Saudi Arabia has complained that Cancún was lousy with NGO representatives and hence they had to waste time talking to them. The Saudis, of course, aim to see that Cancún does not result in any diminution of the use of oil.
The place is also lousy with representatives of fossil fuel and forestry industries, who aim to make a buck out of the whole thing.
Giles Parkinson’s latest report tells of wholesale rorting at Cancún in how emissions and carbon credits are counted.
The UN Environment Program issued a detailed report last week that said accounting rorts from “hot air” from eastern Europe and land use rules could add up to more than two billion tonnes by 2020. The EU has complained they could undermine the entirety of their emission reductions since 1990.
A study by Simon Terry, the executive director of the New Zealand Sustainability Council, goes further. Terry says that by adding in aviation and shipping – which are not accounted for under the Copenhagen Accord – the pledges may turn out to produce an increase in global emissions of 3 per cent from 1990 levels, rather than an advertised fall of up to 18 per cent.
The UN has been concerned that the Copenhagen Accord commitments will yield an “emissions gap” against what is needed to remain within a 2C temperature rise. This gaps means we could be headed for 3-4C instead of 2C. Factor in the latest games being played and we are heading for 6-7C. That is ‘end of civilisation as we know it’ territory. Continue reading Multiple agendas at Cancún, not all benign→
That image is courtesy Climate Progress where Joe Romm points out that the beaches are washing away. One can also easily imagine why there may have been traffic problems. (See also here.)
While there is plenty of material around on the web, I have found Giles Parkinson at Climate Spectator particularly helpful. A pity, therefore, that he was sufficiently distracted on Friday not to do a post after the conference session. Nevertheless Thursday’s post provides a good summary of what is at play. He summarises progress on the so-called six-pack of issues thus:
Four of the so-called six-pack of agreements appear within reach – financing, adaptation, forests, and technology – although there are still hurdles to overcome, such as whether a green fund should be managed by the UN or an outside body. The two most difficult – mitigation (effectively locking in the pledges made since Copenhagen) and transparency – remain a challenge. The head of one of the key working groups told NGOs today that there remained “a big gap” on mitigation.
According to Oxfam 21,000 people died due to weather-related disasters in the first nine months of 2010 – more than twice the number (10,000) for the whole of 2009. Their information comes from reinsurance company Munich Re.
The number of extreme weather events was 725 to September, as against 850 for 2009. The number of extreme events is likely to exceed the ten-year average of 770, but not by a large margin. This year included some particularly serious ones, such as the floods in Pakistan and the heatwave in Russia.
The Pakistan floods affected more than 20 million people, submerging about a fifth of the country, claiming 2,000 lives and causing $9.7 billion in damage. Summer temperatures in Russia exceeded the long-term average by 7.8°C, doubling the daily death rate in Moscow to 700 and causing fires that destroyed 26 per cent of the country’s wheat crop. Russia banned grain exports as a result and soon after world grain prices increased, affecting poor people particularly.
Statistics relating to extreme weather events are tricky. The number of deaths obviously relates to the severity of the individual events and how many people were living in areas where the events occurred and hence vulnerable. Continue reading Climate kills→
When we last looked at Cancún alexinbologna explained that in 2007 in Bali countries agreed to two paths, firstly, negotiating a further commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and secondly, to negotiate ‘longterm cooperative action’ (LCA). The chances of the first of these getting up in Cancún approach zero. The best that could be achieved is to position talks to achieve an agreement in Durban at the next COP in December 2011.
Since Copenhagen some 140 countries have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord and 85 of these have made commitments to reduce or limit the growth of their emissions up to 2020. There may be a tendency to regard this as replacing a binding commitment, but we should remember that the Copenhagen Accord was only formally noted by the meeting in Copenhagen not agreed to. Some countries, for example the ALBA group and AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), will see this as the developed countries avoiding their responsibilities. Rather than allowing developed countries to do whatever suits them these countries want legally binding progress towards deep cuts. Continue reading Cancún gets under way→
Some island states react to climate change out of a threat of sea level change and inundation. Naomi Klein points out that Bolivia has it’s own existential crisis because “its glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, threatening the water supply in two major cities.”
The Council of Canadians tells us in their report that some 10,000 of the 34,000 participants came from outside South America. Government representatives from 147 countries were present, and at least 45 were active participants.
The last year or so has seen more scientific papers and presentations that raise the genuine prospect of catastrophe (if we stay on our current emissions path) that I can recall seeing in any other year.
The total number of Bornean orangutans is estimated to be less than 14 percent of what it was in the recent past (from around 10,000 years ago until the middle of the twentieth century) and this sharp decline has occurred mostly over the past few decades due to human activities and development.
The IPCC AR4 report put the net emissions from forestry at 17.4% of the total:
International marine scientists say that a huge coral death which has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months has highlighted the urgency of controlling global carbon emissions.
Many reefs are dead or dying across the Indian Ocean and into the Coral Triangle following a bleaching event that extends from the Seychelles in the west to Sulawesi and the Philippines in the east and include reefs in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many sites in western and eastern Indonesia.
“It is certainly the worst coral die-off we have seen since 1998. It may prove to be the worst such event known to science,” says Dr Andrew Baird of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook Universities. “So far around 80 percent of Acropora colonies and 50 per cent of colonies from other species have died since the outbreak began in May this year.”
This means coral cover in the region could drop from an average of 50% to around 10%, and the spatial scale of the event could mean it will take years to recover, striking at local fishing and regional tourism industries, he says.
The bleaching event has also hit the richest marine biodiversity zone on the planet, the ‘Amazon Rainforest’ of the seas, known as the Coral Triangle (CT), which is bounded by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.