CLIMATE EMERGENCY INSTITUTE
The Health and Human Rights Approach to Climate Change
South African President Jacob Zuma Statement: We are committed to the environment
The twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) takes place in Paris at the end of November till mid-December.
This is a historic opportunity for the international community to respond to the challenge of climate change collectively and with a renewed sense of urgency by adopting an agreement with supporting decisions under the convention that will contain legal obligations for all countries to take actions to address climate change.
This agreement has to set the world on a trajectory to keep the increase in average global temperature since the start of the industrial era to below 2°C.
For South Africa, a fair and ambitious agreement will mark the successful conclusion of a mandate agreed to by consensus at the Durban conference in 2011 to enhance implementation of the existing convention.
Having launched the negotiations that will conclude this year, South Africa has a special interest in doing all that it can to ensure the success of the Paris COP and is providing its full support to the incoming French presidency.
The Paris Agreement needs to be as ambitious as possible and to address the environmental challenge, while protecting the development space of developing countries.
It is in our national interest to have a legal agreement that is fair, strengthens the multilateral rule of law, provides predictability and allows us to respond more effectively to our pressing socio-economic challenges and acute vulnerability to climate change.
As the current Chair of the Group of 77 and China and an active member of the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) and Brazil, South Africa, India and China (Basic) Group, South Africa also has the special responsibility of advancing the collective and shared interests of developing countries in the negotiations for the Paris Agreement. This necessitates defending the legal rights of developing countries under the convention, including to receive the support they require to make the transition to a low carbon economy and to adapt to the reality of a climate that is already changing and the loss and damage that is associated with this.
It is also a fundamental principle of the convention that our actions must be based on equity and differentiation of action and support, given different capacities and national circumstances and different responsibilities for causing climate change.
The provision of financial resources, technology transfer and development and capacity building, is central to the Paris Agreement.
The reality is that without adequate, predictable and sustainable means of implementation, it will be impossible to reach our agreed temperature target. This is because key mitigation potential is in developing countries, such as South Africa, and these countries are not able to realise this potential on their own.
We also have to be guided in Paris by the latest science on climate change.
The Fifth Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that each of the past three decades has been successively warmer than the preceding decades and exceed levels reached at the height of the industrial revolution.
The evidence of accelerating global warming and its devastating impacts are clear for all to see.
It is in this context of the need to urgently address the global problem of climate change that South Africa has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC Secretariat well ahead of the Paris conference.
The level of ambition contained in our INDC is an affirmation of the seriousness of our commitment as the government to deal with climate change.
The INDC builds on a strong basis of existing national policies and actions, given that as an African and developing country, climate change is not a new issue for us.
Our society has long since been forced to adapt to the reality of a changing climate and increasingly frequent extreme weather events that are the result of emissions of greenhouse gases generated over centuries, predominantly by developed countries.
The impacts of a changing climate affect nearly every sector of our economic and social development, governance, as well as the delivery of services to our people – from health care to agriculture, to infrastructure and human settlements, to defence, water and sanitation.
Effectively managing this challenge requires a national response that builds and sustains social, economic and environmental resilience as well as our emergency response capacity.
The South African INDC therefore sets out our national adaptation and mitigation plans and emission reduction targets, and indicates the financial and investment requirements.
It is the product of an extensive nationwide public participatory process, within the short time period provided by the UN.
Over the past four months the government held a series of provincial conferences, engagements and stakeholder workshops with business, labour, academia, and civil society groupings.
The result, in our view, is an INDC that is ambitious, fair and pro-development. It takes into account South Africa’s triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, but yet still represents a progression beyond the voluntary pledge we announced at the Copenhagen COP in 2009.
The UNFCCC Secretariat has just released a synthesis report on the aggregate impact of all the INDCs received ahead of Paris, and civil society groups have produced their own independent and impressive scientific analytical works on the INDCs. These studies show that we are not on track to meeting the less than 2°C goal and that there is a serious disparity between the ambitious plans submitted by developing countries and the far less ambitious plans from developed countries.
These studies show that for the Paris Agreement to be effective and equitable, it must unlock substantial public finance for mitigation, both to fulfil developed countries’ fair share and to help unlock greater ambition in developing countries.
Our message ahead of Paris is that climate change is a global problem, requiring a global solution, which can only be effectively addressed multilaterally, under the broad-based legitimacy of the UNFCCC and with all Parties contributing their fair share.
Source: Reuters Agency
African leaders Statement: A call for climate-change Agreement at COP21
As the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) in France to be held from 30 November to 11 December nears, environmental experts has made conclusions that already climate change impact is largely affecting many parts of Africa, and that women and children are the most vulnerable.
While studying the outcome of impacts brought about by climate change in this scenario, scientists are further informing us that although the global South contributes less to climate change, regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa suffer most from its effects.
It’s expected that during this meeting, a new global agreement on climate change will be adopted by all nations with the sole aim of maintaining global warming below two degrees Celsius.
In the post-2015 development agenda defined by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is imperative that we take care of our planetary health. That means taking care of the health of human advancement and the state of the natural systems on which it depends.
Experts say Africa cannot afford to pursue the heavy-carbon path to development as this could increase global warming and the adverse effects of climate change. Thus, Africa should reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pursue a greener environment path to development.
Some argue from a position of ethics, where developed nations take historical responsibility, while others insist that developed nations should be pushed to compensate through international statutes and agreements.
Conflicts brought about by competition over resources are increasing in parts of Africa like over water, pasture and decreasing arable land due to climate change, although the continent is trying to address these issues through mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
A group of African leaders, along with UN experts, have issued a statement calling for an agreement on climate change at the Paris COP21 conference that would address the continent's urgent needs to address this issue.
The meeting in Paris is intended to produce an agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol of Dec. 11, 1997, which currently governs world climate change efforts.
”Africa needs to have a comprehensive agreement focusing on the issues of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer,” the statement said.
“Climate justice means that developed countries which have caused climate change with its related damages should also provide means to address its consequences on the rest of the world,” the statement said.
Although Africa contributes only 3.8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is expected to see a sharp increase in temperature that could lay a large part of its agriculture to waste, according to a note on the website of the think-tank ClimDev-Africa on Nov.11.
Developments in the upcoming world climate change summit COP21 scheduled to take place from November 30 – December 11 are immensely important for Africa.
“It is proven that poorer countries and communities will suffer earliest and worst from global warming because of weaker resilience and greater reliance on climate‐sensitive sectors like agriculture,” the think-tank ClimDev-Africa said in a note on its website on Nov.11.
“Climate change has significant and unequivocal implications for Africa’s development, and poses complex and changing challenges for Africa’s peoples and policy makers. Addressing climate change has become central to the continent’s development agenda,” ClimDev Africa said.
To formulate a common position ahead of the Paris conference, African stakeholders met last Friday under the auspices of the African Union Commission in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and representatives of the African civil society joined together to issue a statement on the importance of helping Africa cope with climate change.
The statement, released on Monday, called for: “A fair, equitable and legally binding agreement during the much anticipated 21st United Nations Conference on Climate change.”
However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times on Thursday said that COP21 would not result in a legally binding agreement.
“COP 21 would be an opportunity for the continent to claim its right to sustainable development as well as to make sure that the African common positions are featured in the final text,” Ayele Hegena, director of Law and Standards at the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in the statement.Source
- Andalou Agency: web: http://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/ethiopia-african-leaders-call-for-climate-change-pact-at-cop21/472129
Should African States and other developing nations should Contribute Funds towards Climate Change?
A United Nations official has told East African negotiators in Entebbe last week. that developing and poor nations should contribute to a global Green fund to combat climate change impacts instead of putting all their hopes on developed nations.
In a teleconference with negotiators from the five East African states and Ethiopia training in preparation for December's United Nations climate change conference in Paris, France, Connor Barry of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said dependence on developed countries would not suffice.
"The UNFCCC process is dominated by the need for provision of support from the richest to the poorest. This is necessary but not sufficient. We need to leverage into public funds than the private sector," he said.
Ahead of the Paris conference, which is expected to result in the signing of a new agreement, COP 21, a heated debate on who should contribute to the green fund to curb climate change effects on the world continues to rage on. The green fund requires $100bn annually to be effective.
However, apart from a one-off contribution from countries like Germany, which has contributed $750m, no single country has an annual commitment to the fund. At the East Africa Negotiators Regional Pre-COP training, Barry's position attracted mixed reactions from several East African negotiators.
Ghrmawit Nale, an Ethiopian negotiator said that developing nations don't have the capacity to put in money due to lack of adequate financial resources. He further argued that developing countries cannot contribute to a problem that they did not participate in creating. He also insisted on the fact that developing nations and more-so African states only contributes emissions equivalent to one per cent per capita while some of the developed nations contribute to emissions at 20 per cent per capita. According to his argument, developed countries have made all communities and nations vulnerable yet the developing nations have no adequate capacity and ability to respond to climate change. This brings in the need for support because these accumulated emissions are hampering developing nations economic and social development.
While developing countries have pledged their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce the emissions, according to Nale, they can't stop their development to invest in mitigation measures unless they are supported.
Analysts anticipate that, more than ever before, the unique needs of individual countries, regions and the different groupings under the UNFCCC will take center stage in formulation of the new climate change agreement.
The East African region, although not an official grouping of the UNFCCC, has its member states with similar interests that mostly aim towards harmonizing climate change interventions in the region. As such, East African states will not only need to have a common stand that can be shared with the African group but also participate actively if they are to influence decisions being made at COP 21.
According to the German embassy's deputy head of cooperation, Karen Blume, although developing countries suffer a lot from the effects of climate change, they should not go into the negotiation thinking of only money.
"They go into the negotiations and want compensations. They only think about this part. They don't think about the fact [that] emissions should stop, and it's even getting worse," Blume said.
"If we don't reach that two degrees Celsius, I can't imagine what the effects will be in 10 years. It is necessary to push the emitters to commit that they have to reduce their emissions."
Blume also called for transparency at the negotiations.
"When every country says we are reducing emissions by 20 per cent, who can really know what the 20 per cent is? Where are you now? How much are you emitting?" she asked, adding: "It is very complicated."
According to Blume, the negotiations need to be transparent so that outsiders can follow the process and assess the seriousness of the parties involved.
"It would be nice to share the measures; how are you changing, which technologies are you using, but that is still not there," she said.Source
Africa should be at forefront of climate change talks says African Union
The African Union Commission said on Tuesday that Africa should be at the forefront of negotiations that focus around climate change agreements. This was during a session that saw the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, religious leaders and members and representatives from the diplomatic corps, and African civil society in attendance.
The African Union Commission agreed to the move by consensus during a session at its headquarters that spoke to the theme “Towards Climate Justice” on Friday, November 6 during its Fridays of the Commission session.
The African Union Commission and stakeholders who attended the session agreed that African countries attending COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, should remain united during the negotiations, as there is a great need “for an inclusive and global agreement during the Conference.”
Part of the consensus was that the continent should stand together in calling for a limit of 1.5ºC in the rise of global temperature rise limit, instead of the mooted 2ºC target, which would ensure protection of the environment and the continent’s people.
Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union Commission said that the continent was vulnerable to the “damaging consequences” of climate change. Referring to discussions around climate change, he called on the continent to be strategically engaged in “this process” to ensure climate justice for all living on the continent.
Issues discussed ahead of the COP21 event, which is scheduled to take place at the end of November included how climate change is affecting the African continent.
Much would be expected of Africa at COP21 and these expectations, stakeholders discussed, included a “comprehensive agreement focusing on the issues of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer.”
Ayele Hegena, Director of Law and standards at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and a member of the African group of negotiators (AGN) on Climate Change said: “COP21 is an opportunity for the continent to claim its right to sustainable development as well as to make sure that the African common positions are featured in the final text to be adopted.”
Participants at the session noted that the outcome of the Paris agreement should be “in line with the expectations of the African people.”
COP21 is scheduled to take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
Preparatory events leading upto COP21 by African Nations Climate change impacts for Africa's development cannot be underestimated as they posecomplex and dynamic challenges for nations and policy makers.Addressing climate change has become central to Africa's development agenda. Research has shown that poorer countries and communities will suffer earliest and hardest from global warming because ofweaker resilience and greater reliance on climate‐sensitive sectors like agriculture.
Previously, Africa has experiencedincreased economic growth. The impacts of climate change for the sustainedeconomic growth, or its translation into development, are huge. Climate changeimpacts on development and the wellbeing of societies and ecosystems forms akey aspect of Africa's agenda.
Recent climate modelingindicates that a temperature increase of 2oC by 2050 is going to be reallycatastrophic for Africa. It could mean a loss of 4.7% of GDP, most of it as aresult of losses in the agricultural sector. A temperature rise of 2.5oC‐ 5oC would beworse, resulting in hunger for 128 million; 108 million affected by floodingand a sea‐levelrise of 15‐95cm, withother devastating results. Although the continent contributes only 3.8% oftotal greenhouse gas emissions, Africa's nations are among the most vulnerable.Climate changes lies behind much of the prevailing poverty, food insecurity,and diminishing economic growth in Africa today.Climate change will increase this variabilitywith increased severity and frequency of droughts, floods and storms increasethat will transmit to increased water scarcity. Agricultural, livestock andfisheries productivity variability will occur with the continent facingincreased food scarcity, increased water‐borne diseases more so in tropicalareas.
It's estimated that over 200million of the poorest people in Africa are food insecure, of which a hugenumber of these have their dependence on climate sensitive livelihoods –predominantly rain‐fedagriculture. Temperature increases and changes in mean rainfall and evaporationare likely to become ever greater and more damaging to livelihoods through the21st century.
Given this background, what isthe world doing about climate change and why is the Paris Conference of Parties(COP 21) so important, especially for Africa?
Conference of Parties organizedby UNFCCC, have become a vital platform for the continuing global effort torefine and strengthen the international collaborative and regulatory frameworkon climate change and to improve global climate governance.
The Conference of Parties areattended by almost all governments entities, many non-state actors includingthe private sector, civil society representatives as well as bilateral andmulti-lateral institutions. COP21 scheduled for Paris is particularly significantin that it will widely expected that it will result into a new Agreement whichwill succeed the Kyoto Climate Protocol and it's set to come into force by2020.
The evolving global climategovernance regime requires that Africa develop ever more nuanced andsophisticated responses to guide the continents engagement at all levels of theclimate response. While initially African participation in the COPs wasfragmented and uncoordinated, it has increasingly become more organized.Recognizing that Africa stands to be most affected by climate change whilecontributing the least to greenhouse gas emissions, member States of theAfrican Union have progressively begun to articulate a common position onclimate change and to developcommonpositions in the negotiations through a streamlined coordination mechanism involvingthe African Group of Negotiators (AGN), the African Ministers Conference on theEnvironment (AMCEN) and the Committee of African Heads of State and Governmenton Climate Change (CAHOSCC).
The governance of climatechange adaptation on the continent requires a review of the nature andtrajectory of growth and development processes, the democratization of globalsystems to achieve equity, and the realignment of decision making processes tofacilitate greater public engagement in the formulation of global and nationalresponses to climate change.
The current treaty governinggreenhouse gas emissions is the Kyoto Protocol (KP) which was adopted in Kyoto,Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. Theobjective of the Kyoto Protocol is to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions inorder to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, asrequired by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).The Protocol currently binds 192 countries (Parties) who are signatories to theProtocol. The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiatedresponsibilities through which developed countries are obliged to reduce theircurrent GHG emissions on the basis that they are historically disproportionatelyresponsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
When it first came into forcein 2005, the Kyoto Protocol bound signatory industrialized countries togreenhouse gas emissions reductions targets for the period 2008-2012. This wascalled the first commitment period. The Kyoto Protocol thus expired in 2012.However, at the Doha Conference of 2012 participating countries voted to extendthe Kyoto Protocol until 2020, and also proposed a second commitment period,known as the Doha Amendment, in which 37 countries have binding targets for theperiod 2012 – 2020. However, several industrialized countries who committed toemissions reductions in the first commitment period have stated that they may:
·Withdraw from the Protocol altogether; or
·Not be legally bound by the Doha Amendment andits targets, or
·Not take on new targets in the secondcommitment period.
Only a few industrializedstates have committed to further CO2 reductions during the second commitmentperiod than in the first period. It is not clear what the cumulative effect ofthese commitments would be on the goal of limiting global warming to 20C.
Thus several issues are undernegotiation leading up to COP21 in Paris in December 2015. The first is that anew global climate governance framework will be required to replace the KyotoProtocol after 2015. Negotiations were already initiated at COP20 in Lima in2014 to agree on a post-Kyoto legal framework that would obligate all majorpolluters to pay for CO2 emissions. The key issues which have emerged after theLima COP20, and will constitute the post 2015 agreement at COP 21 are:
·Pre-2020 mitigation ambition
·Technology and capacity building