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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.”

By Isaiah Esipisu

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) – As the 23rd round of climate change negotiations kick off in Bonn Germany, the chair of the Least Developed Countries has called on the negotiators to prioritise funding and support towards implementation of the deal agreed upon in Paris in December 2015.

"COP 23 is an important opportunity to bridge the widening finance gap, (which is) a serious barrier to ambitious climate action worldwide,” said Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group.

The Paris Agreement set a vision for an ambitious global response to climate change that will keep warming below 1.5°C, in a fair and equitable manner that promotes sustainable development. 

“This COP is a vital step on our journey to setting out a clear rulebook that will fully implement the vision laid out at Paris,” he said observing that COP 23 is the final round of negotiations before the work programme of the Paris Agreement is to be finalised. “We must (therefore) hope to leave Bonn with a draft negotiating text that can be fleshed out over the coming year."

The United Nations climate change negotiations kicked off in Bonn on November 6 and will end in two weeks time. Hosted by Fiji, the negotiations are a key milestone towards finalisation of the rules that will govern implementation of the Paris Agreement.
 
The impacts of rising global temperatures continue to worsen. In the lead up to COP23, there was historic monsoon flooding, resulting in over a thousand lives lost and the displacement of over two million people in South Asia; the impact of consecutive seasons of drought in Africa; historic rainfall (with Hurricane Harvey setting a single-storm rainfall record in the United States, causing tens of billions of dollars in damage); and historic windspeeds laying waste to many Caribbean island territories (with Hurricane Irma recording the highest windspeed on record for the open Atlantic Ocean). 

The catastrophic impacts of these extreme weather events, according to Endalew, underlie the urgency of substantive progress and action in Bonn. 

“LDCs will be pushing to deliver a Paris rulebook that catalyses greater ambition to correct our current trajectory and put the world on track to keep warming below 1.5°C. This means robust frameworks for reporting, implementation and compliance, and gauging progress across all facets of the Paris Agreement and climate Convention," said the LCD chair.

"As the 47 poorest countries in the world, the LDCs face the unique and unprecedented challenge of lifting our people out of poverty and achieving sustainable development without relying on fossil fuels,” he said. 

Endalew observed that global solidarity and the support of the international community is essential for LDCs to achieve our ambitious climate plans, and protect the people from devastating impacts of climate change that are already taking their toll.

At COP23 the LDC Group is calling on developed countries to rapidly accelerate the delivery of climate finance, with a particular focus on public finance. Both the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Adaptation Fund need to be replenished continuously and as soon as possible.

Clear guidelines and adequate technological and capacity building support is also vital to enable the LDCs carry out actions to adapt to climate change and cope with losses and damages that threaten the survival of poor and vulnerable LDC communities.

 

This article was first published on the PAMACC Website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference opens on Monday, with the aim of launching nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.

The Conference, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans, the internationally-agreed temperature goal and the wider objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, representatives from the African Civil Society Organisations under the umbrella of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have called on all the parties to commit beyond their current level of emission targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to tackle the devastating climate change.

"All parties must pursue a low carbon development pathway to achieve the desired results," said Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General - PACJA.

Extreme Weather Brings Fresh Urgency

Presided over by Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji and the first small island developing state to hold this role, the conference comes against a backdrop of extreme weather events that have devastated the lives of millions of people in places like Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean.

“The human suffering caused by intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods and threats to food security caused by climate change means there is no time to waste,” said Mr Bainimarama, who takes over as President of the COP23 conference from Morocco during the opening.

“We must preserve the global consensus for decisive action enshrined in the Paris Agreement and aim for the most ambitious part of that target – to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above that of the pre-industrial age,” he said.

“Wherever we live, we are all vulnerable and need to act. Fiji is helping build a Grand Coalition for decisive, coordinated action by governments at every level, by civil society, the private sector and all citizens on earth. That’s why we installed an ocean-going Fijian “drua” canoe in the entrance here to remind everyone of the need to fill its sail with collective determination to make COP23 a success and confront the biggest challenge humanity has faced,” he said.

COP23 in Bonn will respond to that call with new progress and initiatives in the two critical and inter-linked areas of action:

•    Governments working to increase climate action under the terms of the Paris Agreement and the UN Climate Change Convention

•    Showcasing, fostering and launching new and expanding global climate action initiatives by all actors with a view towards better coordination that aligns efforts in more efficient, effective and transformative ways.

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change—firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals”.

“Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go Further and Faster Together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level, “she said.

Anticipated Highlights of COP23

The conference is itself a welcome mirror of international cooperation and coordination.  

COP23 is organized by Bonn-based UN Climate Change, presided over by Fiji and organizationally and logistically supported by the Government of Germany, the region of North-Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn.

Speakers reflect the broad spectrum of action. Those already confirmed include Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Arnold Schwarzenegger, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, California Governor Jerry Brown, UN Special

Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Solar Impulse Explorer Bertrand Piccard.

Close to 20 country leaders are expected to attend, including President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Various transformative initiatives are anticipated including one from the UN on health and small islands; a platform to support engagement with Indigenous Peoples; a wide-ranging Gender Action Plan and the ramping up of a global risk transfer project that aims to deliver affordable insurance cover to an extra 400 million poor and vulnerable people.

Urgent Action to Stay Away from Tipping Points

The Paris Agreement is underpinned by national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) whose ambition needs to be collectively advanced over time to get on track to the Agreement’s temperature goal.

The Agreement’s goal is to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.
Faster, immediate action is urgent because recorded pledges and efforts so far still have the world on track towards a 3C degree rise, maybe higher.

This risks the loss of the Greenland ice sheet, more sea level rise, significant damage to massive natural systems like the Amazon and the predictability of ocean circulation systems.

Currently, temperatures have already risen by around one degree Celsius over pre-industrial times.

This story was first published by PAMACC on its website

 CSOs present set of demands ahead of COP23 in Bonn, Germany

 

Civil Society Organisations from Africa, under the Auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, are gearing up for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany beginning next week.

The CSOs have planned to speak with one loud voice to agitate for the speedy design and development of the Paris Rule Book to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“We hereby emphasize that there is a need for equal treatment of pre-2020 and post-2020 ambition and action to achieve pre-2020 targets,” reads their position paper in part.

Under PACJA, the CSOs have come up with eight demands for negotiation during COP23 as follows:

Demand 1: Global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century.

Demand 2: Adaptation is crucial to protecting and promoting development gains, especially in Africa

Demand 3: Climate Financing should be long-term

Demand 4: Capacity building should be enhanced under the Paris Agreement

Demand 5: Loss and damage: Parties must commit to full implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage

Demand 6: Technology development and transfer should be supported to enhance resilience and low carbon development

Demand 7: The gender agenda should be enhanced in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

Demand 8: Paris Rulebook: Design of a robust framework that takes note of transparency and accountability

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, will in collaboration with Oxfam and Cuts International, CSDevNet, CECOEDECON and WACSOF, organize a side event on the 8th of November, 2017 at Meeting Room 7, Bula Zone in Bonn, Germany to discuss how to make the Paris Agreement work for Africa with particular emphasis on enhancing transparency and defining the place of climate finance.

This will be preceded by a Pre COP23 CSO Consultative Forum on the 5th of November in Bonn, Germany. 

PACJA will facilitate the training of African parliamentarians using the Climate Information and Services (CI/S) e -Learning module.

The Pan African Climate Justice (PACJA) will, in collaboration with Pan African Parliament (PAP), facilitate the training of African parliamentarians using the Climate Information and Services (CI/S) e -Learning module next year.

This was agreed after a training of trainers (ToT) held at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Speaking during the meeting, PACJA Human Resources Lead Ann Kobia noted that the organization will, through the Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC), organize a regional media training on CI/S using the CIS e-learning modules in an initiative that will also see the pan African organisation collaborate with regional media training institutions represented in the meeting.

The event that brought together parliaments, media training institutes, civil society and youth organisations from Benin, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) among others sought to impart trainers with knowledge on mainstreaming climate information and services into policy, legislation, plans and processes.

In their resolutions, the trainers noted that “national governments, local communities, farmers, grassroots organizations among others need timely, high quality, relevant and accessible information on temperature and rainfall, and the timing and severity of storms and climate extremes change for better planning and practices”, adding that climate information services, which is the collection, analysis, packaging and dissemination of climate information to specific users, are vital in supporting Africa’s response to climate change.

The trainers stressed the importance of awareness and training among legislators and other policymakers on climate change issues, saying that this is imperative for the formation of important partnerships and synergies for action on climate change.

They recommended that organisations and institutes that participated in the training should support the uptake of climate information and climate information service within their countries, stressing the importance of advocating for an increase of investment in CI and CIS infrastructure on a national level. 

At the same time, the trainers recommended that participants conduct awareness campaigns among the public, legislators, and policymakers on the critical role of climate information and services in planning policies so as to achieve sustainable development.

They further recommended that participants mobilise resources through Government, private sector actors and other development partners to support awareness-raising and training workshop towards building a critical mass of skilled communities on climate information services and development issues.

GENEVA,  Switzerland (PAMACC News) – Governments and non-state actors need to deliver an urgent increase in ambition to ensure the Paris Agreement goals can still be met, according to a new UN assessment.

The eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, finds that national pledges only bring a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets, with private sector and sub-national action not increasing at a rate that would help close this worrying gap.

The Paris Agreement looks to limit global warming to under C, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5°C also on the table. Meeting these targets would reduce the likelihood of severe climate impacts that could damage human health, livelihoods, and economies across the globe.

As things stand, even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional Nationally Determined Contributions makes a temperature increase of at least 3°C by 2100 very likely – meaning that governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.

Should the United States follow through with its stated intention to leave the Paris Agreement in 2020, the picture could become even bleaker.

The report does, however, lay out practical ways to slash emissions through rapidly expanding mitigation action based on existing options in the agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport sectors. 

Strong action on other climate forcers – such as hydrofluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and other short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon– could also make a real contribution.

“One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. 

“This is unacceptable. If we invest in the right technologies, ensuring that the private sector is involved, we can still meet the promise we made to our children to protect their future.But we have to get on the case now.”

CO2 emissions have remained stable since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy, notably in China and India. This has raised hopes that emissions have peaked, as they must by 2020 to remain on a successful climate trajectory. However, the report warns that other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are still rising, and a global economic growth spurt could easily put CO2emissions back on an upward trajectory.

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the 2oCtarget. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union (including aviation).

The emissions gap in the case of the 1.5oC target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e, higher than previous estimates as new studies have become available.

“The Paris Agreement boosted climate action, but momentum is clearly faltering,” said Dr. Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. “We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences.”

Investing in technology key to success

To avoid overshooting the Paris goals, governments (including by updating their Paris pledges), the private sector, cities and others need to urgently pursue actions that will bring deeper and more-rapid cuts. 

The report lays out ways to do so, particularly in agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry, and transport. Technology investments in these sectors – at an investment cost of under $100 per tonne of CO2 avoided, often much lower – could save up to 36 GtCO2e per year by 2030. 

Much of the potential across the sectors comes from investment solar and wind energy, efficient appliances, efficient passenger cars, afforestation and stopping deforestation. Focusing only on recommended actions in these areas – which have modest or net-negative costs – could cut up to 22 GtCO2e in 2030.

These savings alone would put the world well on track to hitting the 2°C target and unlock the possibility of reaching the aspirational 1.5°C target.

Non-state action and other initiatives 

Actions pledged by non-state and sub-national bodies (such as cities and the private sector) could reduce the 2030 emissions gap by a few GtCO2e, even accounting for overlap with Nationally Determined Contributions. The world’s 100 largest emitting publicly traded companies, for example, account for around a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, demonstrating huge room for increased ambition.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol aims to phase out the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons – chemicals primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation. If successfully implemented, it kicks-in too late to impact the 2030 gap but can make a real contribution to reaching the longer-term temperature goals.

By mid-century, reductions in short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon and methane, could help reduce impacts that are based on cumulative heat uptake and help to ensure a steady and lower temperature trajectory towards the long-term Paris goals.

Also, while the G20 is collectively on track to meet its Cancun climate pledges for 2020, these pledges do not create a sufficiently ambitious starting point to meet the Paris goals (see attached analysis of Cancun pledges). Although 2020 is just around the corner, G20 nations can still carry out actions that lead to short-term reductions and open the way for more changes over the following decade.

Avoiding new coal-fired power plants and accelerated phasing out of existing plants – ensuring careful handling of issues such as employment, investor interests and grid stability – would help.There are an estimated 6,683 operating coal-fired power plants in the world, with a combined capacity of 1,964 GW.  If these plants are operated until the end of their lifetime and not retrofitted with Carbon Capture and Storage, they would emit an accumulated 190 Gt of CO2.

In early 2017, an additional 273 GW of coal-fired capacity was under construction and 570 GW in pre-construction. These new plants could lead to additional accumulated emissions of approximately 150 Gt CO2. Ten countries make up approximately 85% of the entire coal pipeline: China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.

The report also looks at CO2 removal from the atmosphere – through afforestation, reforestation, forest management, restoration of degraded lands and soil carbon enhancement – as an option for action.

Additionally, a new report released by the 1 Gigaton Coalition on the same day shows that partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries can cut1.4 GtCO2e by 2020 – provided the international community meets its promise to mobilize US$100 billion per year to help developing countries adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions.

“As renewable energy and energy efficiency bring other benefits – including better human health and jobs – I urge the international community to deliver on the funding they promised to support developing nations in their climate action,” said Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and policies are vital for global decarbonization, as they provide key resources and create enabling environments in critical regions.”

The 1 Gigaton Coalition is supported by UN Environment and the Norwegian Government. 

The benefits of a low-carbon society on global pollution – by, for example, cutting the millions of air pollution-related deaths each year – are also clearly illustrated in Towards a pollution-free planet, a report by the UN Environment Executive Director that will be presented at the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly. The report lays out an ambitious framework to tackle pollution, including through political leadership, moving to sustainable consumption and production and investing big in sustainable development.

 

This article first appeared on the PAMACC Website.

The Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) is an initiative facilitated by PACJA aimed at motivating and encouraging journalists to consistently engage in climate change and environmental reporting. PAMACC is one of Africa’s associations of environment journalists whose aim is to support journalists to improve their reporting on climate change.

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has appealed to civil society organisations in Africa to simplify REDD+ discussions to allow more people to understand them.

Speaking when he opened the South-South Knowledge Exchange Workshop for FCPF Capacity Building Programme in Addis Ababa today (October 30th), Mithika noted that the topic has remained out of bounds for those without the technical knowledge of climate change, adding that it would be better if it was simplified by for instance renaming it Forest Management.

“Yesterday, we visited the Gulele Botanical Gardens and had a lot to gain practical lessons on what REDD+ means in practical terms. For the subject has remained abstract, and like any other climate change intervention programme, connection with broader development efforts has remained a mirage,” he said.

“There is no doubt, thus, that for REDD+ to be successful in reducing deforestation and forest degradation, it should contribute to broader sustainable development goals. How, for instance, does it connect with Ethiopia’s forest management and conservation programmes? How does it align with the country’s National Development blueprint?” he posed.

The PACJA Secretary General posed to the participants the question of how to balance between forest preservation and providing economic opportunities for the people.

“Should people leave forest standing in their midst when they can cut trees, burn charcoal and make money to meet their basic needs?”

He noted that the priority for African countries was to provide economic activities for its people, especially their women and the youth.

“The dilemma in this regard is that our countries rely heavily on extractive industries that are in turn driving the transformation of forest landscapes without generating much-needed employment opportunities for young people,” he added.

The Capacity Building meeting seeks to enhance the participation of civil society and local communities as a critical component for REDD+ implementation success, and deepen the understanding of the objectives of REDD+, the related risks, and opportunities and their potential role in forest management.  

The meeting was organized under a two-year project supported by the Forest Carbon Partnership facility (FCPF) and aimed at building the capacity of African Civil Societies, Local Communities and forest dependent indigenous people on REDD+ which is being implemented by PACJA and Manyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO).

Members of the Pan African Parliament and those of civil society organisations in Africa under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have noted the importance of speeding up negotiations on the Paris Rule Book to catalyze climate action.

Speaking during the African Parliamentary Pre-COP 23 Preparatory workshop held in Midrand, South Africa on Saturday, the members noted the importance of the early adoption of the Paris Agreement.

In their final recommendations, the meeting noted that further negotiations should address mitigation by ensuring that the global community is called upon to highlight their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in particular from developed country Parties, in line with the global temperature goal to limit temperature increase to well below 2°C, with a target towards 1.5 °C.

They further noted that talks on adaptation must reflect the global responsibility for adaptation in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement.

The members recommended that further negotiations should prevail on the global community to provide resources for loss and damage and any related actions to address such losses.

The members registered concern over the slow approval of adaptation projects, adding that there seemed to be a lack of parity in the provision of finance between adaptation and mitigation.

The recommended that further negotiations must seek to reaffirm the obligation of developed country Parties to contribute in a transparent, measurable and verifiable manner towards global climate finance.

They called on negotiators to focus on developing frameworks for the recognition of African communities efforts leading to emission reduction, adding that the critical role of non-market mechanisms for African countries must be recognised.

At the same time, the members lauded the US non-state actors for their efforts and commitment to addressing climate change. They, however, noted that the threat of the US Government’s exit from the Paris Agreement would greatly impact the global climate leadership and provision of finance to developing countries.

The members made their recommendations during the Symposium for Climate, Energy Transition and Agricultural Adaptation Finance in Africa in Midrand, South Africa.

The Symposium, which brought together key stakeholders – parliamentarians, government representatives, civil society, academia and international organisations from across Africa, sought to interrogate the state of affairs in international climate change dialogue processes, with a deep review of Africa’s implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

 

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