocking positions that should be overcome.

Developing countries finally obtained a new 2nd CP (Commitment Period) but now the challenge is how to increase the level of ambition. The EU is ready to do more – it was acknowledged by the Chinese - but such willingness is linked and depends on what the other parties will do. And among the same coalition of the “umbrella countries” some want to carry over in the 2nd CP the AAUs and on this issue there will be a struggle.

Regarding the ongoing negotiations on financial issues there is again a big dispute and negotiations have been very difficult: the pledge in ensuring for the next three years at least 6 billion euros by several EU countries gave the momentum to improve the negotiations, but the Commitment Period risks not being achieved. AOSIS countries and China said that EU should push the umbrella countries to do more and have a binding commitment from their side.

Finally on ETS the Chinese government launched an ETS scheme in several provinces, they want cooperation with EU and they are looking to find a more comprehensive approach with EU initiative. The EP delegation is ready to open the door to cooperation with China reaching a global agreement on ETS scheme at the ICAO level; in this context there is a European Commission proposal to stop for one year the existing EU ETS scheme facilitating a common implementation. Both delegations agreed in closing the meeting that to achieve a win-win scenario it is worthwhile to pursue a low carbon economy.
 

 

Roberto Lopriore, GUE/NGL policy advisor.

 

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06/12

 

This morning, German environmental minister Peter Altmaier spoke to the general assembly of the UN in Doha. He said: “Every day brings new insights. The picture is becoming crystal clear. Nobody can deny that we have to act!”

 

 

He thereby joined the indefinite eulogies on climate protection in the general assembly. This has been so since Tuesday and it is as tiring and useless as it sounds. Publically, you get to hear a lot of warm words without substance from the developed countries.

 

 

The environment minster understands apparently that the world stands at a crossroads. He talks about a “window of opportunity”, which is about to be closed. By 2015, all countries must decide on a legally binding agreement. But even though the facts are “crystal clear”, Germany is hiding instead of actively leading.

 

 

We urge Germany to walk the walk. Within the EU, Germany contains itself noticeably, abstaining on important decisions in the Council of European environment ministers. Altermaier must stand up to German finance minister Rösler, who is actively working against German energy transformation and other climate-related issues. The fight within the German government must not block the process in Doha. Germany's defensive role at the European level is stopping the EU from pushing climate protection in Doha.

 

 

It is no coincidence that the EU is under heavy fire here in Doha. Their unambitious targets have led to isolation. It therefore does not help at all that Altmaier has announced an increase Germany's climate finance budget by 400 Million Euros next year. How generous...

 

 

 

 

 

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05/12

 

UN climate summit in Doha with MEP Sabine Wils, Member of the official EP-Delegation

 

MEP Sabine Wils (GUE/NGL) as member of the official delegation of the European Parliament to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change reports on site in Doha on the crucial issues:

 

 

Pleased find daily updated information, straight form Doha, on the following websites:

 

www.guengl.eu & www.sabine-wils.eu

 

 

There are three main issues on the table in Doha that are decisive to whether or not the climate summit will produce an acceptable outcome at the end - expected early Saturday morning.

 

 

· The decision on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has to be finalised as the first commitment period ends this month. Seeming to be purely technical, but indeed being highly political, it is the issue of 13 gigatonnes of unused emission certificates, which some countries would like to carry over to the second phase. This negotiation track is finished so far and it is now up to ministers to finalise it in the next two days. A failure is fairly possible as even the EU is divided here.

 

 

· Even more difficult is the planned closure of the work stream on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA), as it was agreed last year in Durban. This is despite the remaining issues being the most controversial ones for which no agreement could be reached in the past. How to deal with them after Doha is still to be solved

 

 

· The replacement of the LCA is the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). This platform is to come up with the outcome of a legally binding agreement, applicable to all parties of the UN. It shall raise the ambition level, taking into account the upcoming 5th IPCC report. Parties make use of the ADP as it comes handy. They are supposed to deliver an agreement not before 2015 so it gives them room to postpone, without taking a beating for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Contact in Doha:

 

Lasse van Aken

Political Advisor

+49 / 151 / 52 53 54 33

lasse.vanaken@europarl.europa.eu

 

 

 

 

 

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04/12

 

Sabine Wils MEP today participated in NGO action against "Hot Air" Before bursting one gigatonne of "Hot Air", Sabine Wils stated: "No
profits should be made of at the expense of the global south!
Assigned Amount Units stand exemplary for the perversion of market basedinstruments. Developed countries use them to offset their emissions
while even trying to make a profit out of it."

 

 

 

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Activists of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of environmental NGOs, today protested against the carry-over of 13 billion
CO-2 emission allowances (Assigned Amount Units - AAUs), also called "Hot Air".

 

They demand that unused AAUs of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol should not be carried over to a second phase, which is to start at the beginning of the year.

 

Sabine participated in the task to smash the 13 gigatonne loophole that threatens all targets to reduce climate change. Countries like Russia,
Ukraine and Poland are interested in selling their unused AAUs to countries that need to offset their emissions. The great amount of a
surplus of 13 billion AAUs was generated due to the weak emission reduction targets. A carry over of unused AAUs to a second commitment
-period of the Kyoto Protocol threatens any coming efforts to tackle climate change substantially.

 

Lasse van Aken
Political Advisor
to Sabine Wils MEP GUE/ NGL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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03/12

 

MEP Sabine Wils (GUE/NGL) arrived today at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and immediately went to work, as the official delegation of the Parliament met with representatives from the European Commission to discuss the state of affairs.

This Monday marking the second week of UNFCCC, the conference is starting to fill up with crowds, as the government negotiators are joined by civil society representatives and deputies from all over the world.

In the run up to UNFCCC, expectations were already quite low, since no real progress was made in the preparation meetings ahead of the climate summit. By deciding last year at the conference in Durban to implement a new working process (the so called Durban Platform) to agree upon a legally binding agreement by 2015, coming into force by 2020, the pressure on parties to go further this year is quite low. In addition, developed countries are taking advantage of the economic crisis to step back on their financial commitments.

However, some crucial issues are to be solved: The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends on January 1st 2013 and Doha is the last chance to enforce a 2nd commitment period. Touching a major field of conflict, developing countries fear that the finance gap from 

 

Sabine Wils in Doha

 

2013 to 2020 is not closed. The fast start finance ends this year and the Green Climate Fund will not be operating before 2020. It is supposed to provide an annual amount of USD 100 billion by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. Industrialised countries are hesitant to take responsibility for their historical liability of climate change.

Furthermore, the work process of Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) is supposed to be closed in Doha, despite the remaining issues being the most controversial ones for which no agreement could be reached in the past. How to deal with them after Doha is still to be solved.

Sabine Wils is further observing the climate summit, keeping a close eye on the European Commission, which should do more to get back into the driver's seat of climate change straight away. She is meeting delegations from other countries as well as different actors from civil society and working closely together with them.

 


Lasse van Aken
Political Advisor
to Sabine Wils MEP GUE/ NGL

 

 

 

 

 

 
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03/12

 

Briefing from the GUE NGL within the European Parliament delegation to COP 18 Doha, by Roberto Lopriore

 


On the first working day for the EP delegation two relevant meetings took place while official and unofficial meetings in Cop 18 are still proceeding along the double track already established last week when the conference began for all the negotiating parties concerned with ensuring a second period Kyoto Protocol commitment and a new overall binding agreement.

 

First the EP delegation held an introductory briefing with the Chief of staff of the Secretariat of UNFCCC (United Nations Fighting Climate Change Conference) Mr Daniele Violetti, then a more exhaustive meeting with the European Commission.

Mr Violetti showed optimism on the ongoing talks' capacity to find shared solutions on agriculture issues, REDD+ and rural development. These are still key issues in completing and closing the work on the Long-term Cooperative Actions (LCAs) as endorsed at the last COP in Durban. He expected good news and a positive conclusion over by Wednesday evening at the latest. Nobody seems to object to closing the LCA without transferring unsolved difficulties to the Agreement of Durban Package implementation.

The talks on financing remain crucial: developing countries want to be reassured on the developed countries' pledges and the money available in 2013; they seek a mid-term financial engagement. Again Mr Violetti showed optimism, even too much given the fact that all the open challenges postponed to Doha from Durban are complicated and inter-related.

 

For next Wednesday he announced an informal and open debate event where several Ministers will face questions on the coherence and follow up their economies are ready to provide on mitigation and adaptation measures. But it’s really a “glamour” side-event while the official ordinary High Level Segment of COP 18 will open tomorrow afternoon and is expected to conclude with a long list of participant statements on Friday afternoon. That’s the official optimistic agenda!

 

The briefing held by the Director of International and Climate Strategy, DG Climate Action of the European Commission Mr Runge Metzger was more realistic and detailed.

 

He explained the state of negotiations in the first COP 18 week - on the agenda there were around 150 items to be solved with only 200 people dealing with them, therefore no time to complicate life for each other.

 

One of the challenges on the ground is the future of CDM. Are they going onwards beyond 2013? and on which terms? A new proposal has been tabled by Switzerland and New Zealand, but no compromise has been reached.

Even on the future New Market Mechanisms, no final decision regarding technical means and procedures regulating them, has been undertaken. Despite the stagnation of the existing ones, there is no rush for setting a new architecture.

In order to deliver a substantial issue on the ADP, negotiators recognize that to narrow the ambition gap in limiting the global world temperature to 2 degree centigrade the task is to be accomplished at a ministerial level. Thus we have to wait for this coming week.

 

Finally the remaining large challenge is the perspective for the Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) that means the large amount - 13 million carbon credits - put aside under the Kyoto Protocol that should be cancelled before entering a 2nd Commitment Period. But many parties are opposed. The Group of 77 and Switzerland want to carry over but with limited use. While this perspective is opposed by AOSIS countries (Alliance of Small Island States), the EU is divided on this issue as some countries such as Poland already claimed to carry over and are not in favour of a restricted use. The EC is not as worried by this position as the present EU legislation forbids the use of these credits. Therefore to keep everybody on board in enhancing a 2nd Commitment Period, they could be ready to live with this position.

The next days will be decisive to test the capacity of the Qatar Presidency to rely on the existing structure of the texts and to go as far as possible on an agreement at a ministerial level.

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