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Daily Tck: New text moves climate negotiations in the right direction

The Daily Tck: A daily dispatch from the GCCA team at the UN climate talks in Bonn. Sign up to have them delivered to your inbox during the climate talks.

climate negotiations

Courtesy of: Act Alliance, 2015

  • ‘Surgical insertions’ add 14 pages to improved draft negotiating text, moving talks into a new phase of work
  • Additions bolster the chance for Paris to deliver a more balanced deal, with regular cycles to scale-up inadequate climate action plans
  • More faith and business leaders add to diverse voices calling on governments to take bold climate, pledging to lead by example 

Tuesday’s climate negotiations moved past the fireworks that characterized the beginning of this round of talks, with a new text that captured governments’ proposed ‘surgical insertions’ accepted as the basis of negotiations going forward. While the new text grew from 20 to 34 pages, our partners described the additions from both developed and developing countries as positive overall – bolstering the new global agreement’s potential to help realize the ambition we need, while better balancing its emphasis between mitigation and adaptation.

With the majority of national climate action plans already set and short of what’s needed to safeguard our future, our partners hosted a press conference laying out what they see as crucial elements needed for the new agreement to boost national plans and close the gap in climate action over time. Among them:

A strong long-term goal & ambition mechanism to speed the transition to 100% renewable energy – the Paris agreement should send a clear signal on the overall direction of travel to real-economy actors. The latest version of the text re-introduced language calling for ‘decarbonization,’ which is a term many of our partners hope to see as part of a strong long-term goal. A related objective is to ensure the deal includes what amounts to an ambition mechanism that both reviews and scales-up national plans every 5-years. Options that could could deliver such a mechanism were also improved in the most recent text.

More emphasis on adapting to climate change and responding to the losses & damages we fail to adapt to – to quote Christian Aid’s climate sage and policy expert Mohamed Adow, the “Loss & Damage text is no longer lost and damaged.” Additions to the draft text focused on wrestling with the impacts of climate change include more robust options to support adaptation, and substantive proposals for how to advance work on responding to the loss & damage from climate impacts that are beyond adaptation.

Predictable and adequate finance, especially for adaptation – Alix Mazounie from RAC France nicely summed up finance picture during the Tuesday presser. “We know that the provision of financial support to poorer countries to take their own climate action is going to be one of the triggers for a very successful deal in Paris. While there has been discussion outside of the climate talks aiming to finalize the COP21 finance package, the priorities of the most vulnerable countries – including boosting the money flowing to adaptation support from 16% – were not being addressed. The storm in yesterday’s opening plenary refocused the talks on what is required and it put many of the key options for a fair finance package back on the table.”

Meanwhile, governments moved their discussions into more focused ‘spin-off groups,’ where negotiators could air their positions more freely, and continue work on streamlining the options for a new global agreement before passing the job onto their ministers. Their step toward more substantive negotiations was positive, but soured by an announcement that civil society groups not be allowed in the room. A number of our partners fighting for transparency have protested, and are actively campaigning to regain access.

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In addition to giving a big-picture overview, Wednesday’s meeting will include discussions focused on Japan, spurred by concerns that the government is working to water down the Paris agreement, including opposing civil society participation.

Catch the live-stream here: www.tcktcktck.org/daily-tck-livestream

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

A statement signed by 154 religious leaders from different faith groups calling for climate action was handed over to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres Tuesday morning. Faith leaders emphasized the moral imperative of climate action, calling on governments to build climate resilience, completely phase-out fossil fuels by mid-century, and ensure that Paris delivers an ambition mechanism to scale-up national action plans every 5 years.

Youth activists added to the push for an ambitious long-term goal, staging a stoic visual action demanding zero emissions by 2050. Track0, which supported the action and has worked doggedly behind the scenes to lobby countries for total decarbonization, released a briefing on which governments are moving in the right direction.

Oman became the first Gulf State to submit its national climate action plan, turning in it’s pledge alongside Caribbean island nation Antigua and Barbuda. While the number of national plans continue to grow, covering the vast majority of global emissions, plans from the majority of OPEC countries are still conspicuously missing.

The UNFCCC published an overview of recent climate finance pledges made in the lead-up to Paris. The Finance topic saw progress in the negotiations Tuesday, but remains far from resolution. A recent piece by Saleemul Huq might help you make heads and tails out of the complicated landscape.

Outside of the negotiations, attention was focused on Canada, who’s citizens ousted Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party in favor of the more climate action friendly Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau. Under the former Prime Minister’s rule, Canada put fossil fuels at the forefront of the political platform, promoting tar sands development and pipeline projects, and pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. As Canadians usher in their new leader, expectations are running high for the PM-elect to live up to claims for robust change. Pressure is now on for Trudeau to flip Canada’s reputation from a climate laggard to a climate leader. Our Tree Alert has more.

Six heads of state joined a World Bank coordinated call for carbon pricing, in the highest level intervention to date. Leaders from Germany, Chile, France, Ethiopia, Philippines and Mexico voiced support for moves to make climate polluters pay. At the same time, Bloomberg reports that the US is engaged in talks on setting international rules and guidelines for global carbon trading outside of the UN process, in the event that Paris fails to establish a framework for such a system.

Subnational action continued to gain momentum as dozens more corporate giants, including Walmart, Mars, and PG&E, signed onto the ‘American Business Act on Climate’ pledge. 81 companies have signed since  the agreement was first unveiled in June, representing the increasing diversity of business voices and organizations throwing their weight behind climate action. In other exciting subnational action news, Oslo, capital of Europe’s largest holder of oil and gas reserves, set new green targets pledging to divest from all fossil fuels and ban cars from its city center.

In less inspiring news, new estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database show that over 100,000 active fires have burned in Indonesia so far this year. Since September, Indonesia’s fire outbreaks have produced more daily emissions than the entire US economy.

Resources

Press conferences continued to feed updates on the state of play to news organizationsTuesday. In addition to the Climate Action Network, ACT Alliance discussed the Faith declaration and the incoming French COP President laid out his view of progress and the road ahead.

Our friends at the Climate Action Network International are publishing daily ECO newsletters, laying out their case to negotiators. Wednesday’s ECO focuses

We have a small team of Climate Trackers in Bonn, blogging at adoptanegotiator.org and writing for a few newspapers around the world.

IISD’s reporting service has high-resolution pictures from Day 2 inside the World Conference Center, and more to come throughout the next two weeks. They also have a detailed overview ofMonday’s negotiations.

Useful hashtags for tracking the negotiations in real-time are #ADP2#UNFCCC and #COP21.  We’ll join the conversation on twitter via @tcktcktck.

We’ll also keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org.

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