Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marrakech: we will move ahead



On the last day of the UN climate conference, COP22 in Marrakech, Greenpeace organised a photo shoot outside the entrance to the COP22 conference venue with a huge banner saying: We will move ahead. It was advertised to delegates as the largest photo shoot of the UNFCCC 'family'. Party delegates and observers, media and members of the secretariat gathered for the photo.

After the emotional rollercoaster ride of the US presidential election and considerable chatter about what a Trump Presidency would mean for climate action, the event was a fitting summary of the resolve of people at the conference. To forge ahead despite a climate denialist being elected President of the USA.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Marrakech Action Proclamation at COP22


Host country Morocco developed the Marrakech Action Proclamation (PDF), which was read out to the full Plenary on Thursday 17 November 2016.

The one page statement articulates the urgency of climate change, and the unstoppable global momentum on climate action and sustainable development action by governments, businesses, investors, sub-regional government and cities. It can be read as a veiled message to Donald Trump and his election to the US Presidency, that the world is proceeding to act on climate change. In Fact, Ed King from Climate Home has done just that: Marrakech Call decoded: UN sends Trump its climate demands.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Julie Bishop signs Second Because the Ocean Declaration



Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sure has the gift of the gab with fine rhetorical statements on Australia’s strong targets (ahem), that presently commits the world to 4 degrees C or more of warming.

I caught up with her on Monday night of the second week of COP22 in a high level event at the French Pavillion. She was there with several other ministers to sign the second ‘Because the Ocean declaration’ to improve ocean and reef conservation efforts as part of the UNFCCC climate change process. (See details on signing the First Declaration in Paris at COP21 here)

She highlighted the Australian Government’s 2015 Reef 2050 plan, and $2 billion over 10 years to reduce water pollution affecting the Great Barrier Reef at both this event and later in her ministerial statement to COP.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kick Polluters out of COP22: Climate Justice activists stand with Moroccan communities


Article first published at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia

Morocco has painted itself as a green leader at this UN climate conference, and in many ways it is, but beneath the surface there are also the stories of pollution, greenwashing and hypocrisy which activists have brought to light.

Activists on Thursday highlighted two of these stories, of heavy pollution caused by phosphate mining of the water at Safi, a town on the Moroccan coast, and at Managem's silver mine at Imider. Water is Life. The phosphate company and the silver mining Company are both sponsors of COP22 that are destroying the water quality, health and life of local communities.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Multilateral assessment of Australia at COP22 for climate action



Australia was under the spotlight at COP22 in Marrakech as part of the SBI multilateral assessment process for climate action. You can read the 31 pages of written questions and responses already on record (PDF).

Each country was allocated 30 minutes of live questioning following a brief statement by the country being questioned.

Europe was up first with their statement and then questions from USA, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Singapore, China. Europe then responded to these questions.

Then it was Australia's turn with Australia's lead negotiator Ambassador Patrick Suckling saying that the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is delivering real emissions cuts and that Australia is on target for meeting 2020 and 2030 targets.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Investor perspectives on beyond Paris and the US election at #COP22



Ceres and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) press conference on Beyond Paris and the US elections: investor perspectives. It highlighted that climate change is viewed by many businesses as both a risk and an opportunity.

Kids win: US #climate court case moves forward



The Our Children's Trust climate court case against the US President, US Government and Fossil Fuel Industry has passed another hurdle with Federal Judge Ann Aiken rejecting U.S. government and fossil fuel industries motions to dismiss.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Strong ambition needed to meet 1.5C #ParisAgreement Target #COP22



According to the latest Climate Action Tracker assessment of national climate plans (NDCs), the Paris Agreement current commitments will lead to a warming of 2.8degC, with a likely chance of holding warming below 3.1degC.

It is clear that more ambition is needed, and the earlier emission reductions happen, the greater the benefit.

I was unable to make this press conference but Dr Cara Augustenborg did a sterling job of tweeting the main points. The Press conference is available as video on demand.

Host country, Morocco, is one of the few countries rated by Climate Action Tracker as 'Sufficient' in their climate targets and climate action. Morocco, along with Nepal are the only countries to update their climate plans (NDCs) since the Paris Agreement was agreed.

Australia ratifies #ParisAgreement as #COP22 meets



Waking up in Marrakech to the news that Australia has stayed the course and ratified the Paris Agreement. Welcome news after Trump was elected President of the United States promising to wind back United States climate action. See my article on the response from climate NGOs to Trump's election.

I commented at the end of October of Australia's efforts to ratify the treaty. It was leaked in a tweet by French Environment Minister Segolene Royal that it might be done by Novenber 15. They got it done five days earlier, in time for the high level ministerial meeting at COP22 next week.

The ratification is significant as it is for both the Paris Agreement and the Doha Amendment. The Doha Amendment establishes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol up to 2020. As of 7 November 2016, 72 nations had ratified the Doha amendment.

It also comes at a time providing a small ray of hope to attendees at the climate talks in Marrakech after the US election results and Trump's policy threats to withdraw from the Paris Agreement (difficult though that might be)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

US Climate Action Network responds on US election result and climate policy



We woke in Marrakech to the surprise news of Donald Trump being elected President of the USA, with everyone asking, what will this mean for the #ParisAgreement. I attended the US Climate Action Network Press Conference.

"President-elect Trump has the opportunity to catalyze further action on climate that sends a clear signal to investors to keep the transition to a renewable-powered economy on track. China, India, and other economic competitors are racing to be the global clean energy superpower, and the US doesn’t want to be left behind." said Tina Johnson, Policy Director, US Climate Action Network.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

COP22 opens in Marrkech

Inside Casablanca plenary room for openning plenary COP22

Rain greeted the first day of this year's UN climate talks in Marrakech. But that did not dampen the spirits, still on a high from the December 2015 climate agreement concluded in Paris.

At least some of the politicians and bureacrats know that we are already feeling the impacts of a hotter climate. There is a sense of urgency, that we cannot sit on our laurels, but need to continue to maintain the momentum.

I was able to grab a seat in the Casablanca Plenary hall and watch the proceedings live in the neighboring Marrakech Plenary Hall. There were the speeches and some theatre involving LED lights, a giant plastic ball of earth with a smiley face, and a troupe of drummers.

Turkey wins first fossil of the day award of COP22

1st COP22 Fossil of the Day was Turkey

Each UN climate conference Climate Action Network gives awards to those nations that do the most in retarding negotiations.

For COP22 on Day 1 that award went to Turkey.

Turkey won COP22’s inaugural Fossil of the Day award as it argued for financial support under the Paris Agreement, yet is still to ratify the agreement. Turkey has plans to build 70 new coal power plants that would add over 70 GW of dirty energy capacity. A very real carbon bomb that would undermine the Paris Agreement.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Newcastle residents celebrate ParisAgreement entry into force forming a 2100 sealevelrise high tide mark



On November 4, residents of Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales celebrated the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Hundreds of people woke up early and formed a high water tide mark line to indicate where sea level rise may reach by 2100.

"Hundreds of people have come together in Newcastle this morning in response to the governments failure to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, which comes into force today. The group formed a blue line signifying the predicted high tide for Newcastle in 2100 and are calling on the federal government to ratify the agreement and start phasing out fossil fuels as a matter of urgency." said the group in a Facebook posting by the Hunter Community Environment Centre.

Guest Post: Global climate talks move to Marrakesh: Here's what they need to achieve



As the Paris Agreement enters into force on November 4, 2016 this article provides a good summary of what the UN climate talks at Marrakech COP22 needs to do to be broadly seen as successful.

Adil Najam, Boston University and Henrik Selin, Boston University

Even though evidence on an ever-worsening global climate keeps pouring in with alarming frequency, the last 12 months have, in fact, been a relatively good year for global climate policy. Next week, the world’s countries meet in Marrakesh, Morocco, to follow up on the gains made at Paris last year, and to try to reconcile these two facts.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Climate win: Hazelwood closing end of March 2017



Republished from Climate Action Moreland: The official announcement of Hazelwood's future has been made by French company Engie on the eve of the Paris Agreement coming into force and the start of the UN climate conference COP22: Hazelwood will close by end of March 2017.

Hazelwood is Australia's, indeed the industrial world's, most polluting power station.

We should celebrate this as a definite climate win. Climate Action Moreland, along with many other community groups, have been campaigning for closure of Hazelwood with a just transition for the workers and community since 2009.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Momentum from #ParisAgreement for climate action at #COP22 Marrakech



The Paris agreement will enter into force on November 4, 2016 in record time. Never before has an international United Nations Agreement come into force so quickly. But Australia is still to ratify. Unfortunately with the lack of ambitious targets and climate policies Australia is on the outer as theParis Agreement comes alive for Marrakech.

Three days after the Paris Agreement comes into force the UNFCCC climate Conference of the Parties, COP22, will meet in Marrakech to discuss the finer details of the Paris Agreement and how action can be taken further on climate change. This will include encouraging other actors, such as city level and regional governments and businesses, to step up.

In the last two months there has also been significant steps on a global level in two other areas which has maintained the momentum of the Paris moment: aviation emissions and phasedown of HFC greenhouse gases under the Montreal Protocol.