CBDR must guide work on international transport emissions, say several developing countries

29 November, Durban, (Chee Yoke Ling) – Several developing countries stressed that work undertaken at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) must be guided by the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, and cautioned against unilateral measures and revenues from market-measures as a possible source of climate finance. Continue reading

Climate change negotiations: Durban, a critical battleground

by Kwesi W. Obeng

The just ended United Nations Climate Change Conference in Panama barely made progress in resolving the thorniest issues, stalling negotiations to conclude a global agreement later this year in Durban, South Africa to save the planet from overheating.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol, the architecture of any future agreement, long term finance and sources of funding especially for the Green Climate Fund are some of the most fractious issues still outstanding.

Durban, South Africa will be a critical battleground to break the deadlock within the framework of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2011. The Panama talks made progress on a few issues, notably adaptation, agriculture, technology, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). Continue reading

Setback in designing Green Climate Fund

by Martin Khor (Executive Director, South Centre)

The Green Climate Fund which developing countries are relying on to support their actions against global warming suffered a setback when a committee designing the fund could not agree on recommendations to give to the United Nations Climate Convention.

Last week, the transition committee held its final meeting in Capetown, South Africa.  A draft of the instrument of the Fund (containing its aims, governing structures and functions) prepared by the committee’s Co-Chairs was not agreed to by two members, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, several others of the committee’s 40 members also criticized parts of the report.  But they did not reject the document. Continue reading

New Report Details Consequences of World Bank’s Fossil Fuel Bing

Bank’s pattern of harmful lending disqualifies it from role in climate finance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World Bank continues its fossil fuel financing binge, evading environmental standards and worsening poverty and pollution — that’s the conclusion of a new report released today, just before the start of the World Bank’s spring meetings in Washington, D.C.

The report, World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?, was authored by experts at six non-governmental organizations and examines World Bank Group energy financing in a climate-constrained world. Through a series of seven case studies, the report shows how the Bank’s surge in direct and indirect fossil fuel financing and its support for large-scale energy infrastructure projects have poor poverty alleviation outcomes and call into question the institution’s claim that it is providing leadership on climate change in the developing world.

Such considerations are especially pertinent as the World Bank revamps its Energy Sector Strategy for the first time in more than a decade, as President Obama requests more than $117 million in new money for the institution, and as the Bank seeks an influential role in the UN’s new Green Climate Fund.

“The World Bank’s legacy of environmental and social harm, evasion of safeguards and accountability, and questionable track record on reducing poverty continue to cause serious problems. Regrettably, the World Bank’s draft Energy Sector Strategy looks set to maintain the polluting practices we document in this report: carbon-intensive, large-scale financing, with trickle-down benefits for the poor that are hoped for, but not often achieved,” said Sunita Dubey of groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, co-editor of the report.

“In an era of poverty and climate change, clean energy leadership is called for instead of dirty business as usual. The Bank needs to clean up its act before aiming to put itself at the center of efforts to respond to climate change. It must not play any role in designing or managing the new UN green climate fund,” said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S., co-editor of the report.  “At a time of fiscal austerity and limited resources for international development finance, the World Bank is making a poor case for why Congress should hand it more than $117 million in 2012.”

The report’s conclusions include:
o    Environmental and social safeguards apply to an ever decreasing proportion of the World Bank Group’s financing portfolio;
o    Even for projects where safeguards do apply, the Bank has not incorporated the lessons of past project failings;
o    Deep questions remain about the World Bank’s ability to meet its own sustainable development and poverty alleviation goals;
o    The Bank’s rapidly expanding fossil fuel financing is not alleviating energy poverty for poor communities.

The seven case studies profiled in World Bank, Climate Change, and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New? examine:
o    World Bank support for fossil fuels through infrastructure lending and financial intermediaries;
o    the Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit (which facilitates international offsetting and carbon trading) and support for the UN Clean Development Mechanism’s Plantar project in Brazil;
o    the role of the Bank in Nigeria’s energy sector;
o    the International Finance Corporation’s loan for a coal plant in India;
o    the World Bank’s loan for the controversial Eskom coal project in South Africa;
o    the legacy of Bank support for large hydropower and the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos; and
o    development policy loans in Brazil and the Belo Monte Dam Complex.

The report is published by by Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM, Italy), CDM Watch (Belgium), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, International Rivers (US), Friends of the Earth U.S., groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, and Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE, India).

It can be found at http://www.foe.org/world-bank-climate-change-and-energy-financing

Karen Orenstein
Friends of the Earth U.S.
+1-202-222-0717 (direct)
skype: ponizarga

FOEI calls on governments to reject carbon markets

MEDIA ADVISORY: Friends of the Earth International

November 26, 2010 – Ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Cancún that start on Monday, November 29th, Friends of the Earth International calls on governments to reject the role of carbon markets in international climate agreements.

Continue reading

Philippines’ senate leader calls for climate “compensation”

“Developing countries like the Philippines should be receiving compensation for such damages inflicted on our environment and on our people. Instead, however, we are accepting or, worse, being ‘forced’ to avail of loans that are, in the long run, more disadvantageous for the country.”

(Manila, 22 July, 2010) Philippines Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile today launched a new action agenda on climate change which he described as “the first step the country needs to take to ensure national survival.”

“We are already reeling from the injurious effects of climate change, which will only worsen. Climate action is urgent and we must use public finance as a vital tool to protect the vulnerable sectors of our society as well as our fragile ecosystems,” Enrile said.

“Once again, we saw how devastating the effects of climate change could be when typhoon Basyang wreaked havoc in many parts of the country just last week,” Enrile said. “Lives were lost, properties were destroyed, public infrastructures were damaged, industries and even government operations were halted because of the typhoon. We have to be better prepared and equipped for occurrences like this.”

The Senate Chief said he will file a bill that will establish a “National Survival Fund” that will democratize access to available funds, both local and international and, at the same time, create predictable long-term finance streams for urgent adaptation activities and climate-induced disaster preparedness programs.

Continue reading

Toward a Proposal for Just Climate Finance

Toward a Proposal for Just Climate Finance

Published by Institute for Policy Studies Sustainable Energy
and Economy Network

The world will require a global commitment to limit temperature increases and stabilize CO2 emission concentrations. The vast majority of these cuts must be found in Northern countries, but some Southern countries will also likely have to cut emissions. Under debate is how developed countries will raise and channel finance to compensate developing countries for existing impacts of climate change, and provide financial support for their transition to low carbon economies. By 2030 developing countries will need between US$170-275 billion to meet their climate mitigation and adaptation needs. Civil society has demanded that it must be public funding, must be obligatory and predictable, impose no conditionalities on countries of the global South, not generate external debt, be new and additional to existing financial commitments, and be channeled through a financial architecture under the authority of the UNFCCC.

Criteria for Raising Revenue for Climate finance

Criteria Definition
ESSENTIAL Adequate Raises volume of revenue consistent with the scale of the need, in a manner that is additional to pre-existing ODA and other pledges, and with low transactions costs.
Predictable Automatic, sustainable over time, not easily evadable or subject to declining returns.
Public Must be raised and contributed by governments.
Equitable Obtains money from those countries with most responsibility for causing human-induced climate change, as well as capacity to pay. The mechanisms should also minimise negative impacts on developing countries and on low-income and other marginalised groups in all countries.
Transparent & accountable Potential for citizen input and oversight in monitoring how and from whom revenue is raised.
DESIRABLE Transformational Promotes economy-wide reform away from fossil fuel systems, promotes the transition to renewable energy sources and local control of natural resources.
Financially responsible Helps curb speculation, increase transparency of financial flows, limits trading in derivatives and other toxic financial products and move towards a balanced and well-regulated economy.

Innovative Finance Sources: Summary Table

Adequate Predictable Public Equitable Transparent & Accountable Transform-ational Financially Responsible
Financial transaction tax J K J J K K J
Global carbon tax J K J K J J K
Fossil fuel subsidy reallocation K L J K K J J
Air passenger levy K J J J J K K
Bunker fuels levy K J J K J J K
Sales of carbon quotas K J K K K J K
Climate Special Drawing Rights K K J J J K J

Proposal for a Global Climate Fund

Global civil society calls for an enhanced financial architecture in the form of a Global Climate Fund to be set up under the control of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Fund should be founded on the recognition of a Climate Debt owed by Northern countries for their responsibility for the majority of global warming. Their emissions deny southern countries their share of atmospheric space and cause severe climate impacts, which disproportionately fall on marginalized communities.

The Fund should acknowledge that reparations require the drastic reduction of their emissions through domestic measures. The Fund will serve as the channel for the transfer of the full financial costs to enable developing countries and peoples to adapt to the impacts and deal with the effects of climate change and pursue equitable and sustainable development. The Fund should be established according to the following principles

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  • Sustainable, Obligatory and Automatic Funding from diverse sources to generate the volume of funding needed, established on the principle of historical responsibility for causing the climate crisis
  • Representative Governance that is democratic, transparent, and accountable to the most impacted communities, with civil society formally represented in all governance structures and equitable representation of southern countries
  • Full Participation of climate-impacted peoples in developing actions and policies for adaptation and the shift to low-carbon economies; policies and actions designed by countries through sovereign and democratic processes must reflect local decisions and solutions
  • No Conditionalities must accompany disbursements from the Fund to governments or civil society groups; nor lead to the accumulation of debts
  • Direct Access for the Most Vulnerable so that social movements, NGOs and community-based groups have direct access to funds (in addition to government agencies)
  • Protecting Rights of all people, particularly recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, to determine their own development path, decision-making processes, and activities related to climate change

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Executive Body under the authority of the UNFCCC, sets overall policy guidance for all windows, composed of a majority of developing countries, with seats for vulnerable countries and communities

Adaptation, Mitigation and Technology Windows disburse money directly to the recipient country for implementation of locally and nationally developed plans; Window board would judge plans based on soundness of approach, participation of affected communities, environmental sustainably, and other criteria as established by the board

Technical Panels review plans for technical merit and would make recommendations to window boards as to whether the plan is ready to receive funding

Indigenous and Women’s Rights Desks ensure Indigenous Peoples and women’s rights are central in all aspects of adaptation funding

Secretariat responsible for providing administrative, legal, and financial support to the Executive Body; collect data on the Fund’s impacts on women, marginalized communities, and the environment

Trustee manage the funding of each window in a separate bank account and disburse funding to recipients upon instruction from Executive Board