New IPCC Chair Elected

7 October 2015: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has elected Hoesung Lee, Republic of Korea, as its new Chair. Lee was elected by 78 votes to 56 in a run-off with Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of Belgium.

Hoesung Lee

Speaking after the vote, Lee said he was “honored and grateful” to have been elected. He underscored the need for more information regarding existing options for preventing and adapting to climate change.

Lee further noted that the next phase of the IPCC's work will see an increased understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and an improvement in the manner in which the IPCC's findings are communicated to the public.

Various UN officials congratulated Lee on his election, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

The election took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on 6 October, where the IPCC is holding its 42nd session (IPCC 42). Six candidates had been nominated for the position: Ogunlade Davidson, Sierra Leone; Chris Field, US; Hoesung Lee, Republic of Korea; Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Austria and Montenegro; Thomas Stocker, Switzerland; and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Belgium.

Elections for other IPCC Bureau positions also took place during the course of IPCC 42. On 7 October, Thelma Krug, Brazil, Ko Barrett, US, and Youba Sokona, Mali, were elected IPCC Vice-Chairs.

Lee is a professor of the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University's Graduate School of Energy and Environment in the Republic of Korea, and is currently one of the IPCC's three vice-chairs. The election of the new IPCC Bureau, which will have 34 members including the Chair, paves the way for work to begin on the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, expected to be completed in 5-7 years.

The IPCC was established by the WMO and UNEP in 1988 to provide a clear scientific assessment of the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and to identify possible responses. [IPCC Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [WMO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Statement of the UN Secretary-General] [UNFCCC Press Release][IISD RS coverage of IPCC 42]

 

Climate Reality Training in Miami with Al Gore

Hello!

I’m reaching out today on behalf of The Climate Reality Project, an organization started by former Vice President Al Gore focused on creating a global movement calling for action on climate. We have an upcoming training opportunity in Miami, Florida that I believe you and others who follow The Climate War Room and The Cayman Institute will be interested in.

As we are all aware, the time has come for action on climate. On September 28-30 in Miami, The Climate Reality Project and Mr. Gore will be hosting a training for new Climate Reality Leaders to help grow the movement. There has never been a better time to engage your friends and colleagues on this issue. The Miami training will not only provide attendees with cutting edge tools to most effectively communicate climate change to your community but will also enter them into a community of over 8,000 devoted individuals from 126 countries who are committed to using their voices to address the climate crisis.

Our training in Miami will highlight the unique challenges that climate change poses to the state of Florida and what some local governments are already doing to tackle them; Florida’s huge untapped solar energy generating capacity; and the role of the ever strengthening Latino voice and vote in driving climate action. At the training, Mr. Gore, and experts and influencers from across the climate sphere will present in panels, take questions, and host breakout sessions.

We encourage you to recommend outstanding leaders in your personal and professional life who would be well suited for giving presentations and helping to build strong support for action on climate change. They can apply for the Climate Leadership Corps Training here. I’ve also attached a document you can share with your network, which has a little more information about who we are and what the Miami training will cover. The deadline to apply is August 26th, 2015.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

Warm regards,

Joseph Moran | Program Assistant-Climate Reality Leadership Corps

750 Ninth Street, NW, Suite 520 | Washington, DC 20001

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New IUCN publication: Making an Economic Case for EbA

Knowledge Gaps in Making an Economic Case for Investing in Nature Based Solutions for Climate Change”.

This report is available both in English and French on the IUCN EBA web page. This preliminary rapid assessment is now being followed up with an in-depth analysis in the Philippines and Peru. We aim to have this study available for the Paris COP 21.

Climate change is having increasingly adverse impacts on people and nature. It exacerbates existing environmental threats, poses new risks and impedes our ability to achieve global conservation and development objectives such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. Across the globe, initiatives have been established to help communities implement approaches that enable them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.

Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is one such approach. EbA uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of a larger adaptation strategy – an excellent example of a viable nature-based solution. As well as providing climate change adaptation benefits, this approach also contributes to biodiversity conservation and enhances local economies. IUCN has been extensively involved in EbA work, strengthening community resilience and livelihoods in almost 60 countries. This work demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the implementation of nature- based solutions.

The conservation and sustainable development community considers EbA to be a strong method of addressing climate change and its associated challenges. However, there is still a tendency for policy makers to implement traditional engineering solutions for adaptation, rather than investing in EbA. The need for solid data on the cost-effectiveness of this nature-based approach was the driver behind an IUCN study identifying the economic costs and benefits associated with EbA. The lessons learned from this appraisal process will make it easier for policy makers to compare EbA options with engineered solutions. Download English / French

 

 

World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds

World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds

Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the report warns of longer droughts, extreme weather, and increasing ocean acidification. In the tropical Andes, rising temperatures will reduce the annual build-up of glacier ice and the spring meltwater that some 50 million people in the low-land farms and cities rely on. Heat and drought stress will substantially increase the risk of large-scale forest loss, affecting Amazon ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the forests’ ability to store carbon dioxide.

Rising temperatures also affect food security. The oceans, which have absorbed about 30 percent of all human-caused carbon dioxide so far, will continue to acidify and warm, damaging coral ecosystems where sea life thrives and sending fish migrating to cooler waters. The result for the Caribbean could be the loss of up to 50 percent of its current catch volume.

Middle East and North Africa

People in the Middle East and North Africa have been adapting to extreme heat for centuries, but the report warns of unprecedented impact as temperatures continue to rise. Extreme heat will spread across more of the land for longer periods of time, making some regions unlivable and reducing growing areas for agriculture, the report warns. Cities will feel an increasing heat island effect, so that by 4°C warming – possibly as early as the 2080s without action to slow climate change – most capital cities in the Middle East could face four months of exceedingly hot days every year Rising temperatures will put intense pressure on crops and already scarce water resources, potentially increasing migration and the risk of conflict. Climate change is a threat multiplier here – and elsewhere.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the report shows how the impact of climate change will vary region to region. Melting glaciers and warming temperatures will shift the growing season and the flow of glacier-fed rivers further into spring in Central Asia, while in the Balkans in Eastern Europe, worsening drought conditions will put crops at risk. Rising temperatures also increase the thawing of permafrost, which releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. By mid-century, if temperatures continue to rise toward 2°C, the release of methane from thawing permafrost is likely to increase 20 to 30 percent in Russia, creating a feedback loop that will drive climate change.

Working to Lower the Risk

“The good news is that there is a growing consensus on what it will take to make changes to the unsustainable path we are currently on,” President Kim said. “Action on climate change does not have to come at the expense of economic growth. At the World Bank, we are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy to help countries lower their emissions while growing their economies, and in clean transportation that can put fast-growing cities onto more sustainable growth paths. We are also working with governments to design policies that support clean growth, including developing efficiency standards, reducing fossil fuel subsidies, and pricing carbon. It’s clear that the public sector cannot solve the climate challenge alone – private investment and smart business choices are crucial, but business leaders tell us they need governments to provide clear, consistent policy direction that reflects the true costs of emissions. We now screen our projects in 77 countries for climate risk and for opportunities for climate action. We are helping countries find opportunities in climate action and developing financial instruments to increase funding that can help them grow clean and build resilience.

“Our response to the challenge of climate change will define the legacy of our generation,” President Kim said. “The stakes have never been higher.” More

 

 

 

Iowa Roots: Speaking Truth to Power

James Hansen writes: I was lucky to be born in Iowa. The nature of my childhood and later education at the State University of Iowa, odd as it seems, have relevance to fundamental political matters that I hope Iowans will think about. I will argue that Iowa could alter our nation’s course on energy and climate, matters of monumental importance to our children and indeed to all life on Earth.

James Hansen

I was born in 1941 in a small farmhouse in western Iowa, the fifth of seven children. My father was an itinerant tenant farmer, moving from one farm to another, sharing crops with the owner.

By 1945 small farms were disappearing. My father took a job as bartender and we moved a small house to a lot in Denison Iowa. Our life then seems hard by today’s standards. There were three bedrooms for nine of us. Even after we got a septic system the toilet was in the cellar, which required going outdoors. The only sink was in the kitchen, which was also the dining room. Washing up was done in turn, quickly. Our parents quarreled vehemently when our mother took a job as a waitress. I shrank in fear from our father’s angry voice.

Yet it was a good life to grow up in small town Iowa in a time of rising expectations. Today’s young people face a harder situation, with diminishing opportunities. That hurts deeply because, as I will explain, it is unnecessary, a result of tragic political machinations for which we adults must accept responsibility.

Politics back then was simpler. My father shouted “give ‘em Hell, Harry!” and slapped the table while listening to President Truman on the radio. My father called the Republican Party “the rich man’s party.” But shortly before my parents divorced he took me to listen to General Eisenhower speaking from the back of a train, as he came through Denison on a whistle-stop campaign trip in 1952. My father decided that he “liked Ike”, so he voted Republican.

Politicians were more honest regarding fundamental situations. Truman was blunt, with courage to remove war-hero MacArthur, thus maintaining civilian control of policy. Eisenhower warned us about the rising military-industrial complex. Below I contrast this with today’s situation.

It was easier in those days for young people to get ahead. I had a paper route from 3rd grade and by high school was the distributor of the Omaha World Herald for Denison (competing with the Des Moines Register for customers). From such a job I could save enough for college, where costs were within reach of all. Costs today have exploded. With our federal government in cahoots with banks, many college students look forward to decades of debt, not a better life.

My good fortune was to go to the University of Iowa. Professor James Van Allen was building instruments in the basement of the physics building, including the one on the first U.S. satellite, which discovered Earth’s radiation belts. In an exciting research environment Prof. Van Allen taught us how science works. The only “authority” was the rigorous objectivity of science.

Prof. Van Allen did not shirk from speaking truth to power and the public. When microwave ovens were introduced and fear of microwave radiation began to spread, Prof. Van Allen offered to sit on a microwave oven while it cooked his dinner. He helped quell irrational fear.

Prof. Van Allen told me about new data on the planet Venus. It led me to study why Venus was so hot and to propose an instrument for a mission to Venus after I joined NASA. The extreme heat on Venus turned out to be caused by the large amount of CO2 in the planet’s atmosphere.

CO2 was known to be increasing rapidly on Earth, because of our burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. What would it mean for life on our planet? I formed a small team at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies to study the problem.

We showed that Earth was warming by the amount expected due to the CO2 increase. Later we showed that Earth was out of energy balance: Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat. This confirms the most fundamental physics, as it is the added CO2 that reduces heat radiation to space. The conclusion is based on data, not models.

One implication: more warming is “in the pipeline”, without additional increase of atmospheric CO2. In turn, it follows that CO2 emissions must be reduced rapidly or young people in coming decades will face unacceptable consequences: continually retreating shorelines, shifting climate zones with extermination of many species, increasing occurrence of climate extremes with widespread disruption to food and water supplies, more severe droughts and heat waves, more damaging forest fires, stronger storms, and greater flooding.

Implications for energy policy are crystal clear. Most remaining fossil fuels must be left in the ground, unless the CO2 is captured and buried. There is no serious scientific debate about this.

Remarkably, scientific analysis also shows that the policies needed to achieve fossil fuel phasedown would also address problems such as underemployment and growing income disparities. Why are such policies not pursued, if they are in the best interests of the public?

I learned why when I worked for the government. I was repeatedly warned not to connect the dots in the climate problem all the way to policy implications. End steps must be left to “policy-makers” and, it turns out, to special interests. NASA did not want to annoy the powers that be.

Scientists are trained to analyze complex problems and connect all the dots. If we fail to tell the whole story clearly, if we shirk speaking truth to power, we fail our children and grandchildren.

The truth is that present energy and climate policies of the United States and the United Nations are dishonest and tragic.

Out of one side of their mouths our leaders profess to understand that we have a planet in peril and that we must rapidly phase down CO2 emissions. At the same time they encourage pursuit of almost every fossil fuel that can be found, while knowing that such policies make achievement of climate goals impossible.

The fundamental reason that fossil fuel emissions continue to increase is that they appear to the consumer to provide the cheapest energy. This apparent cheapness is a mirage. Why? (1) We subsidize fossil fuels directly, and indirectly by protecting supply lines. (2) Impacts of air and water pollution are borne by the public; e.g., if your child gets asthma, you pay the costs, not the fossil fuel company. (3) Costs of climate catastrophes are borne by the victims and taxpayers.

We should make the price of fossil fuels honest by collecting a gradually rising carbon fee from fossil fuel companies. It is easy to collect, at domestic mines and ports of entry. 100% of the collected money should be given to the public, an equal amount to each legal resident, distributed electronically to bank accounts or debit cards. Not one dime to the government.

The person doing better than average in limiting his “carbon footprint” will make money. He will have an incentive to reduce fossil fuel use via future purchases. Entrepreneurs will have an incentive to develop no-carbon products. Businesses will be able to plan energy investments.

Detailed economic studies show that a carbon fee of $10 per ton of CO2, increasing $10 each year, will reduce U.S. CO2 emissions 33% in 10 years. That is 12 times more than the amount of carbon in the oil that would be carried by the Keystone XL pipeline.

While a tax would depress the economy, a fee with 100% of the money distributed to the public spurs the economy. After 10 years national employment increases 2.1 million jobs! The simple explanation is that honest pricing of energy makes the economy more efficient.

I should explain why I say that our governments’ policies are “dishonest and tragic.” They are dishonest because they pretend that policies that try to “cap” emissions could actually phase down emissions rapidly, for example the “cap-and-trade” of the Kyoto Protocol or Democratic bills in Congress. These amount to tax increases, they depress the economy, and they reduce emissions very little. And what “cap” would India accept – three times that of the U.S.? This is why governments allow all fossil fuel development, fracking, deep-ocean and Arctic drilling, mountaintop removal – because they know that their carbon policies are ineffectual.

Why tragic? Because policies that would actually work, fee-and-dividend in particular, do not cost the economy anything. They would spur the economy, create jobs, and modernize our infrastructure as we move to clean energies and energy efficiency.

Is it possible that Iowa, perhaps in cooperation with one or more neighboring states, such as Nebraska, Minnesota or Wisconsin, could help avert the tragedy? I believe it is conceivable that Midwest common sense could affect national and international policies by providing an example. A regional carbon fee cannot rise too high without disadvantaging local industry, because states do not have the practical ability to impose border tax adjustments. However, up to a reasonable level the net effect of a carbon fee would be beneficial, if the proceeds went to the public.

There is a conservative tendency in the Midwest. But conservatives are not the enemy of the planet. Historically conservatives have been the environments best friend. Conservation and creation care should be in the blood of conservatives.

A political divide has developed because conservatives fear that liberals will use the climate issue to increase taxes and government intrusion into their lives. These concerns provide fertile ground for anti-science nut-cases (global warming is a hoax!) to flourish.

Most conservatives I know are thoughtful. They do not want to go down in history as being responsible for blocking effective action to stabilize climate. Gaining their support for a rising revenue-neutral carbon fee, which is in fact a conservative approach, is possible.

A rigorously nonpartisan organization, Citizens Climate Lobby, has grown rapidly in the past several years. Their objective is to promote fee-and-dividend. They are unfailingly polite and respectful, but also knowledgeable and determined. They have met with legislators in almost all states. They could be a valuable resource in helping to organize a Midwest climate initiative.

Finally, I point out that, although a gradually rising carbon fee is the essential foundation for a successful policy to rapidly phase down our fossil fuel addiction, there are other requirements. The crucial technical need is abundant affordable carbon-free electricity generation.

Today, except for limited hydroelectric and biomass power plants, there are two options for baseload electricity: fossil fuels and nuclear power. We will not be able to phase out fossil fuel power plants without major contributions from nuclear power.

Most nuclear power plants in operation today are of a 40-50 year-old technology, yet they have saved millions of lives by displacing fossil fuel power plants. Fossil fuel air pollution kills more than 3.7 million people per year globally. Pollution is much less in the U.S. than in China or India, yet thousands of people are killed by it every year in the U.S. In contrast the one major nuclear accident in the U.S., at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, may result in the death of 1-2 people, which is undetectable among the 40,000 cancer deaths that will occur from other causes among the Pennsylvania residents exposed to radiation.

Modern nuclear technology has major improvements including passive shutdown in case of emergency and an ability to cool the nuclear fuel without external power. It is also possible to include reactors in the nuclear fleet that “burn” nuclear waste and utilize 99% of the energy in the nuclear fuel, compared with less than 1% in the older technology. Thus the nuclear waste problem can be solved and, if we choose, we can stop mining uranium because we have shown that an inexhaustible amount of nuclear fuel can be sieved from the ocean.

There is an analogy between the nuclear and aircraft industries. At the time of the earliest airplanes, who would have imagined that we would fly huge aircraft with more than 100 people at altitudes of 10 miles without parachutes! If a window broke at that altitude, everyone could die! So we worked on the technology. Now the chance you will lose your life by flying from New York to LA is much smaller than if you drove your car. Yes, there is still danger, especially due to human error, and we must be vigilant and develop control systems to minimize danger.

President Clinton in his State-of-the-Union message in 1993 made the chilling announcement that he was eliminating unnecessary programs such as nuclear power research and development. However, nuclear technology is not disappearing from Earth, on the contrary, and if the U.S. drifts further toward technical mediocrity, leaving nuclear leadership to nations such as Russia, the world will be a more dangerous place. If the United States chooses to focus on being a petro-state, the economic well-being of our children eventually will decline further.

Fortunately, all clean energy technologies would be spurred by the carbon fee-and-dividend approach, providing a broad revival of our technology leadership in many areas, especially clean energies which should all be free to compete rather than specified by politicians. The result would be greatly improved economic well-being for future generations.

It is not always easy to speak truth to power, but all citizens have the opportunity if they choose. I have one minor, easy suggestion for you to consider, and another requiring more effort. More

 

UNGA General Debate 2014 Addresses Climate Agreement, Financing, SIDS

 

United Nations27 September 2014: During days three and four of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) General Debate 2014, many speakers addressed climate change. Speakers focused on international and national action, including transitions to renewable energy, and financing. Small island developing States (SIDS) particularly urged action, emphasizing they are already experiencing adverse effects on food and water security, biodiversity and oceans.


“Some members have criticized us for focusing too much on climate change and sea level rise, but these issues influence our every decision and affect every aspect of life on our islands,” said Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands, stressing that small island countries cannot afford to speak of climate change as a future threat. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, underscored that apportioning blame serves no useful purpose, saying “those who exploit the traditional divide between developed and developing countries and ideological and political differences do so conveniently to mask their unwillingness to be part of the solution to an impending global catastrophe.” He suggested viewing the world as a single constituency where everyone must work together within the limits of their capacity and capability to address climate change. Charles Angelo Savarin, President of Dominica, Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, and Malielegaoi emphasized climate change is not an event in the future but an issue SIDS are already experiencing.


Several speakers commended the Climate Summit, welcoming its political momentum. Tong, Ikililou Dhoinine, President of the Comoros, Enele Sosene Sopoga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, and Carlos Raúl Morales, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, called for translating Summit commitments into action. Malielegaoi said the Summit underscored that the world is focusing more on symptoms of climate change than on the root causes.


Many supported a global, legally binding agreement on climate change by 2015, including Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar, President of Guyana, Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Tong and Savarin. Malielegaoi said the agreement should be ambitious, effective, binding and capable of swift implementation. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia, supported a coordinated global agreement. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, supported a binding agreement that included adaptation. Sopoga said a new protocol must: curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; keep average temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius; include loss and damage and insurance mechanisms for SIDS; and provide adequate and accessible financing for SIDS' adaption support.


Noting Luxembourg will assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second semester of 2015, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, said his country would “spare no effort” to find an international agreement on climate, applicable to all countries, with the objective of keeping global warming below two degrees.


Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal, supported a binding agreement on climate change with long-term and comprehensive global commitment based on common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), equity and respective capabilities. King Tupou VI of Tonga emphasized CBDR and equity principles.


Catherine Samba-Panza, President of the Transitional Government of the Central African Republic, urged ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.


Several speakers outlined national action on climate change, including Pohamba, Gjorge Ivanov, President of Macedonia, and Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan. Bettel said the EU will present additional contributions to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate climate change, in accordance with the timetable agreed in Warsaw, Poland. At the national level, Bettel said Luxembourg is supporting carbon pricing.


Tong, Loeak and Tupou highlighted national action on adaptation and integrated disaster risk management (DRM). Tong said Kiribati's ‘migration with dignity' strategy is an investment in youth education to allow them to develop employable skills so that they can migrate to other countries voluntarily.


Several countries mentioned renewable energy efforts as part of contributions to addressing climate change, including Steinmeier, Sopoga, Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, and Morales. Savarin and Loeak described their efforts to increase renewable energy, including through SIDS DOCK, a platform for the development of sustainable energy in SIDS. Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, highlighted the promotion of best practices in sustainable energy, noting it is launching a project on the installation of biogas systems in nine Pacific SIDS. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), described his country's efforts and investments in renewable energy throughout the world. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, said his country's goals are aligned with the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative.


Emanuel Mori, President, Federated States of Micronesia, described its proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are GHGs, to prevent temperature increases. He stressed success with the Montreal Protocol over the next six months is “our ticket to a successful outcome in Paris” and urged adoption of the HFC amendment.


On climate financing, Loeak urged the full capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other financial mechanisms to address climate change and support the post-2015 agenda. He applauded nations who have pledged specific amounts and urged delivery of real money by major economic powers who he said are also major polluters. Sopoga stressed adequate resources for the GCF, particularly access for SIDS. Nguesso identified innovative financing, technology transfer and capitalization of the GCF as critical. Koirala, Bangladesh and Serbia stressed financing for adaptation, with Koirala saying there should be special provisions for addressing least developed countries (LDCs) and SIDS mitigation and adaptation needs in additional to regular official development assistance (ODA). Bangladesh also recommended adequate, predictable and additional climate finance, support for capacity and institution building and access to locally adaptable technologies.


Bettel highlighted Luxembourg's contribution of 5 million Euros to the GCF, which is new and additional to its ODA. Steinmeier stated Germany's commitment of US$1 billion to the GCF.


Climate change should be included in the post-2015 agenda, according to Savarin and Morales. Sopoga supported a standalone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on climate change. Idrissov and San Marino highlighted links between climate change and sustainable development. Bangladesh reiterated the need to integrate the UNFCCC, DRR and SDG processes.


Tupou and Sopoga underscored the link between climate change and peace and security, with Tupou advocating for Ban to appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security and Sopoga supporting addressing climate change and security through the UN Security Council. More


[UNGA General Debate 26 September 2014] [UNGA General Debate 27 September 2014] [UN Press Release on SIDS]




 

UNGA General Debate 2014 Addresses Climate Agreement, Financing, SIDS

 

United Nations27 September 2014: During days three and four of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) General Debate 2014, many speakers addressed climate change. Speakers focused on international and national action, including transitions to renewable energy, and financing. Small island developing States (SIDS) particularly urged action, emphasizing they are already experiencing adverse effects on food and water security, biodiversity and oceans.


“Some members have criticized us for focusing too much on climate change and sea level rise, but these issues influence our every decision and affect every aspect of life on our islands,” said Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands, stressing that small island countries cannot afford to speak of climate change as a future threat. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, underscored that apportioning blame serves no useful purpose, saying “those who exploit the traditional divide between developed and developing countries and ideological and political differences do so conveniently to mask their unwillingness to be part of the solution to an impending global catastrophe.” He suggested viewing the world as a single constituency where everyone must work together within the limits of their capacity and capability to address climate change. Charles Angelo Savarin, President of Dominica, Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, and Malielegaoi emphasized climate change is not an event in the future but an issue SIDS are already experiencing.


Several speakers commended the Climate Summit, welcoming its political momentum. Tong, Ikililou Dhoinine, President of the Comoros, Enele Sosene Sopoga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, and Carlos Raúl Morales, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, called for translating Summit commitments into action. Malielegaoi said the Summit underscored that the world is focusing more on symptoms of climate change than on the root causes.


Many supported a global, legally binding agreement on climate change by 2015, including Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar, President of Guyana, Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Tong and Savarin. Malielegaoi said the agreement should be ambitious, effective, binding and capable of swift implementation. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia, supported a coordinated global agreement. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, supported a binding agreement that included adaptation. Sopoga said a new protocol must: curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; keep average temperature well below 1.5 degrees Celsius; include loss and damage and insurance mechanisms for SIDS; and provide adequate and accessible financing for SIDS' adaption support.


Noting Luxembourg will assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second semester of 2015, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, said his country would “spare no effort” to find an international agreement on climate, applicable to all countries, with the objective of keeping global warming below two degrees.


Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal, supported a binding agreement on climate change with long-term and comprehensive global commitment based on common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), equity and respective capabilities. King Tupou VI of Tonga emphasized CBDR and equity principles.


Catherine Samba-Panza, President of the Transitional Government of the Central African Republic, urged ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.


Several speakers outlined national action on climate change, including Pohamba, Gjorge Ivanov, President of Macedonia, and Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan. Bettel said the EU will present additional contributions to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate climate change, in accordance with the timetable agreed in Warsaw, Poland. At the national level, Bettel said Luxembourg is supporting carbon pricing.


Tong, Loeak and Tupou highlighted national action on adaptation and integrated disaster risk management (DRM). Tong said Kiribati's ‘migration with dignity' strategy is an investment in youth education to allow them to develop employable skills so that they can migrate to other countries voluntarily.


Several countries mentioned renewable energy efforts as part of contributions to addressing climate change, including Steinmeier, Sopoga, Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, and Morales. Savarin and Loeak described their efforts to increase renewable energy, including through SIDS DOCK, a platform for the development of sustainable energy in SIDS. Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, highlighted the promotion of best practices in sustainable energy, noting it is launching a project on the installation of biogas systems in nine Pacific SIDS. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), described his country's efforts and investments in renewable energy throughout the world. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, said his country's goals are aligned with the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative.


Emanuel Mori, President, Federated States of Micronesia, described its proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are GHGs, to prevent temperature increases. He stressed success with the Montreal Protocol over the next six months is “our ticket to a successful outcome in Paris” and urged adoption of the HFC amendment.


On climate financing, Loeak urged the full capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other financial mechanisms to address climate change and support the post-2015 agenda. He applauded nations who have pledged specific amounts and urged delivery of real money by major economic powers who he said are also major polluters. Sopoga stressed adequate resources for the GCF, particularly access for SIDS. Nguesso identified innovative financing, technology transfer and capitalization of the GCF as critical. Koirala, Bangladesh and Serbia stressed financing for adaptation, with Koirala saying there should be special provisions for addressing least developed countries (LDCs) and SIDS mitigation and adaptation needs in additional to regular official development assistance (ODA). Bangladesh also recommended adequate, predictable and additional climate finance, support for capacity and institution building and access to locally adaptable technologies.


Bettel highlighted Luxembourg's contribution of 5 million Euros to the GCF, which is new and additional to its ODA. Steinmeier stated Germany's commitment of US$1 billion to the GCF.


Climate change should be included in the post-2015 agenda, according to Savarin and Morales. Sopoga supported a standalone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on climate change. Idrissov and San Marino highlighted links between climate change and sustainable development. Bangladesh reiterated the need to integrate the UNFCCC, DRR and SDG processes.


Tupou and Sopoga underscored the link between climate change and peace and security, with Tupou advocating for Ban to appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security and Sopoga supporting addressing climate change and security through the UN Security Council. More


[UNGA General Debate 26 September 2014] [UNGA General Debate 27 September 2014] [UN Press Release on SIDS]