Durban COP17 climate change conference – update 2nd December

Today in Durban:

13:15-14:45: Adaptation, development and information and communication technology
The ICT sector has made strides in matching its innovation to the needs of mitigation and sustainability. This event shows how ICTs can also contribute to adaptation. Keynote speaker: Ms. Dina Deliwe Pule, Minister of Communications, South Africa. Venue: Hex River.

15:00-16:30: Intergenerational Inquiry

The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, key negotiators from developed and developing countries and young people will discuss how their actions contribute to a collective solution to climate challenges, and what they see as important prerequisites for reaching an effective post-2012 agreement. Venue: Indwe River.

16:45-18:15: African Climate Stories – Voices from the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis
This panel will feature five young people from across Africa presenting their stories on how they are confronting the climate crisis in their everyday lives – a compelling call to action. Venue: Indwe River.

Day 4 update -on video

From Michael Jacobs of the Guardian:

UN climate talks see ‘delayer countries’ throw away the 2C goal

The goal of holding global warming to 2C will be missed if the world’s largest economies insist on delaying negotiations

When psychologists identified the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance – the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time – they might have been describing the world of international climate changenegotiations.

Only this month, two authoritative international agencies have pointed out that the world has only a few years left in which to begin taking sufficient action to combat dangerous global warming. The United Nations Environment Programme’s Bridging the Emissions Gap reportshows that, even if all countries implement their emissions targets for 2020 to their maximum extent, total emissions in that year will still exceed the level required to hold global warming to the UN’s 2C goal. Further action is needed now, it pointed out, if this emissions gap is to be closed. At the same time, the International Energy Agency warned that the world has only five years seriously to start replacing fossil fuels by low carbon energy and energy efficiency. Failure to make the required investment by 2017 would “lock in” high future emissions to such an extent that the 2C goal would become unattainable.

Yet at the UN climate talks in Durban, delegates are arguing about whether a new round of negotiations should not even begin until 2015, and not come into effect until after 2020. Some countries appear to be throwing the 2C goal away even as they rhetorically reaffirm it.

The positions being taken on this give the lie to the lazy view that climate talks are always a matter of developed versus developing countries. On the one side of this argument are the countries most vulnerable to climate change – the small islands and least developed nations – and the European Union. These want negotiations on a new legal agreement to begin next year, to conclude in 2015, and to enter into force as early as possible thereafter (the EU has said no later than 2020). On the other side, advocating that no new negotiations should start until after 2015 at the earliest, is an unlikely alliance of the usual developed country laggards – the US, Canada, Russia and Japan – and two of the largest emerging economies, China and India.

The delayers argue that now is not the time to start a new set of negotiations. After concluding the last round in Cancun a year ago, the priority now is to implement the decisions reached. They point out that countries have only just started to implement their own domestic emissions reduction plans, with most struggling to put into place low carbon and green growth policies, so they are not yet ready to start thinking about new ones. In the current economic climate, the chances of agreeing new commitments for 2020 are anyhow negligible. And the UN has already committed to a review of the 2C goal to take place in 2013-15 – which will provide the proper foundation, it is argued, for new negotiations after then. (One Indian delegate has said in Durban that the world should wait until the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 to decide whether there is in fact an emissions gap.)

For many of those in the delayers’ group, these arguments are of course just cover for the fact that they don’t want to commit to a new legal agreement at all. While the Kyoto refuseniks (the US, now joined by Canada) dislike any kind of binding international obligations, China and India are seeking to postpone the day when they are subject to them. What none can explain however is how delay is compatible with achieving the 2C goal they have all espoused.

Indeed, this remains a source of disagreement even within the “start negotiations now” camp. The small islands and least developed countries want any new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to last only another five years (2013-17), with a new set of targets to begin in 2018. But the EU is loathe to reopen the huge and delicate framework of its internal climate policies, which are all tied to 2020, fearing that they are more likely to unravel than be tightened.

The answer almost certainly lies in looking at how the UN review scheduled for 2013-15 can generate greater immediate ambition. There is still disagreement among parties in Durban as to what the review is for. Some see it as just a reporting process on what countries are doing to implement their commitments. But others view it as a chance to assess whether 2C is indeed the right global goal (the small island states want it to be 1.5C) and how mitigation can be collectively ramped up to achieve it. That would allow not only new commitments to be made for 2025 and 2030 – which must form the bedrock of any new post-Kyoto agreement – but the strengthening of the commitments already made for 2020. There is indeed little chance of this happening now.

But by 2015, when (perhaps) the worst of the economic crisis may be over and the new IPCC report has re-awakened the world to the dangers that climate changes poses, it might just be possible.

And from One World.Net -check up to date news on climate change and other topics

Check also –Adopt a negotiator.org

From AlertNet

01 Dec 2011 12:37

Source: Content Partner // Inter Press Service
By Busani Bafana

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 1 (IPS) – Zambian dairy farmer, Effatah Jele, does not believe in farming luck but in pragmatism because of climate change.“Farmers should be taught about good farming practises instead of blaming everything on climate change,” said Jele, who runs a dairy farm in the Luanshya Cooperbelt Province of Zambia and is the vice chairperson of the Dairy Association.

“Changes are there, no doubt, but it is also important for farmers to have the right farming practises for them to survive those changes. For example, some women are growing vegetables and, due to ignorance, dig the soil right up to edge of the river. Then, when it rains, the soil is all washed into the stream and after a few years the stream becomes shallow. And some say this is because of climate change.”

Jele said changes in the weather pattern have serious implications for farmers like her who depend on increasingly scarce water resources to keep a viable dairy herd. Crop farmers, she said, are worse off unless science and practical ideas come the rescue.

“I feel our scientists should go around talking to the farmers and making them understand the difference between climate change and self-inflicted problems through using the wrong ways of farming. That is important, because otherwise we will not find solutions that will ensure food security,” Jele said.

“Some of things we blame on climate change are failures by us farmers to do the right thing at the right time. Because there is a song of climate change, we are all singing ‘climate change, climate change’,” said Jele.

Fears of what climate change will do for African agriculture are real and in southern Africa farmers are taking action to ensure that negotiators at 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) in Durban get the message.

The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) – granted observer status at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) session – wants the global negotiations to put agriculture firmly on the climate change agenda and establish a work programme that will outline and coordinate necessary responses such as a specific allocation to the sector under the Green Climate Fund.

Climate smart initiatives such as conservation farming, water harvesting will not only help farmers cope with extreme weather but also ensure they curb carbon emissions. According to scientists, agriculture is responsible for between 15 to 30 percent of global emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which affects the earth’s temperature.

Farmers are campaigning for a deal that specifically includes agriculture, which will be heavily affected by climate change in terms of reduced crop yields and low productivity. For them productive and sustainable and farms are the insurance against the risks of climate change.

Noting the close links between the challenges of addressing climate change and feeding a growing global population, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Kanayo Nwanze is to call on COP 17 to focus on helping half a billion smallholder farmers in developing countries to grow more food in environmentally sustainable ways.

According to research by the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research, climate change will shrink agriculture productivity with projections of a rise in temperatures and an increase in droughts and floods, which would alter agricultural seasons and decrease harvests

“Our expectations as farmers of Southern Africa is to have agriculture included in the text that will be agreed at the end of the Durban COP 17,” said Stephanie Aubin, SACAU Policy Development Officer.

“Agriculture must be included in the specific text so that there are specific funds and specific action that are implemented.”

A draft text was discussed and negotiated during the past COP meetings in Copenhagen and Cancun but was dropped because agriculture was lumped together with bunker fuels.

“It is important that agriculture has special treatment at the UNFCCC negotiations because its special in terms of livelihoods for millions of people in Africa and food security for the planet and it’s the most climate sensitive sector which at the same time can contribute adaptation and mitigation efforts,” said Aubin.

“We want a specific chapter on agriculture in the text and long term action as it will unlock funding needed by the agriculture sector in Africa to response efficiently to Climate change.”

Aubin was optimistic that with the COP 17 being held in Africa, African governments will put the required effort to push for agriculture in the final text.

A grouping of 15 global and regional organisations have endorsed a call to action for COP 17 climate change negotiators stating that whilst agriculture is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it has significant potential to be part of the solution to climate change.

“At the upcoming climate change negotiations in Durban, we call on negotiators to recognise the important role of agriculture in addressing climate change so that a new era of agricultural innovation and knowledge sharing can be achieved, said a grouping of global and regional, ” said the statement issued ahead of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day event to be held at COP 17.

“Specifically, we ask that they approve a work programme for agriculture under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice so that the sector can take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future challenges.”

Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), told IPS that agriculture has been neglected in the negotiations so far, despite the sector accounting for between 16 to 29 percent of total emissions. Additionally, he said farmers, especially poor farmers in the developing world, are going to be particularly hard-hit by climate change.

“The agricultural sector must be empowered to take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future food and energy challenges effectively,” Campbell said. “The Agriculture and Rural Development Day will not only reflect this call-to-action, but it will also showcase a series of success stories in agriculture, which specific actions could be further scaled up with further investment and a coordinated approach to implementation.”

Find out more about the forces behind climate change – but also about the growing citizen awareness and new climate policies towards sustainable development
http://ipsnews.net/climate_change/

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