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BONN Germany (PAMACC News) Non-state actors following negotiations at the Bonn climate talks also known as COP 23 have deplored the resort to empty words on climate change by global leaders during the high-level segment of the two-week conference.
 
Fijian Prime Minister and COP 23 President Frank Bainimarama at the high-level segment called on the country representatives to remain focused to ensure a successful outcome to the conference. “Future generations are counting on us. Let us act now”, he said.
 
Sequel to Bainimarama’s speech, a young boy from Fiji recounted the story of how his home was destroyed in a recent natural disaster, asking government representatives in the room “What can you do?” to protect the climate. “Climate change is here to stay, unless you do something about it”, he told the delegates.
 
Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that recent extreme weather events have shown that time was pressing. “I have no doubt that this urgency warns us to make haste and act decisively”, he said.
 
The “historic climate agreement” reached in Paris in 2015 and “the path we have taken since” must remain irreversible. “Paris can only be called a breakthrough if we follow up on the agreement with actions”, said Steinmeier.
 
Hopes for a strong statement on Germany’s climate goals and the future role of coal were dashed as Chancellor Angela Merkel disappointed only called on the world to walk the talk on climate at the global conference in Bonn.
 
“This conference must send out the serious signal that the Paris Agreement was a starting point, but the work has only begun.” Today’s pledges in the nationally-determined contributions were not enough to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, she said. “Now it’s about walking the talk.”
 
Speaking after the chancellor, French President Emmanuel Macron, said that the summit should send the message that “we can all come together” to mobilise the necessary public and private funds to act on climate.
 
To guarantee quality science needed to make climate policy decisions, Macron proposed that the EU should fill the financing gap for the IPCC left open by the US administration’s decision to reduce funding.
 
“France will meet that challenge, and I would like to see the largest number of European countries by our side,” said Macron. “All together, we can compensate for the loss of US funding.”
 
Reacting almost immediately after the high-level segment, civil society groups from across the world described their statements as empty words with no concrete plan of action.
 
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, (PACJA) accused the leaders of “playing hide and seek” with the lives of Africans who according to them are being cut short daily due to historic and ongoing actions of the developed world against the climate. 
 
What we need, according to John Bideri, co-Chair of the Alliance, are “enhanced actions on the provision of $100 billion per year up to 2020 and a new finance goal which should reflect the scientific requirements and needs of African countries.”
 
“Advocacy-tainted speeches by leaders of polluter countries will not keep global temperatures from unprecedented levels, what is important now is a finance goal that will first and foremost help African countries to adapt, mitigate and cover loss and damage arising from climate change impacts,” Mithika Mwenda, PACJA’s Secretary General added
 
“This message from the host of a world climate conference must sound cruel to the poorest countries most strongly affected by climate change”, commented Oxfam Germany’s climate expert Jan Kowalzig.
 
Germany ran the risk of missing its climate goals, while in Berlin “three out of four parties to a potential Jamaica coalition’ block the measures needed to prevent such an embarrassing failure”.
 
Greenpeace Germany’s Managing Director Sweelin Heuss said that Merkel “avoided to give the only answer she had to give in Bonn: When will Germany fully exit coal?” Without a coal exit, Germany could not meet the pledge it made in Paris. “That's a disastrous signal coming out of this climate conference”, said Heuss.
 
Representatives from science, climate activists, and small island states appealed to Merkel to meet the country’s 2020 CO2 reduction target ahead of her much-anticipated speech.
 
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said Germany had the ability to quit coal use but instead there was the “perverse” situation where it generated power from coal, which then was exported.
 
“Angela Merkel has been a great climate champion but her credibility is hanging in the balance,” Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said.
 
President Hilda Heine, of the Marshall Islands, added: “We are just two metres above sea level. For Germany to phase-out coal and follow a 1.5°C pathway would be a signal of hope to us and all other nations in danger from climate change.”

As the COP winds to a close Friday, speculations are rife that the conference will end without substantially addressing relevant concerns on temperature limits, finance and other means of implementation for the Paris Agreement.

This article first appeared on the PAMACC website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African countries are already spending up to 20 percent of their total needs presently on climate adaptation, which is more than their fair share without any support from the international community, a new study by the United Nations has revealed.

Early findings from the study jointly commissioned by the UNDP Regional Office for Africa, and the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to review African commitment to adaptation has therefore dismissed the insinuation that African countries are not investing in their own climate adaptation responses and are instead waiting on the international community as recipients of support.

“African countries are already spending between 2 to 9 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on adaptation, thus reducing the potential impact of climate change by more than 20 percent,” Dr Johnson Nkem, a Senior Climate Adaptation expert at the ACPC told PAMACC News at the ongoing climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

The UN study is being implemented by two United Kingdom centres; Climate Scrutiny and Mokoro, to provide estimates of Africa’s public expenditure on adaptation as a proportion of the total cost for adaptation.

Although the level of investment as a proportion of GDP expenditure varies among countries, it ranges between 2-9 percent of GDP; and represents more than other forms of expenditure in public services such as healthcare and education.

“This contribution is significantly higher than the adaptation resource flow from international sources,” said Nkem.

The study therefore recommends that the disproportionate share of investment in adaptation as opposed to its smallest share of contribution to the global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, needs to be fully recognised and boosted under global financing mechanism for climate response, especially under the implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Some of the study’s key findings are that, African countries are already making a major contribution to adaptation that constitutes; that for Africa as a whole, the estimated adaptation gap is about 80 percent; and that the adaptation gap is greater than 90% in nine countries. Most of these countries face major exposure and sensitivity to climate change risks as well as fiscal challenges.

Countries that have reduced the potential impact of climate change by more than 20 percent, include those with low climate change risks like Liberia, Namibia and Zimbabwe; high expenditure, for example Ethiopia, Gambia, Zambia; and lower risk and good expenditure countries like Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda.

The objectives of the Review of African Commitment to Adaptation was to provide some initial estimates of the current spending on adaptation by African governments, and to assess the extent to which this funding meets the scale of the adaptation challenge as determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other assessments.

According to Nkem Ndi, there is a growing political will and socio-economic motivation in addressing climate change in Africa’s development agenda as demonstrated by the level of public expenditure on adaptation to climate change in the continent.

He pointed out that most adaptation expenditure in Africa is primarily linked to development expenditure that provides good benefits with current climate conditions.

Estimates of the adaptation expenditure were provided by classifying the most recent public finance data, preferably actual expenditure data rather than budget data, if it is available.

Actual data for 10 countries, and data obtained from the internet for additional 24 countries were used for the analyses in this study. The entire analyses in the study does not include expenditure by development partners that is outside the budget.

The study notes that despite its miniscule share of responsibility for the causes of climate change, Africa has always been labelled as a tenuous recipient of development assistance, with unending expectations of support in addressing climate impacts on its development.

While this stigma is baseless, it remains to be fully disbarred using empirical studies demonstrating regional investments for climate adaptation by the countries.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African civil society groups attending the 23rd session of the conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have called for a swift classification of the global community along the lines of those for the people and planet and those who are for Trump and profit.
 
The call was made against the backdrop of of destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice and food security-threatening impacts that preceded today’s opening of the UN climate talks.
 
According to the civil society groups under the aegis of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) which represents smallholder farmers, trusts, pastoralists, women and youth from across Africa, the global community has increasingly become more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change due to President Trump’s ill-advised attempts at reversing his predecessor’s climate legacies and the cold, conspiratorial silence of those who choose profit over the planet.
 
“Coming from the region that suffers the most due to climate change, we have watched with utter dismay President Trump’s continued efforts at dismantling the former President Barrack Obama’s climate legacy, and wish to reiterate that this is the time to classify the global community into two: those for the people and planet, and those for Trump and Profit” says Mithika Mwenda, the alliance’s Secretary General.
 
Augustine Njamshi, executive director of the Bio-Resource and Development Centre in Cameroon takes it further. Njamshi wants a declaration that equates climate inaction by any party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to being in alliance with Donald Trump.
 
“Unless we see accelerated action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement pursuant to Marrakech Action Plan by industrialised countries, we will declare them silent allies of Trump and enemies of the people and planet, irrespective of the empty rhetoric they bring to the climate talks” Njamshi added.
 
Identifying with call by non-state actors from Africa, newly elected COP23 President, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama whose country suffered damages of well over $1bn after Cyclone Winston struck in 2016 said “all over the world, vast numbers of people are suffering – bewildered by the forces ranged against them. Our job as leaders is to respond to the suffering with all means available to us,” said. “This means to meet our commitments in full, not back away from them.”
 
Mr Bainimarama during his acceptance speech at the opening ceremony said that Fiji is working to build a “Grand Coalition” throughout the year between governments at every level, civil society, the private sector and faith-based organizations.
 
With only war-torn Syria keeping the United States company in the cold coven of countries outside the Paris deal, the US appears set on its path to isolation in climate talks. A small company of diplomats representing the United States will find themselves in an extremely awkward spot: negotiating a deal their president has already walked away from.
 
“The mood on the ground is it is going to be OK: the US is not going to be a pain in the arse. They still don’t know what they actually want” says a COP veteran. when asked about dealing with the US, Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji’s chief negotiator said “You can have a dialogue even with somebody who is an axe murderer.”

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The private sector has been urged to collaborate with the public sector and civil society organisations to explore climate change related opportunities and seize them in the fight against the phenomenon. 

“All we need to do, is to look at climate change from a common lens, identify where the problems are, and convert them into opportunities,” John Kioli, the Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group told a preparatory meeting ahead of the forthcoming Conference of Parties on climate change (COP 23).

Dimitris Tsitsiragos, the Vice President of Global Client Services at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, also agrees that climate change is creating opportunities for companies willing to innovate, pointing to report by IFC, which found that Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa could support up to $1 trillion in climate-related investments by 2020.

Tsitsiragos also refers to the massive solar power project in Morocco, where the private sector is playing a key role in the construction of a 510-megawatt solar plant in a desert with a capacity to provide power to 1.1 million people. The project, worth $2.6 billion, could help turn the North African kingdom into a renewable energy powerhouse and serve as a model for future public-private partnerships. 

In Kenya, the Lake Turkana Wind Power plant is another example of a private sector investment in green energy. Once operational, the wind farm will provide 310MW of reliable, low-cost energy to Kenya’s national grid which is approximately 15 percent of the country’s installed capacity.

“We can explore so many other opportunities related to climate change,” said Kioli.

Another example is the M-KOPA Solar Company in Kenya, which sells solar home systems on an affordable mobile money payment plan, with an initial $35 deposit, followed by 365 payments of 45 cents daily. After completing the payment package, customers own a world-class solar home system, with multiple lights, phone charging and a radio.

During the Pre-COP workshop in Nairobi, Kioli further urged Kenya’s civil society organisations on climate change, the government delegation and the private sector to unite and talk with one voice as the country joins other global nations for the next set of negotiations on climate change in Bonn, Germany. 

“This is a common problem that cuts across all sectors, and the only way forward as a country, is to have one common position that can be accepted by the African Group of Negotiators,” he said

So far, Kenya is committed to reducing total greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent, come the year 2030. However, representatives from the civil society observed that there must be a predictable source of income, hence the reason why all players must stay together ahead of the negotiations.

“We cannot just wait for the $100 billion commitment by the annex-one countries. We must also seek for alternative sources of funding right at the country level, and from development banks,” said Benson Kibiti from Caritas Kenya, representing the civil society.

Industrialised countries have already committed themselves to “mobilising jointly $100 billion a year by 2020, to address the needs of developing countries,” money which was expected to be come from public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. 

Presided over by the Government of Fiji, the UN Climate Change Conference will include the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UNFCCC, the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13) and the 47th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 47).

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